I am young, far too young to be talking about the Mac as if I knew it during the 1980s, or even the 1990s. So while today is the 30th birthday of the Mac, my memory of the Mac is much more recent. Ironically, the majority of that experience wasn’t even on a real Mac.
Hackintoshes are somewhat frowned upon by most diehard Mac users, and for relatively good reason: most are awful. While a custom-built Hackintosh can be a great computer for years, installing OS X onto an unsupported machine is often an exercise in annoyance. My first Mac was an HP Mini 1000, which in and of itself was among the first netbooks from HP. After living with Windows XP for some time, I decided that I wanted to experience OS X — after all, I loved what Apple was doing with its iPhone (imagine an App Store, a place where you could download games and apps!) and iPod touch. It stood to reason that I would also enjoy OS X.
So I set out to install OS X. Thanks to some relatively simple instructions, a sketchy Chinese program that would burn a .dmg file to an external disc under Windows XP as long as you didn’t look at the computer wrong while it was working, I was able to get a relatively stable installation of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard working. “Relatively stable” meant kernel panics once every week — totally acceptable to me then. Battery life was awful, as the power management wasn’t tweaked for the measly Intel Atom processor that my netbook had, but it didn’t matter: I had a “Mac.”
Since then, I’ve been a huge fan of OS X. It has its quirks (I still don’t care for the Finder, and Windows has better window-management tools built in), but the stability, design, and integration of applications through OS X make it a no-brainer for how I use my computer.
I now own a 2012 13″ MacBook Air, and I have never been more pleased with any tool in my life. It has the power to edit video, the battery life to last a long plane ride (nine hours of writing under Mavericks for Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU is outstanding), and the thin profile to easily slip in and out of my backpack.
Today is the Mac’s 30th birthday, and I look forward to the future. While I will always love my iPhone and iPad, the Mac seems likely to remain as the computer that I reach for when I want to get work done for a long time to come.
What was your first experience with a Mac?