That Old Mac Magic

Casual Comfort: Why I Use a Mac

- 2006.01.25

In my introductory column, I told you a little bit about why I use Macs. I wrote, "Apple makes and markets computers with panache. They don't appeal to everyone, but they appeal to me."

Allow me to give you three reasons why.

I Work, Therefore I Mac (corny, I know, but stay with me)

Let me first touch on a key factor that has kept mine a Mac household for lo these many years - I use PCs at work.

Now, now, this isn't going to turn into a fire-and-brimstone tirade about Macs being the only true path to computer salvation. I'm not going to consign all Wintel boxes to the trash heap as utterly useless wastes of plastic, metal, and silicon.

No, I'm not going to go there, because I really don't have anything against PCs.

Really, I don't! As a communications writer in the human resources arena, my job involves a lot of writing, editing, and group presentations, so I've become quite familiar with Word, PowerPoint, and Quark over the years.

With few exceptions, I've found the variety of different PCs that I've used to be good tools for doing my job. When I boot up my Dell OptiPlex GX270 every morning, I really don't say to myself, "Man, I really wish I had a G5!"

As a matter of fact, I grew to love my Sony VAIO notebook that I used for the better part of four years. It had a terrific keyboard, a gorgeous 15" screen, and more than enough power to get the job done. It was eye-catching, too - at group presentations, when other presenters trotted out their ho-hum Dells and ThinkPads, my slate-blue and purple VAIO would invariably draw comments.

Of course, my happy acceptance of PC technology at work comes with a very big caveat - that all of that technology is backed by an IT staff that works virtually nonstop to maintain, safeguard, and upgrade it. It's the whole structure - hardware/software and support - that makes using PCs at work mostly painless.

Having seen teams of technicians labor a whole day to get my PC up and running on a number of occasions and having known folks who have spent many hours and many dollars to fix their wonky, virus-ridden PCs, there is no way I would want to bring such a potential nightmare into my home - especially not now, when home networking, high-speed Internet, spyware, and viruses have introduced a new level of complexity and danger.

No thanks, I'll stick with my comfy, stylish iBook.

Slipping into Something More Comfortable

For me, the difference between Macs and PCs is like the difference between work clothes and casual clothes. When I go to work, I dress a certain way because it is both expected and necessary for my business. However, when I come home each evening, the first thing I do is change into something more comfortable.

While appropriate and necessary for work, my work clothes are not what I want to chill out in for the rest of the evening. In other words, I use PCs all day at work, and I prefer to use something different (no "think different" jokes, please), less formal, and a tad offbeat when I get home.

The Mac suits that part of my personality.

Swimming Upstream

Did you ever see one of those nature documentaries about salmon? If so, you know that each year when its time to spawn, salmon swim up countless freshwater streams and rivers to spawn. (You may have also seen this phenomenon in documentaries about grizzly bears, who tend to eat many of these salmon - but I digress.)

I've always liked these salmon - being themselves (as if they knew something else to be), fighting the current, going against the grain, doing what they have to do in spite of the rest of the world.

I tend to be like those salmon in many areas of life. I like to explore things and build my own ways, habits, passions, and opinions. The Mac appeals to that part of my personality - I like that it's different, and I like that I'm in the minority.

I especially like that extra little glance I get when I pull out my now ho-hum (by MacBook Pro standards) iBook G3/900 at Panera to work on this column or something else. It says, "Oh, he's one of those!" Call me crazy, but I like that.

So, okay, enough already about why I use Macs. Like I said at the beginning, Macs suit me, but they don't suit everybody.

And that suits me just fine. LEM

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