First Mac

I’ve started to get “into” Twitter, the micro-blogging site, in the last month or so. One trend that I picked up on is that of “hashtags” where you put a hash (pound) symbol followed by a word somewhere in your message. This makes is searchable. The most recent that I’ve participated in is #firstmac, for which my contribution was:

A white iBook G3, paid extra to get the 600Mhz version with the faster bus speed and an impossible-to-use-it -all 384Mb of memory

And that’s entirely true but I can’t tell the full story in 140 characters, hence this post.

The first Mac I ever used was at university. Durham wasn’t big on Macs but there were a few lying around in the labs. I always liked playing around with new toys and so I occasionally used one, if only to bring up a terminal to Telnet into the Unix server and check my email.

This was back in ’92 or ’93 and email was only accessible on the big Solaris and HP-UX servers. The timing also meant that PCs were on Windows 3.1 and so fairly basic. Using a Mac, an LC with a tiny colour screen if I remember correctly, at the time was pretty cool.

What I didn’t realise was that the sound on early nineties Macs was substantially more advanced than on PCs of the time. I found this out the hard and embarrassing way.

One day between lectures I made a bee-line for the LC and brought up the terminal application. The standard of my typing, then and now, is such that it usually takes several attempts to get the server name correct. The Mac would make a sound when it couldn’t find the server.

Except this time someone had changed the default system beep and replaced it with a thirty second long sound sample called “orgasm.”

Did I say that the speakers on that LC were surprisingly loud?

I don’t think I used a Mac again for nearly ten years.