I started using the Macintosh in January of 1984, while I was a student at Bowling Green State University. Actually, we had either an early model or an early release of the Macintosh XL software package for the Apple Lisa in December of 1983, as I recall. During one afternoon of waiting in line for a keypunch at the computer lab, I read all three of the manuals that came with the first Mac. This made me an expert instantly, I suppose, since most people never read the manuals! Even though I was working primarily as a technical writer, this was also my first real experience doing technical support. Because I had to learn and understand what I was documenting, I was often asked to help some of the faculty and staff when they had questions.
I’ve owned quite a few Macintoshes since then. After spending many years with my trusty Titanium PowerBook G4/667, I replaced it with the Intel Core Duo-powered MacBook Pro that came out in February 2006. Because I tend to keep computers for such a long time, I decided to upgrade the processor speed to 2.16GHz, and get the 7,200rpm 100Gb hard drive. Unfortunately, it was one with the short-lived 32-bit Core Duo, so it only supports up to 2Gb of RAM. Also, since it was the original Intel-based machine, it came with only a 4x single-layer DVD burner, and doesn’t have the FireWire 800 port that most of the other MacBook Pros have now. It also only came with an 802.11g WiFi chip, where the next machine had 802.11n. I know that things change over time, but this was only a matter of months after its introduction! My model wasn’t readily available until April 2006, but was replaced in October 2006 with a 64-bit Core2 Duo model with FireWire 800, the 8x dual-layer DVD burner, and 802.11n.
I’ve upgraded the memory in the MacBook Pro to 2Gb, which seemed to help the performance as well. I’ve also replaced the original 100Gb hard drive with a 320Gb 7,200rpm SATA drive. When CompUSA went out of business, one of my friends from MacinTech picked up a few 802.11n cards that were sold for the MacPro, but also fit into the MacBook Pro, so I do have 802.11n as well.
I’m also running Mac OS X Server 10.5.8 on my Mac Mini G4/1.42GHz with 1Gb RAM and 80Gb drive. Its the web server running this site (and several others) and also hosts my email accounts and mailing lists. Its sharing a 2Tb external drive for TimeMachine backups for all of the Macs on my home network.
I also have a new 2.4Ghz Intel Core2 Duo Mac Mini that I’m using as a home theater computer. I have an older Elgato EyeTV Hybrid that allows me to watch and record over-the-air high-definition TV. I have it connected to my stereo, so that I can listen to any of the music in my iTunes library. The “iTunes Remote” app on my iPod Touch makes it easy to control without even having to turn on the monitor. I’ve added the PyeTV plug-in to Front Row, so that I can watch TV programs using FrontRow, which is easier to see and control from a distance. I’ve also added the ETVComSkip plug-in to EyeTV, which will automatically skip over commercials when playing back.
I still have an older Beige G3/266 desktop that I got from a consulting client when he replaced it with a G4 Mac. I primarily use it for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Server, but its also been loaded with MacOS 9.2.2 and Yellow Dog Linux 3.0.1. Although its showing its age, it was stuffed with 640Mb of RAM, which helps a bit. The main drive is a 80Gb ATA, with a 9Gb SCSI drive for YDL. In addition to the internal ATA and internal/external SCSI, ADB and serial ports, it also has a USB and FireWire combo card, so this machine offers nearly every interface ever available on the Mac: ADB, SCSI, ATA, USB, and FireWire (400).
I apparently haven’t updated this page in some time… I no longer have the 15″ Core Duo MacBook Pro. I replaced it with a 17″ MacBook Pro that is the “Early 2011” model with 2.2GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core. I bought through the Apple on-line clearance when the Late 2011 model was introduced. The only difference with the new model was a speed-bump to 2.3 GHz. I had upgraded the RAM to 8Gb when I bought it in November 2011, but replaced the RAM with a 16Gb upgrade just before Christmas 2012, as the prices had dropped significantly. I’ve also since upgraded the hard drive, replacing it with a 1Tb solid State Drive (SSD). Details in my blog posting here.
In 2018, the 17″ MacBook Pro finally died, and would no longer boot up, so I’ve replaced it with a 27″ iMac. I decided that since I typically only use my iPad Pro when I was away from my desk, that I should just get an actual desktop. There have been a couple of times that I have wished that I still had a laptop, but it’s not very often. I’m very happy with the big screen on the iMac as my primary machine.