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We acquired our first two family computers while I was in middle school. They were both hand-me-downs at the right price (free).

Our first family computer was an Apple II+. One of my middle school teachers discovered that we didn't have a computer at home, and told my dad that if we would come over and get it out of her basement, it was ours.

She also warned us that the screen was green. She wasn't kidding...

I remember that this computer was well-configured. It had the full 48K of RAM, a language card, and one Disk II floppy drive. It had a decent, though very green, monochrome aftermarket monitor. And it had the Apple DOS 3.3 disk – I could save BASIC programs, yeah!

We never did get Oregon Trail for it... though I never asked for it, either.

Shortly thereafter, we acquired our second family computer, an IBM Portable PC. Mom's boss had upgraded computers in the office, and told her that she could take one home.

Portable means it had a handle.

This computer was equally well-configured. It had the full 640K of RAM, two 5.25" floppy drives, a built-in 9-inch monochrome amber monitor, and the aforementioned handle. There was an IBM slipcover box with it, which I believe it was PC-DOS 2.10.

I remember one difference clearly: The IBM didn't have BASIC...

We had these two computers side-by-side for a couple years. I do remember using both computers: the Apple II+ for writing BASIC programs, and the IBM for more mundane things.

I might have the table that these two computers sat on in my possession. Perhaps I should repurpose it for vintage computing...

The teacher that oversaw the middle school computer lab gave me a fitting nickname: MacDaddy.

If anything, my nickname was inspired by Kris Kross, not by any definition you might find today by inadvertently including a space.

He even came up with a cool little ditty to go along with it: "I want to be a MacDaddy, MacDaddy." Unlike other nicknames I was given by classmates, I wore this nickname proudly.

I guess I still am a MacDaddy, because there's a good chance I can help you with your questions about the Mac.... I have to admit, though, that I have not been a continuous Mac user since middle school.

My parents bought a PC the summer before I started 9th grade. A Mac was simply not in the budget... But since the school system started switching to PCs while I was in high school, perhaps this was for the best.

I also continued to use a PC while in college. It would have been otherwise difficult to run the required software on a Mac.

Since the Intel transition didn't happen until several years after I graduated college, the only option at the time would have been to emulate x86 on PowerPC... a slow proposition, indeed.

But within six months of graduating college, I was back to being a Mac user. And I'm glad to say that, unlike my middle school days of using a Macintosh LC running System 7, the current macOS is a powerful and stable operating system.

And Catalina is on its way... The MacDaddy'll make you jump, jump. Uh huh, uh huh.

While I was in middle school, we received an assignment to write a fictional short story. I remember this assignment was given around the time when we had to research a company, and I had recently received a copy of Apple's Annual Report in the mail.

I decided to write a story about Apple Computer that included them having a secret submarine that could dock at their corporate headquarters:

Yeah, about that: looks like I should have consulted a map first, as Cupertino, California is land-locked...

Maybe Apple had a secret underwater tunnel from the San Francisco Bay to their headquarters... they could have had a secret submarine after all!

In middle school, we had a computer lab of Macintosh LC computers, and a teacher that knew how to keep the lab running smoothly. Warranty issues, though, had to go through an Apple Authorized Service Provider.

I remember one of my classmates having an issue on the LC they were using. I don't remember what the issue was, only that it must have been a warranty issue.

A few days later, that LC was gone from the lab. Our teacher commented on the repair status: the technician said the computer needed a "Function Level Reset".

In the pause between his two sentences, I'm already thinking that sounded like a made-up repair.

Sure enough, our teacher continued commenting that he has never heard of a "Function Level Reset".

To this day, I've still never heard of a "Function Level Reset" in the context of computer repair. (I even checked the Macintosh LC service manual, it's not in there.) All I've been able to figure is that this technician came up with a fancy name for "software restore"...

I was a kid once, and perhaps I'm still a kid. A big kid, that is...

I don’t remember what led me to finding a BASIC programming book for children during one fortuitous trip to the public library. It might have happened by accident, or because I was looking for a book on the next shelf over. But I remember checking it out and taking it to school a number of times.

It was a fascinating concept to my fifth-grade mind: you can write your own programs for the computer, not just run programs from the box of disks beside it!

And the best part about the book? It says that the programs in the book will work on the Apple II+ or the Apple IIe. This was great, because there was an Apple IIe in our classroom, and it was the easiest to get time to use! While I still wanted time on the Macintosh LC, that Apple IIe became my favorite as I still had programs to try from the book.

Note that our computer time happened at the end of the school day, if there was time left over after the daily lesson plans were completed. And at some point, my teacher started a weekly chart of who could use which computer on which day of the week when time permitted, to be updated monthly... only for her to stop updating it several months later (I was stuck with Apple IIe time). Bad for my desire to explore the Macintosh, but good for my exploration of BASIC programming.

My time with that yellow book started me down a path to wanting to learn more about computers... but the history doesn't end there.

Sometime in the past few years, I started thinking about that yellow book, and wanted to locate a copy of it for posterity. I couldn't remember the exact title or the author — all I could remember was that this yellow book was a BASIC programming book for children from the early-to-mid 80's, and that this book covered six different computers, including the Apple IIe, the Commodore 64, the TI 99/A, the TRS-80, something from Atari, and something from Timex Sinclair.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the book actually covered six different manufacturers, which complicated my efforts to find the book. And yes, my first check was of the library's online catalog for books on BASIC, just in case they still had the book. (Nope.)

About a year ago, after discovering that the Internet Archive has archives of computing-related printed materials, I decided to try searching their catalog and scrolling through the results, all in the hopes that I saw a familiar-looking cover. Success at last!

I once again know the title of that yellow book from the library: BASIC Programming for Kids by Roz Ault. And I can share that book with you, right here!

And if you happen to know Roz Ault, let her know that I said thank you for writing that book.