An old friend from Los Angeles just called. Well, actually, we go back even farther than L.A., to earlier days at WMAR-TV in Baltimore. So when we talk, there’s a lot to remember. And so it was that we had a conversation about a story we were sent out to do in the early 80’s by KABC-TV. A story about new device called a Macintosh.
We arrived at the interview location to see a man seated at a desk with a little box with a screen on it. There was a slot in the box and a little square image blinking on the screen. There was also a keyboard on the desk and some other little square plastic box thingy attached to wire nearby.
A box with a screen, a keyboard and a much smaller box attached to a wire. It was not impressive. In fact, it didn’t look like much of anything at all. I began wondering if I had done something to irritate the people on the assignment desk.
Introductions were made and I asked the guy to show us what this miraculous new product was capable of. Obviously excited, he explained that what he had was a computer anybody could use and that it was capable of rendering graphics and that it was going to change everything. It was going to be huge! “Okay” I said, “So can you show us what it does?” “It looks like a typewriter” I said. He assured us it was much more than that.
My photographer got the shot she wanted and we rolled tape while the guy clicked away on the keyboard and moved the little wired thingy around on the desktop.
Then it happened.
Line by line a monochrome image of a tennis shoe began developing on the screen. A tennis shoe! It was a New Balance shoe, as I recall. I also recall thinking this was one of the dumbest things I had ever seen. Even after concluding the interview, I was sure I had seen the first and last of whatever this thing was supposed to be.
Putting together a story about it was going to be a nightmare. An electronic device that could draw a shoe. It probably didn’t matter though, as we surely would never again see or hear from Steve Wozniak and his Apple Macintosh.
(Disclaimer: This story composed on a MacBook Air)