Smiling computer

LIFE WITH BIG MAC

(Latest update: October, 2008)
Most recent changes in red.

Shortly before I came to San Diego, my friend Adele had chided me about how antiquated my Apple IIc was in this fast-paced world. She said, "Paul, you ought to get a Mac!" I didn't think to ask her why she suggested a Mac (because she herself had several PC's, but no Mac). I just took it at face value. Then shortly after I arrived in San Diego, Carol, who lived across the street from me in Carmel Valley, gave me a really good suggestion on classes to attend. Carol told me that the San Diego Community College gave free computer classes, and you could study either Mac or PC. I investigated and found this great Mac Lab which, at the time, was a room with about 30 Macs. And this lab came equipped with a laser printer and a color scanner together with a staff of enthusiastic teachers - one of them Karen Owen has been a "teacher-of-the-month." And this great place (JPG: 28K) was located conveniently on Aero Drive across from Montgomery Field.

Added note:
The facilities have been expanded greatly, There are Macintosh computer laboratories as well as PC labs. Since I don't drive any more, I have no way of accessing the classes there any longer. And my favorite teacher, Karen Owen, long ago became a professor at Mesa Colllege. In the Mac Labs the emphasis is on graphics, and I'll give you examples of the subjects taught when I started: Adobe's PhotoShop, Illustrator, PageMill, Premier; Quark Xpress and Macromedia Director. But they are alway teaching the latest things; so for the straight story go to this page of Continuing Education Classes. And if they are as popular as they were formerly, you might think about coming at least an hour early to the initial (sign-in) class.
Speedy rabbit

I began to spend all of my weekday mornings there plus Saturday mornings and afternoons until 2pm. In no time, I was up and running like that rabbit-logo of the QuickStart books about computer programs.

I had determined quite early that I ought to combine my Spanish and computer studies; consequently, I began working on a compilation of the lyrics to my favorite Spanish songs that were to be bound into a booklet with a plastic "comb". I had learned this method from my son's father-in-law, Carl, who used this method to bind booklets of his family tree before distributing copies to the relations. In addition to the lyrics with translation hints, I decided to spice up the otherwise somewhat austere pages with many photos, drawings and other explanatory notes quite often in Spanish.

Time passed, and I began to see how much work it was going to be to complete this 33-song fest. I began to go every evening from 5:30 to 9pm in addition to the aforesaid schedule. I was retired but working "full time".

In September, 1995, I made the determination that I had to buy my own computer and printer to have the ultimate control on quality of my graphics' prints. I bought a Power Mac 8500 and an Apple LaserWriter Select 360 trying to be faithful to the Apple legend. I began printing and binding the booklets in October and over the course of the next few months was able to turn out enough for interested Spanish students in my classes and for my friends and family. It was my big project of 1995.

Then Christmas 1995 came! I thought, "Wow, what could I do differently that would be more fun?" I had always printed one of those dreaded holiday letters for my prior Christmas'. I can't remember where the idea came from now, but I decided that it would be fun and instructive for me to made a 1996 calendar with my own graphics. Now Sherry, one of the women who graduated in counseling with Helen and who resides in Pennsylvania, suggested recently that she first gave me the idea. Well, why not! Thank you Sherry!

This was to be the same type of calendar which people used to receive free from their insurance company or bank. Now glorious examples of this type of calendar are sold during the holiday season at stores that only sell calendars. Times have changed.

I added an HP ScanJet 4c (scanner) and an HP DeskJet 1600CM (color printer) and began to roll out the calendar. I finally got it in the mail just before the big Panama-Canal trip with my sister Karen. The calendar was well-received, and I have continued ever since. In addition to being able to communicate with my friends and relatives better, I am continually learning new computer skills. That's what life is all about: learning.

After a time and after color-laser printers became more affordable, I changed to an HP Color LaserJet 4500 for sharper color prints. I have never looked back. I switched to a Power Mac G-4 in 2003 and soon was using it exclusively.

And now I will leave you with one last picture from my 1997 calendar: January 1998 (JPG: 17K)- [My calendars go from January Year(X) to January Year(X+1) inclusive.]


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