Some cool MacBook News images:
My History with Apple (Computer) Inc.
Image by Adam Kuban
Edwin Tofslie created this visual. On his site, he says, "A visual I created to show the evolution of most all Apple products created over the past 30 years. This was created to show the evolution of the form factor and industrial design of the products, not to show every single model or upgrade Apple has launched."
I grabbed it and thought I'd use it to make a history of my Apple purchases. From left to right, top to bottom:
The Apple ][c I must have gotten this in 1985 or '86 (when I was 10 or 11). I remember wanting this computer *so bad* after using the Apple ][e in grade school. I remember going to the Apple dealer (er, excuse me, the Apple authorized reseller) in Olathe, Kansas—The Bottom Line—and drooling over the computers there. I was an overweight kid, so my parents made me a deal: Lose X many pounds, and they would buy the computer. I lost a little weight, but not the specified amount. Still, I think my parents were swayed by my argument that it was an educational tool and an investment in my future. I learned to type on this machine, using a program with a little wizard who did magic according to how well you did. I also discovered Zork (never did finish) and Wishbringer (finished, 'cause it was easier). A couple years later, I got into the Bard's Tale series. This was supposed to be a "portable" computer, hence the "c" for "compact." The machine itself had a handle on the back that folded down to prop up the computer or folded away into the body. You could carry the computer around, but the monitor was one heavy summbitch. Consequently, it never left the living room, where it sat on the desk toward the back of the room. I loved this little machine! I used it until about 9th grade (1989) and then didn't do much with computers at all in high school. By the time I got another computer, see below, they had (OMG!) something new called a hard drive. Hmm...
Macintosh Performa 6220CD: OK, the one pictured here is from the Performa series. I had a 6220CD, which was a pizza-box configuration. My parents helped me buy it, and we got it from Best Buy, of all places. Best Buy! Can you believe that? That was in, oh, 1995, maybe '96, during the dark Gil Amelio years. Anyway, at that time, I think Apple had a glut of products, and the 6220CD was one of the machines Apple made for the casual market—hence the Best Buy thing. It had a 75 MHz PowerPC 603 processor, 16 MB of RAM, a 1 GB hard drive, and a TV/Video card. It came with a little remote, and you could run cable or a broadcast antenna into the thing.
I got this either during my junior year or first senior year of college (I had two senior years because I switched majors), after I discovered the internet in the auxiliary computer center in Strong Hall at KU. I remember bringing this thing home and having one of my roommates kinda freak out a little bit—"Oh man, Adam. I can't believe there's a computer in our house." He wasn't excited; he was a bit disdainful. At the time, he was kind of a hippie in a very minor way, and I think he saw computers as something evil. Sometimes, I think he was right; but mostly, I love computers. That roommate now is totally into computers and has a pretty nice top-of-the-line Powerbook.
Anyway, I got on the internet and thought it was the coolest thing ever! "Oh my god! You can look up Beastie Boys trivia on the web! This is *so* cool!" I discovered MUDs and MOOs with this machine and made my first webpage that probably had a URL like cc.ukans.edu/falcon/~tomodell. Tomodell was my username (self-chosen) and was after my old high-school history teacher, Tom O'Dell.
In May 1997, I brought this machine with me to Oregon, where I used it to keep in touch with friends back in Kansas and in Japan. It was on this machine that I created a short-lived collaborative humor site (now defunct) called lusciousjackass.com and also had a sort of short-lived group blog that some friends and I did. They'd send me emails, and I'd sit there in the common space of our loft, drinking PBR, and post them in reverse chronological order. I also took out the domain www.hatchback.net/ in '98 and have had it since.
