300 reasons to love the Mac
- About This Macintosh tells you your system version, how much memory is available and how much memory is
being used, and it's built right into the Finder.
- "Aliases that work, as opposed to Shortcuts that don't." -Cary
- Apple Guide. Interactive, contextual help built into the system is a great thing.
- "You can talk people through the Macintosh on the phone, including your parents - I did this the other night
with my dad." -Glenn
- An organized, hierarchical system folder, rather than a flat mess of cryptically-named files.
- Apple File Exchange
- A/UX. Even if it never made native mode on the Power Macs, A/UX has strong supporters and gave Apple a
much-needed additional operating system for some markets.
- "Because when you copy a file onto your hard drive, you don't have to create an icon, and then type in the full
path name of your file, and then type the full path name of it's application, in order to be able to click on it and
make it run." -Kirsten
- The Palette Manager provided the first consistent (or semi- consistent) color model.
- Cut, Copy and Paste/the Clipboard. Let's not forget the simple stuff - the Mac was the first personal computer to
make the power of Cut, Copy, and Paste immediately accessible. Further, data that was cut or copied could be
moved between applications, even in the old days.
- Customizable icons. Just paste into the Get Info dialog box.
- Drag and drop system extensions. To add functionality to your Mac, you just drag the components to your System
Folder, drop them there, and let the machine sort it out. There's no messing with configuration or initialization
files, interrupts or memory locations, and no comparable mechanism exists for other computing platforms.
- Disk First Aid. Apple has shipped basic, friendly disk diagnostic software with every Mac since System 6.
- First computer on which you virtual desktop could be as messy as your real desktop.
- Few viruses. Though Macintosh viruses exist, they don't compare to the sheer volume and malevolence of
viruses in the DOS/Windows world.
- Graphing Calculator. What a cool demo.
- HyperCard. HyperCard might not have brought programming to the masses the way Bill Atkinson intended, but
HyperCard virtually defined "authoring software" and still serves as a crucial tool for educators, programmers,
and others (including us).
- Key Caps. You don't have to type weird codes to get upper-ASCII special characters.
- Long file names on CD-ROMs (Windows CD-ROMs use the ISO 9660 format which is limited to eight character
file names, even with Windows 95.)
- Long file names since 1984.
- Macintosh Drag & Drop
- MacPaint. A classic program that successfully captured the essence of the Mac's superiority.
- Macs are secure Internet servers.
- MPW. The Macintosh Programmer's Workshop might not be as popular now in the wake of THINK C and
CodeWarrior, but the value of a sophisticated and powerful development environments from Apple can't be
overlooked. In addition, the MPW Shell is still an incredibly useful bit of software.
- MultiFinder. Although MultiFinder leaves a number of annoying technical legacies in the Mac system, perhaps
no other piece of system software better demonstrated the advantages of being a Mac power user before System 7
- Multiple monitors with a contiguous, extended desktop (or mirroring on PowerBooks). Nothing beats a multiple
- Multiple, selectable boot drives. They make testing, troubleshooting, and recovery far easier.
- Non-segmented memory. "You never need to understand or cope with the 'lower 640K' or irritating differences
between extended and expanded memory." -Tonya
- One (and only one) menubar.
- Open Scripting Architecture. Mix-and-match system-level support for inter-application scripting, including third-
- Personal File Sharing. We might take it for granted now, but the idea that any machine on a network could be a
file server was virtually unheard of until System 7 debuted. Personal File Sharing is now so integral to the way
many people use their Macs that they don't know what AppleShare is.
- QuickDraw. Xerox hadn't figured out overlapping graphic regions, but they faked it well enough that Apple
thought they had and reverse-engineered something that didn't exist.
- QuickDraw 3D
- QuickDraw GX
- QuickTime. No one thought about digital video until QuickTime appeared - now people can't get enough of it.
- QuickTime VR. The demos contain all the convincing anyone needs.
- Real-time, system-wide speech recognition.
- Resource forks. "When you come to a fork in the road, open it with ResEdit." -Adam
- Scientific applications like LabView started on the Mac, and the Mac has always been a popular machine for
research and visualization applications. (NIH Image is a great example.)
- Standardized handling and management of fonts. Fonts live in the Fonts folder. Imagine that.
- Support for monochrome systems. The original Macs were black and white, and modern system software still
provides excellent support for monochrome systems and monitors. A color display is not required, ideal for
people who prefer monochrome.
- The active System Folder has a special icon that appears automatically. If you have multiple systems installed on
other platforms, determining which one is running is never as straightforward.
