A Mac Plus, much like the one I first used at school. (Image: MARC912374)

As the Mac hits 40, I’ve been remembering my key ‘firsts’ with the platform.

At school, in around 1989 or 1990, I was plonked in front of a Mac Plus stashed in a cupboard. My English teacher reasoned “You know about computers” and I was tasked, with a few friends, with putting together the first edition of the school magazine. It’s to the credit of Apple and Aldus that the Mac and PageMaker together were usable enough that we managed this with no instructions. Although the teacher was perhaps overly optimistic about how long it would take, since she started getting annoyed after a few hours of us working on it instead of going to class. Even my most hardcore editors would admit putting together a magazine from scratch with dozens of pages takes a bit longer than a single session of double-English.

In 1996, while studying at Cardiff Art School, I was fortunate enough to win the Helen Gregory Memorial Scholarship. I shall remain forever grateful to the Gregory family, whose generosity allowed me to purchase my first Mac. It was a mighty beast – a PowerMac 8600/250AV, optimistically purchased during a period where people wondered whether Apple would wink out of existence entirely. I used this Mac to fashion some pioneering multimedia artwork, even if its dodgy internal HDD and the integrated Jaz drive tried their best to scupper my chances of retaining data for the entire length of my course.

By the time my uni course was done, Steve Jobs was back at Apple, and it looked like the company had turned the corner. The iMac had arrived. Until then, my parents had been fighting with a terrible PC, sold to them by some local cowboy to help run their business. I suggested the Mac. My folks were reluctant, but bought the Bondi Blue – and never looked back. That was my first experience of a ‘modern’ Mac as well.

Clearly, it had an impact, because I’m still writing about Macs regularly over a quarter of a century later!