Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Got a Mac

My employer just supplied me with a MacBook Pro running OS X Version 10.6.1 (is that a little redundant?). For a long time I have eyed macs with wary suspicion, but with a lot of curiosity too. If Microsoft is evil, as some like to say, because it locks customers in to its proprietary software, Apple must be at least twice as evil. They lock customers in to their software *and* hardware! I kind of like the new laptop, though. Mechanically, it's awesome. The aluminum body feels nice and solid. The lid doesn't latch when it closes, it just kind of (magnetically?) holds to the body. The buttons and USB slots and everything are also very nicely done. The display is one of those glossy ones for "brighter colors" and I hate the glare. The user interface has me all confused with buttons and menus in places I'm not used to. It has this fancy new mouse trackpad that is huge and it lest you do multi-finger stuff kind of like an iPhone (which I don't have). That's all going to take some getting used to also.

The biggest thing that surprised was the childhood memories that it evoked. The first computer I ever used was a Mac. Grandpa is a chemical engineer, and he recognized right away how useful personal computers would be. He had a Mac Classic in his den and he would let me play with it all I wanted when I came to visit. MacPaint was about all I could do with it when I was 5 years old, but I moved the mouse and clicked on things, pushed a floppy disk into its drive and then drug the icon to the trash to eject it, and poked around at whatever I could. On this new laptop when I first saw the little mouse pointer turn to the text entry icon, the same icon that the Mac classic used, all the memories of that Mac Classic in Grandpa's den came back. There are a few other subtle little things, like the apple menu, that give me a little bit of nostalgic joy every time I encounter them as well. It's very cool that Apple has kept some things the same over all those years. Apple can't be totally evil, right?

1 comment:

Robert said...

While I love open software to death, I have to say that I'm not crazy about open hardware, especially for laptops.

I used to run Linux and Windows on Wintel laptops, and I just got tired of the fact that it would take months for hibernate to really work, sound was always weird as heck, and the wireless was often flaky. And when Microsoft would ask me if I wanted Microsoft to manage my wireless card, or Intel, how would I know? Or which sound driver --- hey, you guys work that out, ok?

For me the Mac is a blessed return to the days of closed hardware platforms (like my old suns), where I never had to worry about whether the giblets of my computer would work together. The time I save is worth the money.

And with MacPorts, I still have all the open source software I know and love (the way I run my mac is pretty much like the way I used to run linux --- emacs workstation with diversions into the browser).

Give in to the dark side!