If I remember correctly, the first time I heard the word ‘Macintosh’ mentioned in high school and not mean ‘my favourite kind of apple’ was in English. My teacher, Ms. Bleviss, asked the class if we had computers at home. Only one student, Jacqueline Sturgeon, raised her hand when we were also asked if anyone had a Mac. I didn’t think much of the exchange at the time, and we moved on to other things.
A few days afterward, we were given our first assignment of the semester: create an advertisement for a real or made-up product of your choice. (I have no idea how that was supposed to facilitate our attempts at apprehending the English language, but that’s what were were asked to do, and that’s what I did.) I made a story-board of an advert for a car cleaning product.
When we got to class the next day, we were told that we were to gather in groups of three or four and discuss our work. Then, we were to choose the best advert in the group and present it to the class. My group of three was made up of me, a Gujurati boy named Anooj and, coincidentally, Jacqueline. I can’t remember Anooj’s advert, but I was very much surprised by Jackie’s: it was for a lawn care/pest control service modelled on the idea of giving your lawn a good scrubbing. It had phrases like “squeaky clean lawn” and was printed on bright green paper. Naturally, we chose Jackie’s advert to represent our group and let her read it aloud to the rest of the class. It was at that time that I began to wonder if her use of a Macintosh gave her some sort of creative edge.
One part of the curriculum for our class that year called for a certain number of hours to be spent in the computer laboratory. And, for the English department, ‘computer lab’ was synonymous with ‘Macintosh lab’. As a result, it wasn’t long before we took a walk across the hall and three doors down to spend a whole period using one of the new G3 Power Macs that the school had recently acquired.
After we had settled in and received our instructions, we were told to go ahead and do our assignment. Unfortunately, our ‘instructions’ didn’t bother to mention how we could turn on the computers. (For those of you who are thinking, “By pressing the power button, stupid!”, I should explain that there are no ‘power buttons’ on the G3 Power Mac line. Only the ‘Play’ button.) Fortunately for me, Anooj was sitting nearby and explained how I could go about coaxing some life into my machine.
I wish I could say that turning on the machine was the most difficult part of the afternoon, that things only got better after that. But that would be a lie.
Tune in next time to hear about how I was introduced to the Finder and how long it took me to finally find an application that didn’t crash.
Click the link above to read more about that machine from hell.
Simon and Garfunkel
The sky is gray and white and cloudy
Sometimes I think it’s hanging down on me
And it’s a hitchhike a hundred miles
I’m a rag-a-muffin child
Pointed finger-painted smile
I left my shadow waiting down the road for me a while
My thoughts are scattered and they’re cloudy
They have no borders, no boundaries
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell
Down from Berkeley to Carmel.
Got some pictures in my pocket and a lot of time to kill
I haven’t seen you in a long time
Why don’t you show your face and bend my mind?
These clouds stick to the sky
Like floating questions, why?
And they linger there to die
They don’t know where they are going
And, my friend, neither do I
It might snow tomorrow.