I am squinting into my SE/30, trying to perfect my HyperCard stack. I am excelling at Brøderbund’s aptly-named “Type!” program even though I can’t master the home row. It is December 17, 1995, and I am gleefully reporting back to my diary (in Word 5.1, of course) that I’ve finally received an AppleDesign Keyboard and an Apple Desktop Bus II Mouse for Chanukah. I am stifling my 2400 baud Global Village modem so my mom doesn’t yell at me to go to bed. I am running AOL 2.5, making (much older) friends in role-playing chatrooms. (I can’t upgrade to AOL 3.0, because it’s simply too big vertically for the 9″ display.) I am exploring eWorld, briefly. I am downloading the System 7 patch that turns the Trash Can into a singing Oscar the Grouch. I am marveling at Cosmic Osmo and the Worlds Beyond the Mackerel. I am tunneling into my school’s network and trying to download that one all-important Aldus SuperPaint file all night. I am so excited about finally upgrading to my Power Mac 5500/225, and then my sister walks into the room and makes some remark about how it looks like it’s still black and white like my old one, and I try to explain that it shipped with a grayscale background image and she’s just jealous. I am trying to recreate the amazing infinite loop I found while playing Brickle on my eMate 300. I am slowly, haltingly teaching myself HTML and building pretty damned nice websites. I am fourteen years old at Macworld Expo NY in 1999, moon-eyed at the iBook introduction, snagging as much free swag as I can. Reading John Sculley’s Odyssey.
Reading Gil Amelio’s My 500 Days At Apple.
Poring over Paul Kunkel’s incredible AppleDesign
. Guffawing at Andy Ihnatko’s Colossal Waste of Bandwidth. Posting to MacNN. Pining for something translucent, then something titanium, then something aluminum, then something with a scroll wheel, then something with a Retina Display. Upgrading to System 7. 7.5! OS 7.6! OS 8! OS 9! Installing the Mac OS X Public Beta! Okay, back to OS 9 for a little while.
And now every day I leave the house and I run around this city helping people with Macs figure it all out. They look on with wonder and ask me how I learned to do these things. What can I tell them? I tell them that it’s just like growing up with any language. It is second nature.
But it is only second nature because of you, Steve.