On a humorous note, someone might point out that it was Apple’s clutches and not arms into which I was welcomed.
This blog is going to be longer then normal, so bear with me.
One of my readers recently asked a pertinent question about how the MacBook and the iPad compare. In meaning to answer the question, I also realized I should blog about the One Year Anniversary of getting my MacBook and how I came to be a so-called "Apple person."
Since I was a kid, I had wanted a computer. The first computers I used were at school, where my mom was a teacher. Effectively using those computers required technical knowledge of sorts. You turned the computer on, and after about 5 minutes of strange text scrolling up the screen and the computer beeping at random intervals, you would see a black screen with green text that said:
The underscore symbol, of course, would be a flashing cursor, and then you would have to type long pathways to find the games and whatever else was on the computer. This process was difficult, frustrating, and made using computers not such a joyous experience.
Later, my uncle gave us a computer, probably one of his old ones; I’ve never asked. Said computer was great for my brother and me and ran Windows 95.
Of course, our parents had absolutely no idea how to run the computer, so my brother and I were left to sink-or-swim on it, learning most everything by trial-and-error.
For anyone who has ever used Windows 95, you understand what I mean when I say there were far more errors than trials.
I think we acquired this computer in 1996 or 1997; we then got the internet at the end of 1998’s school year. That was a whole new experience, but because of how slow the computer was, it didn’t actually mean much- the connection was 14.4 kbps, which in this day and age would equate to almost nothing perceptible happening.
The computer was so old that when it would disconnect from the internet, it would simply freeze the entire system, and the computer would have to be reset.
Eventually, that computer all but destroyed itself and wouldn’t connect to the internet. So at the end of 1999, we acquired a new computer- and the internet again- to my excitement.
This was the point where I began to name the computers. The original one was named "Trixie" because of how unstable it was; the new one, which ran Window 98, was named "Jewel" because of how precious it was at the time.
However, reality can be cruel at times, and we soon discovered that Jewel wasn’t much faster than Trixie. Jewel was fast enough for us to finally see that the internet sometimes disconnected itself, for whatever random reason, and then we realized that’s what had frozen Trixie so many times.
Three years after dealing with Jewel’s malfunctioning, in came a much better (so we thought) computer, a huge, ominous, black Dell computer, featuring Windows XP. Provided, Windows XP was prettier than the Windows 95 and Windows 98, but it was unfortunately still more of the same malfunctioning and random crashes.
The new Dell, with reference to how powerful we thought it might be, was dubbed "Deus Machina," which would be very poor Latin meaning "God Machine."
Again, it was much faster…at the beginning. Then it quickly became the same old story again. Loading times were terrible, shutting down times were terrible. Viruses and spyware appeared on the computer from virtually nowhere. Windows was always running a number of programs in the background for no apparent reason, many of which were constantly updating themselves or programs that we didn’t use.
Also, the Dell came with all kinds of "Dell Picture Studio" products that were actually sample programs that you would then have to pay for, and of course, they weren’t that great, so we weren’t going to pay money for them.
Perhaps the most insidious program on the Dell was the Norton Anti-virus reminder that the Anti-virus had expired, for there was absolutely no way to delete it off the computer. Much like Glinda’s words about Dorothy’s Red Ruby Slippers in the face of the Wicked Witch of the West, there it was and there it would stay.
One interesting note is that the mouse malfunctioned the very first time we turned on the computer. Resetting it was the only thing that worked; this happened again later, and the solution was to uninstall the mouse- and then it worked. That kind of shows how wacky the Windows program is, already malfunctioning out of the box.
Then came the Dell Laptop I got for my 20th birthday. This was one of the more painful experiences, because it involved being severely ripped off by a crippled Mormon who all but raped my family’s bank account by charging $1200 for a Dell Inspiron 6000 in 2004. If you understand prices of computers, marketing, and so on, then you’ll understand why I equate this with financial rape.
Now, I liked having a laptop- don’t get me wrong. They’re incredibly nice, and I was naturally appreciative of it.
Again, remember that it was running Windows- this is like saying you’ve taken poison, and it’s only a matter of time before you die.
The laptop was never officially named, as a side note.
Slow down, viruses, general malfunctions, we’ve heard this story before, right?
Someone I knew before got an iMac at the Christmas of 2007. I didn’t really pay attention to this at the time, and I didn’t really use the iMac but once to check MySpace. The whole Apple and Mac phenomonon had been going on for a while, sweeping by me while I largely ignored it and chalked it up to elitism.
