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ATPM 7.08
August 2001





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Segments: Slices from the Macintosh Life

by Darcy Baston,

First, an elated thank you for ATPM! I’ve been looking for a great Mac-centric e-zine for a while now and am completely satisfied. I’ve used Amiga computers before and had always enjoyed Amiga Report, a now-defunct e-zine that had thousands and thousands of readers and contributors over all those years. It was an incredible experience. Presidents and CEOs got interviewed in it!

Anyway, what better way to honor and give thanks to an e-zine than to contribute to it. I’d like to give you my slice from the Macintosh life.

• • •

Watching A Bug’s Life on DVD (within 5 minutes of taking the iMac out of its box) was my step 3. To me, something so playful, an immediate personal preference honored, is the world of consumer delight. Never owning a Mac until the year 2000 allowed me plenty of time to discover computer-related frustration, disappointment, and…clock bloat. That’s my term for when getting from point A to B takes too long: clock bloat. (Insert Dali imagery here.) Imagine having this idea that you must sketch down, must throw unto a digital canvas or burn into a sticky note with passion. But your computer isn’t booted, you’re out of paper, and that dang Scandisk is at it again. Tick…tick…tick…clock bloat. That was my life before. Definitely not today. With instantly available sleep wake up, perfect gamma and synced color, and a monitor-edge saving sticky application, creativity can finally occur.

People still snicker and giggle while whispering to themselves, “He’s got a Macintosh.” As if a discovery, preference, and choice can’t be valid, probably isn’t researched, isn’t popular enough and just isn’t…real. This after 16 years of using most popular platforms and finally making a sound decision based on all that experience? How can that be? Bias, prejudice (pre-judge) and frequency of exposure can manipulate your opinions to the point that they are no longer yours. I am so very glad to announce that I am no longer subject to that conditioning. I have found original thought; I have begun to think differently.

I used to delight in my geeky prowess at servicing Microsoft OS-driven IBM and clone platforms. Recognizing how intelligent I must be to know all these commands, all these solutions to the multitude of problems people always had with their machines. In my hunger to conquer this ugly beast and reign supreme in my strength and wisdom, I had forgotten to ask, “Why?” Why is it this way? Does it really have to be so hard? Does it really have to be so ugly and corporate all the time? Couldn’t I be creating something new instead of fixing something old? Apple had already realized this before the 1980s. I’m such a late bloomer!

Being so immensely techno-savvy to create a reliable computer system and service it before any creation occurred got terribly boring. How did equating words like “blue screen of death” with a person’s work experience or home life become acceptable? This on the most invasive form of technology in our lives? I wanted to be the one who took the already useful digital tool and got busy! I also wanted to have fun. I didn’t want work to feel like work, because from a psychological point of view, you know where I’m going. That’s what the Mac is to me.

I love the user experience of a Macintosh. And with OS X, that is guaranteed to continue, albeit a little differently. It’s human, fluid, and even organic. You move to stand in place to open that door, or get your warm toast and so do your icons slide to stand over an awaiting application or alias. You sometimes close a door behind you when you enter a room, so do folder windows with the Option key. It just makes sense.

I was afraid to buy a Mac. I was just as biased as the next Wintel user who knew nothing else. But I also knew that there was a community and an inherent support group. I had been reading articles and message posts on MacFixIt for almost a year before I decided to sell the IBM and get a Mac. (Yup. A real IBM, I’m not confusing the term.) But when I booted the iMac up for the first time, all the darn thing required of me was to say hello, give my name, and start watching a movie? That’s what it was supposed to be. I don’t know where the digital money makers got the idea that making money had to be dull, square, beige, and materialistically void of emotional involvement. To me, that’s a lie. A complete denial of who we are. Fortunately, Apple recognized this and made such a tool. Friendly, flexible tools contribute to aspiring friendly and creative people. (There are plenty of exceptions of course.)

Now, I know it’s a machine. But creation is emotional, and unless you lay down that emotional pavement before you drive, get ready to sit in Park. When’s the last time these became part of free flowing creation: a full screen display asking you for an OEM number found somewhere on some book you slid under the couch, or the screen that for the last 30 minutes has reminded you that your task was going to take 30 minutes? Getting from point A to point B doesn’t have to take 30 minutes if those 2 points are in the same spot.

There’s no extra ‘point,’ there’s no catch, and there’s no step 3. You’re already there. That’s a Mac.

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