Happy Birthday Macintosh !!!

When I was a junior in college, Apple launched the Macintosh.  Our local computer store in York, PA had a “Try at Home” policy and I was able bring it home for 2 weeks to try it out.  It had a single 3.5” floppy drive and I was constantly swapping between the boot disk and the program I was currently using — but I loved it.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford it and was resolved to buy a Compaq luggable.  But the 2 weeks I worked on a Mac changed the way I viewed computers and what I could do on them.  As a CIS major I spent most of my free time in the computer lab working on a Burroughs 1900 computer learning how to code in Fortran, COBOL and a few other now dead programming languages.  While the school also had Apple II’s (on which I learned C and Pascal), III’s (which is where I first used a word processor), none of the computers I had worked on really were “FUN” to work on.  Looking back over the past 30 years it is easy to see how the Mac changed how the world viewed computers.

That leads me to when I actually received my first Mac.  I say received because 2 years after my 1st experience with a Mac my parents opened a $10,000 CD at the Bowery Savings Bank.  This is back when banks were so happy you entrusted them with money they’d offer depositors a gift as a way of saying thank you.  My parents gift for opening the CD was a Mac Plus.  It became my 1st Mac.  While in college in 1985 I had saved up enough money to purchase my 1st personal computer; a Compaq luggable running DOS. But when I got the Mac I found myself spending hours figuring out how it worked and learning new ways to do things on it.  I bought an external SCSI 10MB external hard drive, 300 baud modem, ImageWriter printer and a few choice Mac programs.  I would spend HOURS creating and storing information in HyperCard.  Even with all the things I can do today in HTML, I still miss HyperCard.

Apple Macplus

 

I sold that Mac back in the early 1990’s and I learned how to get by in the real world on a PC.  First using DOS, OS/2, then Windows and finally Windows NT, but none of those computers were as fun or as supportive a computing environment as my 1st Mac (even with all the frustrations we all experience back then).  Finally in 2000 I got an Apple Powerbook and OS X and things started looking up again, but it wasn’t until 2006 when I bought my MacBook Pro that I finally ditched my IBM Thinkpad (issued by my employer of the same name) and switched to using a Mac 100% of the time.  I am now at Deloitte Digital and happily use a MacBook Air.  I couldn’t imagine working on anything else.

So Happy Birthday Mac and congratulations Apple!

Looking forward to see what the team at Apple develops next!

 

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Apple MacBook Pro 15.4″ for Sale

Interested in getting a MacBook Pro as a first your first laptop or a second machine as a backup? I just posted my MacBook Pro 15.4″ 2.33 GHz for sale on eBay (Auction #250467093464).

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This MacBook Pro 15.4″ 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo has been my primary work machine for the past 1.5 years. I have upgraded both the RAM (3 GB) and hard drive (320 GB). Original display and both batteries were replaced 3 months ago under AppleCare warrantee.

The MacBook Pro specifications are a MacBook Pro 15.4″ 2.33 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo w/:

  • 3 GB RAM
  • 320 GB Hard Drive
  • Dual Layer Super DVD Drive
  • Built-in iSight Camera
  • Built-in 802.11n Airport Extreme (WiFi)
  • Built-in BlueTooth (v2.1.6g8)

Package also includes:

  • 2nd battery w/ black battery carrying case
  • Mac OS X Leopard installed (disks not included) and upgraded to 10.5.7
  • Original restore DVDs
  • Apple iLife ’09 installed (disks not included) and upgraded with latest updates
  • Original Box and documentation
  • Applecare TechTools disk
  • Remaining AppleCare service (coverage expires on 11/25/09)
  • Speck “see-thru” hard shell case (plastic case that protects your Mac)
  • Marware leather wrist rest

The machine is in great condition but does show signs of being used; Command, Shift and N keys are slightly worn, exterior case shows some scratches.

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AppleCare coverage includes telephone and in-store Apple Genius hardware and software support.

Reason for selling: Recently upgraded to 17″ MacBook Pro

Check out the auction on eBay (Auction #250467093464)

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Securing your Mac

Apple Firmware Password UtilityOne of the features I normally implement on my Mac .. especially my MacBook Pro .. is the firmware password. By activating the firmware password you prevent someone from rebooting your mac using an external drive or forcing your machine into “firewire” mode which allows then to use your mac as a large hard drive.


While this doesn’t prevent someone from ripping open your machine and stealing your hard drive, it does prevent the casual thief from trying to steal files off of your machine while you are at lunch.


Unfortunately, not all Firmware Password Utility programs from Apple are the same. And with the release of Leopard 10.5, you have to know the secret to where the utility file is located. After a heart stopping experience (A.K.A. using the wrong utility from an old Start-Up Disk), I was able to learn the double-secret hidden location of the file and how to use the utility.


Before you attempt to apply this password on your machine, I strongly recommend that you read Apple Knowledge-base article #106482.


While the information I am providing here provides new information (from Apple Support) on locating and implementing the Apple Firmware Password Utility for Intel-based machines running Leopard 10.5, the article does provide a thorough of the program. I have no doubt Apple will be updating the #106482 article at some point in the near future.


Let’s get down to it. You’ve decided that implementing a firmware password on your machine is a good thing.


You will need the following items:

  • Intel-Based Mac with Leopard 10.5 installed
  • Leopard 10.5 Installation DVD
  • Access to an Administrator account on the machine

Implementation steps:

  1. Boot the Mac and log into the Administrator account
  2. Load the Leopard 10.5 DVD in the DVD drive
  3. Once the DVD loads, go to the Finder
  4. From the GO menu pull-down, select “Go to Folder …”
  5. When the Go To Folder dialog box appears, enter “/Volumes/Mac OS X Install DVD/Applications/Utilities/”
  6. When the Finder window appears, scroll down the list until you see a program called “Firmware Password Utility”
  7. Drag this file to your /Applications/Utilities directory on your Macintosh HD (or whatever you call your primary hard drive)
  8. Navigate to the /Applications/Utilities directory and run the “Firmware Password Utility” program
  9. The dialog box that appears with describe what this utility will do and warn you that you must be using an account with Administrator capabilties to run this program.
  10. Click the “Change” button
  11. A new dialog box will appear allowing you to activate the firmware security and set a password following dialog box will appear
  12. To activate the utility, mark the “Require password to change firmware settings” check box and enter a password
  13. As with any administrative password on your system … Don’t Lose It!

 

I will warn you that while the dialog box for this utility is simple, it is very powerful. Once the Firmware password is in place you can not boot of a CD or an alternate drive unless you have the Firmware password.


Read the above referenced Apple Knowledge-base article carefully.


Best of luck .. hope you found this helpful.

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