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Monday, August 07, 2006

The Cult of the Mac

It started slowly. About 3 years ago I was substituting in a school that had Macs instead of PCs. I had an open planning period, nothing to do and a Mac connected to the Internet. I powered it on, and clicked on the "big blue E" to surf the Internet. I remember a few differences like the missing right click, but nothing too dramatic. I also recognized Microsoft Word and Excel. I was scheduled to be in the school for the rest of the week, so I decided to bring in some work I needed to do for a class I was taking. Surprisingly, I was able to open a paper I was working on at home on my IBM ThinkPad. I gingerly continued my work and hoped I would be able to open the document when I returned home. The documents were successfully saved, and I was able to move easily between the PC I had at home and the Macs I was running into again and again.

Throughout my move to public school teaching I continued to encounter Macs. Last summer I was looking for summer work, and I found a job working with a local school district. They were looking for help upgrading their PCs, iBooks and network. I had the chance to "see the guts" of the iBooks and to participate in re-imaging the computers that the students use.

When I began my 1st year at the junior high school, I found that in addition to 26 Windows machines, the lab I was teaching in had 6 Macs. Admittedly, I was frustrated at first, because the thought of teaching technology in a mixed platform lab was a bit daunting. But I used access to the Macs as an opportunity to become more familiar with them. By the end of the school year, I was successful in convincing my principal that trying to teach in a mixed lab was difficult, and he and the superintendent agreed to remove the Macs from my lab for the upcoming school year. :(

My increasing familiarity with Macs and Apple's move to Intel-based processors, combined with the introduction of the MacBook convinced me that it was time to buy my first Mac. In earlier posts, I have outlined some of what it has taken to make my Mac my primary computer. It has taken a bit longer than I expected, but I certainly don't regret it, and I have been plodding along with the conversion a little bit at a time.

One of the reasons I have not completely moved to the MacBook is that I have been busy working at the local Apple Computer Store. I have been working around 30-40 hours a week, leaving little time to do much with my own computer. But I have learned a tremendous amount about using Macs and have also learned a lot about the frustrations many people have with their current Windows computers. I will continue working at Apple after Labor Day (I need to get ready for my school year and spend some time with my family), but yesterday was my last day at the store for a while.

And how am I spending my first day off in almost a week? I set up a refreshed iBook G4 that I bought for my father. I also bought him a Procare membership. I updated the software, set up his email and charged the battery. I answered a wireless question for someone who is running a Compaq laptop (WHY doesn't he get a Mac?), and I am glued to the Internet waiting for the latest news from Steve Jobs' Keynote address at WWDC 06.

I guess I am officially a member of "the cult!"


  • I have two friends in "the cult". One tells me it's good that I've moved from Windows to Linux, but Mac's still better. The other (who I work with) was talking about how Mac's better than PC to a customer (I guess the other guy was in too) and I pointed to my laptop and said I use Linux. His response was different. He thought that was a good idea and said something about PC hardware. I guess it had to do with the cost of Mac hardware being higher than PC hardware, meaning hardware upgrades cost me less, but I still have a non-Windows computer that is still based on Unix, just like Mac.

    By Blogger Mackenzie, at 2:18 PM  

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