It’s Hard to Believe I Once Used a Macintosh SE/30 for Page Layout and Other Critical Tasks

Apple Macintosh SE30 with Apple Standard
Keyboard and Apple Desktop Bus Mouse.

In January of 1989, Apple introduced the Macintosh SE/30, an upgrade to the SE model. This new one had a whopping 30 MBs (yes…that’s megabytes) as its hard disk drive. I bought one shortly after its introduction and thought I died and went to heaven to have that much storage for files.

At the time this machine was the best one I could afford since, when introduced, its retail cost was US$4,369 (equivalent to $9,011 in 2019) but I got a deal through a buddy that worked at Apple so saved nearly 40%.

The good news? The unbelievable productivity I gained owning it was totally worth it, especially as it allowed me to accelerate my learning of Aldus PageMaker (which was acquired by Adobe in 1994) and thus my wife and I were able to launch our company, Marketing Directions, Inc. (we began publishing newsletters and reports).

The screen was only nine inches diagonally and was monochrome…mainly because the color Mac II — which was introduced in 1987 — cost an incredible US$5,498 (equivalent to $12,373 in 2019). No way could I afford it, even with a discount, as we’d been married for less than three years and our daughter Liz was not yet one year old.

Using this new computer was liberating, especially since I could store so many files on the hard disk. That said, scrolling from side to side and up and down to perform page layout on an 8.5″ by 11″ page was kind of a nightmare. But with the dozen or so books I’d purchased on graphics, desktop publishing, page layout, and typography, I was able to muddle through, design a newsletter and reports layout, and make it work. (As a reminder, this was early 1989 and the reason I bought all of those books to learn how to create professional-level published works was because there was not a public internet available for five more years. It was also many years past before there were a robust set of needed publishing resources available online).

The desktop of Mac OS 7.6.1 with the Apple menu opened on a Macintosh 9″ screen. Copyright information is here.

When I think back on that time (now 31.5 years ago!) I’m still kind of amazed that I was able to leverage this machine in those ways. I will still emphatically state that, if it hadn’t been for the Macintosh and its innovations, our company would never have begun, it would have been unlikely that I ended up working in interactive media, computing, and internet-centric software companies for the remainder of my career. Without my embrace of the Macintosh and its technology ecosystem, I would have just been another tech geek futzing around with Windows, various gadgets, while struggling to make them work together.

A few of the original developers of the Macintosh — Steve Jobs is on the right

I also would not have met Steve Jobs and a few of the Macintosh team while a manufacturer’s rep in the early 1980s, made great friends through Apple, kept stock earned by me while working with Apple in the mid-Nineties, and accumulated enough stock after that to now have a very comfortable retirement. So thank you Steve wherever you are, to Steve Wozniak for kickstarting the company with Jobs, to every human who pushed Apple forward since the beginning, and for today’s outstanding leadership from Tim Cook and his team which is carrying Apple in to the future.

We continue to invest in Apple products and services and are “all in” to the secure, private and amazingly great Apple ecosystem.

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2 Comments

  1. PXLated on July 31, 2020 at 1:21 pm

    Memories…Did a 300 page integrated circuit catalog on an SE30, Burnt out a LaserWriter printing proofs 🙁



  2. Martin on August 1, 2020 at 1:11 am

    In 1987 I returned to the UK from a visit to Phoenix, Az. and wrote my first book on a BBC B Microcomputer with 16kB of usable memory. I transferred that via floppy disc to an Apple Mac Plus owned by the business, which my brother worked for. This Mac, like yours, Steve, had a 9″ monochrome screen. It had a whopping 10 MB external Hard Drive, which it sat upon. It also had MS Word installed. This was July ’87 – a few months before MS Word first became available for Windows PCs. My brother and I managed to load the text of my book into MS Word and formatted it with chapters and headings plus images! Then we left it printing to an A4 Apple LaserWriter while we went for lunch. A few weeks later, the book was in print and made me a nice profit. A few months after that, the company decided to upgrade their computers and I got that Mac Plus system for free! Some years later, I upgraded to a Mac Color Classic. Later I bought an LCII then a Quadra 650 then a dual CPU G4 mirrored drive doors and, since then, I bought so many Macs that I don’t recall them all. Currently, I have a bunch of early 2011 and a mid 2012 MacBook Pro in my office. Later models have poor keyboards and are difficult to upgrade so I’m not rushing out to buy any.



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