Ode to an Apple after 2 days

A long, long time ago, in a former life (when I was somewhere around age 13 perhaps), I came across a little poem — or did I write it? — that went something like…

…promise me

you will never sit under the Apple IIe

with anyone else but me…

I remember laughing about it with my mom.  That Apple IIe was my first family computer, which I think we must have had for most of the 80s, my teen years.

My siblings and I spent a lot of time playing Mask of the Sun.  Kids today would hate it, all green on black, with such limited choices for input.  We had to type only certain phrases such as, “Get into jeep.”

I used the earliest editions of The Print Shop by Broderbund to create greeting cards and calendars.  I guess that could be considered sort of early digital scrapbooking. But, oh my, how pixelated the graphics were!  And I printed with a dot matrix printer that had four interchangeable ribbons.  So I could print in black OR red OR green OR blue!

I find it very amusing to recall such primitive technology I used!

This is going to be an ode to the Apple, but let me briefly walk through my computer history.  In the early 90s — I can’t remember exactly when — my mom decided to upgrade our computer.  But not to another Apple.  This would begin the reign of the PC in my life.  What was it?  A 386?  I just used computers; I didn’t pay much attention to what kind they were.

I remember being so amazed with the mouse!  How awesome to control things by moving the mouse around!

I used Macs briefly again in college classes.  It’s funny.  We were told in my teacher education technology lab class that schools were choosing Macs so that’s what we should learn.  Then, all the classrooms where I ever worked, I only ever saw PCs.

My husband and I met online, both of us on PCs.  He has always been quite knowledgeable about PCs, in fact. I consider myself lucky to have a personal, in house tech guy to solve my computer problems.

Occasionally we’d hear someone tell about the wonders of Mac computers but we were very comfortable with PC.  More and more over recent years however, as I became more serious about photography and digital design, I considered whether I wanted to switch. For the most part, I continued to be content with my PC though.

My last computer upgrade was a few years ago.  I got a Toshiba 15″ laptop.  I actually didn’t even stop using my Dell desktop for another year, taking some time to figure out what I wanted.  When I figured out I could attach a 21″ monitor to my laptop, the better to see my digital scrapbooking work, the shift was complete.  Now my old Dell desktop joined the other old PC so we had two “kid computers” in our house.  As we only had two kids using computers back then, it worked very well.

Thursday morning, not even knowing yet that I'd be getting a Mac that evening, I cleaned up my desk and then took a picture of it.

Of course, Ian took to the computer like a duck takes to water, and more and more over the last couple of years we have had occasions when I thought it would be nice to have a 1:1 ratio of people to computers in this house.  (I forgot to mention, Robert got his own laptop a couple of years ago, too.)   I didn’t rush into it, though, because it’s expensive to get a new computer, I wasn’t sure what kind of computer I wanted, and, besides, it’s good for kids to learn how to share things after all!  😉

So every once in a while I’d read a discussion about Macs vs PCs or I would fiddle around with the computers at the store.  But the first time I seriously tried a Mac was last October when I was waiting in Best Buy while the Geek Squad worked on my Toshiba laptop.

I started taking notes whenever I read information about Macs vs PCs.  Sometimes I would decide, yes, I want to switch to Mac and then I’d read that someone upgraded a PC to be as powerful as a Mac and it was comparable in price.  I never found anyone who regretted switching to Mac though.  And of course, repeatedly I’d read about how much better they are for photographers and designers.

Last Saturday I decided to go look at the Macs again and I spent at least a half hour in there.  The Apple representative guy stood nearby and answered my zillion questions as I opened up every item on the dock to find out what it was.  I was feeling very convinced, but when the Apple rep handed me his card I told him it would probably be months before I’d be able to make the purchase.

Robert has been very open to the idea though.  The last time I told him I thought I’d just stick with PC, he encouraged me to switch! So when I told him Saturday that I decided I do want a Mac, he said he just wanted to try it out first himself.

So we made a family visit to Best Buy after singing class Thursday evening.  We were barely there for 25 minutes, and we left with one of the newest i5 Macs.  And it was Robert who said I should get the 27″ screen.

I wasn't the first one who used my new Mac, and of all things, the first download to my Mac was Roblox! I was busy copying files from my laptop to my EHD to be transferred to the Mac. It took about 16 hours to go from laptop to EHD. It was about half that to go from EHD to Mac.

It has been two days now, and on Day 1 I spent quite a lot of time with it.  (Day 2 I was mostly at the Renaissance Faire.)  Let me count some of the many ways I love the Mac!

One of the biggest reasons is that it is so much easier to move around within documents and programs.   I got the track pad.  I hardly tried out the mouse at all.  I’ve been using a track pad almost exclusively on my laptop for years and I loved that.  The track pad for the Mac is even better.  You can pinch and pull and drag to change the size of the contents of the screen, pull the text up and down, and so on.

It’s fabulous how integrated the programs are.  When I see a date in an email I’m reading, I can click on it and it is automatically entered in the calendar.  I have already set up dozens of filters and folders for my email, too, because it’s so easy to set up.

One of the first things I did when I got this Mac home was visit my photography website.  If I didn’t know better I’d think my photography suddenly improved in two days.  It’s just this beautiful screen that displays photos more richly, crisply, and accurately.

I don’t know, PC might have fabulous How To tutorials online too; I’ve never needed them.  I quickly found the Mac tutorials at the Apple website.  Some are video; many more are text.  There is even one aimed at former PC users, telling you how to do everything a little differently on the Mac.  Nothing is drastically different.  For instance, the close/minimize/maximize buttons are simply in the left corner instead of the right.

There are only two things I miss so far.  One is minor.  There doesn’t seem to be a home button or home command.  Luckily, it’s so easy to scroll in any direction that after I’ve scrolled down a page, I can zoom right back up to the top with one or two light upward swipes on the trackpad.

The other thing is that I am finding navigating through the files to be awkward.  Maybe I’m just not used to it.  Or maybe it’s that Mac assumes no one wants to go into the files and always uses programs to access files.

For example, when I came home with my 243 photos from the Renaissance Faire, I decided to try out iPhoto.  (I am waiting on Adobe’s response to my request to switch platforms for PSE9.  Guess I should have bought a Mac earlier in the week!)  I am impressed with iPhoto; it can do a lot!  But when I wanted to upload my photos to my smugmug site, I followed the same procedure as always and went to the files to find them.  They weren’t anywhere to be found!  I even posted a message in an online forum asking if anyone could tell me where iPhoto hides photos!  Then, it finally occurred to me to try dragging the photos out of the iPhoto program itself and into the smugmug uploader.  It worked!  (Except it did NOT include the captions I’d spent a half hour typing.  So I guess I will continue using PSE9 organizer, which puts the captions in the EXIF file data!)

Furthermore, I’m transferring many gigabytes of data from my old computer and EHD to the Mac and I want to organize it better but  I’m finding I can’t do it the way I’m used to in Windows.  I usually used the file tree in the left panel, dragging items in the main panel to folders in the tree to move them around.  I think I have to open two Finder windows on Mac and move files from one to the other.

There are many other things to love about the Mac, but I’m getting sleepy, it’s so late.  My daughters have already had some fun with Garage Band and Photo Booth.  There are some hilarious effects available in the Photo Booth, and we were gathered in front of the webcam laughing up a storm this morning while Caroline made herself appear two-headed and turned us all into comic book characters.

I think I’ll be joining the ranks of people who love the Mac.  This switchover, along with changing my email address last week, has interrupted my work on starting my scrap4hire business.  That will be next, so stay tuned!

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