They don't do Windows

Macintosh fans say 25-year-old computer brand is a way of life

Macintosh fans say 25-year-old computer brand is a way of life

February 22, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

From the beginning, it was a technology revolution.

On Jan. 22, 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, Apple aired its first glimpse of the Macintosh computer. The commercial, now known simply as the "1984 Big Brother," was more than an advertisement of the new computer. It was also a bold statement that the company was there to break barriers.

Since 1980, Apple had promoted the Mac's predecessors: the Apple II and Apple III. These met with little success. The 32-bit Lisa, released in 1982, was an even bigger flop. So, on Jan. 24, 1984, Apple was resting the future of the company on its new computer, the Macintosh.

Apple touted that the Mac was easy to use and an all-in-one machine made for desktop computing. The compact unit stood about 14 inches high, had a 9-inch, built-in monitor, and came with a graphical-user interface. The $2,495 price tag came with a keyboard and mouse and was already loaded with basic programs. It was fitted with 128K RAM and 64K ROM. To save information, gone were the days of the vulnerable 5 1/4-inch floppy disks. The Mac saved files to a 3 1/2-inch mini-disc encased in a hard, plastic cover.


What Apple was able to do with the Mac was more than simply get people to think that technology should be part of their everyday lives. With the swing of a hammer, Apple divided computers users into two groups: Macs and PCs.

And with that the revolution began.

'The rebel in me'

The Rev. Mark Mooney, 53, of Smithsburg, remembers the first time he purchased a Mac at a "scratch and dent" store in Baltimore.

"At the time, I didn't know anything about computers, but was told that Macs were easy to use," he says.

His son, Chris, was in elementary school at the time and offered his dad a lesson on how to use the system. "He said, 'Pop, we have these in school. I can show you how to use it,'" Mooney says with a laugh.

After navigating through the interface, Mooney says "I was sold." He says he liked how small the computer was and how easy it was to use.

Since then, Mooney has owned three other Macs, including an iMac and iBook, a precursor to the MacBook. He says he's used the Macs for word processing and desktop publishing, such as writing letters, church bulletins as well as sermon writing. It was on a Mac that he wrote the prayer he planned to lead on Friday for the Maryland Senate in Annapolis.

But Mooney doesn't always use his Mac for work only. He likes to play "Monopoly" on his iBook. He says he has a counter on his game for how many times he's logged on and played the game. "We're well above 3,000 - and that's the games I've won," he says with a laugh.

He says he'll remain a loyal customer of Apple, especially its Mac products. He compares his Mac loyalty to the way he continues to drive Honda vehicles. "It just fits my personality," he says. "Maybe it's the rebel in me."

Local Mac users group

Gregg McFarland, 39, of Hagerstown, had just graduated from junior high when Apple burst onto the scene with the introduction of the Mac. "It was a hard time keeping me away," he says.

McFarland says he enjoyed the "simplicity of the Mac and the interface." It was the first to introduce the point-and-click design, which McFarland says made it possible to quickly learn to use the computer.

For nearly seven years, McFarland has been the president of the Hagerstown-based Cumberland Valley Apple User Group ( The group, which meets the first Saturday of every month, recently celebrated the Mac's official anniversary.

He has been able to parlay his love of Macs into a regular gig. He works with Data Management Services in Frederick, Md., that is under contract with the National Cancer Institute. Of the several technicians working with his company, McFarland says he was the only one hired to work exclusively with Macintosh computers.

"They're such an underdog in the computer world," he says of the Mac. "I guess that's what makes me so passionate."

Mike Boyer, 60, of Williamsport, has been using Macs for more than 20 years. His first was the MacSE. "It came all in one box, and had a black-and-white monitor," Boyer remembers. "It wasn't big, and you could pick it up and carry it."

Boyer says he enjoyed working with the Macs because "they worked well and were advanced."

Brand loyalty

Currently, he has three Macs that are still being used - a PowerMac, an iBook and an iMac. He also has three additional computers he has "retired." The whole family is involved working on the Macs including his kids who use the iMac. His favorite "Mactivity" is creating and recording music using Logic Pro, while his wife, Donna, uses iPhoto and iMovie.

During the day, Boyer is an aerospace IT manager whose job it is to support more than 300 Microsoft Windows machines and servers. He says he finds that the PCs tend to have problems.

"I look forward to going home and getting on my Mac," he says.

About 24 years ago, Doug Hines, 61, of Hagerstown, purchased his first Mac. "I've been with them ever since," he says.

Hines says he uses his Mac to do so many different things with the computer, from creating a Web site to writing two books. He's owned about five Macs over the years, he says, and has several he's not using now.

"All of my Macs work, (some) just needed an upgrade. They've never failed," he says.

Hines admits if someone would take away his Mac, he wouldn't know what to do.

"I would feel lost without it," he says.

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