So long, and thanks for all the chips

'Hitchhiker's Guide' creator was the O.G. Apple power user

Published September 1, 2022

Hey Steve Jobs, that's not how you use it. (credit below)

In 2014, not long before he wrapped up his trivia-pantheon turn as the presenter of Q.I., Stephen Fry wrote on his website that he was the buyer of the second-ever Mac computer that was sold in Europe.

“My friend and hero Douglas Adams was in the queue ahead of me,” he wrote. “For all I know someone somewhere had bought one ten minutes earlier, but these were the first two that the only shop selling them in London had in stock on the 24th January 1984, so I’m sticking to my story.” 

Adams, the late author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, was deeply into technology, the newest Big Things and, of course, anything released by Apple. The brief biography that appeared on his book jackets in the 1980s simply said that he “lives in Islington with a lady barrister and an Apple Macintosh.” (At least his wife, the late Jane Belson, was mentioned before the computer.) 

“I’ve been a Macintosh user for as long as there have been Macintoshes, right from the very first one,” he said. “It was elegantly thought out, intuitive, and it was such a pleasure to use that you wanted to hug it. It was also ludicrously slow and underpowered, of course, but that was a small price, as Butch Cassidy said in the movie, to pay for beauty.”

Adams died at age 49 in 2001, a few months before the first iPod came out, and it’s probably safe to say that he would’ve been absolutely delighted by the iPhone, the iPad, and everything that the computer company has created in the years since. (In an August 2000 interview with MacWorld, Adams said that, if he were an Apple developer, he would create “a palmtop Mac, with always-on Internet and GPS.”) 

It also seems fitting that his final post on the message board on was about how excited he was to install the Mac OS X operating system. “I was going to wait till the summer to install it, but I succumbed and installed it last week,” he wrote. “ It takes a little getting used to, old habits are hard to reform, and it’s not quite finished (what software ever is), and much of the software that’s out to run on it is Beta. But…I think it’s brilliant. I’ve fallen completely in love with it.”

A version of this story appeared on the news page of Questionist’s parent company, Geeks Who Drink. It was mostly harmless.

Featured photo: Bernard Gotfryd – Edited from tif by Cart, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

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