25 years of Macintosh

On January 24 1984 Apple Computer introduced Macintosh – and suddenly for a great many people not only was 1984 not like 1984 neither was any of the next 25 years.

Being in the UK at the time I never saw the infamous SuperBowl Commercial – it was some years before I think I saw the first grainy QuickTime version. I had already been using an Apple IIe at my school, and during a trip to France in 1985 (I think, but it might actually have been the summer of 1984) I had my first exposure to a Macintosh in a small Apple Dealership in a town (whose name I now forget) not far from Paris. Little did I know at the time that I would eventually work for the then President of Apple France (Jean-Louis Gassee). However as a student a Macintosh was out of my financial reach and I had already become quite devoted to the BBC Microcomputer.

In 1991 whilst working in Munich for Digital I was finally able to afford a Macintosh IIci which then became my primary computer for the next few years. It formed part of my Undergraduate project (a transputer add-in card and host environment). I did add a PowerBook 150 a few years later and kept using it too for some time whilst working in Australia and travelling to the US. In 1996 just after the switch from 680×0 CPUs to PowerPC systems I purchased a PowerMac 7100/80av. The PowerMac 7100 could run a new OS – BeOS – a putative replacement for Apple’s aging System 9 OS. I became enamoured, and ultimately joined Be Inc working on the development of BeOS. Though by the time I started working for Be, Apple had made the decision to acquire Next and Be had adjusted focus to concentrate on an Intel/PC version of BeOS.

Since the PowerMac 7100/80av I’ve not owned very many ‘desktop’ Macs, rather I’ve had a series of PowerBooks (a couple of G4 models, and now a MacBook Pro). I did purchase a Mac Mini a couple of years ago which serves as a household media server and the like.

My development efforts for the Mac have really taken off over the last 8 years or so. After a brief hiatus between college and leaving Be when I was mostly working on Unix or BeOS development I’ve switched to doing about 60/40 (perhaps 70/30) Mac vs. Windows development. Working on OS X ports (from OS 9), plugins for browsers, audio applications, audio plugins, media applications, media device drivers, virtual platforms, and more device drivers.

I knew back in 1984 that I wanted a career in software development,  I knew then that the Mac would be interesting platform to work on. I don’t think I had any idea 25 years ago how far either the platform or I would go.

Posted under Apple

This post was written by awk on January 24, 2009

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