A die-hard ‘PC person’ (me) converts to a Mac, and the world spins on. For now.

Posted on February 22, 2012

The world didn’t end the day I switched from a Dell PC to a Mac. Granted, that was only last week — and the world is more likely to end from a slow, ongoing event like global warming than a catastrophic occurrence like a hit by a comet (or my switch to Mac). Which is to say, the day is young.

For a die-hard PC user, the change is like going from a hamburger-based diet to tofu. Or giving up lattes for flavored water. You’re likely to get coerced into these kind of moves against your will due to some medical necessity, and it usually comes with an ugly detox period.

Alas, no such impending medical crisis twisted my arm to join the league of the Mac Tribe. In fact, I didn’t see it coming, considering I’ve been a devoted Dell fan for my entire 15-year computer-purchasing life.

Dell, on the other hand, should have seen the writing on the wall — after one too many headache-inducing calls to customer service and endless transfers through internal departments by CSRs with heavy Indian accents, I realized last year our marriage was over.

So when time came for a new laptop, I was free to contemplate my options. Since I’m getting into multimedia and anticipate having to edit videos a lot within the next couple of years, I needed a machine that can accommodate more heavy-duty work than in the past. I also consider certain bells and whistles a must (like anti-glare screen, which is uncommon unless you opt for a military-grade, “rugged” computer that can easily take heat, water, drops and other unfortunate events).

As I researched non-Dell options and looked at rankings of everything from customer service to performance, a few choices floated to the top including Toshiba. But I couldn’t help but notice Apple was trying to get the attention from the corner of my eye, as I repeatedly ignored the MacBook Pro at the top of all those lists.

Finally, I decided to peek. After all, you can look as long as you don’t touch, right?

I am really digging the "Mission Control" option Mac has, which shows you all the open apps, both in Mac OS and Windows.

I groaned and cringed as I Googled, read, compared, ranked and Googled again. A Mac was making more sense as I “slept” on it for a few days. After a friendly geek at a Best Buy store answered some questions about Mac vs. PC advantages, I was nearly ready to wave the white flag.

Just to be certain, I popped into the Apple store at the mall — and suddenly was feeling that I needed to get a latte, just to make sure I still preferred one over flavored water.

I wasn’t always this adventurous. Although I was ahead of the curve in switching to a smartphone years ago — Palm became a convenient alternative to hauling the planner for coordinating my schedule while on the road — I was also proudly a minimalist. The latest and greatest gadgets didn’t entice me.

Blame it on the iPod Touch (or Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, for knowing what we needed before we did). Once my husband bought one, I couldn’t think of anything else when my old MP3 player bit the dust.

The rest went downhill from there. The Kindle came. And then the iPad. I wasn’t an early adopter of any of those devices, but I sure didn’t follow my minimalist ideas much.

Yes, I’m conscientiously still sticking with a BlackBerry smartphone because I don’t need a choice of half a million apps, but beyond that, all bets are off.

The detox period, I’m happy to report, is going well so far. But — here comes the big confession — it’s because I’m having my cake and eating it too. I wasn’t about to invest a couple of Gs into replacing all my PC programs, so I’m running Windows on the MacBook, via Parallels.

So yeah, I’m cheating. Let’s call it going from hamburgers to soy “burgers” before embracing tofu. It’s a happy, beautiful union while I learn the quirks of Mac and avoid suffering from Windows withdrawals.

It’s not a perfect relationship — there are glitches and annoyances, like with anything else — yet so far, I haven’t regretted the decision.

Does that make me a Mac person? Not entirely. At least not yet. The world is still spinning, but let’s not forget that global warming idea.

One Response to “A die-hard ‘PC person’ (me) converts to a Mac, and the world spins on. For now.”

  1. David Wagner
    Feb 29, 2012

    Sorry for the late response but my PC delayed me reading the message. Just kidding. We were traveling last week and in fact I was using a MAC for some of my interface to the internet. I was one of the strange people who went from MAC to PC kicking and screaming, but it had to be done because of the software availability many years back. That has all changed in the last number of years as the MAC has caught up and that is a non-issue today.

