Thomas Hawk Buys a Mac
Well I’ve been hiding a secret for the past two weeks. It’s something that I’ve felt conflicted and unsure of, something that I’ve felt ashamed of and proud of at the same time. Something that I’ve been trying to sort out before I actually wrote about it. Most people will probably say, “yeah, big deal.” But for me it kind of is a big deal. I haven’t told very many people. I showed Robert Scoble last week but have been kind of hiding it otherwise.
A little over two weeks ago I walked into the Apple store in Palo Alto and bought myself a new MacBook Pro. Yes, the new sexy Intel dual core MacBook Pro. And I went home and after not using a Mac for over 15 years, put my Dell PC notebook literally in the bookshelf and have been using this new Mac as my primary computer for the past 2 weeks.
And what do I have to say about the experience after two weeks? My God! This is f***ing amazing! For the past 15 years I’ve pretty much been a diehard Microsoft PC guy. I’ve mocked the religious zealotry of the cult of Macintosh. I’ve derided the senseless brainwashing that Steve Jobs seems so elegant at.
And then I just did it, I went out and bought one. Maybe it’s a self destructive bent that I’ve got. Maybe it’s the need to explore something new. The move made me think about marriage. Was I simply trading in my trusty old wife of 15 years for the sleek slender new 19 year old model? Was I somehow doing this as a fashion statement? But the answer was no.
I was very frustrated with my Dell PC for a number of reasons. When I would edit photos on it and then upload them the color would be all wrong. I couldn’t disable tap to click. I tried to buy an EVDO card for it and it wouldn’t work. (I tried three EVDO cards actually and had to return them all).
The Dell had this habit that I hated. It would go to sleep and then I’d open the lid to use it and press the power button to activate it. Nothing would happen. A full minute would go by, still nothing. So I’d think that maybe it didn’t know that I pushed the power button and would push it again. Then it would come on only to immediately begin shutting itself down because I’d pressed the power button twice. There would be no way to stop it and so I’d have to wait until it fully rebooted to start using it. Applications would hang. It wouldn’t work on my network right. It would tell me that I had a wifi signal but wouldn’t connect without a reboot. I was constantly needing to install drivers and uninstall drivers. So many things.
And all along the way it was my 18 year old tech mentor Kristopher Tate, who kept saying, dude, just get a Mac. Just get a Mac. They just work.
And so I did. And I have to say that he’s right. It just works. It took about 48 hours of getting used to but once my little introductory awkward phase was over it just works so much better. It springs to life immediately when I open it. The new EVDO card I got works perfectly. It’s fast. The picture quality is very accurate. I can easily work in both Bridge and Photoshop at the same time on it while still having Firefox and Thunderbird and Skype and iTunes and jUploadr all open at the same time.
I did have a few hiccups along the way. It wasn’t easy to get it to work with my Windows network at home, but having Kristopher around as tech support has been a fantastic safety net. Every time I need to figure out how to do something he shows me. He helped me transfer all my old email from my old Dell notebook, settings and bookmarks, etc. over.
And then there’s the design of the thing. I never in a million years would have thought that the design of a laptop would ever matter to me at all. It’s not about the aesthetics of a machine. It’s what it does for you right? Well, maybe. But this machine is damn sexy. I love the way that the keyboard is lit at night so that I can work in the dark. I love that glassy screen. There is something about the feel of the polished aluminum as I hold, no caress, the thing in my hands. It types perfectly. I love how I can use two fingers on the touch pad to move my screen down. I love how it has a hidden built in microphone and a small little video camera in the screen so that I can do video phone stuff through Skype super easily. I love how the little power supply has a magnet built into it and just kind of plugs itself in. And yes, I even love that glowing little Apple logo on the back of the case that I’ve scoffed at in the past at the various conferences and tech meetups that I’ve gone to.
I used a Mac back in college and used them exclusively from 1985 or so until 1991. My past memories of the Mac are of the Mac Plus and the SE/30. With my first Mac I literally had to swap floppy discs back and forth out of the drive between the OS disc and the application disc because it had no hard drive. And then I went to work for a bank in 1991 and the Mac was definitely gonski there. I did ask for a Mac and they just laughed.
I figured that since I had to use a PC at work, I’d better use one at home too in order to best master the beast. And it has been a beast for me. As tech saavy as I like to think of myself as I’ve had so many problems with my PCs over the years. If using a PC is being outside working digging ditches all day long in the hot sun, using my new Mac is like hanging out at the spa.
I’m not really giving up on my PCs yet. I still do have four of them at home and two at work. But I imagine that I’ll be spending 85% or more of my computing time on this slender sexy new MacBook Pro in the future. I was going to buy a new CableCARD capable Vista machine in January but I’ll probably hold off on that a bit. I may still end up buying one but will probably do it later if I do. We’ll see.
Call me a convert. Call me a traitor. Call me a heretic. Or call me a fanboy. Welcome me to the club or say it ain’t so Joe, but all I can say is that Kristopher is right. It just works. And it feels so great while it does that. It’s the best I’ve felt about using a computer in a long, long time.
Update: Thanks all for the comments and thanks to the diggers who dugg this story to digg’s front page and to Apple Computer for putting it on apple.com. A week later I’m still totally digging my Mac. Even more than ever. Here’s one other thing that I absolutely *love*. I love how no matter where you type on a Mac it spell checks everything for you. If I’m posting on my blog, if I’m leaving a comment on someone else’s blog, if I’m writing an email, if I’m doing anything with text it just constantly spell checks. And it doesn’t do it in a distracting way. No pop ups or spell checks or menus, etc. Just a thin red line under the word that is unknown and a simple right click to add the word to your personal dictionary or fix the spelling. That really rocks.
By the way, the Mac in the photo above is not mine. That’s just one that I took a photo of at the Web 2.2 party last month at Fluid. But it does show how very cool they do look.