Happy 30th Mac – my personal reflection on the computer that said ‘Hello’

Happy 30th Mac! On January 24, 1984 the world of home computers was forever changed by the debut of the Apple Macintosh. With a gigantic 9-inch monitor, a keyboard, a mouse and 128 KB of built-in memory, the computer could be yours for the low, low price of US$2,495 dollars. Today marks the Macintosh’s 30th anniversary! 

OK, so I’m not going to get into that perennial Mac v PC debate, life is way too short for that! Love or hate them, from my personal perspective, the Macs simplicity transformed not just the way I worked, but also the type of work I do! The Mac interface and way of working, took my everyday tasks and gave them familiar metaphors, but in a computer context. This computer context was both invisible and accessible at the same time. Suddenly it made sense, The Mac was a useful creative tool, it was a digital drawing board with a set of digital pens and compasses, this I could understand and work with!

Happy 30th Mac - On January 24, 1984 the world of home computers was forever changed by the debut of the Apple Macintosh.

Happy 30th Mac – On January 24, 1984 the world of home computers was forever changed by the debut of the Apple Macintosh.

My initial introduction to computers was during the early 1980’s was just so far removed from this! I still to this day remember being in a computer lesson finding out how to write endless lines of DOS code just to try to get the computer to draw a rather uninspiring X in green type on a small dark computer screen!

Computer says no… no, no, no!

Computer says no… no, no, no!

If this was what the future of ‘computing’ was all about, you could count me out – I would much rather stick with my trusted Rotring pens and Ecobra compasses thank you very much! Working with these tools seemed way easier…

My now classic ‘retro’ Rotring isograph ink pens

My now classic ‘retro’ Rotring isograph ink pens

What now seems antiquated and obsolete, were my high-tech ‘tools of the trade’ back in the mid 1980’s!

My now classic ‘retro’ Ecobra spring bow compasses

My now classic ‘retro’ Ecobra spring bow compasses

However, for someone like me who saw little use for computers in my line of work, this was all about to change in a very dramatic way! In 1984 Ridley Scott directed the now classic a big-budget (US$900,000) television commercial to launch the Apple Macintosh computer…

The so-called ‘1984 advertisement’ was given a showcase airing in the United States on 22 January 1984, during Super Bowl XVIII, alongside screenings in cinemas. Some consider this advertisement a ‘watershed event’ in advertising and a ‘masterpiece’ The advertisement used its heroine (portrayed by Anya Major) to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top adorned with a picture of Apple’s Macintosh computer) as a means of saving humanity from ‘conformity’ (Big Brother)

Another of Apples classic ad campaigns in 1997 praised those that stood out from the crowd and dared to ‘Think Different’ – it’s slightly ironic that now some 30 years after it’s initial launch, Apple products are now the more mainstream devices with the ubiquitous presence and success of their iPhones, iPads and their range of different Macs – so whose crazy now?

Happy 30th Birthday Mac – one of my favourite creative tools (after my pencil of course!)…


Thanks for taking the time out to read this, as ever, it is always much appreciated! Please feel free to share any thoughts or comments you might have on it…


Media of mass distraction

With a seemingly constant and ever evolving stream of new emerging technologies, constant communication and multitasking are the de facto standard of our daily lives and modus operandi.

Today you can do more with less, run a multi-national business from the palm of your hands, work remotely, collaborate across continents, trawl a global repository of mankind’s collective learning whilst sitting on the beach, communicate instantly around the world, capture images, sounds or video whilst out and about as part of our everyday lives – we truly do live in an utterly amazing time in human history!

impossible just shows a lack of imagination

impossible just shows a lack of imagination

However, the class A drug that technology so often proves itself to be, can carry its own high price of addiction.

One evening as my family and I were all together watching a film on TV, I chanced to look around and see that as well as ‘watching’ the film, some were working on their laptop, some checking emails on their iPad, whilst others were texting and tweeting on their phones. So instead of simply engaging with a single source of entertainment, we were each multitasking and utilising different technology devices at the same time. We each had the ‘need’ to consume multiple media streams at the same time with an insatiable appetite that technology is only too ready to support.

I had to smile at my techno addicted family!

Technology is so often touted as the means to bring people together, but in many ways, it can end up separating us from the very essence of what it is to be human. To have and develop meaningful shared emotional resonance between individuals, bringing us together in different depths of relationship with each other.

Liking a status update and adding LOL does not quite have the same degree of connectivity, sometimes we may need to just stop, unplug and take a digital detox if we really want to share and connect with those around us!

Social media feeds like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest etc. all encourage us to record, capture and share moments of our lives with those we know (and often those we don’t!). So at numerous events ranging from concerts to funerals, people are all too readily capturing or annotating their experience of the event, ready to share with the world.

We have become obsessed with trying to capture the moment as opposed to actually really soaking up the fullness of the reality of the live experience. The irony is that in trying to record the experience, much of the time we become so engrossed and obsessed with the process of capturing this unforgettable event, that we actually miss the first hand, first person human experience of actually being there at that precise moment in time.

“Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.”
Buckminster Fuller

Human beings have a multitude of built in senses that normally don’t need to be downloaded from an App Store and installed. Capturing it for prosperity is all well and good, but genuine, deeply felt experiences are best captured by the ‘technology’ that we already possess in the form of our human senses. Often the real physical experiences and memories are the ones that truly last a lifetime, everything else is merely fleeting digital detritus.

Where these senses are damaged or impaired, technology plays a very important role in helping to offer substitute solutions to aid peoples everyday experiences. However, some new technology now seeks to both mimic and improve upon the existing human ability to experience, comprehend and respond to external stimuli.

The advent of emerging technologies such as Google glass the technology looks to augment our normal physical reality and experiences with an interactive digital overlay. It is like being able to get an upgrade to Human 2.0! This is where the boundaries of technology and emotional experience blur. For some, the possibilities are limitless, for others, the implications could have a more scary sci-fi connotation as in cyborgs from Terminator or the Borg from Star Trek.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is great, but it’s no god that should be blindly worshiped!

Thanks for taking the time out to read this, as always, it is always much appreciated! Please feel free to share it with your friends, and add any thoughts or comments you might have on it…