This was also the machine that I created the proto version of Slice on. It was originally going to be a photocopied 'zine, and I laid out the mock-up pages in QuarkXPress on this computer.
iMac Rev B: After convincing my parents to buy an iMac Rev A, I liked theirs so much I bought the Rev B. This must have been in late '98 or so. I don't remember doing anything remarkable on this machine. I replaced it rather quickly with an ...
iBook (clamshell, in Tangerine): I bought this one in 2000, shortly before moving to New York City. I didn't want to lug the iMac cross-country, and I left it with my girlfriend at the time, who didn't have a computer. She used it so we could keep in touch as we tried the whole long-distance dating thing. That didn't work out, and the iMac made its way out east. I sold the iMac on eBay and continued to use the iBook. I remember doing freelance copy-editing on it in my Bay Ridge apartment, sitting on an inflatable mattress because I had no furniture and couldn't afford to buy any. Later, when I got a crappy chair from IKEA, I would sit and work at this lame console table–cum-desk that the previous tenant left in the apartment. I kept this this machine until 2003, when I bought my ...
iBook G3: I bought this one in late August or early September of 2003, shortly before creating Slice. I didn't buy it to build Slice, though. I bought it because I had recently gotten cable broadband and wanted a new machine that took full advantage of the fast connection! Little did I know I was getting a piece of shit. I got the last of the G3 Dual USB iBooks, the ones with the faulty logic board problem. I still own it, and it's on its fourth logic board(!!!!) and second hard drive. Apple was good enough to replace all my logic boards for free under a special program, but I had to eat the cost of a new HD for it. I'm letting a friend borrow this computer right now.
I have a certain fondness for this machine, as it fostered the creation of Slice and A Hamburger Today. It's been to San Francisco, where it left its cold machine heart; Kansas; Florida; the Jersey Shore; and Amsterdam, where it visited the Red Light District and picked up a virus (just kidding). It also has a cool In-N-Out sticker on it. I used it until February 2005, when its first hard drive crashed. After four logic boards, I gave up and bought an ...
iMac G5 (17-inch): Unfortunately, this was the first generation of the flat-screen stand iMacs, and it had a problem: excessive fan noise. This machine worked like a dream at first, but after a firmware update pretty early on, the HD cooling fan started running at top speed under the lightest of processor loads. Because of a lame fan design, the thing sounds like a DustBuster. It is highly unpleasant to work in front of for any length of time. I appreciated the large screen and the speed, but when it came time for me to visit Kansas for Christmas 2005, I had the iBook G3's HD repaired and went back to using it. But the iBook G3 was getting mighty sluggish, so it was great when I joined Serious Eats in October 2006 and the company provided me with a ...
MacBook 1.83 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo: I'm typing this history on this machine now. It's loaded with 2GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive—basically, it's maxed out. It's been a good little machine, except the white keyboard and casing get dirty. I would have liked the black MacBook, but the advisers setting us up with machines said they cost extra, so my boss, Ed, and I both got white machines. This one is missing the cool In-N-Out sticker, mostly because I don't want to gum up company property.
That's it for the Apple computers. But I also purchased ...
iPod 3rd Generation: Actually, my dad bought this one for me when he came to visit. (Thanks, Dad!) This is the one with the four buttons at top and fixed touch wheel. It worked well and I even developed "piPod" for it, a little set of files that rested in the Notes folder that told you where to get good pizza in NYC. That little "app" brought Slice a lot of attention. This iPod served me well until the day I was visiting my friend Janice, sitting up on her apartment rooftop on a weak chair. The leg broke, and I fell, cracking the LCD display. The pod still worked—I just couldn't see what it was playing. I got by for a while, then did without, then bought a ...
iPod Photo (60GB): This was the top-of-the-line iPod for, oh, about 2 months. Then the damn iPod video model came out. Ugh! Apple made such a big deal about how, with mine, they were all going to have color screens!!! Woo-dee-fucking-doo. They were probably just trying to get rid of all their small color screens before switching to the video iPod. Anyway, this is my iPod today. I haven't upgraded to video iPod or the iPhone—yet. I'm sure I'll move to the iPhone one day, but not until after the first generation. I've learned my lesson.
And, I forgot the peripherals! ...
Pro Mouse (White): Purchased pretty soon after it became available, to make laptop computing easier when using my iBook G3 at home. This mouse served me fine until the Mighty Mouse came out.
Mighty Mouse: I was lured by the 360° scroll wheel. The scroll wheel worked like a charm while it lasted. Unfortunately, it gums up with dirt pretty easily, and despite the suggested cleaning routine, mine never started working again. I liked the added two-button feature (finally, Apple! Took you fucking long enough to bow your head and admit that MS had something here). But it didn't work well. It never really did sense when I was applying pressure to the left or right sides of the mouse. I replaced it with a non-Apple product. A Microsoft Intellimouse. My MS mouse is AWESOME.
