In episode 6 of the Under the Radar podcast, David Smith and Marco Arment talk about how they got into computers and programming. David relates that his dad managed to make sure he always had a computer, even though it probably wasn’t the easiest thing to do financially, knowing that somehow they’d be important for his son’s future. I can relate to that.
In my case, my parents didn’t get computers for us while I was younger, and I relied on my brother’s self-procured Apple II and computers owned by other friends to get my fix, but my brother’s interest was more than enough to really get me into computers and dreaming of the day when I’d own one of my own. Then, in 1984, my dad surprised me with the gift of a 128k Macintosh. It blew me away even then, just thinking about the cost, and it blows me away even more now, because I know what it’s like to not have a lot of money and have to try to justify a purchase like that. It was especially amazing because he somehow managed to afford to buy two Macs, one for himself, and one for me.
The giving didn’t stop there, either. As any student of Apple history (or fellow original Mac owner) knows, the first Mac was greatly constrained by design choices due to the cost of the technology at the time, and upgrades were forthcoming from Apple over the following months and years to stop the pain and the complaints. Dad paid for Fat Mac and Mac Plus upgrades for both our computers, as well as Super Mac 20MB SCSI hard drives when Mac upgrades gave it the capability to utilize them.1
I wish I would have taken better advantage of what dad did for me by becoming a world famous programmer (or at least a successful one), but regardless, I appreciated the sacrifices he must have made to afford it then and I appreciate it even more now that I’m a father and understand the financial difficulty of providing up to date technology for my own child.
- I honestly don’t remember if it was the Fat Mac upgrade or the Mac Plus upgrade that brought SCSI hard drives to the Mac, but I think it was Mac Plus. ↩