Mac About Town
What a Ride! And It Ain’t Over Yet!
When Michael Tsai asked if I wanted to reflect on how different my digital life was today than when ATPM began publishing, my first thought was of my basement. Down there, in a dark corner, is a stack of boxes containing all the things that were stored because I “might need them some day.” The contents are the detritus left in the wake of the sometimes feeble, often foiled, but occasionally successful attempts to connect everything, to sync everything, to make the interface between me and my Mac more smooth (or, let’s admit, more “cool”). They are the things that I explained to my spouse as things I “needed,” but which she could never get to work.
Among the items are sync cradles for my Palm Tungsten (one for the office, one for home) along with the MarkSpace software that I used to sync to the Mac OS because Palm software wouldn’t work. There is another kit of accessories for my Sprint Treo, which was intentionally crippled to keep everyone on the reservation. There’s a power cord for the 500 (or was it 250?) MB drive that I used to carry files back and forth between work and home. There is even an old Bondi blue–colored trackball that I got because it seemed that swiping my fingers across something was a bit easier than moving a mouse around.
A box of CDs holds the programs that I “needed” along with the codes to run them. They are, of course, almost all stand-alone programs. There is little capability for networking. There is, strangely, also a small box of 3.5-inch floppies with my archived Quicken (remember when they used to like us?) financial files. You never know when someone might need that stuff. Hope they bring a drive and some fancy software!
There are some things that are not in the basement: my AOL account (I had mail!), back issues of much beefier Macworld magazines, the computers that I always sold to pay for the extra RAM on the new ones: a Motorola clone, a sexy black MacBook, G4 tower, swivel screen iMacs, etc.
So what has changed? Pretty much everything, actually. Syncing is something I don’t think much about anymore. I know that the calendar, contacts, mail, and just about everything else I want is the same on my phone, tablet, and computer. I can control my music and my video from my phone and not because I was able to jury-rig a proto-solution but because “there’s an app for that!” My photo files are an eclectic mixture of shots from my Nikon D90 and a very impressive iPhone 4S camera. Everything in my personal files and my work files is in the cloud, where I host or participate in numerous shared files that facilitate life and work. When I upgraded to an iPad 3 last month, all I needed to do was identify myself and then let the cloud repopulate all my preferences, settings, and programs. When I walk out the door tomorrow to head for Tampa, I’ll be carrying an iPad and phone and have access and practical use of everything in my digital life. It’s beyond syncing. It’s omnipresence.
What else has changed? I see a lot more Apple logos out there. When I arrived at my latest assignment and told them that I didn’t do Windows, I was the odd duck. Today, half the people around our leadership table are using Apple products of one kind or another. Now I’m the Apple advisor. I have gotten to watch the adoption phenomena personally as my spouse has gone all-in for the mobile life. First it was watching me with my iPhone 3G and deciding that it might be something she would use. Later, it was saying that the Wi-Fi iPad just wasn’t doing it for her and she needed 3G capability and, by the way, could we boost the RAM please? From no tech to tracking me on my travels using Life360 she is living proof that when it “just works” things change. (The down side of that, by the way, is that the whole trickle-down tech strategy doesn’t work so well anymore. Now she wants the new stuff too. No one said that change was easy!)
Is there still a way to go? Without question. Will it be fun getting there? Absolutely!
I just hope that there continues to be the kind of interested and energized base of Mac enthusiasts that have gathered in the conversation in the ATPM community.
Thanks all for the conversation and camaraderie everyone and thank you, Michael, for your leadership and care of our community.
Also in This Series
- What a Ride! And It Ain’t Over Yet! · May 2012
- Life in a Post-Apple World? · March 2009
- When Worlds Collide · January 2009
- What’s a Guy to Do? · December 2008
- A Midsummer Night’s Mare (a comedy in multiple acts) · August 2008
- How Did I End Up Here? · January 2008
- Visions of Sugar Plums · December 2007
- Dear Steve: Hurry Up and Slow Down! · July 2007
- Who’s Got Your Back? · April 2007
- Complete Archive