This was the day that helped define computing as we know it.  Today, in 1984, was the day that Apple started selling the Macintosh.  It was a small footprint computer with a handle, built in disk drive and built in monitor.  At the time of its release, it contained only 128k of memory and was black and white.  It was the first consumer computer to use a keyboard and mouse and a GUI (graphical user interface)  It cost a mere 2495 dollars in 1984 (and now we know why my family never had one, as my commodore 128 was like 300 dollars)

The Mac had a very storied and turbulent development process.  Originally Steve Jobs was working on the Lisa project.  Lisa was the first Mac to use a GUI.  The GUI was actually a product of Xerox, well the original, Jobs and the boys saw it there and depending who you talk to, either bought it, made a stock deal with Xerox or stole it.  Even in Jobs book the story differs.  The main problem with the Lisa was the cost, it was 9,995 dollars, it was targeted towards businesses.  During that project, named for Jobs daughter, because of internal conflicts Jobs was forced off the project he started in 1982.  About the same time, another Apple engineer, I can’t think of his name right now, was trying to develop a low priced computer for the masses, he wanted the price to be around 1000 dollars.  Jobs caught wind of this and jumped in.  Due to conflicts between the original guy and Jobs, the original guy left and Jobs basically ran the project.  He upped the specs and pushed the software and hardware teams to make thing smaller and faster (sometimes in a way that wasn’t appreciated)  The people working for him will admit it at times was the worse time of their lives and the best times.  Jobs made sure that the people working on the project could take negative criticism, at times he would flat out insult some of them.  They in turn would strive to prove him wrong and most of the time they did.  That was what Jobs was good at.

One of the major features he pushed for was for different fonts.  At the release this feature would make the Mac the most popular computer in the desktop marketing field, it holds firm in this field to this day (why change to something new when you’re used to something that works anyway?)

So, It may have been a year or two late, but in the end the Macintosh came out and was the computer that started the GUI craze that exists to this day.  It doesn’t matter if you are a Windows, Linux or Apple fan, it was the first step in computers being in everyones homes, and all of you should appreciate what Jobs, Apple and the Mac did for computing.

So RIP Steve Jobs and Happy Birthday Macintosh!

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