Wednesday, April 4, 2007

I Heart Macintosh

Macintosh was the first computer I ever worked on. About twenty or so years ago, I was employed by a small copy/print company that was the first in the city to purchase the Mac Plus and its desktop publishing system software. Remember that little postage stamp-sized screen? And how 1 MB of Ram was, like, so COOL? Remember how, with PageMaker and all, the heavens parted and we designers cast off our Exacto knives and rubber cement and went joyfully skipping out into the light, our design and copy paste-up duties suddenly melded into ONE?

I quit working in the industry about ten years ago. In fact, I can barely comprehend the leaps and bounds that have been made in desktop publishing (do they even call it that now?) since then, all due to Apple. But, with the exception of a brief period in my life that is best not spoken of, I have continued to own Macs.

Today, I have two – a four year old iMac that does everything I need it to do except order out Chinese for lunch, and a Mac Pro laptop that is perfect except for the fact that it only comes in black and white. I do SO miss that bright Macintosh turquoise . . .

Why do I love Mac so much? Besides its beyond amazing user-friendliness and design cool? Because it's so ding dang reliable. No lie, my Mac has never, ever freaked out on me. Not through its own fault, anyway.

About a month ago, I was updating some software, when, upon restarting my machine, my computer wouldn't boot up. I called the Macintosh help line, gave them $50 over the phone and after an hour going back and forth with some dude who sounded like he was fresh from Kindergarten (Mac may rock, but their troubleshooting service most certainly DOES NOT!), I gave up and called Phill.

Without going into the exact details here of who Phill is and how I know him and all he has done for a living regarding Macintosh, suffice it to say Phill is one of perhaps only a handful of people in the universe who knows everything there is to know about Macintosh, inside out and backwards.

A couple hours later, Phill arrived on the scene like Superman at a robbery – ready to kick ass and take names and get me back up and running so I could spend the rest of my Sunday cruising celebrity gossip sites. I made him some coffee and removed myself to the living room so as to let his genius work in peace.

A half hour later, Phill ambled out of my office, scratching his head and mumbling to himself. Apparently, my computer recognized neither his start up software nor his external drive. Phill stumped? My stomach did a little flip. "But you can, you know, mess around some more and figure it out, right?"

Phill scratched his head and took a long, thoughtful sip of his coffee. "Uh, yeah. Maybe. I've never seen this happen before."

An hour later Phill was still stumped. By this time, I was in full on panic mode and permanently installed just beyond his left shoulder, staring at the blank gray screen of my Mac, silently willing it to scroll through its start up duties and emit that simple little "dong" that means all is right with the world.

"It's so ironic," I said, "All I was doing was updating Norton Utilities."

Phill whipped around and looked at me, "What did you say?" I told him again. You know, to check for viruses and all. S.B. is always doing it on his computer.

"But S.B. has a P.C.," said Phill. "You do not have to worry about viruses with Mac."

Apparently, for some reason known only to God and computer geeks, Norton Utilities really messes with Macs in this way. Repeat: it is a Norton, not a Mac, problem.

Not that I needed to know why. All I needed to know was, Phill knew immediately what to do and within another hour, I was back up and running. Dong.

I feel terrible about what I did. And even more terrible for losing faith in my Mac. After all, these computers were designed so that computer illiterate dorks like me simply had to plug in and plug away, not have a degree in Computer Science just to type a letter. I should trust that everything I need for a hassle free computer existence is already inside my machine. It is beautiful, no matter what the PC people say.

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