kMac...1993 - 1999

kMac was my first Mac... a PowerBook 145B running system 7.1 on a 25MHz 68030 processor with 4MB of RAM and a black and white 640x400 screen. I used kMac for school and ended up knowing a little too much, putting sounds which the computer teacher didn't know how to remove on the password-notverywellprotected school computers, which I'm told was a bit embarrassing at a school open day. I liked to make my Mac talk and sing during form class - that always drew crowds. I also first learnt to use HyperCard on kMac, who didn't have a name at the time, and still my first freeware stack is limited to kMac's screen size.

I wrote a prize-winning story on kMac... so kMac and I got in the newspaper! There is a photograph of kMac in this article and in the editorial of that same newspaper it was mentioned that I had a good relationship with my Apple Macintosh.

My first several years of internet were on kMac, using first MacWeb, then Netscape 1.2.1 (I think) and then, when I found an unauthorised Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy website which used frames, Netscape 2.02. I also used Eudora 1.5.1. NCSA Telnet 2.5 and Ircle 1.something (later I got version 2.5) were also among my internet software... it all seems so old now. I remember being frustrated at pages which were difficult to see in black and white, or which required images - rather slow to load on my 14.4k modem. Other software I used on kMac is listed on Different Thought's Software page.

kMac had an 80.5MB hard disk, which I thought was huge, knowing the size of my creative writing files. After getting on the internet I ended up with many diskettes full of games, but I never really felt cramped on my 80.5MB. When I got my 1400cs, I thought the 1.3MB hard disk was enormous, but underestimated the power of CDs to fill up my drive.

The arrival of my 1400 greatly changed kMac's employment - kMac was mostly used by my mother, who occasionally typed emails (then transferred to the 1400 via AppleTalk and sent) and stories and played MaciGame. The main use, though, was for playing over 38,000 games of Klondike in the 18 months or so that kMac survived since I got my 1400cs, who was later named Different Thought. The mouse button ended up very loose from all that furious double clicking! During that time, Apple introduced the iMac, and due to the 145B's main use being Klondike, we nicknamed her kMac. Did I say her? I've always thought of my Macs as being female - they have always used female voices for any programs which used Macintalk.

One day in 1999, Mum tried to start up kMac and got only a flickering screen. I figured that if I tried turning kMac on, it would work - as is usually the case with a sick Mac. So I turned on kMac and she worked okay. I made sure that all important files were backed up on the 1400 via AppleTalk, and then gave kMac back to Mum to play with. Sadly, that was the last time kMac ever started up. After that, kMac would only do the screen flickering. The speaker had broken some time earlier, but even with earphones there was no startup chime to be heard. kMac had become kStrobe. I didn't give up straight away, because often when a Mac doesn't work, it will the next day. When kMac didn't, myself and my boyfriend Steve opened her up to see if there was anything obvious wrong - there was definitely a rattling sound when kMac was shaken but we couldn't find anything loose in there. Once kMac was closed up again, she no longer even imitated a strobe light... except when the battery was taken out. I haven't tried for a while but as far as I know kMac is still possessed by the spirit of a strobe light - if I ever had a geek dance party, she'd be there. I'd also use the 512k Mac which was given to me - it has no connector between the Mac and the disk drive so can only display the flashing question mark disk icon... an interesting lamp, at least.

I meant to make a homepage for kMac while she was still alive, and then I was going to make one with the screenshots I had on Different Thought - but they were lost when Different Thought was held ransom. I thought I had no pictures of kMac working apart from fuzzy photographs, but when I cleaned my room, I discovered something very precious. The last kMac picture - a printout of her Extensions folder, larger than life. You can view it here.

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