I'm a Mac. I'm a PC.

author1I got my first Apple in 1983 or so, a IIC. From then on, I remained in the Apple lane, never even looking at PCs or Windows. Thanks to Photoshop and Final Cut, my ability to make just about anything on my computer expanded my creative world. Over the past quarter century, I have owned a dozen or so macs and macbooks and ipods and am responsible for the conversion of lots of my friends.
People who were not on board with Macs seemed unimaginative, conservative, clueless. The fact that they outnumbered me ten to one just confirmed my commitment. I had the same resistance to Blackberrys, until my company insisted I get one.
Maybe that Blackberry was Bill Gates’ foot in my door. Increasingly I realized that these days I do most things on-line. Sure, I use Photoshop some and edit the occasional video but the fact is I spend several hours a day on my computer and 90% of them involve the web and email. Oh, and my Blackberry has gotten me used to doing a lot of online things on the elevator, in bed, walking down the street.
Recently, the right fan on my two-year-old MacBook Pro conked out and it started making a lot of whirring noise. It also crashed quite often and the fact that I still have Tiger rather than Snow Leopard installed has become a limitation. This weekend, I decided to bite the bullet and start shopping for a new laptop. (Actually, it’s a bit laughable to call my MacBook a laptop; it is chained down to my desk by its external mouse, second keyboard, USB hub and two external backup drives. It’s been months since I was able to budge it.)
I started at the apple website, going through a shopping list of features. Okay, I want a nice fat drive, and a 3 Gig processor and extra ram and Applecare and… by the time I was done, I’d spent almost 3,500 hypothetical dollars to end up with something that seemed pretty much like what I had bought two years ago.
I wandered down to J&R electronics and looked through their wares. At first I though the prices were misprints — there were huge displays for a couple of hundred bucks, rows and rows of sleek, gleaming laptops for $600 or less. The newest thing in laptops is something small, simple and almost primitive — the netbook; no CD drive, no spinning hard drive, just a reasonable processor, a bright display, a full keyboard, and the ability to get online, all in a package that weighs a couple of pounds and is priced at roughly 1/10 of my dream MacBook.
Now there’s one obvious difference: Windows. I have always assumed that this ubiquitous operating system was ugly, confusing, non-responsive and really hard to set up (not to mention the status quo and domain of account executives, the military and Republicans). But I was willing to take the leap because I’d only be using the netbook to go online; I wouldnt even install email but do it through the browser.
I bought a navy blue Asus EEE for $375, brought it home, turned it on and with 90 seconds was connected to my Airport Express and online. I have shut down my trusty MacBook Pro to give it a well-deserved rest and will only turn it on to touch up scans and polish videos. Unless, of course, I discover I can do all that online as well.
I think I can make this transition because increasingly I have less of a relationship with my computer than with the places I go with it.
It’s more like a TV or a house phone, an appliance rather than a custom environment made just for me. I am more comfortable with being mainstream because the Internet allows me so many options. Soon enough, we will all live in the cloud of computing, where all of our files reside online and applications just appear when we need them. That’s fine with me.
I will let you know how my conversion goes…