Windows

The saga of me and my new Mac: Conception and delivery


As I age gracefully, or not, I find that I am challenged to learn new things and develop new skills.  This is the very beginning of the saga of me and my new Mac.  The thrill of learning how to cope with a single mouse button.

I've been a tech since before they were called that.  Back in the day we were called strange.  Not geeks, not nerds.  Just strange.  That's exactly what we were.

We thought differently, we were heroes in chess, and we passed Trig without thinking too hard.

We owned slide rules and could use them.  A protractor didn't scare us.  We could even count to 10 in binary faster than you can in decimal.  30 in hex?  Child's play!

In college, I learned how to keypunch.  If you are under 40 that word means nothing to you.  If you are over 40, I advise you to just shut up.  Your contemporaries don't know that you're a dinosaur.  Or maybe they do and are humoring you.  You don't want to know, regardless.

Having been around since the command line- and even before it--I developed some knowledge and some habits.  One of those habits was UNIX.

Back in the day, I could awk, sed, and grep my tail off.  I could vi my way to  happiness, and if I wanted to know where I was, a simple -ls would tell me.  Life was good.

Then along came CP/M.  Affectionately nicknamed "Captain Manager"; CP/M gave me a simple file structure that I understood as easily as one understands multiple floors.  But Captain Manager had a rival.  Her name was MS DOS.

Ms. Dos was exacting and demanding.  She changed my vocabulary.  I could no longer awk, sed and grep the way I used to. Ms. Dos took over the computational landscape.

I survived.  I even developed a GUI.

Fast forward through the rough times.  Computing was introduced to business and business said, "What???"  We tried to teach the non-inherently geeky how to use the toys and we were rewarded with, "Do what???"  So we tried again.

Today, business doesn't trust us and doesn't talk to us.  Our users hate us until we fix them and then they love us until something goes wrong.  We go home each night.  Many of us develop.  Even some of us have lives.

Facing another paradigm shift

Then Microsoft, that demanding demi-god that we all try so hard to love, came out this with a new operating system in 2007 called Windows  Vista.  No matter how hard I try, I can't recall when the word Vista was associated with a brick.  Maybe I need to try harder.

Given that we were in for another paradigm shift, I made a decision at the end of 2006 to BUY SOME TIME!  So I did.  I asked for a nice shiny HP to take over for my keyless Dell laptop.  It ran Windows XP.

I loved that HP. Until it died at the age of 10 months.  When I contacted HP, it denied ever making the computer.

Enter again my keyless Dell- a USB keyboard and I was back to dear old XP.  Still I continued to dream of better days.

I haunted Consumer Reports and TechRepublic.  I knew that Vista would remain a scenic postcard that I would not buy.  I had played with Linux but found it wanting.  My computational needs could only be met with something bigger, faster, stronger.  I wanted the six million dollar man of computers.  But... Steve Jobs?

I figured it like this- I was going to have to learn something new, no matter what I did.  I would have to change my workflow regardless of what I finally chose.  I had played with OS X some,  enough to know that it was sexy and flirtatious, enough to know it could hold my interest and enough to know that it could keep me warm at night... if I fell asleep on the keyboard.

It's that fabulous GUI interface (you know, the one that Vista didn't steal) that hooked me.  That, and the UNIX under the hood.  I could go back to the awk, sed, and grep glory days of my younger years.  Yes!  I could be young again!

So, after much pondering (it's something old people do before forking out lots of cash) for a great many days (Okay, minutes) I decided that my next computing environment would be a Mac.

Revelations and a shiny MacBook Pro

Having made the momentous decision, I then had to ponder again.  Would my step-son be sufficiently jealous?  Would the significant one notice the alien in his Windows environment?  I decided those questions were superfluous.  I decided to think about other things like whirled peas and global thermographics... you know, important stuff.

The day finally came when I could actually get to my local MicroCenter store.  I had 30 freshly ironed $100 bills folded neatly in my wallet, and a Brinks driver (a.k.a. the significant one) in case anything went awry.  I walked into the store and went directly to the Apple Center.