- The first machine that could have a Font menu so long it would drop through your floor.
- The CD+G format (CD audio plus graphics) only works on the Mac.
- TrueType. It forced Adobe to release the PostScript font format and provided built-in, scalable font choices for
- User-configurable Apple Menu.
- WorldScript. We may speak and write English here at TidBITS, but a vast number of people in the world don't.
- You can run a Mac from RAM disk.
- You don't have to know what a pathname is.
- The Zoom box, especially in the Finder.
- The original ImageWriter.
- "Impromptu LocalTalk networks at 30,000 feet." -Adam
- "Because you can run a LocalTalk network (230.4 Kbps) from building to building using the connecting hot and
cold water pipes as the two wire network connection." -Kee
- A IIci, introduced in September 1989 and shipping until February 1993, is still an adequate machine.
- A single port for all keyboards and pointing devices.
- AAUI: a lower cost of entry to get into different flavors of Ethernet.
- "All Macs have those great little icons over the ports." -Tonya
- Almost no IRQ conflicts. [We say "almost" because our friend Cary Lu has run into an utterly obscure one. But
given time, Cary will encounter anything - we have a pool going for when he finds Elvis. Easy money. -Geoff]
- Apple's R&D budget, which gives us cool new toys.
- Automatic inject and eject floppy drives.
- AV capabilities. "You can just plug in your video camera!" -Tonya
- Booting from CD-ROM.
- Built-in Ethernet.
- Built-in sound, with no need to install, configure, or troubleshoot a "SoundWhacker" card.
- DOS Cards. If you can't beat 'em, beat 'em at their own game.
- Great Machine: PowerBook 100: It's cheap, light, surprisingly spritely, and has the best RAM disk capabilities of
- Great Machine: SE/30: In many cases, the SE/30 is still the cheapest server workhorse of choice. No, we're not
parting with ours come hell or high water.
- Great Machine: The LC III: "A reasonably powerful, full-featured Mac you can hide in a pizza box." -Geoff
- Have we mentioned multiple monitors?
- Memory expansion doesn't require any software configuration.
- Multiple hard drives with no extra hardware.
- The original LaserWriter. Even at $7,000, this machine gave birth to desktop publishing as much as anything else.
- PhoneNet. Simple, inexpensive networks exist most places there are multiple Macs.
- Plug-and-play external floppy drives.
- Plug-and-play hard disk installation - plug it in and turn it on.
- Plug-and-play networking with a simple serial cable.
- Power key on the keyboard where you can reach it really easily.
- PowerBook Duo: "Perfect for petite people with small hands who don't have strong shoulders." -Tonya
- PowerBook SCSI Mode - all PowerBooks should do this!
- PowerBooks. The first laptops to feature palm rests and an integrated trackball; in many senses the laptop
industry still hasn't caught up.
- Relatively standardized batteries for PowerBooks. "In the PC world on manufacturer can ship laptops using
dozens of different battery types." -Cary
- Removing floppy disks with a straightened paper clip. (Did you ever wonder what the small hole on the right
side of floppy drives was for?)
- RISC. Gotta love that speed.
- Small, convenient connectors for printers and modems.
- Switching monitor resolutions on the fly, without quitting or restarting.
- The Chimes of Death. Even the most naive Mac user knows something is wrong when their cheery startup
sound changes to something less reassuring.
- The fact that even the elderly Mac Plus can run much of today's software. [This was somewhat debated, but Macs
do tend to have long, useful lives - much longer than many other platforms. -Tonya]
- The simplicity and elegance of a one-button mouse. "It's hard to hit the wrong button." -Adam
- Trackpad. The center-mounted trackball was a great advance in the first PowerBooks, and Apple managed to go
one better with the trackpad.
- Transition to PowerPC. No other computing platform has attempted such a dramatic shift in its hardware
architecture, let alone accomplished it so smoothly.
- Virtually every connector on a Macintosh is unique, so it's hard to plug something into the wrong port.
- Virtually every machine now has built-in video, audio, and networking.
- You can plug your mouse right into the keyboard.
- PowerBooks (and now some Power Macs) can be put to sleep rather than being completely shut down.
- "Andy Warhol did a version of the logo!" -Glenn
- "The corporate name is shared with the Beatles." -John
- Andy Ihnatko and his MacAquarium.
- Apple's surprisingly good Internet presence.
- "Because you could get feet that would raise up your Mac Plus so that your computer looked like a small robot." -
- Clarus the Dogcow. Just say moof.
- Cool six-color logo.
- Cool codenames for machines.
