Twenty-five years ago yesterday the world of computers, and publishing, changed forever when Steve Jobs introduced the very first Apple Macintosh to a crowd of 3,000 at De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif.
A few days earlier, a considerably larger audience was awed, and perhaps confused, by Ridley Scott’s now-legendary 1984 commercial, which signaled to viewers of Super Bowl XVIII that the Macintosh wouldn’t be like other computers.
And it wasn’t.
I first encountered Macs a few years later, as I attended a journalism summer camp workshop in Indiana. (Yes, what of it?) Not wanting to seem uncultured, I waved off the offer of help from the computer-lab assistant, picked up the mouse … pointed it at the little gray box … and rapidly clicked the button as if it were a TV remote.
Luckily, other journalists, artists and designers — would-be and otherwise — took to the Mac faster than I did, helping to bring about a revolution in publishing: desktop publishing.
Oh, sure, it was a marketing term, but with a Macintosh computer, PageMaker, Adobe Illustrator (okay, or MacDraw or MacPaint), and an Apple LaserWriter, one person could do the work of several — in a fraction of the time.
The revolution spread to the comics industry, too, as advances in hardware and software helped to change how books were colored, lettered and assembled. (Some may argue for the worse, but …)
Also noteworthy, but perhaps not quite as important as transforming industries, the Macintosh spawned one of Bloom County‘s more memorable supporting characters: The Banana Jr. 6000, Oliver Wendell Jones’ sentient personal computer — creator Berkeley Breathed’s timely parody.
So, thank you, Steve Jobs & Co.
And Berkeley Breathed.
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