We were met by some of the most stunning technology available.  I walked up to the 17" MacBook Pro and caressed its brushed silver finish.  Then I convinced the significant one that this was the right thing by opening the Terminal.  I do believe he was converted to the sacred Mac at that moment.  We looked at the smaller versions, but my heart was set.  We looked at some of the other cool toys, but I was a woman on a mission.  I wanted my Mac.

The sales guy came up and asked if we had any questions.  I pointed at my precious Mac and said, "I want that one."  The sales guy thought I was kidding.  And then the light dawned on him, and he figured out that I don't kid about hardware.

Minutes later he had my new baby in his hand.  I couldn't wait to hold it, to touch its beautiful brushed silver case, and to caress its gleaming and responsive keys.

We went to the checkout and I handed over those freshly pressed bills- all 30 of them.  I got around $14 in change too!

The significant guy carried my baby out to the truck but not carefully enough. You have to understand, I was a new mommy at that moment.  He could not have BREATHED carefully enough!

When we got home, I plugged my baby in, let her charge and I turned her on.

That's when the party started. The saga will continue in future blogs.

46 comments
cathar.gnostic
cathar.gnostic

Been down that same track, I just wish I had changed to MAC years ago. Windows still makes me money though, please encourage the masses to use Windows, my house payments rely on them. BTW, MAC supports the two button mouse, scrolling etc..

wray.harvey
wray.harvey

It is nice to read through a thread that is not full of bashing between the MicroSoft/PC ??? UNIX/Linux ??? MAC proponents. It seems there are people who just want to learn from others & offer useful suggestions for everyone???s benefit. No one operating system is perfect ??? they just have different pros & cons. Maybe I should take the advice about being over 40 & knowing about keypunches. I joined the workforce as an operator on an IBM S/370 mainframe ??? reading in punch card decks, doing tape mounts and running printers. The advent of TSO on mainframes was a big step away from punch cards. Disk drives were housed in cabinets the size of washing machines (not sure of capacity), and head crashes were a weekly occurrence ??? hardware has certainly come a long, long way since the 1970???s. PC???s were initially viewed as toy computers by mainframe people. I personally have no MAC experience, but have been exposed to Windows 3.1 / 95 / 98/ 2000 / XP , O/S 2, AIX & Solaris.

jflakdj
jflakdj

Over 40, no not me. Back in the dawn of history I looked at computer geeks as a breed of the their own, and I would never be one. Twenty-five years later I was no longer peering into business class wondering why a computer needed a ticker tape machine, I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and work for an Office supply store. I got the credentials, and now with a turn in events I'm going into business with a mini-mac. How ironic, who would ever think it would come to this.

jasondlnd
jasondlnd

Last year I purchased my first Macbook, and after nearly a lifetime on Microsoft-based products, the missing second mouse button threw me a bit, but I found various ways to "get back" that second mouse button. Method one: Hold down Option, and click. Method two: Tap the touch pad with two fingers to right click (this is my preferred method). Mehtod three: purchase an after market mouse (I also do this, as I use a Logitech mouse when necessary).

meryllogue
meryllogue

I just saw this today on a TR email just now. This is a GREAT article! I loved it for a number of reasons: Your punctuation and grammar is at about a 98-99%, whereas most blogs are in the low 90s or lower, with some a near-total failure. It was INTERESTING. It was LONG. It brought emotions out and made me want a Mac again. It did't bash. And I think best of all... the comments didn't devolve into flame wars for and against the different OSes. (I HATE those flame wars, and I have quit reading comments on most blogs now because of them.) I dind't realize until about the 5th or 6th comment that it was actually Tigger2 writing! You snuck in on us! Nor did I realize it was your first post here... is it your first ever? It read like a very experienced poster, although perhaps the "long" part will fade with experience. I hope not, but having written a dance blog for a long time, it starts to wear on you. Great post, thank you, keep up the good work, don't let the insulters get you down (cuz you will get them eventually), and enjoy! I am looking forward to the next installment!

droberts
droberts

I've been a Mac user since about 1986, when my high school art teacher managed to convince the principle to invest in a Macintosh. Things have changed radically since then, but one thing holds true; Apple makes incredibly alluring and addictive hardware, and intuitive operating system GUI & software. My passion for all things Apple & Macintosh has advanced my career in directions I never would have imagined, but I'm no PC dummy either. I don't understand people who are aligned either-for, or against one platform or another. Embrace them all, and learn a thing or two, Hope you enjoy the ride.

