After I turned the power back on, I decided to finish my morning online reading on my Dell desktop instead. A bad feeling sunk in after I pressed the power button. Nothing happened. I pressed again, still nothing. Yep, my Dell died. I suddenly had a flash back of how my previous PCs died. My last Dell died in a in a similar fashion, except for instead of the cats, it was my then one year old son playing “on, off, on, off” game with the red switch on the power-strip. The PC before that, I had to retire due to slow performance over time.
I was pretty upset, because I just got this Dell last year. I normally don’t expect much from Dell. They’re cheap, but I had hoped it’d last for least another couple years or so. There I was, fuming. I had planned to do quite a bit of work on the computer that day. Also I was just so fed up having to repair/replace computers. My wife and kids gathered around and tried to comfort me. Then suddenly, like a scene from A Christmas Story, I said “Everyone go upstairs get dressed, we’re going out!”
I was on my way to get a Mac.
I couldn’t believe I was doing it. Over the years, I had numerous PC vs. Mac conversations with my Mac using friends. Being a long time PC user since early 90s, I always defended my hardware and OS of choice. I had many fond memories of PC. I remember configuring the config.sys and autoexec.bat files to load different games and applications; playing games, lots ‘n lots of games; learning Photoshop 2.0 and eventually web development. I never bought the argument that designers should use Mac as my friends told me. To me, Mac, PCs are just tools. Photoshop is Photoshop, regardless what OS they’re on.
However, I don’t use computer the same way I used to. I no longer play games, or care about hardware, software optimization. I just want to use a tool that works, and works well. I don’t want to spend time fixing the tool, I just want to use it. Maybe that’s why I decided to get a Mac.
Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the Apple store. Ten minutes after that, I walked out with an 24″ iMac.
When I got home, I encountered the most pleasant computer un-boxing experience I’ve ever had. Inside of the box, there was the display, a soft power cord and a tiny box containing the keyboard and mouse. That was it. No panflits, no thick instruction books, no heavy duty cables. Everything was so clean. The whole set up took no more than 2 minutes until I saw the welcome video (But I did clean my office for about an hour before that). The user experience starts with packaging.
It’s been a week since I’ve had my first Mac. So far I love everything about it. I love the fact that many details are put in the UI. It’s not just how pretty things look, but also how they function. The learning curve switching from PC to Mac wasn’t as high as I expected. After all, most software I use are the same on both systems. There are things I’m still getting used to, such as I have to hit cmd+Q to truly quit an app. I’m also learning all the keyboard shortcuts as well.
I’m not ready to call myself a “Mac” yet. I don’t think I’ll ever be since there’s always a place in my heart for PC. There’s just too much nostalgia to let go completely. Having said that, I’m thoroughly enjoying the transition. Apple products aren’t just about software or hardware, it’s the whole user experience package. I can clearly see that now.