Thursday, October 6, 2011

My history with Mac products

I played with Apple II, IIc, and III computers in the 80's.  I learned to program on them, among other systems.  More interestingly to me, I had an assignment to write a simple graphics editor on one in BASIC, and it was actually possible.

I had friends in college in the late 80's using Macintosh computers. Some colleges recommended or required these first Macs. Dartmouth was among them. A visit to Dartmouth taught me that the GUI-based interface did not preclude access to programming. Macs were easy to use, had advanced features (SCSI - very advanced for the time), and heck even sound.  Anyone who played with early Macintoshes heard the funny sounds of Dark Castle.

I worked at Atari Corporation in the early 90's.  Some graphics editing happened on PCs, and some on SGI workstations, but some happened on Apples.  But they were rare.

It wasn't until after iPhones came out, until something like 2007, when I had my first Mac laptop.  OS X and Intel based, it replaced a PC laptop that the vendor could not make work.  I had replacements of RAM, hard drive, mother board, RAM again, and finally they replaced the whole thing.  This process took 6 weeks.  During the 6 weeks, I moved to a macbook pro 15".  I quickly ran VMWare Fusion and had a virtualized version of windows with all the data from my laptop.  I had the best of both worlds - both mac and PC in the same footprint!  I never looked back.  My whole department converted to macs.  Time machine backups revolutionized switching machines.  We had our share of laptop failures, but time machine made them minimally painful.

I also switched to MacBooks for home.  For the first time, I was practicing at home what I did at work and had backups.  I had a failed hard drive and and easy easy replacement with all my data intact!  MS just never made that work the same way - easy.

Now I use a macbook Air with SSD storage.  My biggest gripe had become (about my macbook pro) that I was always waiting for the system to finish doing something with disk.  We have a small mountain of administrative programs like virus scanners, configuration verifiers, and so forth at work that are just ALWAYS looking at my hard drive.  This problem is no more.  Only Apple could get me to move to a laptop configuration that did not require the most CPU power and the most RAM that were available on the market and keep me happy, and thus make me happy using the form factor that I now find so pleasing in the air.  It is so small it almost feels like a toy.  But I have more power than I had in my slightly older macbook pro.  Wow!

Apple literally makes me happy with less.  The Macbook Air is cheaper than the Macbook Pros we would order.  The entire package and its usability, portability, ability to be easily backed up and recovered, integration with other products (iPhone), and cost effectiveness is revolutionary.

This has also been true in other markets - see the iPad price point analysis.

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