November 18, 2004

Computer follies

So computers. Our windows desktop wouldn't boot.

I'd been obsessing about what to get for our next computer (like I do) for at least a year. When the wave function collapsed I found I'd ordered a Mac.

Four days later we had our shiny 14" iBook G4. It came out of the box with a full charge on the battery. Hit the power, it booted in about 3 seconds to the setup screen, entered a little bit of info and poof! It's a computer. Found our wireless network with no hassles and poof! It's an internet terminal. Plug in my digital camera and poof! it downloads the pictures into iPhoto.

Set up separate accounts for each of us so we can all have our own settings. There's a bit of a learning curve for us getting used to the Mac UI metaphors, but for the most part, it just works.

Meanwhile back in pc land, got a copy of XP and a new hard drive and some advice from a pc repair geek at work. Spent Saturday installing XP (lost count of how many reboots it took. Lots.) and enough apps to access the data on the dying drive (fortunately not quite dead). Had to go through most of the office to find all my install disks for all the applications I needed to install, so took the opportunity to file them all neatly each in their own folder in our file cabinet. Spent Sunday getting it onto the network and exporting our Quicken data and importing it again on the Mac. (Somewhere in that process is a bug that loses duplicate transactions in a single day, so I had to spend some time with both computers side by side, tracking down the days on which we made multiple $40 withdrawals and hand-entering them on the new box. That was tedious.)

Haven't turned the PC back on since I finished that process on Sunday. B and I have both been logged in to the Mac since Monday, switching between our separate logins each time the machine changes hands. Put it in standby when we're done (just close the lid, and the little pulsating white light (that you can't tell is there when it's off) goes on to say "I'm ready whenever you want to come back and play.") Haven't rebooted yet.

Every time I see the rotating cube animation it uses to indicate the transition between users I want to giggle with delight. Haven't felt that way about a computer since... well, my first Palm comes close, but before that I have to go back to the first time I played with a NeXT.

There's a few things that bug me about it and I'm sure I'll find more, but mostly it's just fun.

Posted by jeffy at November 18, 2004 11:02 PM

Welcome to the joys of civilization! I can't remember the last time I booted my Mac. Sometimes Mozilla gets confused and I have to shut down, log out, and log back in, but that takes less than 30 seconds.

Many people have maintained, during the OS wars, that what you find best is determined by what you happened to learn first. They're wrong. I used IBM PCs and DOS and hated every minute of it. The first time I sat down in front of a Mac, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. My theory is it's just the way your brain happens to be wired. Which determines so much of life after all.


Posted by: Mary Kay at November 19, 2004 11:49 AM

Thanks for the welcome. I was a CP/M kid, then learned unix at school while using DOS at home. I was fortunate that my first job and the first half of my second (and current) were on SunOS. In the past couple of years since the job switched to Windows I've gotten used to a lot of chronic pain.

I think OS preference is a nature/nurture question where the answer is "yeah, both, plus free will."

I should mention that I got as much delight from the unflashy act of starting a terminal window and typing "ls" for the first time on the iBook.

Posted by: jeffy at November 19, 2004 01:22 PM