My Turn

Mac Crossroads

David Yi - 2001.11.28

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

I keep coming back to Macs. Surely, there is enough pain and sorrow associated with these Jobsian things, I say to myself, but a voice inside always overrides in the end.

I got my first Mac in 1998 when I started my masters program in microbiology. They were selling shiny new space-cadet-helmet-shaped iMacs at the school bookstore. I must admit that it wasn't Apple or the iMac itself that attracted me, but rather my growing distaste for Microsoft. I had gotten tired of the constant crashes, blue screens of death, "kernel error blah blah blah," the bland graphics, the horrid driver conflicts, the IRQ shuffle, the jumper plays, and so on. But given the complete dominance that the PC had over the personal computing world, I had no idea then that many other people had become just as fed up as I had.

In all honesty, my relationship with the iMac was bittersweet. First of all, everything was "backwards." I mean, the Start Bar that resided at the bottom of a Windows screen was replaced by a Menu Bar at the top of the screen; application switching was from top to bottom instead of left to right; icons were placed on the desktop from the right instead of from the left (later I would learn that Microsoft had simply adapted Apple's ideas, and not the other way around). But there were more serious problems. The USB system constantly crashed, my hard drives would spin forever without the Mac OS giving me control of the desktop, and applications would freeze suddenly and for no reason (later I would discover that a USB patch and an extra 32 Mb of RAM solved 90% of the problems). Most problematic of all, my iMac could not read and write to the latest .doc and .xls files sent to me by professors, fellow students, etc.

I came close to simply tossing the Bondi blue out the window. But I stuck through, committed to finding a workable path around the ogre that was Microsoft. With the exception of IE and the terrible Umax 1220U extensions, crashes are now minimal (I've tested this by turning these extensions off - unfortunately, I need them on). This is not to say that all is rosy with my iMac. I've still got a problem with a strange, incompatible line level mic-in jack that is infuriating; MS Office documents occasionally don't translate properly (even with MacLink Deluxe); games are always half a year away; I often can't use services like Dialpad to make free or low-cost voice calls; many Internet sites don't render properly, even on IE for Mac!

So why do I keep coming back to Macs? I guess I like the look, the feel, the concept of Macs. The clean, uncluttered, elegant, Zen-like process that permeates Mac usage. Beautiful curves, soothing colors, and steady performance (with a few exceptions). I like the fact that Macs are not something everybody uses. I like the fact that Macs are not produced by Microsoft.

Need there be more reasons?

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