Friday, April 27, 2007

Mi Vida con La Manzana, Pt.1: Heaven

I have decided to put together some memories of my first experience with Macintoshes. When I started my PhD, I joined a newly established plant molecular biology laboratory. My boss just returned from a post-doc in Germany and received a gigantic starting grant. Being ones of the first employees/students, my colleague and me were responsible for the computers in the lab. My boss was totally obsessed with a Macintosh and therefore we started to design a lab network based on Apple machines. In a couple of months, we were running three PowerMacintoshes 8200 (with PowerPC 601 chips), two PowerMacintoshes 7600 (with a PowerPC 604 chip), with one of them controlling a sequencing machine and one PowerMacintosh 8500 (also with a PowerPC 604 chip), which was connected to a densitometer and a fluorescence scanner through SCSI ports and later was replaced with then newly released PowerMacintosh G3 (code named Gossamer). In addition to the computers, we also purchased some original Apple accessories, including a brilliant flat-bed Apple Color OneScanner 600/27 with SCSI implementation (it was 11 years ago!) and one Apple LaserWriter 12/640, which was, at that time, an absolutely stunning network (!) laser printer. All computers were sharing files and printers through OpenTransport-implemented EtherTalk (one of the Mac features that instantly left the Win users in awe). PowerMacintoshes all had SCSI ports by default, so a backup of documents on ZIP or JAZ drives could be done in a blink of an eye (again, for Win users something unbelievable; considering that at that time, the ZIP drive was usually connected to a PC through a parallel port). When we got them, the machines were running MacOS 7.5.5. and in 1998, we upgraded to MacOS 8.1, shortly after Steve Jobs returned to Apple as iCEO.

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