Please note: “A” Mac-man, One. Not All of them! Today was probably the most innovative Mac-release since… well, the MacBook Air came out. Glass, button-less trackpads, led-backlit screens, combined NVIDIA GPUs and chipsets on one die, A super-rigid single piece (well I think it’s two main ones actually) casing. The new Macbook looks awesome! I’m drooling on my keyboard right now.
The funny thing is that my Mac is slightly over three years old, and I’m sure the amount of my drool will be about the same as the guy/girl that bought a Mac a few months ago. That’s just Apple-reality and how innovative this update really is.
This piece is entitled the psychology of a Mac-man, because that is who I am. I’ve only owned one Mac in my whole life, but I was enticed by this machine, the iBook 12″ G4, well before I bought it. Approaching it like a true geek, I researched all of my options. I wanted a small machine, didn’t even think of OSX or any “think different” factor, but just wanted the best in my budget, about €1000.
I chose this machine for 5 reasons:
- the keyboard was meant to be comfortable to type on
- the screen was matte and good for super-long viewing
- the machine was durable (Macs have an average life-time of ca. 4 years+)
- a reasonable batterylife of 4 hours
- reasonably portable at ca. 2 KGs
All the other machines I could get back then were priced like they are now, between €500-1500 and mostly seemed like they would fall apart in a few years. The only alternative worth considering was a Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad of ca. €2000: also super-wellbuilt and a good quality keyboard.
Software didn’t enter my mind at all. I was a Windows-man before that and knew that OS inside-out. I just assumed that I would learn OSX just as quick and that MS Office would keep me compatible with the rest of the world.
The wait was agonising, I remember. Every beep on the street, every car passing by, would make me run to the window.
When I finally got my machine, it was magical. A white box, I was unpacking it with a friend. It just felt special, different from anything I bought before. OSX Tiger just looked cool.
In the months to follow, that laptop would become my constant companion. It was my baby and one that I would even wake up with sometime (sad, I know). But back then, writing was my life and I loved to go to a café and just type until the battery ran out.
Intel-Macs came out soon after. Suddenly the world changed: White Macbooks everywhere. Where before I was cool and unique, now everyone became the same. Of course, I was tempted to upgrade, like most of you are now, but I just kept repeating: I love my Mac, I love my Mac. And I did.
That love was expressed externally and internally. Countless were the discussions I had with people about Macs. I blogged about it here and on my old blog. In my short period of Mac-zen, I’ve convinced close to 10 people to “upgrade” to the Mac way of life.
And I learned to become more productive on it too, using many of the little things I wrote about before. I know so much about my Mac that it’s scary.
And when Leopard came out, unlike the new Vista, it ran just fine on my old Mac and I knew I could keep it for a while longer!
About 6 months ago, tragedy happened. Somehow my internal Airport-card had loosened (or so I guessed) and I was getting kernel-crashes every-time I tried to put it to sleep or reboot it. There’s something else that is special about Macs. When something is wrong, hard- or software, it tells you exactly what it is. That is the benefit of having that closed system that so many people (including me) sometimes criticise. Unlike a Vista-PC, I tried to fix a few weeks back, where I had no clue what was wrong.
Because I was skimmed these last few months, graduating, job-seeking, etc., I didn’t fix my Mac. Instead, it became a server-like entity, which I sometimes kept running for over a month. It was crazy, super-irrational, but it worked. I didn’t want to restart it too often, because it would act like an old car. I would press the power-button, and it would make a sound, then nothing. I would turn it off and try again. Again a sound and nothing! I would leave it running, warm it up, you know. 🙂 Then off and on again. Aah, finally it would start! But it was a nerve-wrecking experience and I just tried to keep it running as long as possible instead.
Then, last week, I took it to the next level. I knew what the problem was, and I didn’t care anymore. I was just going to try and fix it.
With the help of a French instructional video, my Swiss army-knife, and a credit-card, I started the operation. The thing to realise about my iBook and, I think, the Macbook Pros as well, is that doing anything internally is hell. There are countless screws, you have to know what you’re doing at all times.
But ok, I unscrewed 39 screws. I saw more of my baby then I ever wanted to see. I shoved credit-cards into it, I cleaned it, I screwed and put the screws into little diagrams I drew on paper. My heart would be racing and I’d clean the plastic parts from the inside to calm me down. Finally, I came to the Airport-card and I secured it with a piece of paper (as advised). I screwed 39 screws back in, attached cables, and prayed.
Finally, I pressed the button. Chime! Grey screen! Blue screen! Log-in 😀 😀
I wrote on Twitter:
And I f**cking fixed it!
My love for this thing has been re-ignited. Its battery-life is still over 4 hours long (under special conditions), I love using it on the road and typing away at reports and what not. Apples rock!
Next morning addendum: I realise that I didn’t say why I wrote this post and what I think of the new Macbooks within that context. I guess I’m saying that if you have a Mac now, you should look at it closely before upgrading to the next version and the next. They are often… with some exceptions… well-designed and built to last. And, while I think the current Macbooks are even better designed and built to last even longer, you can be certain that soon after you get it, there will be another (incremental) upgrade, and another, eventually placing you in exactly the same boat you are now. In my opinion, it’s better to make best of what you have—you can still make make graphics with Photoshop 3, for god’s sake—than being an upgrade junkie. Use-cases may vary.
There you have it, the psychology of one Mac-Man.