    I must admit using a MAC was almost second nature after a few hours on the machine, but I was still having issues with copy and paste of information. It is different than the PC. At this point, I doubt going back to a MAC will happen just because of the cost of changing over all of our PC’s which now numbers 4 machines. Good luck the change, it will get easier as time goes on.



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A little creative writing break: Writing TIme

An impromptu unedited piece about writing

By Rodika Tollefson

All those writing books by seasoned professionals tell you: You must have morning pages. That’s when you get up 10 minutes early and before you go about your day, your first thoughts pour into the pages for 10 minutes. Write junk if you want to, the advice says. Complain. Make shopping lists. Plan your day. Write whatever comes to mind, just write.

I have resisted so far giving in to such advice. I plan my day all day long already. I have little time for shopping so the lists would just there, unspent. I get to write junk already plenty, being a paid writer with lots of assignments they call “fluff.”

It’s that fluff writing that pays the bills -- not those wonderful literary masterpieces that undoubtedly are waiting inside me, waiting to be discovered, waiting for me to become the next Hemingway. Well, maybe I could become famous posthumously; it seems a lot of writers die first before getting noticed.

Where were we? Oh yes, writing time.

No matter what they say, writing is still a lot about inspiration. Maybe good writers just learned to be inspired instantly as soon as they get a hold of the pen and paper. After many failures, they disciplined themselves to write beautiful prose instantly. But me, the average scribe, I need inspiration.

And I do get it at least once a day, but it’s usually in odd places. I’ll be driving one time, be in the middle of a deadline the next time, or in the middle of a book whose sole purpose is to inspire me -- which it does -- but I ignore its pleading to drop it and write. I’m too tired. Too busy. Too whatever -- the explanation changes each time.

And so those fleeting moments of inspiration take off from inside me, hover in the air as if making sure I don’t change my mind, and move on. Maybe to another writer, another universe, another day. With them goes my masterpiece, my brilliant piece of writing that instead will end up with another writer’s name on it -- a writer who was smarter than me, more disciplined. Maybe a writer who does morning pages as a self-exploration or an exercise to get all the junk out of the brain so he or she can move on to the more brilliant stuff.

Once in a while, I do get lucky. Those fleeting moments of inspiration take mercy and instead of flying away forever, they get tucked in back inside my soul. I do love them, for they are patient…knowing…hoping that some day I too will be smarter, more disciplined, more motivated to listen to them, give them freedom. They yearn to guide my pen toward that next wonderful story.

Writing time. Part inspiration, part luck, part the ability to ignore the outside world in the whirlwind of children needing help with homework, husband waiting for dinner, clients waiting for their collection of fluff, deadlines waiting to mess up what you’ve managed to have left of a social life, bills waiting to be paid. This outside world must be what writer’s hell is like -- that perpetual agony between snatching the inspiring thought and finding the time to make it fly and go for a ride. Writing time. Maybe it’s just a curse?

Creative writing break: From the Essays file

Memories

Memories are like birds.

They fly, fast and free, with their wings spread open.
They are swarming, loud.

Once in a while, they stop still.

They nest in our hearts.

Unlike a bird's nest, memories are less exposed to the world. They are concealed deep inside our hearts and soul, often time stuffed there by a mind that does not want to remember a painful sensation.

Other times they are lively and ecstatic, laughing out loud or just smiling contentedly.

These are the memories that we put into pictures and keepsakes in order to capture them into something more material, something more feasible that we can touch and see over and over again, something that would live through generations to tell the happy story.

Those are the memories of a first bouquet, wedding bells, first charming baby smile, the long gone dear friend…

They are the memories we try to hang on to, try to grasp them with our fingers and clutch them in our fists… too precious to let go.

Among them is a picture of the sunset and a tree in full bloom.

What is the soul trying to tell by captioning these serene moments onto the glossy paper? Are these part of the memories that will be shared with generations to come, or are they just a trace of lost happiness, an attempt to recreate a smile of the nature itself?

(1998)

a few of my favorite quotes

“To live a creative life, we must lose the fear of being wrong.”
~Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.”
~Henry Ford

“I couldn't wait for success... so I went ahead without it.”
~Jonathan White

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
~Hellen Keller

“It's never too late to be what you might have been.”
~George Elliot