If I close my eyes, I can picture the classic Mac OS laid out before me. I can imagine every menu, every mouse gesture, the sound of the Mac SE chime, even depressing the reset switch after a hard crash.
The thing is, I didn’t become a Mac user until early 1990. I had used two other computers before I found the Mac. I can’t remember anything about the Commodore PET other than the
READY. prompt. The Apple IIe made a bigger impression, but in retrieving all my old disks from that period, I discovered that I remember almost nothing beyond how to control a few of my favorite games.
I’m not sure quite why the classic Mac is so indelible, though some of it has to be its consistency. In the early days of the personal computer, you either had no user interface, or every user interface was different. My Commodore PET was an all-text experience. The Apple IIe was much more interesting, but commands and controls varied from program to program. The Mac’s personality was present and consistent, even as I swapped disks or switched between apps.
Given the arrival of Mac OS X 20 years ago, I really only spent about 11 years with the classic Mac OS.…
This story is for Six Colors members only. Become a member to get access to exclusive stories, podcasts, and community..