Age and location of TidBITS Talkers?

(Ryoichi Morita) #21

I was born and raised in Japan and came to the U.S. when I was 20. I programmed on IBM computers for years but was sort of forced to retire when I was 58. I’m now 68 and living my life. I reside in Coarsegold, very close to Yosemite National Park. It’s beautiful here.

(Jack F) #22

Turned 90 43 days ago. Been following Tidbits from long ago. Got into Macs with the old SE. Had a clunky HP before that. Main job now is keeping up with the email.

(Ray Kloss) #23

Later 50’s in the Milwaukee area. Physician and working with Macs since the SE days. Was working with DEC and Seattle DOS before that, but the Univeristy was using Macs and never went back. Tidbits since HyperCard days. Now considering getting an Apple Watch and following the discussions here on Watch 4.

(David Rostenne) #24

50 this year… living in the Canada’s capital… My TidBITS archives only go back a dozen years, but i’m sure i’ve been reading it since the 20th century!

I work as a mostly-Apple consultant. As my wife says “Sometimes you fix the computers and sometimes you fix the people.” :slight_smile:

(Roger Parish) #25

Turned 76 in September. Retired from the government and living in Northern Virginia (exurbs of Washington, DC). Doing the snow-bird thing to SW Florida.

Got into data processing in 1960, right out of high school. Learned programming in the Air Force (IBM mainframes).

First Mac an SE with 20MB hard drive. Following TidBITS since HyperCard days and the Info-Mac archive.

Roger D. Parish
Lehigh Acres, FL

(Enrico Franconi) #26

56, Italian, professor in computer science in the German speaking area of Italy. While at school studying Latin and Greek (late 70ies) I could not afford an Apple II, so I built a 6502-based microcomputer < >. After having dreamt of a Lisa, my father bought a Mac in 1984, and I have never lost faith in Apple since.

(James French) #27

Hi Tommy,

Nice idea! I am 58 and live in a small town called Droitwich near Worcester in the UK. I am a TV cameraman, working mainly on sport.

I have been Apple mad since my first Mac – an LCII with (at the time) an amazing 8MB RAM and 80MB hard drive, which I thought I would never fill up! (for the youngsters, I do mean MB!!!)

My family

Very old pic!

At Wimbledon, a few years ago.

I have spent thousands with Apple over the years and the whole family is Apple only.

Keep up the great work, Adam and team!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

(Dave Scocca) #28

49, in Durham NC. Have subscribed to TidBITS since some time in the 1990s. Converted from a DOS user to Mac user in college in 1989 because I was a math major and the Mac implementation of LaTeX (TeXtures from Blue Sky Research) was miles ahead of what I could use in DOS. Got a Mac IIcx as a graduation present and have been in Mac world at home since–although I’m coming up on 20 years in a job working with SAS where there are no Macs around at all.

(Erik Mueller-Harder) #29

I’m 55; my wife and I are new empty-nesters (with kids at Brown University and Amherst College) living in northern Vermont. My first Apple was a brand-new Apple ][ — not a II+ or a IIc, but a ][. I opted for extra RAM, and the couple of friends I had who knew anything about computers wondered what on earth I imagined ever needing 48KB for…

I haven’t been in the service, but my dad was a colonel in the Air Force, so we lived everywhere. I’ve considered New England home for decades, though. He was a chaplain, so I shall always be both an Air Force brat and a minister’s son.

Programmer / Systems Analyst / etc. on DEC TOPS-10, TOPS-20, VAX/VMS, Honeywell GCOS, CP/M, MS-DOS. First Mac experience was with my roommate’s 512K Fat Mac. I was taking Classical Greek and Sanskrit at the time, and I was blown away by the fact that there were Greek and Sanskrit fonts that would work on the display and on printouts for homework!

Have personally owned a MacPlus, Mac SE, Mac IIcx, Duo 230, … it blurs a bit then, but there’ve been at least a half-dozen more, plus some Minis (as servers) and my wife’s and kids’ machines.

