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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Silver jubilee celebrations - the Mac turns 25

For those who've been living under a rock all these years, NO I'm not talking about a burger made by a certain worldwide brand.... I'm talking about the Macintosh - a piece of computer history that has entranced the masses right from the Macintosh 128K to the PowerBook to the Macbook Air.

Long before fish swam in Macquariums, hipsters got Apple logo tattoos and thousands camped out for days to get into computer store openings, there was a machine. Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of the original Macintosh, the first personal computer to draw masses, introduce the mouse and incorporate a graphical user interface, relying on images instead of text. The Apple Inc. watershed product entered American consciousness amid fanfare, with a $1.5 million commercial, made by Ridley Scott, wowing audiences during Super Bowl XVIII. The piece’s title, “1984,” invoked author George Orwell’s message and stood as a warning against conformity. Two days after the ad ran, the Macintosh became available and life, as people knew it, changed. No longer were computers viewed as toys with which to play primitive games or as untouchable tools reserved for degreed engineers. We began to think different.

The Mac, which retailed for $2,495 was about 14 inches tall and took up about the same amount of desk space as a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper. It was smaller and lighter than most of the so called “portable” machines. The entire system could be slipped into an optional ($99) padded carrying case to be hoisted over your shoulder or placed under an airline seat. The case and computer together weighed 22 pounds. The original Macintosh machine had a 9 inch screen with 128k of RAM, an internal floppy drive, and came with keyboard and a single-button mouse. Apple previously released computers with a graphical user interface (GUI), like the Apple Lisa, that cost far more than the original Macintosh. Years after the launch of the first Macintosh by Apple, they later launched the iMac in 1998. It is now hard to find a working 25-year old Macintosh. Many have suffered a “bit rot,” which is when the memory chips inside the machine decay, leading to a gradual loss of functionality.

Jeremy Mehrle, 30, of the St. Louis, Missouri, area is too young to know a world without Macs. This MacAddict began hoarding and tinkering with tossed-out computers, and then he discovered eBay. Today, the motion graphics designer's 1,400 square-foot basement is a museum to Apple computers, all-white and in gallery-style with about 80 fully-functioning machines on display.

So what would people pay for an original Macintosh?

"A complete boxed system?," he said. "I can't put a price on that."

Sources : PC World, CNN


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