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New chapter in Geek life April 2, 2011

Posted by applejosh in Geek.

Well, it’s not as life changing as one might think. I have not obtained some new über certification or changed professions. I simply bought my first Mac. (I did have in my possession at one time, an old G4 based desktop system of some sort, but it was running an old version of MacOS (9.x I think), and it really never was used other than one late night attempt (semi-successful) at installing a Linux variant on it.) I now have a MacBook Pro. My old home system is about 9-10 years old (and was obtained “used” from someone who was just throwing it out), and wasn’t really useful for anything more than a repository of my iTunes library (and it even struggled with that). I figure if I buy a computer once every 10 years, I can afford to splurge on the premium that Mac based systems command.

I’m still in my “newbie” phase, and there are quite a number of differences between MacOS and the Windows world in which I have spent (and continue to spend) the majority of my post-school life. I use the justification that at its heart, Mac OSX is running on UNIX. The Mac OS is just a shell running on a geeky OS. In looking for a replacement for my aged desktop system, I did not limit myself to the hodgepodge of office supply wares. The systems available at Staples, OfficeMax, and even Best Buy really did not make me feel like “this is the one.” I wasn’t “wowed” by what was available off the shelf. Sure, I could take one of these plastic-y systems and throw a copy of Ubuntu on it to make it more geeky, but I’m getting to the point in my life where this type of commitment in my off-hours just isn’t there. I work with computers all day long at work. I just don’t have the drive at the end of the day to dive back in just to have a system that does basic things like browse websites, sync/backup my iPhone, and generally just decompress with the mindless babble of Twitter or Facebook.

So as luck would have it, I had some time to kill after leaving the office and before my wife’s flight got in. I went to the Apple Store simply with the purpose of getting a bumper case for my phone. (Yes, I know it’s essentially a glorified rubber band, but it’s a pretty rubber band that fits the device well.) I wandered around the store for a bit, touching the demo machines (iPads, MacBooks, etc.), and frankly, I was impressed with the build quality of the MacBook Pro line. It’s a solid feeling machine. I’ve never been an Apple zealot (my online nickname was simply a username I picked for some online forum many years ago while eating an apple and surfing the web – it just stuck), and in fact, I’ve been slightly anti-Apple over the years. So why was I considering this product line? Well, I admit that aesthetics played a part. It’s a nice looking piece of equipment. But it just seemed to function well. The OS flowed well. The keyboard was one of the best I’ve seen on a laptop, and the touchpad was great. And the 13” model just seemed like the perfect size for casual surfing from the couch. And it’s easy to carry. Not quite iPad portable, but it’s close and much more powerful.

So I left the Apple Store, picked up the wife, and went home that night. I mulled it over for a while, and on Sunday, I had pretty much made up my mind. With the blessing of my better half, I went back to the Apple Store and was soon a member of the Apple cult, sort of.

I have always avoided telling people what system they should have at home (because I’m always asked these questions at work, despite my efforts to make it clear that I am not all-knowing and have no idea what these people actually want their home systems to do). You know what you want to do better than what I can garner from a 20 second conversation. You know what you like (form factor, OS, performance). I can tell you what I think (for what that’s worth), but it really comes down to you doing your own research. If you want a netbook using Linux, then good for you. If you need Windows because it’s just what you’re familiar with, then go for it. If you want X or Y or Z, then you should find out what provides those.

So, while my online nickname finally makes some sense (it’s only been 10 years), don’t expect it to mean I’m suddenly some sort of “Mac or die” type fanboy. I selected something that has what I need and what I want at this point in time. I don’t expect others to have the same values or needs. Go find your own “right” machine.



1. Ivan Williams - April 3, 2011

Brilliant post. I seriously want to get a top of the line MBP. But I keep straying towards iPads and the likes.

But, I do so see a MBP in my future…

2. Heather - April 3, 2011

Good post. My mother has decided that her next machine will be a Mac, too, but between that, her iPad and her new iPhone, I think she’s actually becoming a fangirl. Haha! But like you said, whatever makes her happy…

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