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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My First Mac

So, after weeks (months even?) of hemming and hawing around about it, I ordered a new 12" iBook yesterday. It arrived this afternoon, and it beat Andrew's new digital camera to the office, so he has to buy him lunch!

As for many people, buying an Apple is something of a homecoming. My elementary school classrooms had an Apple IIe in them, on which we learned all about trials and tribulations on the frontier. (In text-only, thankyouverymuch! Type BANG! to shoot!) The last contact I had with Apples for a long time was an Apple IIe in my 8th grade algebra class (which we managed to irrevocably crash). That was in 1990, and it was already a near-antique at the time. I didn't use an Apple again until the Macs in my dorm computer lab, since they were the only systems with graphical browsers installed. They were old, slow, and abused, so needless to say they did not leave a favorable impression.

Somewhere in the meantime, during shopping for a home computer, the two systems we came closest to buying were the Apple IIgs and a Tandy 1000-something (if I recall). Unfortunately, both of them, especially the Apple, were just too expensive at the time. My new iBook is about 500 times faster than the IIgs, with 2000 times as much stock memory. Wow.

I briefly considered posting a photo blog of the various stages of package opening, but frankly that struck me as just a little too fetishistic, and it's already been done by plenty of other people. It was well-packaged, though, and opening it was very much like unwrapping a Christmas gift of some kind. Definitely a change from the utilitarian Dell packaging we deal with at work.

Unlike a lot of people, I've never had much trouble with viruses and spyware on Windows, I guess due to a combination of paranoia, caution, and luck. So the main thing attracting me to OSX is its Unix underpinnings. I've really tried to like Linux, but I typically want to spend more time productively using my computers than administrating them. Of course, there's a fair amount of security that comes along with having BSD as an ancestor, and I'm glad to have it.

Honestly, I'm more than a little nervous about the Mac thing. There's no question that I fall into the Windows Power User category. Now I'm suddenly faced with starting over from scratch. The last time I had to do that was circa 1995 when I started using Unix (although I did eventually become a power user there, too).

When I'm setting up a new (or recently formatted) Windows system, I know what do to. I know which programs to download and install first to setup my typical working environment. I know which settings and preferences to change. I know all the stupid stuff not to do, etc. Now I'm completely starting over. There are tools on Windows that I depend on day-to-day, but I'm not even sure what their equivalents are on OSX. What are the best text editors for programming? Image editors? Word processors? Preferably inexpensive.

This must be how 80 year-old grandmothers feel when they get one o' them new fangled 'puter things for Christmas.

I keep telling myself that stretching beyond my comfort zone is good, and important, and healthy, but that doesn't stop it from being kind of scary.

And, yes, now that you ask, I am being a bit melodramatic.

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