Friday, June 27, 2008

. . . and switch

It started with a rumor whispered around the office. "They're thinking of getting you a laptop" they said. "I hear it might be a Mac". I tried not to get too excited. You can't put too much stock in office babble. But the rumors persisted and a little seed of excitement began to grow.

Before long, I got confirmation. They *were* getting me a laptop and it was a Mac and it was on its way. I proceeded with my usual response to change: research. I wanted to know what switching would be like. Would I have regrets, I wondered? Would it be all flash and no fire? Was I being sucked into to a clever ad campaign that makes me want to hang out with Justin Long? Was this going to be the technical equivalent of the Emperor's New Clothes?

I had a lot of questions (you're shocked, I know) so I starting reading. I found a great version of what was basically What to Expect When You're . . . Switching. Dave Pogue's Switching to the Mac from the Missing Manual series was everything I needed. I bought Post-It flags and dove in.

So often Macs are associated with cool designer types and the hipster in crowd, but as I got closer to joining this illustrious group the comment I kept getting was "your nerd factor just increased ten fold". For the first time in my life I slept with a computer book on my bedside table. I flagged, I noted, I made marks in the margin.

I was told the machine was a few weeks away and then, suddenly, word came. Your Mac is just up the street, you can go and get it now. I was out the door in a flash. I headed down to a non-Apple store but authorized Apple reseller. I expected a mecca of cool techno-chic and instead had one of the nerdiest experience of my life (Which is something. In high school I was a two time Physics Olympics champion, I'm just saying....)

I walked into the store and talked to an associate who had no idea what I was talking about. He called the manager over and we quickly assessed that the order got put in wrong, it was supposed to be a black Macbook, not white, along with a wireless keyboard and a VGA/Mini DVI adapter for the sweet, sweet 23" flatscreen that was coming from another store. The Manager went off to check things out and the store fell into silence.

There were four staff members in the store and just me, no one else to serve, no phones ringing and we stood there, in total silence for four and a half minutes. I had a crazy thought, could it be that I -- me? -- I was the most social person in the room? I decided to ask Manager guy why he was running a Windows POS program in a de facto Apple store, seemed like a safe bet. As soon as he realized I speak Nerd he rediscovered his vocal chords. And when I casually tossed out my one Unix factoid the conversation got downright lively.

So now, here I am. Macbook in hand. Even though it's black, not white, and therefore matte finish, the best word to describe is Captain Mal's descriptor of choice: shiny. My fears that it would turn out to be pretty but dumb were unfounded. Shakespeare said it best -- he often does -- "the world is still deceived with ornament". But in this case, it's not just a pretty face.

I know there's lot to learn but already I can feel the switch take hold. I love Spotlight, not just because it finds things for me, but because it shows me how it did it so I can do it myself next time. I love that I open the lid and everything is just as I left it, that I can customize this thing to within an inch of its life. I love that they finally made it possible to right click with a simple double tap to the trackpad. I love that the first time I turned it on it located my wireless network and politely asked if I wanted to enter the password now so it would be all set up when I wanted to use it later.

Oh Macbook, my Macbook (ok, ok technically it's *their* Macbook) there is still so much to learn, but I have a feeling it's going to be sooooo worth it. If this is the darkside, it's OK by me.


Mom Colvin said...

That was a GREAT post! So glad that you got your Mac and that you're obviously enjoying it already. Hooray for Pogue's book, for post-it stickers and hi-liters.

I cracked up at the thought that you were the most socialble person in the store but well done for stepping into the conversation gap - and holding your own nonetheless.

much love,
Mom XX

◄4Wa||z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
◄4Wa||z said...

Ditto on the all previous comments by your mom.

And what, NO PICTURES??? You have gone nerdy on us!

Gord (resident nerd for the 4wallz)

Claire Colvin said...

re: pictures, they're coming. I was in the middle of doing something else entirely when I realized that this post was writing itself in my head and wanted to get it typed before it ran away.

DAve & JAnie said...

Oh Claire, where boring people would write "I got a black macbook today. It's pretty cool", you write a thrilling tale with rounded characters and an exciting climax of life long change! I love you, sista!

I really do hope you have the microsoft word for macs program on your new book, or some equivalent of it. Using mac Works to do word processing tasks and receive word files has been the one frustration with having a mac.

Janice said...

Hey Claire. I loved this post. I switched to a MAC last year (silver Mac Book Pro) but haven't fully made the transition. I'm interested to pick up that book you mentioned. Wish you lived closer and we could compare notes over a Starbucks! Miss you Chocolate E-Claire!

dr riptide said...

I'm jealous. I want a mac too! Looks like we're stuck with the clunky old vaio for another year or so. This thing is sooo old it now takes 13 minutes to boot up! ARGH! Not that I could really use the mac to it's full potential like you could, it's more that I want to be cool as well.
I'm also impressed that you have become bilingual. Speaking nerd I'm sure will one day surpass speaking both techno babble and english as the universal business language.
Good luck with the transition.