TidBITS reader since the early ’90s, though I’m chagrined to say I can’t easily put my hands on any issue earlier than #585 (2001-06-25). I’m sure they’re here somewhere! My first issues were delivered via BITNET.

Don’t do much software development anymore, other than the odd web site, FileMaker database (including some big systems), and Keyboard Maestro macros.

Stage IIIa esophageal cancer got me last year. Thanks to very quick intervention and to an excellent surgeon, there’s been no sign of a return since my esophagus was removed exactly one year ago.

Currently, I’m studying the development of Tolkien’s own maps of Middle-earth; I’ll be giving papers next summer at (confirmed) the International Medieval Congress at Leeds University and at (probably) the Tolkien Society’s “Tolkien 2019” bash in Birmingham. More about that and about the Tolkien Art Index at Vermont Softworks.

(Seth Anderson) #30

So, based on this self-reported demo survey, none of us were born in 1970 or later. Do the “youth” still rely upon authoritative communities like TidBITS? Or is it all transactional YouTube/blog posts now (how do I change my email signature? What app do I use to do this task? etc.)?

(Mark Williamson) #31

Erik mentioned receiving TidBITS via BITNET. I was one of the list owners distributing TidBITS on BITNET servers running LISTSERV(™). I’m 70 and retired from that .edu employer (one of the first universities to adopt Macs), but still living in Houston, Texas. My first personal Mac was a “fat” one bought in late 1984. Our household is all-Mac since my wife retired her last W***ws laptop some years ago.

(Tommy Weir) #32

The age profile has been interesting. I expected more outside the US, there are a few of us…

I suspect you are right, for a good deal of them information is disposable, not held onto, but searched as needed then discarded. But I guess they grew up with a sea of experts around them, we kind of had to work it out, gleaning from magazines and user groups, info was hard won.

(Adam Engst) #33

To give credit where it’s due, Mark was one of the people who saved TidBITS back in the day—1992 to be precise!

(Adam Engst) #34

Unfortunately, I believe you’re correct. We can only go on Tristan and his friends, but they really don’t subscribe to mailing lists or read books. He was always flabbergasted that we could earn a living doing what we do. :slight_smile:

(Robert C Johnson) #35

I am 66 and retired (layoffs during California’s dark financial days) from my second career in IT at U.C. Berkeley. I was hired because the Chancellor’s Office was exclusively Macintosh at the time (no longer true), where I was the tech support manager, later moving into web and database development, including a unique-at-the-time authentication and authorization toolkit connnecting multiple web applications into the campus Kerberos-based system called CalNet.

My first career was commercial photography (pre-digital Nikon) in San Francisco through the 80s.

I am now enjoying my retirement, including landscape and astrophotography with my new Sony alpha A7 iii.

My personal Macintosh lineage, to the best of my memory, begins with the Mac 512K (later upgraded to 1000k), then > Centris 650 > iMac DV SE > iMac 24 inch early 2008 > (current) Mac mini Late 2012. The Macs I used at U.C. Berkeley in the 1990s and 2000s were too many and varied for me to recall accurately. I am writing this today in Drafts 4 on my iPad Pro 10.5 inch 2017 which I use, along with my iPhone XS Max, quite a bit more than my Mac mini nowadays, including for photography.

The oldest TidBITS that I find when searching my Mac mini is TidBITS#104/System 7, from 1992. I also remember especially enjoying the HyperCard archive version.

And finally, like Adam, my 28-year-old son does not read books or subscribe to mailing lists but seems to primarily follow Reddit.

(frederico) #36

I see a shocking amount of da yoots doing troubleshooting via Twitter; it’s an incredible talent they have of making points and passing instructions in under 140 (now 250-something) characters, or with short threads. Expediency is their battle cry.

Reddit, of course, can also be super helpful; GitHub can be great if you get invited into the cool kids clubs (and so many have migrated to private or unadvertised, unsearchable Slack groups to avoid the noise on Twitter/Reddit/etc.) but the real action, IMO, is over at Stack Overflow; there are some incredibly smart people there, genuine programmers and engineers; and the moderators, up/down voting and favored-answer system really silences/hides unrelated/unhelpful conversations and blather that wander into the weeds and unhelpful pontifications.

