The Mac Webb

Evangelism That Works

- 2001.12.11

One of my goals as an Apple fan is to evangelize the greatness of Apple products to everyone who falls into earshot. I have learned not to be pushy or overbearing, but to simply answer questions when asked and to make my Apple products as visible as possible in my daily activities. I spend most of my time showing my products to friends and clients at an enterprise level, a tough audience, as proprietary systems and bias in capital expenditure groups keeps users from having the ability to change.

My work in this corporate group is often frustrating and has yet to win a large scale migration. Success typically comes from one or two of my coworkers who migrate home machines.

I was recently planning a trip with friend who is a die hard Wintel fan. Steve last played with a Mac in 1995 and still thinks you cannot do anything on a Mac. As we planned the trip, he was watching me send a few emails on my PowerBook. He commented that he liked the system and wished someone would build a similar machine for Windows users. I had an idea on how to best evangelize Macintosh.

me: "Lets take nothing but Macs with us. I want you to spend some time using one of my machines, and then I want you to rate the experience."

him: "bwah ha hahahhah . . . hmmm okay, but I get to use your PowerBook!"

Ouch, that hurt. He really thinks the world of the PowerBook's design, and I had an inkling that this would happen. I agreed, and the two of us went on to plan our trip. The first step was to make sure he could perform all of his tasks with the PowerBook.

Web stuff (browsing, FTP), email (with Lotus Notes - ugh, a problem), Office (Microsoft that is), PIM (he is a Palm user), DVD, MP3s, games....

In my mind, the only two concerns I had were Lotus Notes and gaming. I knew this would mean VirtualPC. Unfortunately, I have only VPC4, which means we are stuck in 0S 9. No problem and probably better for this exercise. This will help battery life and Palm sync anyway.

Gaming was a problem until I asked him what he was currently playing. He has been working through Baldur's Gate II over the last few weeks. This is a game available for Mac, and one that will not give my older PowerBook any problems.

I made sure all was set up and then installed Lotus Notes. This solution was not too bad and seemed to run with decent speed. I was going to depend on him to be able to set the application up correctly for his needs. I installed Office 2001 (I was waiting for X and had not done yet installed 2001) and got some of his CDs to rip for him prior to the trip.

The day came, and we were ready to go. I stole my wife's iBook for the trip, so I was not too worried about him running my PowerBook. I spent about 30 minutes at the airport, teaching him where everything was and how things work on the machine. As we boarded the plane, I handed him my PowerBook and let him go.

It was quite interesting to watch him slowly work the machine. He started slowly and worked on a Word document while listening to some MP3 files. After about 30 minutes, Steve decided to watch a movie. All went well, and he watched the new Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Director's Edition for around an hour. At this point, he had started to look at the PowerBook more fondly.

From the seat behind us, we started getting questions from another traveler. This traveler was using one of the ultra-portable Sony machines, which of course had long since run out of juice. The traveler asked us some questions about the PowerBook, and my buddy was starting to express the benefits of the Mac.

As it happens, the traveler was interested in PowerBooks as he was a Unix administrator (and was running Linux on his Sony). He was worried about the size of the PowerBook and thought it a bit too big (compared to his Vaio, it was). I woke my iBook (running X) and handed it to the guy. Once he found the terminal, he was in heaven. For the remainder of the flight, the traveler was gushing over the Mac system. He had been leaning to Macs, and all he needed was a few minutes to actually see one work the way he needed it to work. Steve continued to play around and even went so far as to boot into OS X to give it a try.

As we arrived at our destination, I had helped convince the traveler to buy an iBook. He loved the size and was very impressed with the battery life and the Unix based OS. He was looking for a local CompUSA to grab one as soon as possible. Steve enjoyed the machine but was still not totally sold.

Over the next few days, Steve became more and more interested in the system. As he did things like sync his Palm, check his email via Lotus and VPC, and play Baldur's Gate II, he started to realize the beauty of the machine. Over the three days he used the computer, he had not one crash and not one blue screen of death. He received email from his office, worked on files in MS Office, and finished a presentation. He worked in OS 9, OS X, and Windows 2000 (on VPC), with each OS running well and stably. All without the machine holding him back.

As we wrapped up our trip, he confessed that he was going to need to look at a PowerBook of his own. In his mind, the experiment removed any doubts about compatibility. Also, he liked the fact that the machine had not required any reboots or restarts and that it had worked well with the peripherals he needed. He realized that the quality of the Apple machines was far and away the best and that the performance was wonderful. As he said he was able to get things done.

Apple computers are products which need to be used and played with to be appreciated. If you have a chance, grab a Wintel friend and let him or her use your Mac for a few days. The attention to detail will win them over. LEM

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