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March 95 - Editor's Note

EDITOR'S NOTE

Caroline Rose

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From time to time people I know outside of Apple ask me what kind of Macintosh they should buy for home use. I in turn always ask what made them decide on a Macintosh in the first place. The answer is usually along the lines of "My kid has one at school and loves it" or "I use PCs at work but write my memos on a Macintosh, and I love my Mac." Typically they can't pinpoint the reasons for this "love." People enjoy using the Macintosh; you might say they're charmed by it.

Charm sells. I used to think my taste for older houses with all their nooks and crannies -- and yes, imperfections -- would work to my benefit in the real estate market. But in fact it seems that's what everyone wants. The houses that suit me are rarely put up for sale, their owners are so loathe to part with them; on those few occasions that they are on the market, they're sold in the blink of an eye. Newer, bigger houses that go for the same price sell much more slowly.

So when I hear about how some new computer is expected to run infinitesimally faster than some other one, I'm not swayed. (You'd be amazed to learn the creaky model of the Macintosh I use at home for my personal tasks.) Through years of complaints about how slow and otherwise imperfect the Macintosh was, I justknew it would thrive. I don't think people in the home market, especially, are going to focus on performance measurements or the number of applications available. Of course they need reasonable speed and the necessary applications to do what they want to do -- but most of all they want a computer they'll enjoy using. They ask around, and they see where people's hearts lie in the computer-using world. Not that there won't be heartless millions choosing those other computers, but there willalways be Macintosh.

To quote from Tim Maroney's first installment of "MPW Tips and Tricks," in this issue: "I don't use my computer to run Dhrystone benchmarks: I use it to accomplish tasks."

As someone on the original Macintosh team, I'm not surprised by its appeal to the heart. We all succumbed very early to its charm. I remember the big meeting we had to decide the computer's name, "Macintosh" being a code name that we were resolved not to keep. But no other ideas for names -- what few there were -- gained headway. The reason "Macintosh" stuck wasn't because it was the name of an apple (if misspelled); it stuck because we'd all grown so fond of our little "Mac." It would have been like renaming our first born.

Call me sentimental; I can take it. Call this my valentine to the Macintosh.

Caroline Rose Editor

CAROLINE ROSE (AppleLink CROSE) started working at Apple in 1982 the first time, then again in 1991. In between, she learned what it's like to be among the first employees in a startup company run by Steve Jobs. She worked as a programmer back when any math major could pick it up pretty easily and when there were about three programming languages to choose from. Now that there are OODLs of languages out there, she's happy to be back to writing in English. Caroline stood out as an odd bird in grade school because she actually enjoyed diagramming sentences. (There are other reasons, too, but we won't go into those.) *

 

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