Friday, January 12, 2007

If Macs are so great, why doesn't everyone have one?

Who's asking: Jennifer Lechner, Freeport, ME

At the end of my first week as a Mac user, I can only think of three reasons the entire country hasn't switched to Macs: ignorance, laziness and habit.

That's why I hadn't switched, anyway. Contrary to appearances, I am one of the most habit-bound, change-averse people I know. Big changes I can do; little changes make me so anxious they can paralyze me. (A couple of months ago, I switched toothpastes on a whim -- my new brand is Tom's of Maine, cinnamon/clove, and it rocks -- but for two weeks, I kept looking for the old tube of Colgate in my bathroom cabinet, and feeling panicky when I couldn't find it.)

But now that I have a Mac, after all that kicking and screaming, I can't believe it took me so long. In the words of my friend John Erath, I have drunk the Mac Kool-Aid. Every day I discover something new that it does, and it's all so easy it boggles my mind. I didn't have to load a printer driver on this machine; I just plugged in my old printer, and it worked. Same thing with the digital camera. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to store and move files around, but now that I have, that's easier than on PCs, too.

I'm still getting used to a couple of things. The "delete" key is just a backspace, and that annoys me. The aspect ratio of documents in Word is different than on my old machine -- but is the aspect ratio of a physical sheet of paper, so that makes more sense than the PC Word display.

But those are minor. I love the deck at the bottom of my screen, which shows all the programs available to me; the "e" for Entourage bounces adorably every time a new e-mail comes in. The picture quality on my screen is better than any PC I've ever had. The built-in speakers are quite good, though I might get some external ones (I've been warned: the urge to accessorize is the biggest danger of Mac ownership). This weekend I'll be launching the first in a series of podcast interviews for The Mystery Bookstore, and these will be entirely self-produced (by the store's computer guru and myself) on Mac software.

It's a whole new Mac world, and I like it. Join me, my friends! (Okay, that part where I said I wouldn't proselytize? Changed my mind.)

What I Read This Week

One of my New Year's resolutions was to make my way through the pile of paperback originals I've gotten from publishers over the last several months. In the last week or so, I've started four, and set them all aside at page 50. Shockingly, dismayingly bad, every one of them. This will be the subject of a longer post at a future date. In the meantime, I did finish...

Alexander McCall Smith, The Right Attitude to Rain. I needed something restful, but this was a little too restful. The third Isabel Dalhousie novel finds the Scottish philosopher wrestling with questions of love and loyalty, and ends with a surprise that -- I hope -- will liven things up a bit. Isabel's habit of questioning everything she does is charming at first, but distances the reader instead of making us feel closer to her. Frustrating, and I don't know whether I'll stick with this series.

Donna M. Lacey, Archie and Amelie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age. John Armstrong "Archie" Chanler, an heir to the Astor fortune, married best-selling Southern novelist Amelie Rives in 1888. For the next seven years they drove each other crazy, as Amelie flirted with a serious of famous and infamous men and Archie pursued his dreams of building an industrial utopia at Roanoke Rapids, NC. Amelie was addicted to morphine; Archie believed he could channel supernatural wisdom through automatic writing, and that he could reshape his face to look like Napoleon's death mask. It ended badly, with Amelie marrying the artist Pierre Troubetskoy and Archie committed to Bloomingdale Asylum -- but the story is fascinating.

It's still National De-lurking Week, and only two people identified themselves yesterday... so if you're stopping by today, won't you please leave a comment to say hello in person? Thanks!


Tom Ehrenfeld said...

And the love will only continue, I assure you. Here's one more thing to love over the coming weeks and months: the way your computer won't crash, or get infected by bugs, or occupy vast amounts of your time with overly complicated instructions downloads fixes and the like. Cool!

JJ said...

I got my daughter a Mac when she went off to college but before she left I decided to add it to our home PC network.

Though I dedicated an entire day to this adventure, I basically plugged it in and it came up. Bip, done.

Yeah, they're better, but the real answer to the question has always been money. Macs are built super well but they cost a lot more than PCs and aren't nearly as customizable.

That being said, if I had the money I would dump all the PCs in my house and replace them with Macs.


Anonymous said...

Yes, that's what I hear also--money, money, money. Also, for a while, it was a compatability problem. When I got my original iMac, I couldn't open a single Word document. That was annoying, but it's all in the past. Now I'm jealous of my neighbors, who just got the newest iMac with a 24inch screen and built-in iSight camera! WOWZER!!

AnswerGirl said...

The money issue a real one. This machine retails for about $500 more than the one I lost to the margarita, and I only have it through the generosity of a client who is also one of my oldest friends.

If I'd had to spend my own money, it's very possible I'd have gone with the cheaper option of a PC -- but that would have been a mistake, because I have a feeling this machine is going to cost me less to maintain over its lifespan. And it's already giving me new business opportunities (the podcasting).

Anonymous said...


Long time lurker here. A woman of few words, I guess.

Phoenix, AZ

Anonymous said...

I try to check in everyday and post when I can....but in the spirit of de-lurking day. Hi! Welcome to the wonderful world of Macs.


Bill said...

Every Mac I've ever touched has crashed.

AnswerGirl said...

Aw, don't jinx me like that, Bill. So far so good on this machine, though I too am a notorious Technology Killer (not as bad as my dad, though).