My First Mac

Soured on Windows

Douglas Metcalfe - 2001.11.08

My first Mac is actually my sixth, having bought five Mac Pluses at an auction in 1986 (I sold four the next day and kept one). The Mac Plus I kept was never my primary system; it was an oddity I played with until I put it in the attic a dozen years ago.

At the beginning of this year, just after Macworld SF, I bought my "first" Mac to use as my primary system: a Cube. The road to this decision was long (20 years!) and tortured (a Windows user from 1.0). My last Wintel device, a Sony 505, is now mostly a mousepad for my Apple Pro Mouse.

Why a Cube? Well, I'll admit it was a tough choice. The TiBook was just released, and it was within the reach of Power Mac G4 Cubemy "budget" (my budget being the 200 shares of AAPL that I bought at $14 at the "drop" in Nov. 2000). I really craved the TiBook but decided to do a little "planned obsolescence" of my own and bought the Cube with the idea that it would become my file and Web server when I bought my TiBook (yes, it was true love at first sight). I was even able to keep my Apple stock by "12 months same as cash" and a $100 dollar rebate at Circuit City.

How did I come to end a 20 year relationship with Microsoft and become an Apple owner and stockholder? I owe it all to Windows SE - the bug fix that should have been free to all Windows 98 users. Don't get me wrong: I love my little Sony, but I came to hate Windows. Countless reformat and reloads of the "disk image" I was given made me start looking for alternatives in the Summer of 2000. Apple's OS X plans were being outlined, and I liked it. I have some Unix in my background and knew it's power. Microsoft's .Net plan for a direct billing relationship with it's user base and control over the Internet was beginning to be revealed with it's chilling consequences (Hailstorm?!?).

In the Summer of 2000 I was faced with two choices: a computing eXPerience dominated and controlled by Bill Gates, a megalomanic, or an end user experience dominated and controlled by Steve Jobs, an egomaniac. Some choice, some might say. You are ignoring the third choice, Linux fans might say. Linux is a good choice for those that want to keep their Wintel hardware and learn something complex, but I decided to make a clean break with the Wintel Monopoly and go for something different. "Think Different" was what I was doing. When Apple stock crashed last year, I had already decided to switch platforms and felt that I was not alone in the desire to rid myself of the weight of the Wintel Monopoly. Thus I bought AAPL stock with the idea that after MWSF in January I would make my move.

After MWSF, I felt that the stock I held in Apple was not done going up, and rather than sell it to get the TiBook, I opted to get the cheaper Cube and start my new Mac experience there. I must say that I'm delighted with my choice of the Cube. Over the course of the year I have brought my RAM up to 1,024 MB and recently swapped the 20 GB hard drive for a Western Digital 100 GB SE (with 8 MB cache). OS X 10.0.x ran well on it, and OS X 10.1 is even better. I have a Sony FireWire CD burner and a Sony DV cam, and the 100 GB drive gives me room to edit video. I upgraded to EarthLink DSL, which is a quantum leap over dialup.

In short, I have the best, most capable computer system I have ever used. The pain of literally trashing thousands of dollars worth of Windows software is only made bearable by the fact that most of it was crap anyways. The freedom I have from the grasp of Bill Gates and his Redmond Monopoly is priceless.

The tentacles of the "Beast of Redmond" will not be cut by the DoJ, so we, the users, must face the consequences of an unfettered Monopoly. I have made my stand against the Empire. The force of a standards-based, easy to learn and use OS is with us in OS X. Tell a friend.

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