Why Did I Get a Mac Exactly?

I’ve been asked here and around town this very question. So let me just address it here rather than in comments or emails.

1) The Dell XPS is 4.5 years old, out of warranty, needed a RAM upgrade badly as I increasingly relied on Photoshop and InDesign and file sizes grew, and the PC had all the instability problems PCs have always had. Odds were, I was going to have a melt-down and possibly in mid-project.

2) It has taken me years to acquire and gain command of Windows programs (share and freeware) from third party vendors that should have been built into the OS and in Mac OS-X they seem to have done a fair job of that. (Though frankly it’s only after installing Instant Shot, NeoOffice, EasyFind, and XMenu and a few other add-ons and menu customizations and such that I feel I’m getting back to where I was with the PC.)

3) I didn’t want to go Vista and after a DOA desktop AND a DOA laptop in 2004 from Dell, I didn’t want to go that way ever again.

4) We were becoming a two computer family (the two of us) and the possibility of keeping (versus donating) the PC and putting it upstairs for HER made it easier to justify doing the replacement downstairs for me. And all my image and doc files are backed up on that drive up to the time of the Mac transition.

5) Intel Processors and Parallels tipped the scales. To be able to keep PC apps I’ve come to depend on while learning my way around the Mac was the final push toward Mac. That’s finally working rather seamlessly for me, though it was confusing at first. And just the startup speed difference will add years to my computing life–20 seconds vs 4 minutes on the PC.

6) I waited until I could make the purchase without guilt since I’d added enough to the Computer Fund from book and notecard sales and other little incomes not from my day job. There IS a bit of sticker shock, no doubt.

7) I  was ready for a new challenge, to own a system to grow into over the next number of years (I got this one at baseline everything), and I wanted a more visually pleasing system with the larger monitor (23″).

I ‘ll have to say I think I’ve turned the corner now. It took me a bit more than a week to clear my head and hands of very old habits of touch and thought. And the Mac system I’ll confess was not as transparent and intuitive as I had expected.

And I still have a long way to go before I have all this laid out just the way I want it. But I do have hope that I’ll arrive and that I will continue to enjoy the new logic and blistering speed of this fantastic tool I am so fortunate to use.  May it find worthy work to do.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I would never go back – it was hard for a few months – I was so hard wired.

    Anyway dear Fred us old farts have to keep learning new stuff = now for me its video

    Have a great weekend

  2. I use a Mac now, but have used Windows and Unix in the past. The hardest part for me is muscle memory–moving that little finger from the control to the command key when you change systems drives me crazy!

  3. What a timely post! I have made the decision to go Mac and plan on making the big purchase this week! One of my goals is to become proficient at creating video (is that the right word?) presentations and then embedding them on my blog/web sites.
    My first attempt looks like it will be a jump rope ad, of sorts, for a PE event at the school where I teach. If I am successful I will post it on my PE site.