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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

‘It’s making me think’

Adam C. Engst interviewed a 101-year-old TidBITS reader:

Adam: So you had no prior technology background before buying your first Mac Plus?

George: No, I had no previous experience using computers. When I graduated in 1940 with a degree in mechanical engineering, there were no personal computers and my principal computing instruments were a Monroe calculator and my trusty slide rule (which I still have to this day). Now I am completely dependent on my Apple devices.

Adam: Picking up personal computing when you were in your 70s is impressive—most people that age that I know aren’t tackling such complex topics.

George: It was not always easy. People would ask me if the difficulties were frustrating. I would answer by saying, “Yes, but the computer is just doing what I bought it for—it’s making me think.”

This reminds me of someone I knew, a neighbor in my hometown. Bill was in his 70s but started his own business and built a massive FileMaker database to manage his customer list, all self taught on his Mac. He knew more about the Mac than anyone else I knew in the 90s. (He was also delighted by the Talking Moose.)

As I wrote about in Macworld back in 2010:

The thing I remember most from my time with him was that he never lost his curiosity. He could easily have shrugged off computers and continued to do things the way he had always done them. Instead, he took the time to explore what technology could do for him.

The moment any of us stop trying new things just because we’re satisīŦed with what we’ve got, we cut ourselves off from the possibility of something better.

I try to remind myself this every day. I’d like to put off my entry into the Cranky Old Man Who Prefers Things As They Were In The Olden Days category as long as I can.