Our Technology Journey

Victor and I have been involved in different aspects of personal computers (specifically Macintosh) and online technology for well over 20 years. In 1986 I bought my first Mac (512KE) that cost me a small fortune, and taught myself how to use it and the very small selection of software (i.e., MS Word, Excel, MacDraw) then available for it.

Macintosh 512KEThere were no built-in “hard drives” in those days — each program came on a on 3.5-inch so called “floppy disc.” (They really weren’t floppy but I guess the name carried over from the days when the discs were larger, thinner and actually bendable.) The Mac that I had could read 800K discs, large enough to hold an entire program usually with room to spare for saving some documents. However, you usually wanted to save documents on a separate disc, so you would eject the program disc and insert another disc into the drive in order to save it. I watched my collection of floppy discs grow and grow until I had well-over 300 discs that were kept in a somewhat disorganized filing system in numerous plastic, flip-top floppy disc boxes I had stacked on a bookshelf. (Aside: When Steve Jobs announced years later that the “floppy disc” was dead, I was devastated as I could not imagine how I was going to store my files or share documents with clients without saving them on a relatively inexpensive, re-writable floppy disc. But alas, Steve Jobs looked to the future while I tried to cling to my familiar comfort zone — a lesson I get an opportunity to learn over and over again in this lifetime. 🙂

Once I became knowledgable people started asking me to help them learn their Mac, so for many years I actually had a Macintosh consultant/trainer business. Clients would make appointments with me to come to their home and help them set up their new Mac (if they needed that help) and then to teach them how to use it and various software programs.

In 1987 I started working for an all-Mac engineering firm. This provided me with the opportunity to learn new skills (i.e., setting up and managing networks, more advanced drawing programs (i.e., Adobe Illustrator 88 and MacDraft) and page layout programs for the many reports that we created for clients. I also trained all the new employees on how to use their Macs and the Mac software, and how to save their documents to the central server. I also devised a naming system for all documents so that everyone in the office could keep track of who was working on what. The company continually upgraded their computer equipment, so my skills kept advancing with each new Mac on the market. The five years I spent with that company was invaluable to me on many levels, but the most important aspect that has served me was to continue to expand my Macintosh expertise.

When Victor and I got together in 1994 I owned a Mac IIci. Victor had been a former commercial pilot and was also familiar with personal computers, so he was able to easily get up to speed on how to use my Mac. He started going with me to our Mac User Group meetings and it was at one of those meetings in late 1995 that a guest speaker gave a presentation about the World Wide Web! Victor and I could barely take in all the information that was being presented — it almost seemed like the speaker was using a foreign language. (Aside: It was then that I really developed empathy for my Mac clients when they seemed to be confused about the terms I was using to describe different aspects of the computer and the software.) But it was that presentation that got Victor motivated to learn how to register a domain name (he registered OpenHeart.com in January 1996) and taught himself how to set up a website. He created our original Open Heart site on a old Mac laptop that had only a black and white screen.  He had to guess at the website colors and then check it out on my IIci color display to see how it looked.  He also used that laptop to write his book, “Web Without a Weaver: How the Internet is Shaping Our Future.”

Since that time, both Victor and I have been deeply involved in online technology and try to keep abreast of as much as possible in this fast moving world.  We continue to consult with clients, build websites, publish books (now focusing on ebooks) and increase our skills by learning new software programs.  Victor has been passionate about Ruby programming and I have become passionate about increasing my graphic design skills.  There never seems to be enough hours in the day to fit in all that we’d like to learn and accomplish.  But we keep on keepin’ on as each day brings new opportunities for learning and sharing.

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