While on vacation I also acquired my sister’s old Macbook Air. Yes, your humble correspondent now has a Mac. Whenever it was time to replace a computer I always contemplated getting a Mac because I was just so sick of the crap Microsoft kept shoveling out that I swore I was going to leave them for good. But, I started looking at all the costs (both time and money) involved in switching and decided against it. I always more or less preferred the PC hardware selection, and you could get a very good computer for much less than an Apple. Plus, I had all of my software built up over the years that would have to be replaced, not to mention all of the app-specific data files that had no real equivalent on the Mac side. Access leaps readily to mind; I have LOTS of data in Access and although I’ve heard Filemaker is pretty good it would be a LOT of work to not only migrate them over, but then learn a whole new db system and buy it to boot. So, I avoided it.
I also always had feelings about Apple that were. . . . .complicated. I always envied the way Macs did a lot of stuff just right while you always had to keep dinking around with Winblows just make some simple thing work. The phrase “Plug and Pray” comes to mind. Plus there’s that whole Mac culture, which I always viewed as a lot of elitist snobbery. “*sniff sniff* Well, our Macs just work, you know.” Every time I walk by the local Apple Store in the last couple of years to see a line of people waiting to buy whatever new gizmo Jobs hath blessed the masses with I have to roll my eyes. Not that the Microsofties are much better. I recall with amazement people waiting in line at midnight to buy Winblows 95. “It’s the same old crap in a new box, people!” But the Mac people were always worse. “We’re so hip and kewl! Not like those icky PC ppl.”
So anyway, now I have one. The only problem is a broken ‘F’ key which I will find out today whether it’s easy to fix or not (I tried popping it back on but it doesn’t). I liked the way it just showed the available wireless networks and let me pick one. I like the way you open it up and it’s immediately ready to work. Yeah yeah, maybe Microsoft has figured that out finally, but my PC of a similar vintage takes at least a full minute before it’s finished pulling its head out of its own ass before I can actually do anything. I think the keyboard is backlit too, which is nice. I’m not bitching about every little thing though, because I’m sure a lot of the little irritants so far are a result of me just not knowing how to do things on the platform. Seems not to have a lot of the keyboard shortcuts that I love; I think they’re a massively efficient means of doing things. And only one mouse button!
Not sure what exactly I’m going to do with it, to be honest. I’m rather disinclined to make it my main machine since, as I mention above, that would require a lot of new software (EndNote, SPSS, the Access issue, etc.). And no CD/DVD drive! I might be able to function with OpenOffice, especially as I like the whole open source Unix idea (and yes, I truly love the Unix base of the Mac OS). I figure I’ll probably just fiddle with it and I’ll naturally find a place for it.
I do, however, steadfastly refuse to use it at the local coffee shop just so I look all hip and cool and sh*t.
Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s we had a few Mac people in the department, but not a lot. The sociocults used most of them [insert snarky comment here] but there were a few archys who had them. That was back with the old original Mac, which I still mostly loathe. Stupid little toy keyboard, stupid little screen, I could fire up WordPerfect and write a page and a half while they were waiting for Word to open on their tiny little screen. I’ve waxed rhapsodic* about the old IMB-type keyboards, and I wondered how those Mac people could stand using those little things. Oh well, whatever, OS/2 was still better than all of them combined! </OS/2 nerd>
* I just noticed that whole post was messed up. It’s fixed now and actually says something.
UPDATE: Got the key fixed, free at the Apple Store. So now I have it and must figure out what to do with it. I think I’m going to use it to update the files for my little talk next month.