Before I had any real awareness of the Macintosh phenomenon, my first actual computer (not counting my Atari 2600 game console) was a Commodore VIC-20 my parents bought for me around 8th or 9th grade (mid 1980s). It wasn’t long before I upgraded to a Commodore 64 which, along with some chores for my elementary school, was later traded for a Commodore 128. That computer got me through the last two years of high school, all of college, and the first couple post-college years.
For many years, I participated in various local BBS communities, dialing up with a 300 baud modem at first, and a 1200 baud upgrade not long after. In the early 1990s, I had my first taste of the internet via a 2400 baud modem and a Linux shell account from Orlando Online. My first e-mail address was email@example.com. Before I jumped to broadband connections, I had progressed all the way up to 56k modems, including the one built in to my first Macintosh computer.
Since that time, I progressed through the following Macintosh computers:
- Performa 577—First personally owned mac, though I had, of course, used Macs during college.
- PowerBook 3400—Laptop workhorse for many years. It performed better than the IIci I was using at the office, prompting me to use it more for work than for personal needs (a decision I only lightly regret).
- PowerBook G3 (Pismo model)—Purchased used from a colleague and served me well for just a few years before I bought a brand new Titanium PowerBook G4.
- 1GHz 15″ Titanium PowerBook G4—This was a great machine I used the daylights out of until I could simply no longer stand not having an Intel-based Mac.
- 450MHz G4—I purchased this tower from a colleague in October 2003 to use as a server. Until I retired it in July 2009 and moved everything to a newer Mac Pro tower, it hosted my iTunes library (accessed via networking), the first incarnation of my photo album server, and miscellaneous other remote-access storage.
- 2GHz 15″ MacBook Pro—After a few years of use, this machine became my wife’s computer in 2010 when we married. It was still running OS X 10.5 Leopard when she upgraded in 2015. It’s now on OS X 10.11 El Capitan and doesn’t support anything newer. I think it still runs, albeit slowly, and has sometimes been useful when I need a laptop and my wife’s isn’t available. However, it’s been a good several years since I’ve even powered it up.
- Quad Core 2.66GHz Nehalem Mac Pro—Served me many wonderful years as a powerful machine used as a server (having permanently retired the G4 tower) for hosting my photo albums and managing my iTunes library that is almost always accessed via my 4th generation Apple TV. But it’s getting up there in age and is being slowly phased out as I migrate to a 2018 Mac mini. Most all my home/personal computing needs are easily accomplished with my iPad (see below). Over a few years in the mid 2010s, I retired the self-hosted photo server and moved everything to Flickr. Self hosting was fun, but was getting to be too much hassle. After completing the migration, I created photos.ALBj.net to act as a customized front end which is a bit friendlier to navigate.
- 5GHz 13″ Retina MacBook Pro—Purchased this 2012 MBP from a friend as a replacement for my wife’s badly aging 2007 model. Currently, it has a completely shot battery and won’t hold a charge more than a few minutes, and I haven’t decided whether to invest in a battery replacement or figure out how to pay for a new machine.
- Core i5 3GHz Mac mini—Purchased this Apple-refurbished machine to handle my occasional computing needs that cannot be done with an iPad and to phase out the aging Mac Pro tower. The 256GB SSD won’t even hold my entire iTunes library, so eventually I’ll repurpose the Mac Pro’s hard drives into USB-C enclosures and attach them to the Mac mini.
These days, I basically only use a desktop computer for intensive tasks including mass photo management, iTunes syncing, etc. I’m pretty well content to do most of my computing tasks on my iPad, and I’ve progressed through several models of those as well:
- Started with the original, Wi-Fi only, 16GB.
- Upgraded to a white, Wi-Fi only, 32GB 3rd generation model which was almost immediately lost :-(
- A benefit through my office soon replaced it with a black, Wi-Fi/LTE, 32GB model.
- Upgraded to a Space Gray iPad Air 2 Wi-Fi/LTE, 128GB which served well for several years and is still in great condition. My younger stepdaughter has used it quite happily for several years now.
- My current iPad is a 10.5-inch iPad Pro Wi-Fi/LTE, 256GB. I keep buying the Space Gray color because it’s the only one with a black front bezel I want. Still haven’t made up my mind whether to invest in an Apple Pencil.
Unlike the Macintosh computers, I still possess all these iPads except the lost one.
My phones prior to the existence of iPhones were an old Nokia 2160i, a Mitsubishi T250, and then a series of Sony Ericsson models: T68i, T616, and S710a. The Ericssons were great phones I’d have been happy to continue using if not for the iPhone.
- Original, 1st-generation iPhone—It was several weeks (maybe a couple months?) after initial release before I finally had seen other people’s devices enough that I decided I wanted one.
- iPhone 3G—I was in line for this upgrade on the day of release. Purchased on AT&T’s two-year contract subsidy, I never obtained the following year’s 3GS (The 3G is also the first phone I bought for my then-fiancée when it became AT&T’s $99 subsidized model.)
