First Mac Contact

A significant event that went right over my head this summer was the twentieth anniversary of the day I bought my first Mac. I’ve been clearing some old boxes of stuff out of the office (a pair of 5.25″ diskette drives for a TRS-80 Model I computer now grace my bookshelves) and there’s been a treasure trove of goodies, including long-forgotten projects (more of those later), correspondence, industrial espionage, and financial documents, including this receipt from August 1989. It was the start of my final year at Reed, I had to write my thesis, and while I had access to Macs at the college I was also working full-time at Powell’s Books. While I’d put together the proposal for Powell’s to buy a Mac II and, indeed, that was available to me at work, I knew that if I was going to get the deed done I’d need to be able to utilize every possible moment even if I didn’t actually do so. So off I went to the Reed College Bookstore to buy my Mac Plus (at the student discount price) and a 30MB external hard drive on the computer loan program offered through the college. I got Microsoft Word, MacPaint, and Hypercard bundled along with the computer.

Darrel Plant's 1989 Reed College Computer Equipment Purchase Agreement

I’ve lost track of the number of Macs — much less the number of computers — I’ve owned in the past two decades. In addition to the Plus, there’s been a IIvx, a Powerbook 100, a Powerbook 180, a Quadra 610, a 7100, a Powerbook 1400, a couple of teardrop iMacs, a blue G3, a Mini, a mirror door G4, an aluminum MacBook, and probably some others I’m forgetting.