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ATPM 9.02
February 2003


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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Glenn McDonald,


What follows is a short excerpt from the story of Glenn McDonald’s switch to the Mac. The complete story, which is about more than just computers, is available on his Web site.

I am typing this on a Macintosh. Actually, it’s rather more than that. My PC was already due for a scheduled replacement, budgetwise, but I got some extra money from the acquisition, and Apple now has most of it. Not only did I buy a PowerBook, but I got a big second monitor for it, and a wireless-networking base-station, and an iPod, and a small arsenal of gadgets whose purpose is not obvious from looking at them. And then I bought my sister an iMac, too, and we’ll see what it takes to convince my parents. What began as a relatively harmless idea about checking e-mail and watching DVDs in a hotel room has become an upheaval in my belief system, and turned me into a zealot about one more topic. I have Switched. If computers have not been the central mechanical forces in your entire daily adult life, like they have been in mine, maybe you think I just sound geeky when I say this, but I’m telling you there is a real revolution underway. It is actually quite difficult to deduce this by playing with a Macintosh in a store. In five or ten minutes you can tell that there are a lot of colorful icons and shimmery buttons, but Windows XP has colorful icons and shimmery buttons, too. You can open the various built-in applications, but everybody knows that built-in applications are worthless, and even if they weren’t, you can’t tell much from blank documents and sample data. If you’re used to PCs, you’ll spend most of your five or ten minutes just trying to figure out where the hell the Start menu is, why you can’t see two applications’ menu bars at the same time, and why windows keep mysteriously disappearing and how in the world you ever find them again. Even if you get someone who knows what they’re doing to show you their own machine, with their real life taking place on it, one by one the details don’t seem so incredible. OK, so there’s a jukebox program. You can get jukebox programs for the PC, too. OK, so the e-mail program has a button for marking something as junk mail. You can get spam filters for the PC, too. OK, the little icons for applications bounce as they’re opening, that’s pretty cute, but surely you’ll get fed up and turn that off after a week. And there’s finally some kind of command-line thing, but the mouse still only has one button, and only a total moron would fall for the “these computers don’t suck as much” line yet again.

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