The Keeper of the iBook


By Mark Newhouse, <>
April 24, 2000

The T-square was the bane of my existence

You can thank my seventh grade shop class for my interest in the Macintosh (or, maybe you want to curse it...). I didn't get introduced to Autocad there (in fact I wouldn't know what to do with Autocad). It was there that I found I was not cut out to be a woodworker, sheet metal worker, or draftsman. I couldn't keep my drafting pencil sharp enough, couldn't bend the sheet metal into a right angle with a tight crease, and I could not for the life of me plane a flat surface into a piece of pine (maybe that's why I like the curvy shapes of the iBooks and iMacs...). No, I simply wasn't "good with my hands," and it didn't help that I grew up with memories of watching my Dad building grandfather clocks, harpsichords and radio controlled airplanes. I would have to make do with my mind.

A geek at heart

My Dad, to his credit, never pushed me into his world, but let me experience it to the degree that I was interested. So we built model airplanes together, and I learned to fly them (never progressed to taking off and landing though), and some of my earliest memories are of watching him build things. But Dad had another interest that I gravitated to more strongly than the others. He was a geek at heart. I remember when he brought home the LED calculator. I didn't know much about math back then, but I knew those glowing red numbers were special. It wasn't really too long after that, right about the same time I was "failing" shop, that he brought home our first computer, a TRS-80.

So I inherited Dad's geek heart, but not his manual dexterity.

Flash forward a decade

I was now the teacher: seventh grade science. Our school district had purchased all of their teachers Macintosh LC computers with 12" color monitors. Something in my geek heart was stirred. I joined the technology adoption committee for the school district, and made sure our middle school science labs were equipped with computers (LC IIIs and Centris 650s), scanners, probeware, video capture cards, and the software to tie it all together.

Shortly thereafter I wrote a lab manual for using the probeware to do middle level science experiments. I used ClarisWorks 2.1 and video capture for the figures. Later I was named the science teacher of the year for innovative use of technology in the classroom. This was only made possible with Apple and the Mac.

After moving to another school to become its technology coordinator, I received a Master's degree in educational technology. From there I wrote technology, science and math curriculum at the University of Arizona. It was there that I discovered HTML. Six months ago I became the full time web designer at my current position. And became the Keeper of the iBook. I am doing what I love (and getting paid for it, too!), and I couldn't have done it without the Mac - or seventh grade shop class.

Thanks Mr. Bailard.

Mark Newhouse is the Web Designer for the public outreach arm of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories in Tucson, AZ, where he prefers bits and bytes to boards for construction materials

The iBook image is courtesy Apple Computer, Inc. The iBook icon is courtesy the Iconfactory.

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Keeper of the iBook Copyright © 2000, Mark Newhouse, all rights reserved

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