Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Enter the Macintosh

This week’s events over the past ten days since Steve Jobs left this earth brought back memories to me during the early years of my private ophthalmology practice (1979-1984).  I had determined that I would become one of the first small practices to use personal computers to manage the business and billing side of my medical practice.  At the time there were a handful of PC based programs and perhaps only one Mac medical application.   If I remember correctly it was called Media-Mac. Today it probably would have been named iMedic.

I went the PC way and my partner decided to go Medi-Mac.  My associate was not a techie kind of doctor, he just knew it was intuitive to use and got the job done. Many of my doctor friends used Macs at home, for teaching, and giving presentations. It was great for graphics, photo cataloguing from the get-go. I don’t know if his system ever crashed.

I started off with a system from vector graphics (Z80 Vector 3) using CPM and later MSDOS when I switched to a PC from my older system which ran on a Z80 (8 bit system, if I remember correctly.

My first iteration was a single user system. The Vectorgraphic 3

 

Eventually  I needed multiple workstations and found a vendor that set up some type of multi-user system with dumb Wyse terminals. The really dumb thing was that I tried to use a terrible system. It cost me dearly over the next several years.

Apple’s designs and their software apps were intuitive, and just worked out of the box…almost forever, or until a new version was introduced not because of problems with the older version, but because Steve Jobs found a better way to do the same thing.

It’s been awhile so I had to do some research on wikipedia and also found the original vector web-site. Looking back I actually made a wise technical choice for the times, but had no prescience for what would come with Apple, IBM, and the explosion of PC clones (as non-IBM machines would come to be known). Steve had forged an agreement at the time with IBM to produce the original IBM PC’s OS known as PC-OS.

In those days main frame computers were the pinnacle of the art. Numerous iterations of PCs, and networking systems, like Novelle, Windows Server,and others would gradually chip  away at mainframes, replacing them with larger and larger networks, eventually coming around full circle to today’s  Cloud Computing with huge server centers dwarfing mainframe facilities.

What goes around come around.

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