You can still have those conversations there, but the focus is on precise questions and helpful solutions (and alternative methods); if a question has already been asked and answered, someone will generally redirect the asker there, and shut down the new thread unless it makes sense to take it in a new direction.

I’m pretty much done with Apple Support Communities; the points/awards/levels system has fostered an extremely unhealthy environment, and the top posters take it upon themselves to answer every question, often in a demeaning and belittling manner, frequently with just shotgun, generic and unhelpful, non-specific advice, simply to score more points for themselves for posting something/anything, on the chance they may get tagged ‘Helpful’ for even more points.

(frederico) #37

I’m really impressed with the credentials posted by everyone here; I thought we were just playing A/S/L; it’s super fun hearing about everyone’s history with Macs, tech, and life.

For me, I learned punchcards on mainframes and terminals in early grade school (starting in second grade) as part of an accelerated sciences program sponsored by local Boulder tech companies like IBM and NeoData; learned basic programming languages and “paper logic”.

(I hear you can make lower- to mid-six figure money these days if you can still speak and dream in COBOL for those insane banks that can’t let go and whose ITs are dying and retiring; it’s tempting).

In '77 I was invited to join the inaugural class of the IAAS (International Association for Astronomical Studies), and became an intern at the Boulder Valley Schools Public Planetarium where we (junior and senior high students) were tasked with refurbishing and expanding the neglected planetarium and creating additional science programs, along with creating our own study programs; we learned nearly every imaginable facet of practical and applied sciences in that spectrum (even some biology); built and created special effects; designed and built new observatories and telescopes, both optical and radio; wrote, produced and performed our own planetarium presentations; and then became responsible for teaching the newer members and outside classes. At 15, I was teaching freshman astronomy at CU’s Fiske Planetarium; that was a trip.

We got out first Apple ][ in early '78, and immediately put it to use as not only a study tool, but a show-runner for the planetarium; and we built some early astronomy programs, and later designed and built our own RS-23x serial devices, and attached them to telescopes in the observatories to auto-find objects.

The original Mac in late '84 and early '85, and then especially the 128K later revolutionized my college and university experience, opening up a world of writing I previously had little passion for; those same Macs, and then an SE opened my eyes to graphics work and desktop publishing; and became a key factor in enhancing the success of our family business(es; prototype and production machining and fabrication; automotive machining/remanufacturing/tool and die) – long live HyperCard.

The late 80’s brought on some early usenet access and BBS; I continued with the SE 30 when I shifted into teaching science through a non-profit I helped launch and served as CEO and Chairman in '91 through '06, creating our own early BBS for students and parents and teachers; continuing also to do everything that had come before, and more. We taught the kids with both DOS and later Windows, as well as Mac and *NIX, to program robots and such, burning their own EPROMS and making the robots follow their every command.

Our portable StarLab planetariums and Celestron telescopes were augmented with PowerBook Duos, 540s, 5300s, etc.

Somewhere in early '90s I discovered TidBits, but I can’t nail down the date without firing up an old SCSI hard drive in storage.

The first Mac that was truly my own personal beast was a PowerMac 7100, later upgraded with a G3-240 – what a screamer! I jumped headfirst into the exploding WWW when I got renal cancer and could no longer work on other people’s time tables; I self-taught everything Web, and built a business to pay to beat a six year battle with cancer in pure, hard-won cash sans insurance.

I quite literally would’ve been dead, but for the Mac, AppleScript, FileMaker, Lasso, Tango, GoLive CyberStudio (pre-Adobe) [EDIT: if I hadn’t been composing this in Discourse, I wouldn’t have sinned by leaving out:] BBEdit and WebObjects and CodeWarrior – long live C!; so I also became a dedicated (and sometimes paid) Mac Evangelist (starting unoffically before the 7100), and later worked for Apple both directly and indirectly.

