Working on my research for the geek history website as well as looking to add some additional information to ComputerGuru.net I discovered a 1979 ARPANET Information Brochure. You are probably not as excited as I am to look over the brochure, but it does put the growth of the internet into perspective.
In 1979 the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80 Micro Computer System was the first signs of desktop computers in the average American home. The Commodore VIC-20 was still a year away, it was released in 1980. If you remember the TRS-80 or the VIC-20, you are not only a geek, but an older geek! Then again, maybe you are a younger geek who loves to explore geek history!
I am older geek, who remembers first hand the TRS-80 and the VIC-20. But I also love to explore geek history. In 1979 I was using computers, but did not have the chance to interact with the ARPANET, the forefather of the modern Internet. The 1979 docent describes how new users, in this case we are talking about large institutions not individual homes, can get access to this new network called the ARPANET. The internet of today with commercial online internet service providers did not take off until the 1990s.
Take a look at the map attached to this article, those dots represent the places that had access to the ARPANET in 1979. That's right, just a small handful of locations had access to the ARPANET. It was not cheap, or easy, to connect to the ARPANET. It cost thousands of dollars for the interface to connect, and hundreds of dollars a month to access the ARPANET at speeds so slow they are hard to comprehend by today's standards,and in 1979 all we had were monochrome monitors looking at text files. Looking at the prices for getting connected, and thinking about the technology required to make the connection, it really puts the evolution of computers and the internet into perspective for me, a lot that has happened in my lifetime.
I received an email with a news feed from a website where the question was being asked, "Are Macs overpriced?" I thought I would subject my cynical self to the firing line of Apple fanatics and interject my observations on the site. I find it amusing that the people making the case for Apple being a great value all had some association with Apple in their bio byline.
One of the comments stated that, "Most of the answers here are from users of Apple products, many of whom were previous Microsoft users." I'm not sure how that validates their comments? If they switched from Microsoft to Apple, I would expect their opinion to be somewhat biased toward Apple.
One person who said that Apple products were worth the extra money based on his experience that he described as follows. "Not one single Windows based PC or laptop I ever owned or worked with could go even a week without some issue cropping up. Especially if it was not shut down every night." The phrase "Windows based PC" could mean a wide variety of hardware or software combinations, it needs to be qualified. Likewise comments like "some issue cropping up" could mean almost anything. Once again I am not sure how those comments validates the opinion that Macs should cost more than Windows based computers.
I've seen people go off on tangents in advice forums on the concept of anecdotal evidence being given is worthless based on a single users experience. That's a good point. That's why I usually try to give answers that are framed by some context of my experience, and why I feel the way I do. My experiences are based on 35 years of working with desktop computers as a field service technician and a systems administrator.
I worked on CP/M based microcomputers in the early 1980s before DOS was the popular standard for desktops. I worked with Novell network operating systems for years before I started working with Microsoft network operating systems. Working for various school districts and educational institutions over the years I have worked on a variety of different Apple products. My first experience with Apple products was with the Apple IIe used in schools back in the early 1980s. Back then I did maintenance and repair on Apple products as well as Commodore. Anyone remember Commodore?