I swore I would never be a “Mac” person. Not one of them. They obviously did not know what computing was all about. After all, I had used a PC before they were pc. I had used a floppy drive that really was floppy. Even more adventurous, I had played Star Trek after waiting a half an hour for it to load from a Cassette tape deck when I was in high School. I am old school, I have been there since before the first Tandy 1000 rolled off the assembly line, in fact I had to cut one of the hard drive’s gold fingers to make it work with said tandy 1000 so that I could get away from the double floppy. I had no math co-processor and version 1.03 of AutoCAD and I felt blessed. Like the blues brothers with their pack of smokes and a six pack of beer I felt like I was on a mission.
So you see, I have been a PC man for a helluva long time. And I have loved the freedom that system gave me, the way I could program batch files, and visual studio and graphics and the countless ways you could throw a system together.
Why I changed I can’t tell you. Probably because the PC under Microsoft’s watchful eye changed, and not for the better IMHO.
I have Mac users all around me. My Wife, bought one for her a few years ago. Brother in law, yeah, and he is not typical of how I always sterotyped the typical mac user. As being more capable in the artistic endevours than in the technical aspects of “real computing” if you follow my drift. He’s actually quite brilliant at both ends of the spectrum.
I had heard a comparison once of the demands of computer users being similar to those of the different generations in america society and it made good sense. When I started in personal computing you had to work to do your job. You might have to write your own plotter driver, or spend two or three hours, not minutes, hours, getting your text to align on a series of notes in a drawing. We were like the folks who came out of the great depression. We knew the value of a byte and not to waste our computing cycles.
Then came those great 50s where every family had a car, a tv, and was fairly comfortable (I exagerate, of course every family did not have that but it is portrayed that way in the media and thus my comparison sterotype fits). These are the folks who got into computing after things had settled down. When you could get a computer for around 3000 to 4000 dollars and software was packaged in shrinkwrap and there was a program for all kinds of uses. Sure, there were snags, snafus and problems, but we were living large compared to a few years earlier. We had no worries in the world, life was good.
Here is where the story begins to fray, you begin to see the wear and tear on the edges of society, there is gnashing of teeth and a feeling of justification for being outraged that any error happened in any established program. Kind of like the social unrest of the 60’s. Where many of the younger generation questioned the lifestyles of those that came before, so to it began to happen in the computer industry. People began to wonder why, why was it that a computer had to use a keyboard and no other device, why did we need to run only one program at a time, why couldn’t I store more that 40 gigs of data? There was a movement towards making a more accessible computing lifestyle, for programs that were not only powerful, but get this, easy to use. It was then that I believe Windows began it’s seperation between those who enjoyed computing for computings sake, and those who wanted everything to be simple without errors.
Fast forward to generation X, the selfish all about me generation, who expects the world, no expects the world to take care of them. Who plays video games by day, and parties all night at night clubs at night. Who is either at the seashore or lake shore in the summer, or on the ski slopes in the winter. Who forgoes a 4 year education and great career for traveling the world with a backpack on their back. Who can’t understand their parents when they ask them when they are planning to do something with their lives. Because any fool can see they are doing something with their lives, just not what their parents want. These are the computer users that have entered the world of processors and sand in the latest round of computer jockeys. These users are outraged that they can’t print, that their computer dares lose it’s internet connect from time to time, are dismayed when a blue screen appears, so dismayed you’d think they would never be the same again without intensive therapy, and they probably wont be.
I don’t fault the users, this is the nature of anything that moves from one spot in evolution to the next. But when Microsoft started catering to them, started “protecting” them from the big bad wolf, the spammers, hackers and near-do-wells, they started making life difficult for those of us who didn’t want, welcome, or need their protection. This was why Vista was a flop. You could not take two steps into that program before being assaulted by hordes of the dialog beast asking you if you were sure you wanted to proceed. Just to be safe let me ask you one MORE time, are you absolutely sure. I was not sure how I got my hands around the throat of the monitor officer, I just lost my mind when Mr. Dialog kept getting in my way and asking me if I wanted to go forward. I just snapped.
So enter the Macintosh, the computer that has always “just worked”, the extent of my experience being the classes I had taught back in the late 80s on Unix system administration, and the porting work I had done moving Mechanical and Architectural software from a PC environment to SGI (remember them?), DEC (them?), Sparcstations (Sun, I bet some of you are recalling the old days fondly about now), the NeXT computer, and the original, tall, all in one, beige, built-in one eyed monitor Macintosh from Apple. And of those platforms, the Apple Macintosh sucked for a software developer. It was terrible compared to any other OS I had had the pleasure of developing software for. And that is probably why AutoCAD, some twenty years ago, hooked it’s wagon to the great westward migration of Windows across the great plains. Of course that was pre-Steve “I invented Unix” Jobs using the Linus platform as the basis of the Mac OS just like he had some brilliant epiphany one day and said, I remember there was this OS called Unix and I will forge ahead in uncharted territory and build my new operating system on it. Yeah, and we will call it Steve and it will be good.
So I made the switch, I decided that having a linux “like” terminal, similar to the server we have out in the cloud somewhere, was a better choice that trying to de-stupudify the Windows OS. Oh that and the once yearly trip to the Geek squad to have them rip the data off the hard drive of the windows computer and rebuild it because it had slowed to a crawl due to viruses. I was fed up and I decided to get myself a computer that I could perform on, like a virtuoso. So I rolled home in the covertable with the top down, a 27 inch iMac sticking out of the front seat a few weeks ago. I quickly purchased Parallels so I could run progeCAD right on the Mac Desktop, because we sell it for our Mac progeCAD users, and grabbed fuse to hook up to that server’s drives somewhere out on the nimbus, and away I went. Feeling so free, light as a feather.
Until I got the email today. The email from Microsoft. The email which offered me about 10,000 of software if I’d just come back to the family. the Microsoft family. An offer I could not refuse. I mean, they are offering Visual Studio, and Cloud hosting free for a year, and all those cute little videos to learn how to continue to develop 2nd rate stuff, I could not say no… Would it matter if I said it was three copies of Visual Studio?
So now, as not only a developer in good standing in the Apple Developer program, I am also a certified Microsoft developer with tons of Microsoft development tools, like Visual Studio, SQL Server, IIS, and other stuff like free Azure hosting for a year, and the promise of customer leads for another business we run, a (shhh) linux based portal design and hosting company (we offer a solution that has an uncanny resemblence to Microsoft Sharepoint, although I am sure our’s predates theirs (note to self, sue microsoft for infringement). Of course MS is hoping we hook these customers up with Windows so I guess that despite my best try at leaving that world behind I am still mired in the world of Windows for at least the near term.
Everytime I think I have gotten out, they pull me back in.
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