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ATPM 6.04
April 2000



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Segments: Slices From the Macintosh Life

by Brooke Smith,

Into the Light: From PC to Mac

I love my Mac. In fact, I couldn’t survive without it. Take the heat from my apartment, take the clothes off my back, but please don’t take my Mac.

I didn’t always feel this way, of course. I was a die-hard PCer back in 1990, when I bought my first computer—an 8086 IBM clone. It was slow, but it processed those university essays without a quibble.

I continued to process more words with the clone, eventually upgrading to a 386. I lived through MS DOS, Windows 3.1, and even started up Windows 95. But my PC days shut down when I bypassed Windows 98, and, in November of that same year, saw the light and invested in a beige G3 Macintosh. Apple had tempted me.

How I saw the light, I can’t truly recall—it remains shrouded in mystery. I was definitely in the market for a new computer; my PC had come crashing down with the monkey virus, and like all computer junkies I wanted a faster machine. I didn’t really want to think different (I wasn’t even aware of Apple’s slogan), but I guess I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try a different brand. Hey, why not?

It’s not that I loathe the PC—I learned HTML on a PC, and my Mum has my old 386 (sans virus), which I still use when I visit—but I certainly have not been amused that PCs get many more viruses than Macs, and have many more buggy programs, such as Windows. (I laughed out loud in the SouthPark movie when Bill Gates was shot because Windows wasn’t running up to scratch.)

Overall, I think the Mac is a smarter machine—fewer viruses, no Windows, and its mouse is certainly a southpaw’s dream. This may not mean much to the majority of the population, but as a lefty, I appreciate the simplicity. When I used the PC mouse (with my left hand) I had to get used to clicking the right or left mouse button. The Mac mouse only has one button.

And the Mac has keyboard shortcuts that are simple and fun to use: Command-Q to quit, Command-C to copy, and so on. Once I learned the shortcuts, I kept using them—sometimes forgetting the mouse was even an option.

And remember the fuss about Y2K? Macs rolled over to the new date with ease. PC users, on the other hand, had to make sure their computers were Y2K compliant. Many companies, and individuals with PCs at home, spent thousands of dollars getting their systems ready for the changeover. (Actually, on New Year’s Eve, I thought it would be neat to get a PC and watch it crash at the stroke of midnight, but I held back.)

Aesthetically, the Mac just looks better, too. Granted, my G3 is beige and may look a little PCish, but have you seen those colourful iMacs? And what about the luscious laptops (iBooks) in blueberry and tangerine? Then there are the G4 and the iBook Special Edition in graphite—very sleek indeed! I’m already thinking about a tangerine iBook in the very near future.

Because of my Mac, I’ve even taken to reading computer books! Anyone who has any doubts about the Mac, or computers for that matter, should look no further than The Little Mac Book by Robin (not “Mork”) Williams. Clearly written, with a witty tone, it makes the Mac look even easier to use than it is. And I’m reading Mac magazines, too. MacAddict and MacHome Journal let me know what’s new in software and hardware, and they’re easy to read—not too full of technical jargon. When I used a PC, I never read any PC mags; they were too complicated, too confusing.

I can truthfully say that the PC has had its day in my home. The Mac is the only computer I’ll have on my desk from now on. I’ve crossed over from the dark side to the greener pastures of Macintosh computing, and have never looked back. I have seen the light.

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