My First Computer

Apple //c

Wow, memories poured out when I saw this Flickr unboxing set today of a previously unopened Apple //c computer.

This was the first computer I actually bought with my own money in late 1984 (I know, I could have bought a Mac but it didn’t have any database software yet). I considered a no-name CPM box and the Macintosh before plunking down $1,300 on my new Apple credit card. In addition to the computer, I added a carrying case, AppleWorks software, a 300 baud modem and an Epson dot matrix printer. I think it was around $1,500 when all was said and done. I remember the unboxing and setup very well as I installed the system in my home office in Orange, California.

The //c was not the first personal computer I used as my father bought a Commodore VIC-20 when I was in college. I didn’t do much on that system and completed my undergraduate years banging out papers on my Royal electric typewriter. But when I went into the business world, I vowed to use the latest technology to help me be more successful and this was the reason for my //c purchase.

Since the key reason was managing a database of customers and spreadsheet work, I chose the best solution of the time, the integrated AppleWorks. This was a great environment to work inside where you started one program and had access to word processing, database and spreadsheet apps. The interface was elegant and very task oriented; think Palm OS on a desktop computer in text mode. Later on I bought VisiCalc for more demanding spreadsheets but my core “office” app remained AppleWorks.

This was my computer until I joined Kodak and they send me a Macintosh SE. This was in late 1987 so the //c served me well for 3 years. It remains in a box in my basement along with a replacement amber monitor since the stock green one died 2 years in. Every once in a while I pull it out and start AppleWorks just to go back and remember how cool this computer was some 24 years ago. Maybe I’ll do it again this weekend or just dust everything off and put it on eBay.

Thanks for the memories, Dan and Kathryn!

Photos by Kathryn Yu.

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