Recently we (a few of my co-workers and I) were dicussing problems we've been having with our office issued PCs. After we swapped stories about MS-Windows crashes, bashes and frustrations, I started thinking about the good ol' days of computing in the eighties.
I enjoyed computing so very much back then. This was a time when readily available computer solutions was not always at hand. We had no Internet back then and, because I was raised and later went to college in relatively small towns, there were limited BBS resources on which I could rely. So, it came down to my own creativity and skill with my C64 that got me by most of the time.
Writing computer programs was much more of an art form back then, as well. Programmers had a lot less, in the way of hardware, with which to work. Either you were creative with your code, or you were sloppy - resulting in poor performance.
Upgrades to existing systems was also not as easy (or as frequently done) as it is today - at least not in the circles in which I rubbed elbows. I had my C64 for several years before my parents bought me my C128 during the last year of college (1988). But my C64 was still used by my siblings for several years after that.
I did not replace my 128 until 1994, with an IBM PC clone and Windows 3.1. After that, my self reliance with my PC slowly dissolved, as Microsoft made it very difficult to do things on your own. Not until years later, and the birth of Linux, would I find computing as enjoyable as I did back in the mid/late eighties.
Anyway, if you look back at the older machines and what you could actually do with them - especially the Commodore 64 and 128 - you'd be amazed. I'm impressed with how innovative some software developers were back then.
This is a C64, with an 8-bit, 1mHz processor, with 64K of RAM and was less than $400, booting the very innovative GEOS desktop interface. Other than the Macintosh (at three to four times the price and no where near the functionality), it was the only mass-market PC offering such a easy-to-use GUI desktop at the time.
The C64 takes less than 4 seconds to boot up. To get GEOS working, it takes another 40 seconds to load and run it from disk. Puts any dual-core, 2GB PC running XP or VISTA to shame. The only PC that comes close to this boot-up time is my eeePC running Mandriva. As for comparing it to today's Mac, I have no idea. I've never been suckered in to wasting money on that over-priced Mac stuff, so I have nothing to compare.
The Commodore C64 was the PC that really made the personal computer industry into we know and take advantage of today. It was the first computer made for the masses, rather than the classes.
If it weren't for Commodore and their innovations and forward visioning, PCs would have remained only for those who could build their own machines from kits and those who had wads of cash to spend on them. Because before Commodore (PETs and VIC-20s), you had your choice of buying a very expensive main-frame (IBM), or a slightly less expensive machine that you had to build from a kit on your own (Apple).
After all of these years, I still adore my Commodore 64.