Thursday, January 14, 2010

a decades-long love affair

As I mentioned the other day, we were without a computer for almost two weeks. Not being able to blog, I spent a fair bit of time thinking about blogging, and more specifically what my goals and motives are for this blog. As amazing as it would be to actually make money blogging, I am one in millions in this big bloggy pond and I'm no Heather Armstrong. More importantly, I started this blog as a place to record our life and store some of our memories.

Trying to "market" it kind of takes away from that. Plus it takes too much time (and I already spend enough time online). I want this blog to be a place where I can write for me and where I can tell stories that I think my boys will like to read someday. Stories about themselves, stories about our family, things we went through, events that got us to where we are, and the little things that will give them insight into who they are and where they came from.

Like the story of their grandpa and his love affair with Apple computers.

* * * * * * * * * *

My dad was a huge Mac fan. HUGE. Addict even. We often heard him proudly tell how, in 1984, he bought the first Macintosh computer ever sold in the province of Saskatchewan (That would be the original Apple Macintosh. The one with the 9" screen. NINE INCHES!). He lined up for it.

While it wasn't necessarily marketed as a "portable" computer, it did come with a carrying case. A carrying case that my 6 year old sister and I (at 4 1/2) could both sit in comfortably. Convenient, I suppose. Impressive at the time, I'm sure. Portable? Not so much.

This is the same computer that I took to college in 1997. It was a dinosaur even then.

In the early 90's, he bought a Mac PowerBook (I'm not sure which one), one of Mac's first professional line of laptop computers. This ergonomic breakthrough had -wait for it- PALM RESTS. And a track ball. Be still my heart. It was a heavy little beast too.

I have fond memories of driving through West Glacier National Park in '96, not starring at the beauty around me, but intent on making it to the next level of Tetris on my dad's PowerBook. And feeling rather cool to be playing a computer while driving in the van, no doubt.

The old PowerBook was put through its paces for most of a decade -my dad taking apart the tracking ball and rebuilding it several times- until he brought home one of the clamshell iBook G3s in 2000. Although the blueberry Bondi blue colour was somewhat less professional than what he was after, his three daughters were pretty mad about it. The fun shape, the bright colours paired with clear plastic, THE CARRYING HANDLE... what more could you ask for?

That same year, he bought my just-married sister one of the newly introduced iMac desktop models. The first all-in-one computer (it was the grape colour) with its matching keyboard and hockey puck mouse, he just couldn't pass up the deal he found one day on a floor model.

Sometime in '03, after unsuccessfully attempting to replace the keyboard himself -and frying the motherboard in the process- the iBook G3 was succeed by a gleaming white iBook G4. My dad opted to have an AirPort card installed, and thus ushered in the era of wireless internet for our family.

With its happily glowing white apple logo on the back of the case, this laptop drew high praise from the then-toddlers in the family. This was also the Mac that introduced our family to two of the boys' now-favorite games: Gold Miner Joe and Tasty Planet (or "Grey Goo" as it's known around here).

In 2006, my dad purchased the last Mac computer he would buy before his death in Dec 2008. It was one of the original MacBook Pro laptops. This was Mac's first laptop designed with an aluminum body and it's sleek design seemed lightyears away from that old blueberry clamshell. It's a shame that he only got to use it for, really, a year and a half before he became seriously ill. Four years after its introduction, it still seems impressively brand new. Great design never gets old.

In the last 25 years of my dad's life, he bought and loved six Mac computers (there might even be one I missed somewhere in the '90s... I seem to remember one with a little green rubber button thing between the 'G' and 'H' keys in place of a mouse? Anyone remember that?).

Quite the love story. A boy and his toys. A man and his Macs.

* * * * * * * * * *

So now after almost 10 years of marriage and two PCs ("slumming it" as my dad would say), this iMac purchase feels like I've come full circle. Back to my roots. Back to that happy little apple with the bite taken out of it that was daily a part of my childhood.

And I'm pretty sure that, where ever my dad is, he's smiling a little bigger right now.


  1. this is very fine computer i like it very much. thanks for the sharing with us.

  2. Hey Amy! I loved this--brought back many memories! Being a teacher in Public Education and our district used Apple/Mac from the beginning of the computer generations--once public schools started looking at the advantages, etc. Thanks, A. Dianne

  3. Still remember our first family computer. An Apple II C. Enjoy your new Mac! The camera did a fab job of showing off your beautiful family when we talked to you on Skype today.

  4. How are you liking it?? I'll probably always be a pc ;)

  5. What a sweet story of Dad and his apples :) I'm also a mac-momma and am slowly trying to convert everyone that I know. As all our "pc's" are dying off, we're replacing them with macs, and I'll never go back!

  6. Next laptop we get... I want a mac. I'm so tired of all the problems we've been having with PC, and I KNOW macs are WAY better. I loved that little apple when we used them in school...

    I loved reading your lil story. Really, it is so sweet!


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