JJPEngr
JJPEngr

Good choice! As a long time Mac owner who deals with Microshaft Windows (3.11,95, 98, 200, XP over 20 years) at work, I think you will enjoy the Mac. By the way, you do not have to limit yourself to a one button mouse. There are excellent aftermarket multbutton mice for the Mac. I use a Logitech wireless mouse with my Powerbook that has function selectable side buttons as well and provides additional functionality. At age 60, my experience parallels yours to some extent. As an engineer, I used slide rules and did Fortran on punch cards in college. Calculators were not available until after I started working. My first PC was an Apple IIc in 1985, followed by a frustrating 386 Windows 3.11 machine with HP's pseudo-Mac software added, then 3 Macs. I have been a Mac user from OS 7.5 to 10.4, and OS X has been the best OS I have used. For my personal use, I would only choose a Mac. Enjoy!

Tig2
Tig2

The next in this series specifically speaks to workflow change from Windows to Mac. I especially appreciate the info re: the Logitech multi button mouse. I have found the Apple dual button but did not know that there was a multi button option. I appreciate hearing that I am not the only person in this position. As Mac gains market share, I daresay that many more will be making the shift. For myself, I am finding that going Mac was the best possible choice.

Joe_R
Joe_R

I've been kinda' out of commission over the Christmas holiday, so please accept this belated welcome to the TR blogosphere. Good job.

Tig2
Tig2

They say that the first is the most difficult. I hope that is true but fear it is not. The second in the saga is outlined and ready to write. Now all I have to do is learn from the rest of you guys how to do this! But I'm having the time of my life! Hope you had a great Christmas. May you have a safe and wonderful New Year.

gadgetgirl
gadgetgirl

Great piece - good read (as expected!) I think you're being very brave: I'm getting jittery about learning a new laptop of the same flavour as the last one! GG

Tig2
Tig2

For all the brain change, this hasn't been a bad experience at all. The toughie is when I switch over to an XP and then try to switch back. And "control" plus mouse button for context menus. Keep watching the blog. We start getting detail driven in the next one!

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

And thanks for it. I've been in the 'buntu blahs for a couple of days, having to hunt info and learn a totally new thing and thinking I must be out of my mind to take this on in addition 2 other new projects that are bound to consume significant time. But your words re-inspired me and so... The learning curve is no biggie again! :)

Tig2
Tig2

Believe me, there are days when I find myself tempted to drag out my keyless Dell and just go back to life the way it used to be. But hang in there. It gets easier every day. And keep coming back to the blog. I'm still noodling how to make the awesome experience of trying to find ANYTHING funny. Oh, and remember- if you're going to laugh about it later, start now!

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

quite regularly at myself of late, and mostly in relation to mixed up shortcuts! When moving back and forth between XP and Ubuntu I sometimes catch myself just staring blankly at the desktop briefly unable to identify which OS it is I'm moving to! :D Love that I am not the only one. I had begun to think my brains were leaking out my ears at night while I sleep! Prolly just been in a minor funk the past couple days. It is cold and gloomy and wet here and that tends to blah me out. Thanks again, and I will be watching for future installments. Your noodling is going quite well. Edit typo

PXM5000
PXM5000

I have recently bought a mac pro too, after a life time of windows use, everythings been smooth so far ...

skatediy
skatediy

Here I am typing away on my MacBook, in New York City and reading your post from Iran. Very cool-didn't know you could get MACs over there. ps I am going to work at my tech job for a Windows psycho nut! We only this year were allowed to upgrade from win 95; why did i take this job:( He can't even get the login script to work properly....alas, plenty of rebooting to do all day long. I just keep my mouth shut peace to you over there in Iran Skate

Tig2
Tig2

I knew I wasn't alone out here. There are a large number of people either thinking about making the switch or have already done so. But I am finding my Mac requires me to do things differently and sometimes that isn't so comfortable. As far as migrating to it though, that was easy. Took me nearly as long to establish my file structure as it did to get things copied over.

