Macs are not scary

I have been thinking some more about my post from the other day, “On being a techie.” As I was writing it, I wanted to put it aside and think about it some more before I posted it. But last time I did that the post never got posted. (It might someday if I ever feel like going back to it, which I should, given the amount of time I put into it and the fact that it’s about librarianship, which I haven’t been blogging about much.) But, the thinking was also driven by Arun’s comment:

Fear of Macs? What does that mean? People who use Macs are afraid of technology, or you are afraid of learning how Macs work?

BTW, this is why I think of you as a math/science person, even if you don’t think you are. It isn’t about the knowledge. It’s about the approach.

This got me thinking about three different things:

  1. I need to talk more and clarify my thoughts on what makes people scared of computers, which I thought was the case anyway. (What can I say, it was way past time to eat.)
  2. Why does he think I’m afraid of Macs?!
  3. It’s interesting how different someone else’s view of you can be from your own view of yourself. Me? A math person? That’s hysterical! I have trouble figuring out percentages half the time . . .

I’ll start with number 2 today, since that’s the easiest to address.

Just to clarify, I personally do not have a fear of Macs, though I think I used to. I can’t really remember, and fear might not be the right word. It was a long time ago. Let me walk you through my experience with Macs.

A grade school friend of mine had an Apple 2e or some such thing that we played games on (Space Invaders, was it?) using the good ol’ truly floppy floppy disks. I still remember the monitor, which was basically a green-on-black terminal monitor, and I seem to have a hazy recollection of a command-line interface. Radical. There was also some alphabet game that I think was supposed to teach you typing skills.

Then in college, when I worked at the yearbook, we had Macs. For my purposes (writing copy in Word, sending e-mail, and viewing photos in PhotoShop) it made no difference. They were Macs because the students doing the design needed Macs, and because the department we were housed within was a publications department that used Macs.

And then there was PIRG, where I first worked on some kind of crazy old Mac desktop that sat on a card table (which bowed under the weight), then was given a big ol’ PowerBook running OS 9.2.2. Let me tell ya, that OS is not particularly stable when you’re running design apps like PageMaker and PhotoShop and you would like to have them both open at the same time, and also need your e-mail available to tell your client whether or not their photos work. At that point our computers were constantly crashing and we were forever reinstalling the OS. Yuck.

You can see why I was not particularly impressed with Macs, and so when I was researching computers for my Christmas gift that year I decided to stick with a PC. I also thought snarky thoughts about the TV ads Apple was running at the time (the Switch campaign). You know, things like “Why would you buy a Mac? They totally suck.” Ahem. At that point, as far as I was concerned, they were on par with my old desktop, which had recently died some sort of horrible death and wouldn’t even start in safe mode. I’m sure that had absolutely nothing to do with the overzealous (but I was so careful!) cleaning job a few months before that had caused something in the fan/power supply to explode (yes, there was a noise and smoke, beat that) when I plugged it back in. Whoops.

Anyway, we were eventually robbed at work (annoying, though not surprising) and had to purchase new computers. I got a 12″ iBook running the first version of OS X (Jaguar? I get them confused).

~~Insert chorus of angels and shaft of light piercing through the clouds here.~~

The difference was amazing. So stable. So fast. So easy to learn how to troubleshoot (good for English majors who find themselves acting as tech support for five other people). And so nifty — it runs the old OS inside the new one?! And the whole thing doesn’t go kaput when an app crashes?! And it’s so slim and shapely and lovely and light? Suddenly, I *heart* Macs!

And now, there are the gorgeous iMacs in the Tech Lab. Sigh. Let me count the ways . . .

So, that’s my history with Macs. My next computer will be a Mac. Maybe not an iBook–this laptop rarely left the desk until grad school–but definitely a Mac. When exactly that purchase will happen is a whole other conversation . . . Kermit here is still doing just fine (though a little slow some days, but I think that is most often Sophos forever installing new updates).

One thought on “Macs are not scary

  1. I’m glad you aren’t afraid of Macs. But you still haven’t explained what you meant by that comment in previous post.

    Re: “It’s interesting how different someone else’s view of you can be from your own view of yourself. Me? A math person? That’s hysterical! I have trouble figuring out percentages half the time . . .”

    Ok. I’ll take that back. Being a math person is different from being science person. You _ARE_ a science person. Wanting to know why, instead of just how, is the hallmark of a science person.

    Being a math person is completely separate. That has to do with being nuts. Math people are nuts. :b

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