Friday Notes #47 — From My Personal Archives

Where were you in 1986? Do you remember what were you up to at that time? I do.

Remember 1986? Where were you? What were you doing? Thanks to a picture sent to me recently from my stepbrother, I do remember. I was in college studying computer science. Studying and learning computer-related things played an essential role in my life at the time. The picture above is me with my Mac 512Ke and an imagewriter printer that can be seen on the left side; a dot matrix printer made by Apple. It was also the year of the Macintosh Plus introduction. I remember bringing my computer to classes to use MacDraw to create diagrams and take notes during each course. My friends looked at me like if I was coming from another planet. I was geeky, but I was experiencing the future. Someone had to do it, right?

You may wonder why this picture is so pixelated. It was taken with a device called MacVision made by Koala Technologies. This device was connected to Mac’s serial port. It was a slow RS-422 interface with a DB-9 connector. Taking a picture took quite some time, about 20 seconds. The image was simultaneously shown on the screen as the camera scanned the scene. It was pretty cool for that time. The horizontal lines on the image come from the printed version coming from the imagewriter. My stepbrother sent me via iMessage a photographed version of the printout.

Do you realize how much progress computer-based photography has made in 35 years? This is mind-blowing. It makes me remember a quote from Bill Gates that I read yesterday somewhere: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” He is so right.