- Desktop publishing. With PageMaker, other early programs, and the LaserWriter, the Mac gave birth to a multi-
billion dollar industry.
- Early Macintosh SEs had the signatures of the engineering team inside the case.
- Educational discounts. "When you were in college you could get your Mac for half off - now everyone can get
them for that price, so you should fill you business with them!" -Erik
- First completely standardized bitmap display.
- First human interface guide. Apple was the first to take human interface seriously enough to teach its developers
how to make easy-to-use applications.
- "...and Apple had the first human interface police." -Adam
- Flying Toasters. Frivolous or not, they became big business.
- I'm sure we must have mentioned multiple monitors, but if not...
- Image editing - Photoshop appeared first on the Mac and virtually gave birth to the digital image industry.
- Info-Mac and University of Michigan archive sites for Macintosh files on the Internet
- Inside Macintosh
- MacHack. 96 hours of no sleep and lots of cool code.
- Multimedia. What we call "multimedia" today was largely born on the Macintosh, and the Mac remains the
dominant development and authoring platform.
- Outstanding Shareware Community. No other computing platform can boast a shareware community of such
high quality and consistency.
- Some Macintosh models have excellent Easter Eggs. The SE/30 has an Engineer Hall of Fame burned in its
ROMs; the Mac SE, IIci, and IIfx have pictures of the development team buried inside. Want more? ftp://
- Super high-end color scanners work only with Macs.
- The "Lemmings" commercial.
- The Chicago font. Perhaps nothing so illustrates the permeation of the Macintosh as the ubiquitous presence of
Chicago on signs, billboards, televisions, movies, album covers, and books. It's everywhere - a subliminal Sign of
- The classic "1984" commercial.
- The Clinton White House runs on PowerBooks.
- The Mac pioneered use of 3.5-inch disks.
- The Mac Classic could boot from ROM. Neat.
- "The power to crush the other kids."
- The San Francisco font. In the early days, this crazy bitmapped font best demonstrated the power of the
Macintosh for many people. "Sure, you can print a note on your computer, but can you print a ransom note?"
- The system software was free for many years.
- The World Wide Developers Conferences (WWDC)
- Two words: Icon Garden. (If you get the QuickTime VR Player, you can even check out a QTVR movie of it.)
- Xerox PARC
- "You can safely give a Mac to your grandmother, and I have." -Adam
- You could put the system, a word processor, a graphics program, and your files on one 400K floppy disk. That was
a while ago, but still...
- First version of Now Utilities.
- Adobe Photoshop
- After Dark
- AppleTalk Remote Access.
- Color publishing software. The Mac was the first computer to do professional color publishing, and remains the
computer of choice.
- Conflict Catcher
- Continuum, which was a blazingly fast arcade game even on a Mac 512K.
- Dark Castle
- FEdit. It was a great disk editor in the early days.
- FileMaker Pro
- FirstClass, TeleFinder, and NovaLink Professional, which brought graphical interfaces to the crude command-
line bulletin board world.
- The Grouch extension that would have Oscar the Grouch sing a song when you emptied the trash.
- Internet Config
- MacDraw. The first object-oriented drawing program available on a personal computer.
- Macintosh BASIC. "The first program that was cancelled because they decided that everyone who would ever buy
it had already pirated a copy." -Cary
- Metrowerks' CodeWarrior
- MODE32. Though Apple eventually released a flaky system enabler to let older Macs address more than 13 MB of
RAM, Connectix was there with the bullet-proof MODE32 as soon as 32-bit addressing became an issue.
- Nisus Writer
- Norton Utilities
- Now Up-to-Date and Now Contact.
- outSPOKEN from Berkeley Systems, which made the Mac more accessible to the visually-impaired.
- Fractal Design Painter
- PostScript drove the Mac and the Mac drove it
- RAM Doubler. What a stunning hack.
- Red Ryder
- Screen savers that are bigger than applications.
- SimCity. "My all-time favorite game." -Tonya
- SoundMaster. Macs were the first machine to scream when you shut them down.
- Spaceward Ho!
- Super Boomerang. "It's the utility I miss the most when using other people's machines." -Adam
- Switcher. An early, effective attempt at MultiFinder.
- SuperPaint. The first combination draw-and-paint application.
- The Little Mac Book
- The Mac Bible
- The Mac is Not a Typewriter
- The Talking Moose and MacInTalk
- THINK C & Pascal and their LightSpeed predecessors
- ThunderScan. It turned your ImageWriter into a scanner - what a funky idea!
- TOPS. Early cross-platform peer-to-peer networking software.
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