Wanna Mac? A Technologically-Inclined Review from Caitlin Hamond

Posted on May 18, 2011

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I finally did it. After years of dreaming about how magnificent it would all be, I took the plunge. I bought a Mac. A Macbook Pro to be exact. My 13-inch, latest-model MacBook Pro features a 2.3GHz Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.4GHz, an integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, and a whole bunch of other technical features I really don’t understand. The point is, these features allow my sleek computer to perform “up to twice as fast as the previous generation”, keeping me a happy Mac camper. In my family, receiving your first computer seems to have become an adult right of passage.  At the end of year 12 in the Hamond household, the jolly fat man was sent to eat our cookies, drink our milk, and leave me and my siblings a laptop. When it came time for me to receive this gift, you can imagine my disappointment when, after a year of wishing for a Mac, an Asus filled my Santa sack. Of course I was grateful, but that elusive, chic Mac plagued me for the next 3 years. I knew one day I was going to make the switch… just when? One fateful night, after experiencing an inability to run any programs (and a hefty bombardment of porn pop-ups), I knew it was time. I won’t deny that a month ago, when I entered the Apple store, credit card in hand, determined to walk out with a beautiful Mac, the only justification I could verbalise to the handy salesman for my switch was “It looks pretty”. And it’s true. In the old days my lumpy Asus didn’t exactly have me swooning every time I took it out of its even lumpier carry-bag. Now I feel a strong need to have my new Mac on show, preferably whilst at an alternative café in Brunswick.

I am a simple creature. Dedicated YDE readers would know, from my previous contribution, that I have a soft spot for beautiful things. Congratulations Apple, you have successfully won me over. The smooth contours, minimalist design, and delicate keyboard have ticked all the boxes for me. But as happy as I am with the look of my new computer, is it real happiness? With all the promised “new and improved” features, surely I should be jumping with Mac-tastic joy? Instead, $1,300 later, I find myself confused, frustrated and frankly disappointed.

I’ll admit, a lot of my initial frustration has come from the PC/Mac change. Small differences, but enough to have me calling a friend at 2.00am to ask where the “box that had the font size changer thing in Word” has gone. I cannot get used to my Mac! No ‘Start’ menu? What do you mean ‘Alt-Ctl-Dlt’ doesn’t work? I have to press ‘Command’ for everything now? Don’t even get me started on ‘Exposes’ and ‘Spaces’. I flick to the corner and everything disappears – how is this useful at all?! I was quick to judge. The traffic light  ‘open’, ‘close’, ‘minimise’ icons were too small, there was no left-hand-click button, and re-learning Microsoft Word while writing a thesis just about killed me. After all those years I’d finally chosen Mac. Was it the right choice? To add insult to injury, my lack of Mac skills (LOL) means I’ve lost hundreds of photos from my recent travels, had to hand-write over 30 references instead of using ‘Endnote’, and almost erased the entire contents of my iPhone. Ugh!

A few weeks down the track, I finally began to feel like a Mac User. I felt it the other night, when someone needed advice about their Apple. I jumped up to offer my help. There it was, that moment in a movie where the music crescendos and an epic realisation sets in and rolls towards a happy ending. If I know enough about Macs to help someone else, I’m doing alright, right? I like seeing my toolbar, the ‘Spaces’ save me from hundreds of annoying tabs and, superficial or not, I love whipping out 13 inches of down-right sexy technology.

The Mac vs. PC debate may never be solved. Mac users will claim their computers are “attractive, smart and easy” (attributes of a good woman, no?). Hard-core gamers will always claim Macs are a waste of money and you get more with a PC. Whichever way you chose to swing, I hope you have a better argument than my  “They look pretty” justification. That said, as far as I can see, I use my computer simply to Facebook (yes, it’s a verb now), type assignments and to watch whatever teen drama I’m addicted to this week. Does it even matter what type of computer I have? No! Hey, functionality aside, looks DO matter (for my choice anyway!). How smart am I?

When I’ve finally transferred all my music, movies and documents from my old computer and laid it to rest, I’ll consider myself a complete Mac convert. Until that day, feel free to talk to me about the wonders that are Paint, Minesweeper and how ‘Alt-Ctl-Dlt’ solves everything. I’ll agree, but while happily nursing my new baby in an indie café.

To Mac or not to Mac? Mac. Totes.

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Posted in: Fashion, Opinion, Other