I admit I sunk my teeth into the Mac very early on — in 1991, in Switzerland. In 1990, I was given a test drive on an old Apple (pre-Mac!) machine, where I completed this oddly-named course called Type to Learn. I was the first-ever student in the whole class to finish it in that year, which kind of made my Chinese parents happy (since the Chinese, Asians etc were supposed to be best in class, yotta yotta yotta…).
I remembered from very early on that this in essence gave me a “licence” to test-drive the Mac much earlier. I’m talking about the pre-Mac OS era: back in the day this was System 6.0.7. If you could imagine a compact, all-in-one Mac in greyish-platinum, capable of running only one app at a time in black and white, this was it.
The Swiss had some kind of nationwide obsession with the Mac, it seemed, even though Apple Switzerland (as in the office) wasn’t reality until 1995. It wasn’t like that made any difference, though: before the Wallisellen office was set up, the nation was already engulfed in Mac mania. I was invited in 1995 to an office which was completely run by Macs. ▶
Sometimes, a conversation that starts online continues offline. And lots of miles can be involved in this.
This happened to me yesterday, when I spoke to the East Bay Macintosh User Group (EBMUG). It’s obviously not your Mac user group next door, this being on in America, and not China, but I thought if I made it all the way to San Francisco, I’d might as well check EBMUG out and give a talk there as well.
We went through a bit of the I-80 and passed through parts with iPod ads before getting there — attendance was pretty good at around 20 or so people. My talk, of course, was about Apple and the Macintosh in China, and I showed them the Chinese Mac world, featuring ads, Apple Authorized Retailers, and much more. Thankfully, my 17-inch PowerBook G4 was “big enough” so at least those in the front row could catch a quick glimpse. ▶
Yesterday, I was the “question master” at the MacFans 2002 party, which was held at Jade Palace Hotel, not far from Zhongguancun, the heart of IT and computers in Beijing.
I had been taking part in their BBS forums for some time. In fact, when we co-founded the Beijing Macintosh User Group in March 2002, it took place at the same time as a MacFans club meeting, also in Zhongguancun.
It was my job to run around quizzing people, on all aspects of the Mac, both well-known and obscure. We did have a few errors here and there, but overall, it was a very exciting party to be a part of. ▶
The first-ever meeting of BeiMac, the Beijing Macintosh User Group, took place on 2 March 2002 took place at Fangzheng Tower in Chengfu Road, Zhongguancun, Beijing, China. Present were David, former Founding President and now Interim Leader, as well as others, including the non-executive first members, well-known in the Chinese Mac community. A close friend and fifth member also participated in the meeting, although – sad to say – he left early, since he had something else that afternoon/evening. The entire MUG actually began with this meeting, when it was declared that the MUG has been officially created.
The meeting took alongside a similar one conducted by MacFans Beijing, another Beijing MUG. That meeting went successful as well, although the synchronised meeting meant some shuffling back-and-forth for some BeiMac members. Still, the Beijing MacFans meeting (not to be confused with BeiMac; these are two separate MUGs coexisting in peace and harmony) was truly a mobile mogul’s dream come true. Suddenly, we met people who used all kinds of laptops – Apple laptops. We had an old PowerBook G3, tonnes upon tonnes of PowerBook G4s (apparantly the Titanium PowerBook G4’s appeal seeped all the way into China), and some iBooks. Our BeiMac group added two more to the list: the 14″ iBook, and the old iBook SE (grey clamshell).▶