I’m slowly becoming one of “them”

Posted by Jeremy on March 5, 2012 in Software, Tech |

I’ve been using computers since I was in elementary school.  The first time I actually remember using a keyboard and monitor I was about 7 or 8 years old.  From there, my Mom got a computer to make her home accounting business easier to run.  Our first home computer was an IBM PS2 that had a 30MB hard drive with 3 partitions.  It ran mainly MS-DOS ( I can’t remember what version of DOS it was ) and then we added Windows 3.1 to it at one point, but we didn’t use it for much.  I know my Mom used it for Solitaire, but I can’t remember what else.  So, from very early on, I was indoctrinated with Microsoft and even Windows.

When I entered the workforce around the age of 17, I worked for a company called Babbage’s. For those that don’t remember, Babbage’s was one of the few “video game” & computer software stores outs there. In the 2 years that I worked there ( from 1994-1996 ) the Windows software slowly grew and grew.  I was there for the introduction of Windows 95, and the in-store training that some MS rep came and gave us. Since then, I’ve become a programmer and have mainly focused on working on the Microsoft platform. At the office I spend most my days eyeballs deep in whatever version of Microsoft Visual Studio we are running ( currently 2008 and 2010 ).

To put it simply, I’m a PC….well…I was. Somewhere in the last few years, I’ve been slowly turning into a Mac. First, it started with the iPhone 3GS. I ditched my Windows Mobile phone, that required a stylus to work properly, for the iPhone. It definitely took some getting used to. I was used to the ever-present blinking LED when I had an unread email, a voice mail, a text message or a missed call. I was used to a resistive screen, where I physically had to push into the screen to have the phone respond, and I had to deal with micro-managing the device to keep it running smoothly, or at least remember to restart the device once a day.

With the iPhone, that all changed. It was very much a “hands-off” style where things just worked. I didn’t have to worry about restarting the device to keep it working properly. I grew more and more comfortable with my iPhone, while more and more devices came out trying to compete with it. The more devices came to replicate the iPhone, the more comfortable I became in my decision.

With the release of the iPhone 4, not only was I “first in line”, but had also convinced my fiancee ( who is now my wife ) that she too needed an iPhone ( she used mine far too often, it was time to get her own ).

As we started using the iPhone for just about everything my interest in Mac/iPhone programming started to increase.  I tried to make a “Hackintosh”, but the performance was just unacceptable. Running an emulator inside a VM, is just terribly slow. So, I decided I needed a Mac.  I looked around for something I could pickup on the cheap ( Apple? Cheap? WHAT??! ), and by that I mean something used.  I found a used Mac-Mini ( Intel processor running Snow Leopard ).  I’ve been using that device as my primary web development machine for the last year. It’s been working well enough for what I needed, but as it’s older, it definitely showed it’s age in terms of performance. Running MAMP, several tabs in Safari, and Coda, the machine definitely felt clunky. My PC, while far from clunky, just was not as easy to setup and get a web environment up and running ( especially when developing for an Apache setup ).

The time came where I decided I wanted to go back to school and get my Master’s Degree. Looking at the lists of requirements for classes, it started to become evident that I would need a laptop for classes. I have a netbook, and that should be “good enough” for taking notes, but not much else.  My first class is a data-mining class that will be VERY data heavy, so I quickly ruled that out.  My wife was also looking to upgrade her 5 year old laptop. She had an older Compaq running Vista with 2GB of RAM and it was definitely starting to show it’s age. It wasn’t the top of the class laptop when she got it, so it didn’t age as gracefully as some hardware.

With all these things coming to a head at the same time, we decided to look at what we could get and what would mesh well with our hardware in the household. After looking at Ultrabooks, MacBook Pros, Macbook Airs, and other PC laptops we finally came to a decision. A 15″ MacBook Pro would fit in well for both of each of us.

So, we purchased our MacBooks and waited for them to be delivered. We’ve now had our MacBooks for just over a week.  I’m slowly getting more and more comfortable with OS X ( Lion to be specific ), and the more I get comfortable with it, the more and more I like it.  iPhoto has to be one of the best programs I’ve used to managing photos. Showing my wife how to create slideshows and save them out as movies and send them to people has not only been easy but made her really enjoy iPhoto.  On her old laptop, she’d copy her photos from her iPhone or camera to a folder with the current month & year and then edit the photos as needed in some Compaq provided software. It was severely lacking and made organization nearly impossible.  iPhoto makes it all very very simple.

The more I use the MacBook the more I find I’m less and less a PC.  I thought I needed to use BootCamp and keep Windows with me all the time, but I’m finding the only Microsoft product I need right now ( on my laptop ) is Office, and that’s been taken care of. This might change as time goes on and perhaps as my desktop slowly takes more and more steps towards the grave, but when it’s time to replace my desktop I may just replace it with a very limited machine since all my gaming takes place on consoles now or my iPhone ( oddly enough ).

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