Airport Express: Works like magic! I love being wireless anywhere in my apartment and out in my garden on nice days. I like that I can stream music to my stereo. I only wish it could stream regular non-iTunes sound to the stereo as well.
Claire says I should now "add up all the money [I've] given to Steve Jobs throughout the years," but I just can't. I don't remember the retail price of some of these machines, plus, I'd be too depressed 🙁
UPDATE (In honor of Steve's leaving Apple) - 8/25/2011
Since I first posted this -- my most popular image on Flickr by a landslide -- I have used/owned even more Apple products...
Macbook Mid-2010: Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo, 2.4Ghz, 4GB RAM I can't remember exactly when I started using this one. It was probably shortly before or after my wedding. I think I had been complaining loud enough at Serious Eats about my previous MacBook's slowness and crashiness. One day a shipment of new laptops showed up and I got one. This machine served fairly faithfully and well but did get a bit slow before I finally left Serious Eats in May 2011. I've always had the experience that Macs work very well for a while but then seem to begin to slow down. Maybe because I gum them up with too much crap. Anyway, I turned this computer back in to the company on leaving and bought myself a ...
MacBook Air 11-inch, 1.6Ghz/4GB RAM/156GB SSD: The smallest MacBook Air maxed out on processor, RAM, and solid state drive. This machine is beautiful. When I look back at my old iBook, I can't believe the same company made both these machines -- or that that iBook itself was considered great design at one point. Frankly, I don't know how Apple can improve on the aesthetics of the current MacBook Air line. I suppose in minor ways, but as is, it seems almost perfect. So far, fingers crossed, I've had no problems with this machine. It's a little sluggish editing RAW photos, but that's to be expected. I bought it knowing I wouldn't be able to do HARDCORE photo- or video-editing. And that's fine. That's about all I need for the blogging I do these days.
iPod Nano, 3rd generation: I don't even remember why I bought this. At some point my iPod Photo must have died. I don't even remember how or why or what I did with its carcass. I loved the size and format of this Nano -- it's the squat one with the color screen. Before they switched back to the long, narrow stick. I still have it but don't use it. That's because in August 2009 I finally broke down and bought an ...
iPhone 3Gs: And, holy crap, did it change my life. For the better, for the worse. I love having all the information a truly smart smartphone provides at my fingertips. But I do have to admit that I am addicted to it. I'm not even making light there. I truly have a hard time not futzing with the device. I know it's rude to do so during dinner with my wife or out at the bar with friends, but I cannot help it. That is how it has changed my life for the worse. For the better, I absolutely love the GPS navigation app I downloaded for it, which I can't imagine driving without again. And I like being able to look up restaurant advice on the go. At some point, I got caught in the rain with this one, and that began its demise. I killed it the rest of the way by leaving it on the windowsill in the shower and then forgetting about it while turning on the water. (I was listening to NPR while trimming my beard in front of the grooming mirror in the shower ... then stepped out to put the trimmer away and clean up the tub before turning on the faucet... D'OH!) ... Even that didn't kill this iPhone dead, though. I was able to do the rice trick and revive it, but it slowly deteriorated until it started shutting off and asking for full restores. After restoring it 7 times in 2 days, it died.... NEXT!
iPhone 4, 16GB: Even though I had the 32GB 3Gs, I stepped it down to the 16GB for my current (8/24/2011) iPhone. It wasn't worth the extra money for the extra memory. I hadn't maxed out my previous iPhone anyway. LOVE the Retina display and the massively improved camera on this one. Other than that, not much of a difference over the 3Gs.
Thanks, Steve Jobs, for designing all these amazing products. Even though I have had some issues with some of them, they are beautiful, elegant machines that are intuitive and a pleasure to work with. I can't imagine having to use the alternatives (er, actually I can, because I use a shitastic PC at work).
Image by Got Nate?
This is my first clean slate workspace. It started as the screen, keyboard, mouse, and desk. Workspace consists of the MacBook Woz Edition on an mStand with some crappy microsoft wireless desktop and a ViewSonic 17" screen.