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My Apples

just the highlights, not the whole fruit stand

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On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984.
"1984" Super Bowl ad introducing the original Macintosh.
The 68k Macs: the little Motorola processor that could.
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Purchased: 1984
Code Name:

Macintosh

That's right friends, kneel before the mighty Mac's oldest ancestor.

(We're not counting the Lisa, which is more of a Cro-Magnon Mac.)

While not mine in the strictest sense, the 128K Mac was in the house I grew up in and I used it plenty. Any computer that sat up with you for a late night session of binge writing - a last minute all-nighter to finish off a term paper - gets to be called "yours," even if it's only an honorary distinction. You always remember the first assignment completed in twelve or more consecutive hours, and you always remember the first computer to help you through it.

Now let's see a show of hands, Apple fans! How many of you used OS 1? How many of you did the single drive disk dance when the system and the application didn't fit on one foppy? Do any of you remember Dark Castle? You may have played it on your lousy Commodore, but this one was Mac first baby! All Hail Silicone Beach Software! How about Lode Runner? Those were some good times.

By the way, don't tell my dad it wasn't expandable. Our Mac had some mad mods back in the day. Can you say SCSI? Hint: the stock 128k couldn't.

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Purchased: 1989
Code Name:

Mr. T

My first Apple purchase, the Mac Plus had a production run longer than any other Mac (1986 - 1990). It was almost identical in appearance to the original Macintosh 128.

Maybe it didn't have a built in hard drive like the Fancy-Nancy Macintosh SE. However, it did come with a SCSI port and my external 40MB drive was bigger and cheaper than the mark-up on your lousy SE/30! (Take THAT Christy!)

Bitter? Who's bitter?

I bought my Plus right before the start of my first semester at UF at the campus bookstore. It was one of the later builds with a platinum colored case. I bought it with an ImageWriter II and that external drive, and it only set me back few grand.

It was worth it. It was a grand machine. This little guy contributed to the academic careers of at least six UF students in the early 90s, and it's one of only two computers honored by a place on the Kauffman Family Wall of Fame.

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Purchased: 1994
Code Name:

Optimus

Purchased at a Costco warehouse in Orlando, this was the first computer Cheryl and I bought together.

It was also the first computer I agreed to part with, sending it off to be recycled. It's appropriate this was the only Mac we bought at a discount warehouse. This model was part of Apple's foray into discount computing.

It was my only experience with the infamous "Performa" line of Macs built under the John Scully era, while Steve Jobs was in exile. I speak for many Applellites when I say, "John, you should have stuck with the sugar water." If the fears of Apple fans in the post-Jobs era could be summed up in one word, it would be:

Performa.

Power to the PowerPC!
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Purchased: 1998
Code Name:

Columbus


Yes, another piece of Apple history graces the Kauffman household with its presence!

I bought this original Bondi-Blue beauty on Black Friday at Comp USA. They were selling it bundled with a UMAX scanner, an Epson printer, and a 12 inch color TV. We liked it so much we bought a second one used for Beth.

This was one of the two original iMac models to come with an infrared port and the mysterious "Mezzanine Port," both of which turned out to be useless. Sometimes I wonder if I could haul it out and make some sort of universal remote control out of it, but Cheryl has made it clear she intends to exercise her spousal veto powers if I ever try.

Boo, Cheryl!

This computer helped lead our household out of the dark, dial-up days, and into the wonderful world of "always-on," high-speed internet. It was our first computer to be more than a tool or a toy. It was an every day appliance. It was a necessity, as every Mac has been since.

Running on the famous G3, PowerPC processor, the contrast between the original iMac and the Performa was huge. It was analogous to the difference between dial-up and broadband. The only thing I've ever missed from the Performa was the keyboard - which I must admit was one of the best. Too bad it was tethered to one of the all time worst Macs.

In the mid-aughts, when it had been replaced by three newer models, it continued to serve us well as our first home web server. It delivered early versions of this site to you from our family room in Dunedin, FL for a couple years. It was always on, never crashed, and was fast enough for dozens of requests at broadband speeds of the day running OSX Server. In other words, it was the perfect home web server.

It was one of our longest serving Macs, filling many roles before finally retiring in the late aughts. It fills a special place in my heart.

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Purchased: 2001
Code Name:

Diesel

My first portable was a bitter-sweet purchase, coming soon after the death of my grandmother.

It was my first purchase at an Apple Store. I got it with a second generation Airport Base Station. Unfortunately, this one was plagued by the infamous monitor cable problem suffered by many second generation "ice books." Still, it served us for many years - though more than half as a desktop computer.

It was the last computer to serve our web site from home. It served in this capacity with distinction, running a year or more without a crash, powering down, or going into sleep/standby mode. Our internet connection wasn't nearly so reliable - ultimately bringing an end to our home server.

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Purchased: 2003
Code Name:

Northern Lights

This was our least thought out computer purchase. It was a hasty replacement for a used iMac we'd bought for Beth that died suddenly. Actually, she inherited the iMac above. Cheryl and I got the eMac.

Still, it served us long and well.

