(previous Blogger post, August 20, 2006, Sunday)

Make that a Mac Geek. Everyone who has encountered me more than once probably knows that I am such a sleepyhead. Why then did I even contemplate staying up way past midnight just to see Steve Jobs’ – Apple Computer’s CEO – keynote address at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco? If my internet connection could not handle the streaming video (yeah, I’m still on dial-up), then I would just log on to the local mac users group forum (philmug.ph) and join in the chatter. That was exactly what I would have done had our landline – therefore my internet connection, too – not been busted. It was then that I realized, “oh my gosh, I’m one of them now!” Yeah, those Macheads whose dreams include going to WWDC or the more consumer-friendly Macworld Expo. Some are fortunate enough to have gone to either or both of these annual “Mac-awaited” events and proudly declare “I visited the mothership!”

How did the Mac love affair begin? The first time I met Mac was way back in grade school and we didn’t exactly take to each other. Fast forward to my first job. I was scared of the Mac (a PowerMac G3 with a floppy drive still) at the office. I stuck to the PC (though I wasn’t that comfortable with it either) and to editing the magazine based on the printouts. The artist was finally fed up with the slow process – and most probably with my handwriting – so he told me to work straight on the layout in the Mac. Ha! After that, only the thought of unprofessionalism kept me from gluing myself to his workstation so I’ll have the Mac to myself. I was then assigned to a book project and I had an iMac all to myself! I was in heaven. No exaggeration there. Proof of how much I enjoyed it? I could leave after my work is done for the day, but I found myself staying longer to tinker with it. Me – who only got through computer class in high school through the help of a dear friend – playing around with a computer?! That’s actually the right term to use for a Mac. You play around with it because it’s really a toy – fun and pretty – that actually does serious work.

I was lucky enough to move to another company that is exclusively Mac for the creative team. There, I worked on almost every current Mac model at that time – iMac, PowerMac, iBook, PowerMac G4 with dual processor (yeah, long before Intel Core Duo), PowerMac G5. Add to that an Apple Display with touch screen power control. Sweet!

I finally have my very own Mac now – a Mac Mini. I remember when my cousin stood in front of my computer table and asked, “Where’s your CPU?” Certainly made my day! Haha! I pointed to the 6.5×6.5x2in square thing with the Apple logo on top and she said, “That’s it?!” Yep, and it has full features and function – belying the ‘Mini’ tag – and never gave me any trouble from the moment I took it out of the box. Well, it sort of did once, but it was entirely my fault – sheer stupidity that I won’t even bother to write about it.

macmini.jpg

So what do I love about the Mac? Everything! Yes, including the one-button mouse that even some certified Macheads hate. Maybe they just couldn’t get the hang of control+click to simulate right click. Mac hardware is the perfect blend of style and function. I haven’t seen an ugly Mac since after the first iMac was introduced in the mid-90s. Don’t even get me started on the OS. OS X (that’s OS TEN, not OS EX) makes Windows XP look like an ugly duckling – with wobbly legs. OS X is as stable and secure as it is pretty. Multi-tasking is no problem. I once had iTunes, Photoshop (with several windows open), Word and Safari (Mac’s default internet browser) running and there was no slowdown whatsoever. None of the apps ever hanged or quit.

iLife, Apple’s bundled software, is the sweetest icing on the cake. The seamless integration of iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand etc. is unmatched. It’s so much easier to create your own music, movies, photo albums, websites, etc. It’s just drag-and-drop, and everything is intuitive.

One more thing (let me borrow your trademark line, Steve)…I haven’t run an antivirus program on my Mac since the first day. I don’t even have antivirus software because I haven’t found the need for it…yet. I know that any computer connected to the internet is vulnerable, but in more than 5 years working on Macs, I haven’t had any experience with a virus, worm, whatever. Someday I’ll get around to having anti-virus and maybe anti-spyware (but Macs have built-in firewall), but it’s not a priority in the meantime.

So what’s the Mac’s flaw? It can’t be too good to be true. Of course! Gaming is not as good an experience as it is with PCs. And yeah, no more blue screen of death, but there’s the dreaded question mark (with OS 9, not yet sure what appears in OS X). Mac harddrives don’t normally crash, but when they do, it’s an almighty crash, based on experience. However, I’ve only experienced that kind of crash on OS 9 and on older Macs. Maybe things have gotten better with OS X. Don’t have to worry much about crashes anyway, there’s a guy here in Manila who’s just a miracle worker in recovering files after a harddrive crash.

Don’t just take my word for it. The next time you pass by an Apple store, check out the Macs on display. Play around with it. Click on the Apple link on this blog too.

P.S. Apple just previewed Leopard, the latest version of OS X, at WWDC this month. Release date is Spring 2007. Windows Vista, a déja vu of OS X which was first released FIVE YEARS ago, will come out…who knows when. There were two banners at WWDC that probably had a lot of Macheads chuckling: “Hasta la vista, Vista!” and “Redmond has a cat too, a copycat.” Heehee!

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