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…

11 Comments

  1. Cathy (Kate) Johnson

    Yep, that pretty much covers it. I don't have $3500. Had $300, though. And truthfully, when I started out, most of my book publishers used PCs. I've got 20 years of files in that format. Dowanna mess with success–and I can do pretty much what most Mac users seem to be doing with THEIR computers. My eldest godchild is a professional photographer and does incredible Photoshop and other work, on her PC–check http://annbrownphotography.com if you find that hard to believe. Doesn't look limited to me…and I don't think you'll feel all that constrained! Good luck with it!

  2. Melinda Bilecki

    Hey, Danny! I can't tell you what a treat it is to have two posts from you in two days! Thank you for sharing your drawings yesterday and your computer adventure today. You're such an inspiration that any post you make injects a burst of good vibes and creativity into my day. ;)

  3. Kate

    And, I'm having the exact opposite problem. Frustrated with Microsoft and Mr. Gates for having to constantly upgrade all my programs at significant cost or with operating system upgrades/bug fixes eating up my hard drive space, and intentionally (seems to me) putting my Sony VAIO into extinction, I went from a PC to a Macbook last fall. My difficulty changing platforms is with my being 'logically'-bred 30 years ago versus not being a very WYSIWYG or 'intuitive' user. Yet, I'm hopeful in that the cost to change ($200 more than I planned to spend) is comparatively well less than the add-ons and time I feel I would have had to invest staying with a PC. I can't wait to see how you feel in a year or so.

  4. Jim ib Alaska

    I've been an Apple user since the Apple II+ came out (then a II GS, than a Mac), and very frankly, prefer the Apple environment over dos. None the less, the computers are tools and/or toys, not religions and I've often owned and used other machines when Apples wouldn't do what I needed or at a price I was willing to pay.

    For what you want to do, I think you'll be quite happy with your Asus eee, Danny. I bought one (a linux box, not dos) for traveling a couple of years ago and am quite happy with it.

  5. Kim H.

    I remember when we moved from DOS shell to Windows. My daughter had her first (and only) tantrum at age 4.

    She understood DOS shell, with all the writing, and having to know the difference between .doc, .exe, and .com. The pictures, they were beyond her.

    Now we're fully entrenched in the PC Windows world and she is now 19. It's funny to look back on the beginning of computers. You never really knew where they would go.

  6. Romeo Contatti

    I think that since the software on every Mac is created by the same company that makes the Mac itself, you get a completely integrated computer that’s as secure, stable, and powerful as it is elegant and easy to use. That's why i chose a Mac!

  7. Pete

    Romeo Contatti: You've just cut and pasted that text from Apple's website!! See http://www.apple.com/getamac/whymac/

  8. vicki

    I rejected Macs in the 80s for the simple reason that it cost almost half as much to get a pc that could let me create to my heart's content on Photoshop and Publisher…and I was poor and a photographer. I simply could not afford Mac and the photo equip I needed. And I've never needed to wear fashionable labels either.
    The college I taught at had all macs in the art dept….and boy, what a nightmare trying to stay within budget to keep up with them…and to learn how to trouble shoot.

    I've never been jealous of my colleagues' macs, even though they certainly have made it clear that they considered me uncool to work on a PC–even though they admired and respected the work I made on it.

    Isn't that the real bottom line?

    It's time for me to upgrade now…and after working for 10 days on my friend's G4, MacBook and that mac air (I think that's what is called)…as a test drive….I'm still not tempted to spend almost 2x more just for the apple on the lid.

    Call me uncool, but I like getting more for my money. And no headaches (knock wood!!) with my PCs for the past 20+ years.

  9. Lainer

    Now, I have the opposite experience. I've never had issues with my Macintosh. Can't say that about PCs. I agree with you, Danny. If I could do all of this online, I would just buy any ol' computer. Unfortunately, I use Photoshop extensively for my photography, so, unless Adobe comes up with an online way of doing it, and I don't have to spend more money to buy a computer, I'd switch to whatever to do this. I love Macintosh, and I like PCs fo various reasons. I would prefer a mac, but they are expensive. I just don't want to spend that kind of cash anymore. I want to get off that rollercoaster.

  10. Lainer

    Oh, yeah. If I got an Asus, it would also be with Linux, not Windows.

  11. Rock Kyndl

    I would love to know what websites you consistently frequent.

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