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Purchased: 2004
Code Name:

Q54A

We've voted and it's unanimous: this is the worst pairing of code name and computer in the Kauffman household.

Reverence.

That's what you hear in my voice when I say the words 12 inch PowerBook. If it were still alive today, it would probably still be my preferred machine to write with - though it's true it could run a little on the warm side. When I upgraded it with a higher capacity battery and a bigger, faster hard drive it put out some serious heat. Rumor has it this baby also powered the George Forman Grill.

I didn't appreciate what a piece of crap our Dell portables at work were until I got my PowerBook. It was yet another lesson in "you get what you pay for."

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Purchased: N/A
Obtained: 2005
Code Name:

Spartacus


Although it's last on this list of PowerPC Macs, it was actually the earliest to be produced. In fact, it's the only one incapable of running OSX.

Released on March 20, 1997, in belated recognition of Apple's 20th anniversary (NOT the Mac's 20th anniversary), Spartacus originally sold for $7499. I paid nothing in 2005 for a computer virtually taken out of the box. In Kevin Bacon fashion… a friend of Cheryl's was married to a guy who had a sister who was dating a guy who worked at Apple when the TAM went on sale. (Got that?) Cheryl's friend got one as a gift. They were Windows people and didn't know what they had. I gotta give 'em props though. I told them what they had, it still had value, and they still gave it to me.

It sat in my office for several years, playing great sounding music from a hacked version of iTunes (in order to get it to run on OS 8.6 - my favorite pre-OSX OS) through it's Bose sound system.

This is the other computer on the Kauffman Wall of Fame, sitting next to my old Mac Plus. It may not be for long though. My office is moving and I'll be moving into an office (as opposed to a cube). By the time you read this it may be back in my office playing glorious, rich tunes.

Intel: where every other PC has been before.
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Purchased: 2007
Pet Name:

Intel Mac

This was supposed to be a surprise, as I was at home recovering from chemotherapy.

The foil: The Apple Store in Orlando.

They emailed a copy of the receipt to our account, which I received two hours before Cheryl got home. It was still a surprise, just a little more private than Cheryl planned.

Poor Cheryl.

This was the first model to come with the slim, low profile, aluminum keyboard. I was anything but sold at first. The keys were flat, lacking the concave shape that gave my fingers subtle cues when they struck off center. However, the light touch, incredibly small key travel, and the nearly silent sound of keys activating and springing to their inactive position won me over. Now it may be my favorite desktop keyboard.

It makes it really tough to have the best at home and nearly the worst at work - a clicking Dell abomination that someone should send back to the '90s.

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Purchased: 2008
Pet Name:

My Wittle MacBook


This was another bitter-sweet purchase, coming on the heels of the PowerBook's death.

It was the only 13 inch MacBook sold with the aluminum unibody. Essentially the same computer was later sold as the 13 inch MacBook Pro.

This was my first Mac with a backlit keyboard and I've been spoiled rotten. The keys are a little firm for my taste, which makes me miss the PowerBook that much more. I found them to be a little more firm than the iMac, which otherwise has an almost identical feel. However, over all it's been an excellent machine.

I'm often typing away in the dark with a desktop keyboard wishing it was backlit, like my MacBooks. It's one case where I think Apple may have sacrificed function for form. (Sometimes I have to prop the keyboard up anyway. It's too low to type comfortably when you use a wrist pad.)

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Purchased: 2012
Apple Project Name:

K90IA

This was supposed to be a surprise. Beth was starting dual-enrollment classes at a local college and needed a laptop. Cheryl's idea was she'd get this new little guy for me and give the older MacBook to Beth

The foil: The Apple Store in Tampa.

Once again they emailed a copy of the receipt to our account, which I received two hours before Cheryl got home. It was still a surprise, just a little more private than Cheryl planned.

Poor Cheryl.

Other than the surprisingly faster processor (dual core i5 instead of the Core 2 Duo), SD card reader slot, Thunderbolt port (neither of which I use), and more memory/storage - it's essentially the same machine as the MacBook.

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Purchased: 2012
Pet Name:

Big A** iMac


More than any other Mac I've owned - this one is a work of art. When seen at an angle (like to the right) it looks like it's about five millimeters thick. (Look at me, getting my Metrics on!) The screen is remarkable and not just for its size. The viewable angles are incredible and colors are rich and deep, unlike the washed out look on my three year old Dell LCD at work.

This one was a convenience purchase. The last iMac we bought back in 2007 was overwhelmed by the increasing load we placed on it, and it showed. It slowed - a lot.

Enter this beauty. Huge screen. A combination of OS, a processor that screams, and a pretty damn fast drive, it's incredibly fast.

Oh yeah, and a huge screen.

This thing almost boots like an iOS device wakes from sleep - i.e. instantly. It doesn't quite boot that fast really, but it seems like it compared to any other computer I've used - Mac or Windows.

Every new computer I've bought feels faster, but they've felt like steady evolution over time. Like the G3 iMac over the 68K Performa, this one feels like it skipped a few generations.



© 1998 - 2013 John Kauffman