Mac User For a Month #1

1999: Basic training is over, and it’s time to put my newly acquired skills to the test. As the title suggests, I am going to be a 100% Mac user for one month. I am unsure of what the results are going to be, but I am really looking forward to this. An old colleague of mine has already stated, “I give you two weeks, but since you liked the movie Tron, I will give you three weeks. You’ll be back.” I really hope his estimation turns out to be wrong.

Mac Metamorphosis

I intend to truly compare everything I do on a day-to-day basis on my PCs with my new Macs. Older low-end Macs are being used for this experiment, so I will not be counting speed as a deciding factor. The main goal for this is to see if the Macintosh and I are destined soul mates. So without further delay, let’s meet the team.

  • Power Mac 7500“Zoltar” Power Mac 7200/120, 128 MB RAM, 3dfx Voodoo 3 3000 PCI, Adaptec Power Domain 2940U2W SCSI controller, Seagate Cheetah2 9.1 GB HDD 10000 rpm ultra2 HDD, 24x NEC SCSI-2 CDROM, 10Base-T Ethernet, MAC OS 8.1.
  • “Little Engine That Could” Quadra 605, 64 MB RAM, 250 MB IBM HDD (Internal), 700 MB Quantum HDD (External), 10Base-T Ethernet, MAC OS 8.1.
  • The twins “Donald” & “Daffy” Mac IIsi, 32 MB RAM, 200 MB Maxtor half-height HDD, 10Base-T Ethernet.

All networking will be conducted over a generic 10Base-T eight-port hub. Internet access provided by an analog 56k dial-out router.

Should certain parts arrive by the end of the week, the metamorphosis will begin on October 23. Sure, this seems a little excessive with my configuration, but when it comes to computers, I can’t have just one.

Major focus areas are going to be networking performance (TCP/IP and a bit of AppleTalk), network utilities, web authoring, general applications, OS installation and usage, and security. I will not be adventuring in the gaming arena because that would be an unfair competition with my current line up. (Does anyone want to donate a Power Mac G4 with AGP for the purpose of game comparison?)

This is going to be a “do or die” situation. So far my experience with the Macintosh has been bliss. I feel I have a real connection with them. A lovely sales rep from We Love Macs! put it best when she said, “It’s like driving to the store. With a Mac, you just get in your car and go to the store. On a PC, however, you have to build the car first, then you can drive it to the store.”

Macintosh IIsiDo Macs have souls? I believe the answer is yes, they do.

The Apple community has welcomed me with open arms, and the typical attitude of a Mac user or professional has left me teary-eyed.

When I shop for PC parts, no matter where I go, I always run across that “know it all” who turns out to know nothing. A typical PC sales rep is rude, condescending, and usually gives false information. Should something go wrong with a part you bought, 9 times out of 10 the retailer will place you at fault.

I understand that there are a lot of users out there who just don’t know how to accomplish certain tasks. However, I find it very frustrating when I have to bring my resum√© with me everywhere just to prove that I know what I am talking about.

Then there’s the typical Macintosh sales-rep/retailer/professional/user. Always nice, never condescending, and they always make me feel comfortable about asking questions (even if it’s a stupid one). They don’t treat you like garbage or take a “know it all” approach.

There is such a strong sense of pride and unity in the Apple world that you feel a like you are a part of a family. PC people have classified loyal Mac users as a “religious nuts” and out of their minds. These same people then have the nerve to laugh at Apple because they delayed shipment of the 500 MHz Power Mac G4 due to bugs that still need to be fixed.

To this I only have to say one thing: At least Apple decided to delay shipment rather than release a faulty piece of hardware into the marketplace. The Pentium III Xeon 600 has a defect in it, and the chips were still released anyway! I don’t want to hear about “well, this error occurs only in certain configurations.” Same for Microsoft – every OS of theirs requires five service packs to get things running right. At least Apple usually gets it right the first time.

As you can see, I have become something of an Apple evangelist. It feels good to be fighting for something with some decency, integrity, and a future.