I have passed
over the Rubicon. I have crossed the floor. Depending on your own
allegiances, I have seen the light or I have joined the dark side. I
own, not before time, a Mac.
This has been a very long time coming.
Indeed, a couple of my friends that I’ve mentioned my new Mac to (who am
I kidding? I’ve told everybody) have been
surprised I don’t have one already. It’s true that a lot of people in
theatre have them. I guess this is because of the look - beautiful - and
the operating system - intuitive - and the reliability - high.
It’s quite a big deal for me. I got my
first PC in 1990, a Packard Bell desktop which, despite the legendary
reputation of that company, was certainly the most reliable computer
I’ve ever owned. I had it for around five years until I could no longer
run new software. Even so, as I passed it onto the computer technician
for scrap, he mused, ‘no it’s not very up-to-date but it is still many
times more powerful than the computer that powered the Moon landing’.
My mum always worked in computers and
often brought computers home. I word-processed our school annual (orange
flickering letters on a black screen, the monitor moulded into a single
unit that contained the hard drive and keyboard - man, it was
futuristic). I also had a typewriter in my room so have always typed and
I think at the speed I type, not the speed I write, with the result
that I’ve never written anything substantial in longhand.
As a result when I got my PC in 1990, I
was a quick study. I learned WordPerfect - for which I still have
fondness but no longer the will to keep up with - and became expert in
pretty much everything it did. In fact, that was pretty much all I used
the computer for; a Word Processor and filing system. On subsequent
computers and laptops (I think my MacBook Pro one is something like my
eighth regular computer?) I branched into Excel, PowerPoint and of
course email. The internet arrived in the mid 90s and games and graphics
in the late 90s. I use my computer all day every day, pretty much. I
write on it, I learn on it, I listen to radio and watch TV on it, I
communicate on it, I shop on it. When I don’t shop on it, I have been
known to write shopping lists on it.
So I’m very learned-intuitive with
Windows and MS Office. I have found my computer annoying but those bits
of software seem fine to me. I know where everything goes and how to do
whatever I want. I expected the step into the MacWorld to be a wrench
regardless of what everyone said.
But what I’m finding is that each time I
discover the new way of doing something familiar, my instinctive
reaction is ‘oh of course’. Almost everything in the Mac that’s new to
me feels like somehow I knew it already. How do you put pictures into a
single event in iPhoto? You drag one on top of another. Oh of course.
How do you add a photo in iWeb? Just drag it onto the placeholder and it
automatically fits. Oh of course. How do you scroll down in Safari. You
stroke the trackpad downward with two fingers, sensuously beckoning the
rest of the page. Oh of course, of course.
I’m stunned to find myself adjusting to
quickly and enthusiastically to the new machine. I knew I’d love it; I
knew I’d find it beautiful. I’d technoperved over Mac products before
and I still regard my first-generation iPhone one of the loveliest
things I have ever seen. And some of the way I found myself ‘naturally’
pinching in, swiping from side to side, pushing and prodding the screen
around prepared me for the step over to Mac. It does seem to be a
machine designed for kinetic learners, for people who enjoy a sensuous
interaction with the world.
Oh and for what it’s worth it’s a 17” MacBook Pro, with a 2.53GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB 1066MHz memory, and a 500GB hard disk. It’s lovely.