25 October 2006

Switched to Mac; Can't Change Back

"My switch to Mac" articles are all over the Internet. Blame it on the iPod--Apple Computers are a hot item. Like many, after years of using PCs I made the switch. I've entered a new world, and although I can't deny the past, I can't return to Windows.

My decision switch was difficult; I used a long line of PCs. My father bought a Pentium 60 when I was seven. Mysterious DOS commands allowed me to play Hero's Quest, Oregon Trail, and Prince of Persia. I never made it far; we didn't have directions. My only contact with Apple computers was a typing game my partner hogged in third grade.

The graduation from DOS to Win 3.0 to Win 95 was swift. I remained oblivious to Mac lurking behind Window's shadow. That is, until ninth grade Physical Science.

In the class, we did labs and recorded our results on ancient Apple computers. My lab partner and I were mystified by the elaborate process necessary to save data. A classmate at the next table did it for us, but neglected to tell us the file's name. The data was lost, and we took a poor grade.

After this incident, I wasn't impressed by Macs. To this day, I believe the information hibernates in lost regions of the hard drive.

I though I knew my way around computers. If the computer froze, for any reason, restarting the machine would "solve" the problem. One risked losing unsaved work, but it was an easy solution for most problems. Macs didn't make sense: Why did I need seven programs to do a single task? It wasn't efficient. And I was lost with only one mouse button.

Around 1997, my friends and I discovered the Internet. We were up until the wee hours chatting and surfing, always on a PC. My own computer, a homely Packard-Bell, was borrowed for school. Barely 'net-worthy, it took forever to get email. But I was confident I'd rather use this than the archaic Macs at school.

In 2000, I bought my first computer for college: a 14" HP Pavilion notebook running Windows 98 SE (my favorite, I have to admit). With 5G of hard drive and 64 RAM, my laptop was enviable. I couldn't play DVDs or store much on the hard drive without the computer slowing down, but I loved the freedom of mobility. I sent my laptop out for screen repair twice, and the second time it returned with a crack over the hinge. The crack worked its way through until the computer would not shut.

According to Circuit City, my extended warranty did not cover hardware (thus screens are not hardware). After many phone calls, much frustration and tears, I was stuck with a broken, useless laptop. As a student, writer, and technology lover, I need a computer to do everyday tasks. With school papers looming, I borrowed a HP tower from my father, but I had to return it within a year. A temporary fix.

Since my outdated laptop was collecting dust, I searched the market. The hard, bulky bodies of Hewitt-Packards, Toshibas, and Compaqs seemed vulgar. I wanted something sleek. Something sexy. I wanted a computer to inspire and dazzle me with it's abilities.

"You should get a Mac," my boyfriend, then "guy friend", suggested earnestly. I protested. I told him of the terrible experiences I endured. And he placed his white 14" iBook in front of me. What happened to the ugly icons? When did the interface become smooth? With a few pointers, I found OSX a delight to navigate. After assuring me of Windows compatibility and promising better programs, I rushed Apple.com to build my dream computer.

I choose a silver 12" PowerBook. With a 100G and 736 RAM, it'd have space and speed. I anxiously awaited its arrival, tracking the package on UPS. The anticipation was nothing compared to the joy of opening the package.

Unlike my PC, my PowerBook was ready from the box. No drivers to install, no restarting. Within minutes, I was on the wireless network chatting and moving music.

The switch to Mac was easy. After years of using PCs, I know how to work with software. Going back is nearly impossible. I try shortcuts and nothing. I open too many programs and find "insufficient memory." And what is with the right click button? Saving pictures is easy with click and drag. Or find more options with Apple+Click. Although I have fond memories of the PC, my Mac spoiled me, and I can't go back.

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