A trip down geek-memory lane

A couple of weeks ago, I imported all my old saved email from my indiana.edu account while searching for a receipt from an order I made before moving to Alaska, and promptly forgot about it. Today, while searching through my mailboxes for an order I had just placed with Apple, I stumbled upon this message:

From: Apple Mailing Lists Info
Subject: Info – Apple Mailing Lists
Date: January 22, 1996 8:51:18 AM AKST
To: Ryan Ridge

Here is the current listing of Apple Mailing Lists maintained in the
info.apple.com domain by the Apple Support Information Services group. Thank
you for inquiring!

How To Subscribe to Apple Mailing Lists
Article Created: 12 May 1995
Article Reviewed/Updated: 20 December 1995

Apple Computer, Inc. provides a number of mailing lists that can keep you
informed of the latest information in the following areas.

NEWS FLASH: AS of 21-Nov-95, all commands (subscribe, unsubscribe and help)
for Apple Directions Express mailing list should be placed in the Subject
field.

NEWS FLASH: AS of 23-Oct-95, all commands (subscribe, unsubscribe and help)
for infoalley, pressrel, newhdw and swupdates mailing lists should be placed
in the Subject field.

1) Apple Press Releases – receive copies of all press releases created by
Apple.

2) Apple Information Alley – receive notification, a table of contents and the
a compressed text file of the Information Alley, Apple’s technical support
journal, twice per month. Important Note: In order to use the compressed text
file of the Information Alley, you’ll need to know how to de-binhex a file
using either a commercial decompression utility like Stuffit by Aladdin
Systems or a freeware utility like DeHQX by Peter Lewis.

3) Apple Software Updates – receive notification and descriptions of each new
Apple software update posted to the Apple Software Updates areas on Apple
supported online services and Internet
sites, including eWorld. We’ll also send you information on fee-based Apple
software upgrades not posted online.

4) Apple New Hardware – receive information on the newest Apple hardware
releases, including Macintosh computers, printers, and imaging devices. All
information is extracted from the Apple Tech Info Library, Apple’s official
technical support database, which is located in the Apple Technical Support
area (shortcut: support) on eWorld.

5) Apple Developer Directions Express – Summarizes the latest Developer News
from Apple – what’s happening at Apple, how we’re doing, what we’re thinking
about, and where we’re headed. What we send you will be the latest, most
interesting, and–we hope–most useful information Apple has to offer. We’ll
try not to bug you too much–three or four times each month is what we
currently plan, but both the content and the frequency of this mailing list
may change, depending on reader feedback.

6) What’s New on Apple Developer Web Pages – receive a weekly mailing
detailing What’s New on the Apple Developer Web Pages.

7) Newton Press Releases – receive copies of all Newton related press releases
created by Apple.

8) WON (World of Newton) Weekly – a weekly review of Newton platform
information, software updates, online chats and resources, compiled by the
Newton Platform Marketing group at Apple.

Let’s see, in January of 1996 I had just been put on academic probation at IU for spending more time fiddling with my Power Macintosh 7100/80 than sitting in class during my first semester there. My parents had moved me out of the dorm room I shared with Mr. Sean Bartel, and I was living back at their house in Nashville. I was still taking a few classes, including the one required to get me off of probation, “Fundamentals of Academic Success,” or something like that. It met in some decrepit and long-forgotten one-classroom building in Ashton, with a giant furnace that never worked and a ceiling-high pile of boxes along the back wall. That building has since been bulldozed and is being replaced with something much nicer. I was also taking 2 computer classes (I originally enrolled as a biology major, with an eye towards being an optometrist – ha!), because technology captured my attention in a way that no other subject had.

Within a few months, I would start a job in landscaping and continue to perform just above adequately in whatever classes I was taking. I was still a year and a half away from making the jump from proto-geek to geek-apprentice when I would take a job at the campus computer store. But you can see the roots taking hold, right in that email up there. And this was in what we call “Apple’s Dark Days,” when they were on a serious downhill slide. A stagnant operating system (System 7.5 woo!), mundane hardware (which beige box do you like better?), and lackluster leadership. The following year would see Apple’s stock price drop to $12 a share, and then the return of Steve Jobs. I loved it all, the good and the bad.

1 thought on “A trip down geek-memory lane

  1. Justin

    Nerd!!!! ;-)

    And concurrently, your dark influence of Apple supremacy was working its way in me.

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