While sitting in my philosophy class in the Autumn of 2008, I was watching the computer screen on my teacher’s computer, which was runing Windows Vista. The screen looked much nicer and had an analog clock on it instead of just a digital one. So, I took it upon myself to clean up my computers at home, to make them look nicer.
And the journey began.
The Mac computers, I knew, looked much cleaner than the PCs I had been using. So this is where I started, trying to customize my computers to look like a Mac, to be clean.
Then I began to read about Macs.
The aesthetics of OS X.
The stability of the operating system.
The intuitive use of the programs.
The enthusiasm Mac-users have versus the general blah or indifferent nature of computing that most PC-users have.
I read support, criticism, experiences, and talked with people who owned Macs, all in the Autumn of 2008.
I made a decision somewhere along the line that I would get a Mac, if and when money and opportunity arose.
At this point, I also met the dark side of the situation- the fanatical PC-users who hate everything Apple, the mud-slinging and outright lies and prejudice people have against Macs, the quips and jabs and general attacks that are made about Apple, the attempts to dissuade me to buy a Mac, and the poor comparisons and conclusions people draw.
People make many, many mistakes. I’ve heard quips such as "no one needs it because it’s an Apple product" and that you can get "the same thing as a Mac for far less," and none of it is true.
Bear in mind, too, that these are largely people who have never used a Mac, so they’re speaking from ignorance.
In other words, they don’t know what they’re talking about- literally.
They don’t understand the very real difference.
I have, however, used PCs and Windows specifically (for a decade, by the way), so I’m aware of exactly what it entails.
For some, they simply look at system specifications and see things in terms of numbers and think in terms of PCs- like for instance, they see 2 Gigs of RAM and think in terms of a PC’s use of 2 Gigs of RAM. A Mac will get far more out of 2 Gigs of RAM than a PC, because it doesn’t run five million needless programs at once. The OS functions differently and more efficiently. That doesn’t mean that it’s perfect, and yes, there is a threshold.
So, on my birthday in 2009, I ordered a white MacBook and had it rush-delivered.
That Friday, it arrived.
To this date, I have not had a problem with it. The OS runs just fine and doesn’t crash. The aesthetics are fantastic. The Mac does what I tell it to do, it has programs on it that I actually need, use, and like. It isn’t filled with viruses. I haven’t wanted to tear my hair out since I’ve had it. Computing has been smooth and even. OS X loads up fast and shuts down even faster. Clicking "shut down" renders the MacBook off in about half a second.
Before anyone mentions WindowsVista and Windows 7, I will say I’ve used those, too- and for whatever aesthetic improvements Windows has made, they’ve done a poor job of it, and the OS is still pretty much as bad as it was when I used its former incarnations.
So, what drove me into the arms of Apple? The promises that it made to me about its products- and the follow-through that it gave. Not only does Apple talk the talk, they also walk the walk. After years of dealing with PCs and their malfunctions, I finally have a computer that runs fast, does what I want it to do, and gets the job done, essentially.
To be fair, I’m aware that Apple is not perfect and sometimes says and does things that can make anyone upset. The huge issue with Flash not being on the iPad is a current issue of the sort.
As a final note, I would also like to address one of the biggest issues raised: the price of Apple’s products. Yes, they are expensive. Yes, they’re overpriced. I must ask you, what product isn’t overpriced in some regards? And the fact is, I paid a high price for a high-quality product.
So how much was the MacBook?
I had it customized with an additional 2 Gigs of RAM (I was taking NO chances on having a slow computer this time), so the final price, with the customized RAM, was $1200 or so- the same price as the Dell Inspiron 6000 I had gotten 4 years earlier.
Which means that the MacBook cost the same as the PC.
And if I hadn’t had the additional RAM added, the MacBook would have cost less than the PC.
I want you to read that statement very carefully and consider it.
The MacBook would have cost less than the PC.
Another good point to make is that, if you have used a Mac and don’t like OS X, well, that’s fine- and that’s okay! Many people are simply more used to Windows- and that’s fine, too; I can totally understand being used to using one Operating System and finding it difficult to learn another, and it isn’t always easy if you’ve been using something for a decade and then suddenly switch over. (I’m a prime example of knowing how it feels!)
Now that your minds have all been officially blown for the day, I’ll end this blog by saying that I named the MacBook "iCandy," but it’s much, much more than that.
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