This site focuses on my adventures with Apple products: Macintosh computers and iOS devices. Here's some background that goes beyond what's covered elsewhere on the site.
My interest in computers dates back to the 1970s. From HP programmable calculators to a mainframe system running Honeywell's Multics OS, I was soon hooked. By the early 1980's, I was using an Apple II at work. In 1983, I decided it was time to get my first home computer. I was about to buy an Apple IIe when word of the Macintosh began to leak out. So I waited. In January 1984, I went to a local computer store the day that the Mac hit the shelves. A few minutes later, my mind was made up. The Macintosh was the train to the future and I wanted to get on board. I bought one that day.
My desire to learn about the Mac went far beyond what I needed to know for my "day job" as a professor. I found myself tinkering with the Mac just for the fun of it. The first time I ever got paid for writing about the Mac was when I submitted a tip to MacUser. The tip explained how to edit the "Welcome to Macintosh" text that appeared on the screen at startup. MacUser published the tip and paid me $25.
MACazine, MacUser, and Macworld. My initial "Mac job" was as a writer (and later, a contributing editor) for the MACazine (Bob LeVitus was its editor!). My first article was published in June 1987. I had submitted it in response to the magazine's request for brief articles from readers. Bob called me to say they were going to run the article. He also asked if I would be interested in writing more stuff for them. I thought about it for maybe two seconds, and said yes. And thus, my Mac writing career began. I wrote several more articles over the next year - after which the magazine unfortunately folded. I prefer to think that my arrival and the magazine's departure were unrelated.
In 1988, I began writing for MacUser. At first, all I did was product reviews. Eventually, I graduated to feature articles and columns, becoming a contributing editor along the way. This wonderful relationship lasted until 1998, when MacUser and Macworld "merged" (essentially MacUser was terminated, and Macworld survived).
I too survived the merger and became a contributing editor for Macworld, which I remain today. My official titled changed in 2006 from Contributing Editor to Senior Contributor.
Starting in 2007, I began writing the Bugs & Fixes column for Macworld.
Macworld | iWorld. I attended my first Macworld Expo in Boston in 1987. If you were there, you might have seen me working at the MACazine booth. I have attended virtually every San Francisco and Boston/New York Macworld Expo from 1987 to the present (now called Macworld | iWorld). In the 1990's, I began presenting sessions at the Expo, and have continued to do so.
Books, MacFixIt, Mac Observer, and MacNotables. For information about the books I've written, the MacFixIt website I created, my User Friendly View columns in The Mac Observer, and my MacNotables podcasts, see the relevant other parts of this site.
Personal recognition. I was twice included in the MDJ Power 25 (2000 and 2001) as one of the 25 most influential people in the Mac community. In 2007, I was included on the MacTech 25, another list of the most influential Mac people.
Steve Jobs: 1955-2011. Steve Jobs' death affected me in a surprisingly personal way, especially considering that I never met the man. You can find my reflections here:
- Steve Jobs (Slanted Viewpoint posting)
- Steve Jobs and the Miracle on 4th Street (Macworld article)
- In Memoriam - Steve Jobs (Your Mac Life audio segment)
Beyond Apple stuff
Throughout all of my Mac career (and even before), I have been a professor of Psychology at Oakland University (in Michigan). I retired in 2005, and I am now a Professor Emeritus. After my academic retirement, we moved back to the San Francisico Bay area, where (many years ago) I received my doctorate at U.C. Berkeley and met my wife.
My area of speciality was biological psychology, working with how hormones affect behavior. I also have a special interest in evolution and behavior, and have been a long-time "fan" of Richard Dawkins (author of The Selfish Gene). When Professor Dawkins wrote The Blind Watchmaker, he also wrote a Macintosh program to help demonstrate some of the ideas in the book. My two worlds (Psychology and Mac) briefly came together at this point: I had the opportunity to interview Professor Dawkins for an article published in the MACazine in 1988.
I mention my interest in the game of Othello here.
In more recent years, I have taken up playing blues piano.
My wife Naomi is a social worker, currently working as a consultant in Berkeley. She is the (usually) happy owner of an iMac, iPhone, and iPod.
My son Brian is currently living in Longmont, CO (near Boulder) and working at Viget as a web developer. He received his BA from Oberlin College and a Masters in Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I must have done something right when I raised him -- he is a more true-blue Apple fanatic than I am. And he knows much more about web design and multimedia software than I ever will. In December 2007, his wife Stevi gave birth to Lillia. So Naomi and I are now grandparents.
Our dog, Bailey, was my near constant companion as I worked at my computer, or did just about anything else where he was permitted to come along. He died in 2007, at the ripe old age of 16. Currently, we have two cats, Miko and Yoshi.
Updated: August 2012