Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Happy Anniversary, Mac! Here's My Audio Contribution to the 1984 Shareholder's Meeting Party

Yesterday was the Mac's twenty-first "birthday," and the Internet is humming with a QuickTime movie of Steve Jobs unveiling the first Mac at Apple's 1984 shareholder's meeting.

According to some reports, the clip is from a "missing 1984 video" and contains "never-before-seen" footage. It's a nice story, but the reality isn't quite as romantic.

The complete video of Apple's 1984 shareholder's meeting is alive and well in Apple's corporate marketing archives. Apple's public relations department sent me a VHS dub of it ten years ago, and I've shown bits and pieces of it at user group meetings since then. I even used some of it in a CD-ROM that I produced in 1994 to accompany my long-out-of-print Macworld Complete Mac Handbook.

To add my small, bandwidth-friendly contribution to the 1984 noise, I extracted the audio track from my 1994 CD's movie and posted it as an AAC audio file. In this 548K download, Steve Jobs describes the Mac's components one-by-one, praising "the 3.5-inch disk as the disk of the 80s." Indeed, Steve is in his usual hyperbolic form; anyone who has listened to a recent keynote address will feel right at home. It's four minutes of happy driving down memory lane.

In 1984, I was the Senior Technical Editor of Kilobaud magazine. Our staff traveled to Cupertino several times in the fall of 1983 to meet with members of the Mac team, and we got our own Mac prototype in November of that year. For a month or so, I had the pleasure of walking to work in the snowy town of Peterborough, New Hampshire with an unannounced Mac in its carrying bag.

A few months later, I was surrounded by Macs and working on my very first book: on Macintosh Basic. I'll let Andy tell that story.

Happy Anniversary, Macintosh. Thanks for the insanely great ride.

UPDATED: Some people were having problems playing the QuickTime version of this audio, so I re-encoded it into AAC format -- and saved over 4MB in the process. Now you can carry 1984 with you on your iPod!