PXM5000
PXM5000

Sure there is a curve, but im starting to get used to it, i still have to use windows for some applications, especially games, so the hard part is when ive been on one of the machines for some hours and want to work on the other one, i get all the shortcuts mixed up

Tig2
Tig2

I SO understand what you are saying there. I catch myself trying to use DOS commands in the terminal window too. But I find that I am catching myself a bit quicker. Now I only have to type the wrong command once before the dawn of understanding strikes. I think that the facility comes in time. Let's talk again in about 6 months and see if that problem remains.

faradhi
faradhi

I will be waiting for the next post.

Tig2
Tig2

Hopefully they will improve over time!

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

A great article. I was a Mac fan when the Apple IIe and LCII's were out. Sadly, the school where I was went the way of Micro$oft and so did I. I can not stand Vista right now. Things are harder to find and it is a resource hog. Maybe with time my feelings will change about Vista... just maybe.

Tig2
Tig2

First, thank you so much! As this is my first ever blog for TR, I have been nervous about how it would be received. My Mac history dates to System 7. I liked it a lot but was the sole Mac in a pc shop. And inevitably, switched to Windows. With the dawn of the Intel chip inside the Mac, it became possible to run native windows. I think that is where I jumped the shark. OS X is easy to work with. It's reasonably intuitive, and it harnesses Unix. First EULA I have ever seen that incorporated the GPL. The other side is that now I am committed to a learning curve and things that I used to do without thinking I have to look up. But that said, there will be a certain amount of that with Vista as well. End of the day, the thing that you have to ask yourself is what will give YOU what YOU need. For me, the answer was a Mac. That said, everyone's mileage may vary. Edit- Missed a capital

NaughtyMonkey
NaughtyMonkey

Now I have to convince my wife I need a new computer that isn't provided my work. I promise baby, we really need this. ;)

Tig2
Tig2

Opening a Terminal window to the glory that is Unix will convince her? I'll try to think of some cheats for you!

NaughtyMonkey
NaughtyMonkey

she would just call me a geek and tell me to go do some chore. Wait a minute, she did tell me if I lost 40 lbs (I have gained a lot of weight in the past few years) that she would let me buy an iPhone. That's $10 a lb....that's only....300 lbs....nevermind. :) edit:speeling

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I can't help it. Once christmas passes, I'm taking my own parts list to the local shop for all the outstanding bits then it's "assembly time". I've been holding out ok but this writeup reminded me of that "major hardware buy" new parent feeling. Looking forward to the continuing chapters.

Tig2
Tig2

I accuse the significant one of Mac envy on a regular basis. And who knows, I may be right! New hardware is always fun. But if I recall correctly, you are a Linux user so your new build out isn't going to cause you too much paradigm shift. That was the real inspiration for the series. Every time I find myself reaching for the stack of Mac books to learn to do something I have done in Windows for years. And there are times I ask myself "What were you thinking!?!" But stay tuned. The hair pulling will continue!

ganyssa
ganyssa

that I necessarily want a Mac, but I definately have Hardware Envy. I want a new toy :sob: Unfortunately, I have a new sewer line instead, so it's probably not in my near future. Excellent read, though, Tigger.

Tig2
Tig2

It does tend to strike at the worst possible time! Glad you were able to get the sewer fixed though- even if it isn't as much fun. Thanks, Ganyssa!

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm right there beside you with the hair pulling. (Anyone know how to auto-mount a samba share during boot or user login on osX?) It was truly a "hello world" moment the first time I dug out the terminal in osX and finally saw clearly through the Apple icing on top. My buy won't put me into a new software paradigm but I've two Mac in the house that I'm slowly learning my way around and have to upgrade hd and ram in the ibook G4 soon. It was that new parent feeling you reminded me of. I'm sure the hair pulling will remind me of what comes after the new parent feeling subsides a few days after the buy.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I may have glanced over it in passing but it's sometimes hard to spot the bit of gold amongs everyone else's version of the same setup. At the moment I have a Samba share saved under my wife's "Go too server" function which is simple enough for her but having it show up automagicly really is the better way. I'll be saving this link for later tonight.

