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A Macintosh a day…

27 years ago, I bought an Apple II+. That was my first computer, and I have many fond memories of its 16 kilobyte wonder.

When the Macintosh came out in 1984, I really wanted one. Unfortunately, it was several thousand dollars too expensive, and I had already committed to spending several thousand dollars on a Unix based machine. Years went by: I bought an IBM compatible machine for business related reasons, and eventually ended up working almost exclusively with various types of non-Apple technology. Many Windows+Intel machines have taken their place in my home, and hundreds more have served their role in my place of work.

In recent years, I’ve spent an increasing amount of time supporting various Linux systems. I’ve always liked working with various flavours of Unix. And about a year ago, for the first time in quite a while, I bought a system other than a PC to play games- an XBox 360. Around the same time, I spent several weeks debating purchase of a laptop. These various factors have conspired to lead to today, a day that will live on in the annals of my life.

I bought a Macintosh. To be more specific, a MacBook Pro (laptop). I have a number of rationales for this. It fulfils my desire to have a personal laptop, for one thing. It also encourages/permits me to explore a collection of technology that intrigues me: the Mac operating system is Unix-based (BSD), and has a ton of intriguing user interface characterstics.

The last factor that comes to mind is that having another machine allows me to split out one “group” of activities into their own environment. I play games on my home PC, I work on my work laptop…where do I learn? If I try to complete some self study on my home computer, I am prone to interrupting myself to “play”..and similiarly work interrupts me on my work machine. Yeah, there are a lot of less expensive ways to accomplish the same end, but this way I get to accomodate my desire to play with a Macintosh.

So…am I a PC guy, or a Mac guy? Personally, I think I’m just a geek, either way πŸ™‚

8 comments to A Macintosh a day…

  • Yeah, but can you play battlefield 2 on it? *hint*

    Actually if you can afford to have lots of computers, why not have a mac? Or a pc? Or a linux box?

    I can see that people that have to spend time fixing machines that they wouldn’t choose would really hate it. I can see why if you can’t get the computer you really want and have to settle for something you aren’t comfortable using you would hate it…

    But the whole Mac vs PC thing is really irrelevant for most people and isn’t based on functionality ( as evidenced by the “hip” and fashion aspects of Mac ownership.)

    I buy PC’s because it’s what I’m used to, what makes up my network and because they are cheaper. And that’s pretty much it. If I really believed Mac’s ran and performed in daily use significantly better than PC’s I’d buy them, especially if the price were closer.

    Computers have become appliances, and really how silly is it to go around saying you are a “Maytag guy” or a “Whirlpool guy” πŸ˜‰

  • So far, I’m finding that the Mac experience is pretty good. It connected to my wireless network without a hitch (found it during install, asked me what the password was, and connected). I have found that things are just different enough in Mac land to keep me amused. Example: Ctrl-C / Ctrl-V doesn’t copy and paste. And programs, by default, don’t close when you close their windows- they just minimize.

    I won’t have the latest/greatest version of OS X, 10.5 or “Leopard”, for a week or so- the machine came pre-installed with 10.4, and although I get a free (sorta) upgrade, I have to order it from Apple. Supposedly it has a bunch of snazzy new features- I’ll see when I get it.

    As for being a PC or a Mac guy- I’m with you, although probably for somewhat different reasons. I don’t really see computers as “appliances”, exactly, but I don’t see sufficient grounds for the schism between users of different platforms. The Mac platform can be more “elegant” than windows by virtue of the fact that Apple controls the entire experience: hardware and software. But when 90% of the folks out there have Windows, using a Mac can be a frustrating experience at times.

  • Well, you are the “maytag repairman” πŸ˜‰ Your job and to a large extent life revolves around these machines, but for the average user, that is pretty much what a computer is now, an appliance.

    The thing I find funny is that I come across people that are rabid about Macs, hardly ever have used a PC, and talk about it’s “better user interface”, and these people would have perhaps been 5, if that, when the Mac came out.

    Back then, there was a world of difference between Mac and Dos … it wasn’t for a full 6 years that something comparable in the shape of windows 3.1 came out.

    But these folks have never seen that… it’s sort of like saying Ford is the best because the model T was better than the competition 100 years ago.

    I think it really is motivated by a fear of being a “nerd”. “Macs are hip, so if I use one I’m still cool.” And the backlash is probably the same antipathy that the geeks have always felt for the “in crowd” that shunned them.

    Hardly any of it has anything to do with the actual machines or user experience.

  • Oblivions

    Easy now,for the record I remember working in DOS quite proficiently until the windows interface took away my ability to actually work within my compy and simple told me what I apparently wanted. Apparently.

  • You like Macs, you don’t like windows… that’s fair. Trust me you are nowhere near the rabid level of the people I’m talking about πŸ˜‰

    ( Gets out cane and old man clothes… ) All these young whippersnappers should have to program a comp by flicking switches on the front panel like we had to on the ole PDP8, I tell ya! No schmarmy user interfaces then… just man and machine locked in combat! You young un don’t know how good you have it… your all soft I tell ya! Spoiled and soft!

    πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  • I think that was a PDP4 we had at McNally- the one with the 100 pound external memory expansion chassis…4 kilobytes of core RAM πŸ˜‰

    I don’t see that the Macintosh OS is that much better than Windows. Different- absolutely. More elegant- in many ways, yes, but that is arguable. I find Windows fairly intuitive after fifteen or twenty years of use. Some things on the Mac strike me as weird: like the persistent “you really only need one mouse button…and an Apple key” silliness.

    I like my MacBook Pro, and so far it is working pretty well. Would I have bought it as my only computer? That would depend on what I was using it for.

    Would I recommend a Mac to my Mom as easier to use than Windows? Nope. There are a bajillion weird and wonderful option key combinations and strange concepts like files that behave like hard drives that make it rather hard for me to believe that a “neophyte” user would find it any easier.

    For someone who was tech-savy and has a pretty clear list of things they want to do, and who understands the drawbacks of not using the “most popular OS in the world”…the Mac and OS X definitely has some upside.

  • Oblivions

    Hey it wasn’t a Mac vs. Windows comment. I am just pointing out that that aspect of the newer OS’ is kind of frustrating especially when trying to trouble shoot and you can’t get at that the real problem is anymore. That started, BTW, in Mac OS 9 and got even better in 10(.x).

  • OBlivions

    And that you are not as crotchety and old as you make out or that makes ME old. And I am not ready to leap that hill just yet, thank you very much! πŸ˜›

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