My first computer

October 3, 2018 by Kevin Guay

I feel fortunate to have grown up with computers. That is, I grew up at the same time as computers were growing up. The first computer that my family owned was a IBM PS/2 with its classic pixelated black and white icons on the desktop. I booted up that computer every few years just to reminisce on how far technology had come.

I got my first computer in 2003 for my 13th birthday; I remember as if it were yesterday. My parents “hid” it in a corner and of course I knew right away what the tower and display-shaped boxes held. It was an eMachine desktop and I was thrilled. We immediately set it up on a desk in my room - printer and all. We had a family computer in the basement, but this was my first personal computer where I didn’t have to worry about time sharing.

I have always been slightly (okay - totally) obsessed with Apple. I’ve watched every Apple keynote since at least 2003, check MacRumors daily (I only have to type “m” for it to autocomplete), and drool over products in the store. I didn’t meet anyone even close to as obsessed as I was until my first year of college. My roommate was an Apple geek too; he went on to work at Apple for a few years after graduation. I can’t say that I wasn’t a little disappointed that I didn’t receive a Macintosh in 2003, but still, it was my first computer.

That didn’t stop me from imagining, more than imagining, willing my computer to be a Mac. I downloaded numerous extensions/themes/tools in attempts to transform Windows XP into Mac OSX. One application acted as a dock, albeit clunky. Another changed the windows close, minimize, and maximize icons to red, yellow, and green circles. Yet another added a menu bar to the top of the screen rather than at the top of an application window. Backgrounds, system icons, sounds, and cursors were all changed to mimic Apple’s superior OS.

As you might imagine, all of this tweaking and third party software didn’t come without problems. Registry keys were jumbled, DLL files went missing, themes were broken. I reinstalled Windows XP so often that the install screens are permanently burned into my memory. But there was a silver lining. I learned the in’s and out’s of registry keys, locations of system files, and secrets of the BIOS. I cured viruses and banished malware. I learned more from trying to make my computer look like a Mac than I ever could have learned in a class.

By my senior year of high school I was computer shopping for college. Well, not really shopping, but waiting. I knew that this time around I was going to get a Mac and the only option for an aspiring software developer was a MacBook Pro. The only problem was that an “major” update was imminent. It was going to be at a fall special event in 2007; but it wasn’t. It was going to be at MacWorld in January 2008, but it wasn’t. Apple fans know the drill… Finally, after reading rumors for months, the new machines came out at the end of February in 2008. I was sitting in a computer science (visual basic) class when they were announced and that night we got my first Mac.

I learned a lot from my trusted eMachine, but I was also happy to leave it behind and set out on a new adventure with my first Mac.