If you look carefully, you can find my name in the About credits/thanks of a few now essentially extinct Adobe products, and a couple on Mac before that was banned/unfashionable; you might have used some of my subcontracted code in a few other popular specialty applications.

If you purchased Mac products at a couple well known online vendors in the late '90s/early '00s, you can thank me and my crew for it being a secure CC connection.

Also, if you’ve ever bought a charger, a cable, cellphone or an iPod or headphones or the like in an airport kiosk between Chicago and LA, I probably wrote a good chunk of that code, too.

That 7100 with a G3 (which I still have) gave way to a PowerMac G3 (which I still have); it was followed by numerous PowerMacs, PowerBooks, etc., but I hit a wall at the 2008 Mac Pro 3.2GHz 8-core with 64GB RAM. Heavily upgraded with a killer SSD RAID and fast video, and over 40TB of internal storage, it is still kicking butt at everything not single-threaded and modal (screw you, iTunes team).

Now fully eleven years old next month; I’m still waiting for Apple to build a Mac Pro as worthy and as capable as this one. I wanted to replace it in 2013, but, well, we all know the shape that story took.

I bought an iPod on day one, when no one understood what it was really for, and what it would become; I can’t claim I saw the whole future, but that there was a massive future in it was beyond obvious to me. That device alone, carried to all my client gigs, and used not only as a player, but to boot and repair the odd CEO’s secretary or graphics lead’s troubled Mac on a chance happening here and there, contributed effectively, if however small, to the halo effect. I (and my teams) converted many, many businesses to all-Mac houses when we demoed such wonders as booting and resuscitating a dead Mac from an iPod with a fully functional clone of (if stripped down) Mac OS; and then blew them away with automating the snot out of labor-intensive tasks and workflows.

Later I shifted to building both Point of Sale and medical practice software for Mac, ramping up to meet the as-yet unratified HIPAA requirements, and diverted into medical billing software; then pushed all that on to the original iPhone, and of course later the iPad, as quickly as possible.

Tons and tons of notable and fun stuff in between but little I’ve written is of interest thus far, anyway. To the none of you reading this far, I thank you for letting this addled old mind write this down before my faltering memory fails altogether.

The journey as a whole isn’t much fun for me after 2012, but I will bleed Apple and Mac forever, even if Apple doesn’t.

(Tina Garfield) #38

68, formerly cattle rancher (and photographer, time permitting) in remote, off-grid New Mexico, elevation 8200 ft. Mac person since 1980. Since the ranch was a day’s drive from anything resembling tech help, I had to learn to be my own tech. With help from Apple discussion groups mostly. Had 2 beige G3s that I maxed out in every way possible. Loved ‘em. After divorcing the ranch, early 2009 17-inch MBPro which held on until last month, replaced by iMac for photo work. Household — me, dogs, and “co-pilot” (reconnected with long lost love from the 70s) — also claims 2 iPads, iPad pro, iphones, early MacBook Air, 3 Apple TVs. Co-pilot was all Windows until he laid eyes on, and stroked, sleek aluminum MBP, made the leap and never looked back.

Now living in less remote SW New Mexico, ina town of 10,000 that Life-long Houston resident co-pilot thinks is the edge of civilization, but which I find much too urban (visible neighbors, paved roads…) but it is workable compromise as long as dogs and I can run wild and free in national forest as needed. Miss ranch life, critters both wild and domestic, wide open spaces daily, still.

Can’t remember when I stumbled on Tidbits, but also can’t recall NOT relying on it.

First computer work was 1972 in epidemiology research dept at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, when to run a simple crosstab analysis i woukd enter the boolean formula, then go to lunch and hope for results that afternoon. In 80s, a Classic (II, I think). And after running off with cattle rancher, a Macbook (all i remember is that it was grey and I could carry with me on horseback), then the G3s.

A glimpse of the good life here -


(Markus Schneider) #39

63, Switzerland. I’m a FileMaker developer running an own business


I think this is definitely the case, And younger people tend to use desktops and laptops only when and if they have to; they tend to be glued to their phones.