In 1983 I was going through a particularly excruciating breakup, so to divert me from moping and obsessing, a friend called and said that Leisure City (something like Toys 'R Us) was going out of business, and we should go buy something to play with. I went.
When we got there, we found out that Coleco had made a fateful business decision. Seems they had two great products, but a limited marketing budget, so they had to decide which was the one with greater prospects and jettison the other. They chose to bail on their Adam computer, and to continue to promote the Cabbage Patch doll. Yeah, well, some make good business decisions, some don't.
For $200 I got a new Adam, 64k, no hard disk, a daisywheel printer, and a tape drive. Er, that's an audio-type tape drive. Whole thing hooked up to your TV set. It came with a 300 baud modem and a membership to CompuServe. I signed on, found the CB channel, chose the screen name GAPeach, and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I was instantly addicted to chat!
The Adam had many rabid fans, and a nation-wide network of orphanware user groups. I was a regular in the Atlanta group for two years, and had to learn how to crack the case to add Ram and move things around. Made me feel very competent!
Finally I outgrew the Adam, and chose to buy an Amiga. Can I pick 'em or what? The Amiga was far superior to the PC's on the market at the time, and more affordable than the Mac. I kept the Amiga until it was clear that Commodore was never going to market it as it deserved.
So I broke down and bought a 386. It came with a wonderful OS called GeoWorks, which was very Mac-like. GeoWorks was small, elegant, user-friendly, and of course they didn't market it worth a damn. I got Windows, and from the beginning, it was mutual hate at first sight. I bought every book on Windows I could find, read them all, and still could not comprehend how such a piece of crap had taken the computer world by storm. Clearly a victory of marketing over quality.
I struggled with it for years. I used to delete it from my hard disk regularly, saying "There, take THAT, Bill Gates!" Computer friends would come from near and far and try to explain it to me. They would install things like Norton's Desktop to make it "easier." They would re-install Windows, and as soon as they left, I would rip it right back off and go back to GeoWorks and DOSShell. I upgraded to a 486, and I was still miserable.
I despaired, and thought my computing days were over. Then my friend Val gave me her old Mac Portable, and I thought now THIS is what computing is supposed to be! I sold the 486 to a Poor Unfortunate, and now I am living in Mac Nirvana.
So please know when I make platform cracks, it's because I put in my time with my face inside my 486 CPU case, throwing interrupt switches to resolve conflicts between my mouse and my SoundBlaster card and my modem and my printer and.....in general spending the majority of my time dicking with the damn thing to get it to do something simple like let me play a friggin' GAME.
I was even willing to give Bill one last chance, and was a Win 95 Beta tester. That tipped me over the edge, because when I hated it and tried to take it off my hard disk, the predatory monster took the whole damn OS with it, and I had to reformat the hard disk and start all OVER. And when I found out that joining MSN quietly sent all the information about what was on my hard disk directly to Microsoft headquarters, I became convinced that I don't want to do business with a company that invasive.
Life is too short to be using Windows which is, I am convinced, both sentient and evil.
Well, you did go look up "curmudgeon," didn't you?
Along the way, I became a member of Prodigy, Delphi, Genie, and a charter member of AOL (1991), back when it had about 35,000 members. It was nice then, and not (how can I say this kindly?) the mess that it is today. I worked as a volunteer there for four years in various forums; the gay and lesbian forum, the education forum (I taught online psych courses), and Destination Florida. I learned every aspect of forum management, so when eWorld opened, I was ready, and submitted proposals for the three forums that became Transformations, Women Online Worldwide, and QWorld.
Now I am President of Southern Interactive Services, Inc., a company dedicated to building communities on the Web. With my partners, Les Perkins and Dara Schumaier, and the many staff members who are shareholders, we are making that dream a reality.
I want to put in a thank you to my friend Paul Harmon (Mazerine), artist extraordinaire, bon vivant, gentleman, and creative genius. My favorite icons are Paul's work. Each is an exquisite gem, a miniature treasure which he gives freely. LeoGeo, above, is his.
Who wouldn't love a man who spends half the year in Nashville, and the other half at his studio in Paris?