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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell

From Classic to Cocoa, via Carbon

If I close my eyes, I can picture the classic Mac OS laid out before me. I can imagine every menu, every mouse gesture, the sound of the Mac SE chime, even depressing the reset switch after a hard crash.

The thing is, I didn’t become a Mac user until early 1990. I had used two other computers before I found the Mac. I can’t remember anything about the Commodore PET other than the READY. prompt. The Apple IIe made a bigger impression, but in retrieving all my old disks from that period, I discovered that I remember almost nothing beyond how to control a few of my favorite games.

I’m not sure quite why the classic Mac is so indelible, though some of it has to be its consistency. In the early days of the personal computer, you either had no user interface, or every user interface was different. My Commodore PET was an all-text experience.…

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