Smith Corona electric typewriter and an iPad with Apple logo on screen

January 24, 1984

30 years ago today Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer.

It was revolutionary.

It was a revolution I missed at the time.

I was about four months away from finishing my studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College (International Studies and German) – and clipping along just fine thank you very much with my Smith-Corona electric typewriter.

Today on Facebook, TED talks shared a video of the Macintosh unveiling and I watched it with our tech-savvy son.

Compared to what he is used to, the unveiling seemed a bit cheesy in its rudimentary graphics.

But at the time, it was a mind-blowing advance in the technology universe.

Not that I was all that plugged into the technology universe.

I was more Choir-Theatre-Study Abroad, and not so much Calculus-FORTRAN-COBOL.

My freshman year of college I took a computer science class in lieu of math.

We learned how to write programs in BASIC.

My programs were along the lines of multiplication flash card games.

We wrote the programs in a small little computer lab in the science building. (I think it was the only such lab on campus, but I won’t swear to it. As I said, I was not all that plugged into the technology universe.)

I have no memory of hearing the news about the unveiling of the Macintosh at the time.

Thirty years along, that Macintosh unveiling has progressed to iPhones and iPads and Siri.

It has led to a taken-for-granted daily interaction with technology.

Thirty years ago, phones were connected to walls or in phone booths; mail was something you sent in an envelope with a stamp; searching for information meant physically going to the library and looking up references in card catalogs; and photographs were taken on film, developed and then printed in a dark room.

So, from the vantage point of this frosty January day in 2014, I raise my steamy mug of Swiss Miss to the visionary inventors who took risks and dreamed dreams.

Here’s to you!

And here’s to the next generation of dreamers, visionaries and risk takers. (One of them lives in our house.)

I hope I am still around in 30 years to see the impact of your dreams and visions.


2 thoughts on “Mac@30

  1. Love it! I was also in college when the Mac came out. I wrote a weekly article for the Wake Forest Old Gold and Black, just so I could have computer privileges to type my papers!

    • Those were the days! My little Smith Corona had cartridges you could pop in and out to change ribbon color – or to put in an “erase” cartridge that you could use to back up and “white out” errors. Faaaaan-ceeeeeeee!

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