Steve Jobs & Apple – personal reflections

The Macintosh Classic, Apple's early 1990s bud...

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I have been a Mac user since 1992 (though I didn’t own one until 1995 – I was an Amiga owner, an A500). It was whilst working at Oasis Trust that I first fell in love with them, We had several Macs as they allowed us to do our own DTP. That was the real ‘killer app’ that helped the Mac become established in the creative industry. With a basic Mac equipped with Aldus Pagemaker and a LaserWriter it was possible to produce our own publicity in-house. The colour separations would be sent off to the printers for the final printing. We used the Apple Macintosh Plus and eventually acquired some Classic, LC, II, Quadra, Performa, and Centris models as money allowed.

We had an in-house graphic designer but the nature of the charity world is that everyone wears several hats. Although I was responsible for setting up a health project for individuals affected by homelessness, I was responsible for a lot of the design work as Erol, our graphics designer was kept busy on lots of other stuff.

My very own first Mac was actually a clone, at least initially. It was made by Power Computing. However, it failed to work properly, and after much correspondence it was replaced with a genuine Mac, a  PowerMC 7600/120. It still works too, amazing after nearly 16 years! Here a list of its features:


High performance
  • 120-MHz PowerPC 604 processor, user-upgradable to faster processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Built-in floating-point processor and 32K cache
  • 256K level 2 cache
  • Built in graphic acceleration
Communications and multimedia
  • 64-bit VRAM graphics subsystem
  • Two high-speed serial ports compatible with GeoPort and LocalTalk cables
  • Quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • 16-bit stereo audio input and output
  • 24-bit composite and S-video input
  • Support for speech-recognition and text-to-speech capabilities
  • Optimized for QuickTime Conferencing software
  • Three industry-standard PCI expansion slots
  • SCSI connector for hard disks, CD-ROM drives, and other SCSI devices
  • Internal expansion bay for additional hard disk drive
  • Includes 10BASE-T and AAUI Ethernet connectors
  • Supports Open Transport networking software (TCP/IP and AppleTalk)
  • Runs most 680×0 Macintosh applications as well as applications accelerated for Power Macintosh computers
  • Reads Mac OS, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS floppy disk formats
  • Runs MS-DOS and Windows applications via optional PC Compatibility Cards
  • Comes with all of the software required for Internet access
System 7.5 software
  • Makes working with different applications consistent, so they’re easier to learn and use
  • Allows easy customization of your Macintosh to reflect the way you work
  • Provides active assistance in learning new features with Apple Guide

Technical Specifications

Upgradable microprocessor
  • PowerPC 604 microprocessor running at 120 MHz, upgradable to a higher-speed processor when available (up to 200 MHz)
  • Integrated floating-point unit and 32K cache
  • High-speed system bus (up to 50 MHz)
  • 16MB of RAM, expandable to 512MB via 8 DIMM sockets
  • 4MB of ROM
  • 256K level 2 cache
Disk drives
  • Internal 1.2GB SCSI hard disk
  • Internal Apple SuperDrivefloppy disk drive
    • Accepts high-density 1.4MB disks and 800K disks
    • Reads, writes, and formats Macintosh, Windows, MS-DOS, OS/2, and ProDOS disks
  • Internal AppleCD 600i quadruple-speed CD-ROM drive
  • Expansion bay for additional 3.5-inch hard disk
  • Three PCI expansion slots compatible with PCI 2.0-compliant cards
  • Two high-speed DMA serial (RS-232/RS-422) ports compatible with LocalTalk and GeoPort cables
  • 10BASE-T and AAUI-15 Ethernet connectors; optional PC Compatibility Cards provide multinode support for simultaneous network connections
  • Internal Fast SCSI bus (up to 10MB/s)
  • External SCSI bus (up to 5MB/s)
  • Apple Desktop Bus (ADB) expansion port
  • RCA phono jacks for line-level stereo audio input and output
  • Mini jacks for stereo audio input and output
  • All sound ports support 16-bit audio and up to 44.1-kHz sampling rate
  • DB-15 connector for monitor
  • Composite connectors (RCA phono jacks) for composite video input
  • S-video input connector
  • Internal digital audio/video (DAV) connector for video compression/decompression cards 24-bit video input
  • Real-time video playthrough of up to 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC; 768 by 576 pixels with PAL and SECAM
  • Up to 320- by 240-pixel capture up to 15 frames per second with NTSC
  • Maximum capture size of 640 by 480 pixels with NTSC
Graphics support
  • 2MB of VRAM, expandable to 4MB
  • Fast 64-bit data path to VRAM
  • Support for display resolutions of up to 1,280 by 1,024 pixels
  • 24-bit color up to 1,152- by 870-pixel resolution
  • Refresh rate of up to 75 Hz
GeoPort telephony *
  • 14.4-Kbit/s modem support
  • V.17 fax support
  • GeoPort Fax and GeoPort Telephony software included
  • Speakerphone and answering-machine capability
  • Custom integrated circuit with long-life battery
Keyboard and mouse
  • Supports ADB keyboards with numeric keypads
  • Comes with an ADB Mouse II
Electrical requirements and compliance
  • Line voltage: 100 to 240 V AC, RMS single phase
  • Frequency: 50 to 60 Hz, single phase
  • Power: 150 W maximum, not including display
ADB power requirements
  • Maximum current draw for all devices: 500 mA (a maximum of three ADB devices is recommended)
  • Mouse draws 10 mA
  • Keyboard draws 25 to 80 mA (varies with keyboard used)
Size and weight
  • Height: 6.15 in. (15.6 cm)
  • Width: 14.37 in. (36.5 cm)
  • Depth: 16.93 in. (43.0 cm)
  • Weight: 22 lb. (9.97 kg)
Environmental requirements
  • Operating temperature: 50° to 104° F (10° to 40° C)
  • Storage temperature: -40° to 116° F (-40° to 47° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing
  • Maximum altitude: 10,000 ft. (3,048 m)

Cutting edge for its day!  It helped me with getting familiar with the internet (very basic then indeed!) and I used it to help me with all sorts of things, from learning about databases (FileMaker) to writing fundraising proposals.

For me, the Mac was so much easier to get along with than the PC and Windows was a veritable dog’s dinner by comparison. Windows 3.11  and Windows 95 were inferior to System 7 (IMHO) and the Mac was also much more stable, with hardly any crashes or system freezes, compared to the almost daily (often several times a day) BSOD crashes.

Steve Jobs and the team at Apple certainly did a great job of providing a greats et of tools and the combination of hardware and software was unbeatable. Even when Apple was in the doldrums and Steve Jobs had been forced out, the actual hardware and software was great. yes, it had its problems but so did Windows and Microsoft just didn’t seem to ‘get it’ when it came to usability and providing elegant solutions to the end-users needs. That’s why it never made great inroads into the creative and education sectors.

I have never regretted my decision to stick with Apple all these years. Even though I have bought PCs (even built a few) I have never been without a Mac. As well as the Power Computing clone, my PowerPC 7600/120 I have also owned a G3, a G4, an iMac (with he swivel screen – beautiful), the original 15-inch MacBook Pro and now a MacBook Pro unibody model (2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo). I have Win XP installed on my Mac (under Parallels) but hardly ever use it as I can do 99.9% of everything I need to do on my Mac.

So, finally, I just want to finish by saying that I am very grateful to Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple for all my Mac, the software and for making it possible to do so many things with them that would have otherwise been all but impossible.