iPeople

An Apple IIe with DuoDisk and Monitor //.
Image via Wikipedia

Yes, my very first computer was an Apple IIe.  I remember the little thing, sitting in my Dad’s office.  Off to the side, not really expected to do much.

We got it when I was in high school.  Yes, way back in the early 1980s.  I only had one computer class under my belt – a computer programming class.  In DOS, I think.  The only other computer I had used was a library terminal that ran only one program that handled all the library’s database.  It might have done something else, but I didn’t know anything about it.

Anyway, I convinced my father that he needed one.  It’s the wave of the future, Dad.  If you don’t get one now, we’ll all self-combust, or keel over and rot, or something.

Well, we got it.  I don’t know how much my father paid for it, but it was too much in his opinion.  It’s not like we were rich or anything.  We had a farm that every single one of us worked on day and night.  My father also owned a construction business.  So a lot of the work managing the farm fell on my mom’s shoulders.   We kids helped as best we could, but money was always tight.

There it sat.  The paper weight that I said I could use to manage my Dad’s books.  It would make it easier to prepare his bids, keep track of his invoices, manage the bills, organize our taxes, and who knows what all else.

But, I failed to get the proper software.  I went to the computer store where we got it, and I’m sure I said we needed a word processor and a spreadsheet.  I mean, what else would I have asked for?  That’s what the folks at school would have told me to get.  I’m sure I repeated their recommendations.  I’m good at repeating stuff.

Well, this sleazy computer salesman (who surely must have been a cars salesman in a former life) sold me an educational program that included a kid’s version of the programs I wanted plus a lot of games.  The thing was, you couldn’t actually use the software as a word processor or spreadsheet because it was an educational program – it just taught you how to use a kid’s version of those tools, but didn’t actually give you the tools.

Shite!  The software cost a lot of money!  And with the added cost of the computer itself, my father wasn’t happy.  When I returned to the store with the software floppy discs (yes, they actually flopped back and forth) to get our money back, the asshole salesman said that’s what I asked for, so that’s what I got.  No refunds allowed.  I, the wimpy 15 year-old that I was, simply turned away, wondering what the hell was I gonna tell my father.

That paperweight gathered a lot of dust until a year later when we managed to get our hands on a PC.

That’s my Apple story.

RIP, Steve Jobs.

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3 thoughts on “iPeople

  1. I was on Apple IIe’s in elementary school, and actually did my first “writing” on them. I have semi-fond memories of monochrome screens, dot matrix printing, and Mastertype. Now look what Apple produces, just in our lifetime. It’s staggering to realize that one man made all of that happen. RIP, indeed.

  2. My first computer was an Apple IIc– that 128k of processing cost more then than my current computer with its eleventy-gazillion booga wooga bytes, plus the 19″ flat screen monitor, plus a laserjet printer. I loved that little thing with its miniature, but surprisingly sharp and readable, green only screen. It had the best keyboard I ever used. I wrote a lot of words before I finally, reluctantly, upgraded to a PC.

    Steve Jobs was amazing. And brave and bold and far-thinking. Yes, Steve, RIP.

  3. I’m glad you two took my reminiscing for what it was, just a trip down memory lane. I didn’t mean to denigrate Apple, Macintosh or Steve Jobs.

    Yes, indeed, he was a visionary and he made computers personal. I heard on NPR a commentator who compared him to Thomas Edison. I’m not sure which of the two shine brighter, but they were definitely two magnificent stars.

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