- iPhone 4—This phone was next in line when my two-year AT&T contact renewal was up.
- iPhone 4S—Only half way into the two-year iPhone 4 contract, I wasn’t directly eligible for an upgrade, but my wife’s ailing 3G was eligible, and upgrades can be applied to any member of a family plan. She decided to take my iPhone 4 and I picked up the 4S (her idea, not mine—I was going to let her have the 4S).
- iPhone 5s—(I didn’t make an error. Apple styled the 4S with upper case and every model since then with a lower case.) I had skipped the iPhone 5 because I wasn’t yet ready to replace all my dock connector accessories with Lightning connector versions. Along with the 5s for me, my wife opted for the less expensive iPhone 5c which Apple had to replace twice—first for a faulty/swelling battery, and second for a defective screen.
- iPhone 6s—Ordered the day it became available at the end of the last two-year cycle I ever used (which is why I skipped the iPhone 6/6 Plus models). I got on AT&T’s NEXT program starting with the 6s with annual upgrades for a few years. Although the enhanced camera of the iPhone 6s Plus intrigued me, I simply had (and still have) zero interest in a phone of that size. (The iPhone SE was also released at this time and is the model my wife used for a few years.)
- iPhone 7—Swapped out on AT&T’s NEXT program. The dual camera/telephoto feature of the iPhone 7 Plus was tempting, but I still have no interest in a phone that size. I never had any issue with the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack, and while the new clickless home button was weird at first, I grew to like it a lot.
- iPhone X—My last annual AT&T NEXT upgrade before the program was retooled. I fell in love with Face ID and never once wished I’d gone with the iPhone 8. (I could have used the AT&T NEXT for an annual upgrade one more time when the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xr, and the much-too-big iPhone Xs Max came out. I was still quite satisfied with the X and felt no need to upgrade. I did, however, upgrade my wife’s SE to an iPhone 8.)
- iPhone 11 Pro—This is my current phone in the really awesome new Midnight Green color. I am loving the super wide angle lens, and I’m nuts for Night Mode. I only wish sometimes that the super wide lens supported Night Mode. With this phone, I’m definitely no longer on an annual upgrade cycle. AT&T retooled its NEXT program where you now pay across 30 months instead of 24, and you have to add an additional $5/month (greedy little goobers) for the option to upgrade at the halfway point (15 months). I went ahead with that since my entire mobile phone bill (minus my wife’s line) is subsidized. But I’m really confused at the decision to force an upgrade plan that completely ignores the known annual new device cycle.
Apple Watch History
Yes, I am also a proud Apple Watch user:
- Series 0—I didn’t jump on board in 2015 when it was first released, but the following year when the original Series 0 was slightly tweaked to become the Series 1, and the Series 2 was also released, the remnant inventory of Series 0 watches dropped in price and I bought one. It immediately prompted me to be more active. I reach 10,000 steps most days, and I blew past 1,000 consecutive days of reaching a calorie goal, originally at 500, later upped to 770, but back to 500 for now. That streak included more than a full year of an intentional 5K walk every single day.
- Series 4—I passed up the Series 3 since my Series 0 was still adequate. But by late 2018, its battery had gone from lasting all day to needing to set it on the charger for 30-40 minutes in the afternoon at work to finish out the day. I was leery of the new 44mm size of the Series 4, and I briefly considered buying the 40mm version until I tried one on and it felt too small. Not to mention, my 42mm bands wouldn’t have fit on the 40mm watch.
Workplace Macintosh History
At work, I have progressed through the following machines:
- IIci—Purchased by the youth department but installed in my office. I’d offered to do their newsletter for free provided I could use it for projects I wanted to do for the communication department.
- 300MHz G3—This machine was a joke. Ethernet circuitry failed soon after it was purchased. Since ethernet was integrated into the motherboard, the entire board had to be replaced, and it never worked right again after that. Repeated trips to Apple for repair proved worthless, and it eventually fell out of warranty. This machine is the reason I used my personal PowerBook 3400 at work for so long.
- Dual 800MHz G4—I actually don’t remember much about this machine. It finally allowed me to stop using my personal computer for work, and did its job well.
- Quad 2.5GHz G5—After I used this machine for several years, we had planned to repurpose it into a dedicated video editing station for freelancers and intern workers to our office, but it began exhibiting problems, likely power controller related. It was donated to a tinkerer who got it working again, but I have no idea what he ended up using it for.
- 8-core 2.4GHz Intel Xeon Westmere—This beast had 6GB of RAM and four 1TB hard drives on a hardware RAID card. When I updated to my next office computer, this tower served several years as a guest/freelancer machine. After that, it was stored in IT’s closet and, last I checked, is still there. I suspect it still works fine other than needing a new battery on the hardware RAID card.
- Core i7 27″ Retina 5K iMac—This is my current machine, outfitted with a whopping 32GB of RAM and a 3TB Fusion Drive.