cmyers
cmyers

In case you haven't found out yet, it's fairly simple. Here is a link you can follow that explains it. http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20031022164821984 I have PC's and used to be a Mac support engineer (mostly Xserve but end-user machines too) I much prefer Mac's to PC's but as long as Dell and HP sell computers for $300-$400 I doubt they grow much in home webemail surfers.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I'm tired of the "go -> connect to server -> uname/passwd" after each reboot when I need to get at the NAS box and my wife won't use the NAS and free some of the non-existant space on her machine unless it's brainlessly simple. First, I shall investigate this login items thing.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I believe the automounting of samba shares is accomplished by dragging the icon from the title bar of the share's finder window to the Login Items of the user. Or you can write an Applescript or shell script to mount them and put that in the Login Items. Just note that if the computer goes to sleep the shares will disconnect. I think that's the proper way of doing it. It's been a while since I've had to set that up and I don't have a Mac around to play with at the moment, so I can't verify that I've given proper directions.

Tig2
Tig2

I'm reasonably certain that the hair pulling will subside. I hope. I'll certainly blog about it if it doesn't! The "new mommy" feeling is still with me. I think because I learn to do something new every day. That tends to keep the sense of the new going. That and getting to show off my command line. The "Hello World" sense was what the significant one got when I opened the Terminal window and he could see the Unix underneath in all its glory. For some of us, command line is fun. I know that in the process of learning this thing, I use it pretty frequently. Some things are just easier form there.

brian.mills
brian.mills

I keep getting Mac envy whenever my XP notebook does something retarded and I look over at my wife's iMac tooling away with no problems at all. Sometimes I could just kick myself for not buying a Macbook Pro instead of my notebook a year and a half ago. Next summer when I can get another computer loan from my company, we're getting a Macbook of some sort. It'll be mostly my wife's, but I'll probably be using it a lot, too. That is unless the Ubuntu install I have planned for my notebook keeps me from getting Mac envy again.

The Listed 'G MAN'
The Listed 'G MAN'

Or the day Explorer crashed and I had to reboot (Just the DAY - well that is not too bad at all), resulting in half my apps thinking I'd just installed them (that is a user profile issue as a result of the hard reboot when Explorer crashed)

Tig2
Tig2

But I am accustomed by years of Windows to doing things in a particular way. Mac don't do those things that way. So there is a learning curve. At some point, I will partition this and load up a Linux- probably PCLinuxOS and see how that goes. And then I'll come back here and blog about it.

jdclyde
jdclyde

I thought the MAC was suppose to be so much easier [i](insert "simpler")[/i] to use than a PC? My bud has a mac, but the first thing he did was load linux on it..... :D

brian.mills
brian.mills

XP is the best OS from Microsoft I've used, and most of the time it's not retarded, but occasionally it makes me wish I'd opted for a Macbook back when I bought my notebook. Like when it freezes trying to enter standby when I shut the lid. Or the day Explorer crashed and I had to reboot, resulting in half my apps thinking I'd just installed them. That one-button mouse that came with the iMac has never been plugged in. My wife insisted on a normal mouse for her system. Haven't tried Leopard yet. I'm hoping we'll have enough money to just upgrade the iMac (it's a G5) when Leopard's successor comes out, but by then she'll be wanting an updated version of Adobe CS to go with it. Gotta find that winning lottery ticket between now and then...

Tig2
Tig2

It's fun having the hottest computer in the house. But that aside... XP never went too retarded on me. In fact, I think XP was the easiest OS I had used from the Microsoft farm. But I will admit that I spent a lot of time thinking Linux- I like PCLinuxOS. I have an Ubuntu somewhere but I'm pretty sure I have Fawn. I bought this thing with Tiger but they included the Leopard upgrade disk. I've gone about a month now with Leopard and have been really happy with it. It just the learning all over again that gets me. That and not realizing how mouse centric I was. Mac really does tend to push you to the keyboard.

nelsonmikea
nelsonmikea

Looks Good Sweetheart -- The Significant One

seanferd
seanferd

I haven't been around a lot lately, so I just came across you blog post via email alert today. Excellent. Your writer's voice is great, and you add enough 'story' to your topic to add an element of personality or discovery, without overdoing it. It is also an interesting enough read that it should hold the attention of folks who aren't even thinking of changing from Windows to Mac. Thanks for the bit of education. I respect the Mac, but I haven't touched one since, well, before it was a Mac. I just wanted to say, "Nice work!" Along with the double 'first' of your "Women in IT" interview, you've got a ball rolling here. Keep it up.