Since 1988, I’ve been a Mac guy. I’m Mr. Brand Loyalty, Mr. Buy-It-Now-‘Cause-It’s-Cool, Mr. Gotta-Have-It when it comes to many Apple products. Like many in the “Cult of Mac,” I’ve been singing the company’s praises for years. And why not! Apple has been selling consumers on a number of things that the Windows platform hasn’t quite mastered:
1. Ease of use.
2. Stable operating system.
3. A “Wow” factor in design.
For a long time, Macs had such ease of use, that many die-hard computer users were convinced that Mac users were essentially retarded. Why? Because back in early 80s, when you booted up a Windows operating system, you saw something like this on your screen:
In 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh. And when you booted the computer, it looked something like this:
Computers, like any fetish,Â has its aficionados who want to know and master all the arcana associated with these things. Doing so makes them feel like they have the knowledge-power that mere mortals don’t. So when Apple demystified the process of computer usage by implementing an operating system that was graphics based, those who held the secrets of the temple were annoyed; miffed that they wouldn’t hold the monopoly on making their way around an operating system that, quite frankly, was a pain in the ass. Not that it was really that difficult, but that you had to do so much to do so little.
Well, after spending too much time at the computer lab at SF State waiting for computer time to write papers, I begged my father for a new computer. He finally relented, handed me his credit card, and said, “Okay.” I came home with a new Mac Plus, extra disk drive, and an Imagewriter II printer — all purchased at the SF State bookstore.
I had paper to write thatÂ night and I was able to get the computer up and running in about an hour and start writing. In the morning, I did a manual spell check (i.e., proofing line by line, looking up words in aÂ dictionary and then making the changes), and off to school I went. I was amazed how simple it was to used the Mac. I was also impressed by some of the other programs like MacDraw and MacPaint — which I used to create a newsletter for a band I briefly managed back then. The programs came with templates that were so easy to use, that the band members were amazed that I was able to create such a cool looking document at home.
Ah, those were the days…
Fast forward to the present, and all is not right with the world of Macs. Now that they have made an alliance with The Borg…
I have been hearing more and more stories of Macs failing. My niece has a Macbook with the Borg implants that will randomly quit applications. A co-worker of mine has Macbook Pro that has been having a number of problems. He’s a Mac devotee as well, but he’s starting to reconsider now that he’s having more problem days than productive ones.
I feel somewhat lucky in that I have an iMac that doesn’t have the Borg technology, so it works just fine. Sure, there are times when Safari will unexpectedly quit, but those are the exceptions rather than the rule. For the most part, the things I’ve come to expect from Mac have remained. However, if I decide to upgrade, I have this sickening feeling that I’m in for a world of hurt.
What to do? I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. But for now, I’m having to temper my Mac enthusiasm for a more pragmatic approach to computer stuff. Blech!