The Appearance of Conversion

Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know, but I have wanted to own a Mac for some time. Maybe it’s because they’re shiny and expensive. Maybe it’s because they’re supposed to “just work.” Maybe I was sucked in by the Think Different and I’m a Mac ad campaigns. Maybe because the stigma is that creators use Macs—and I want to create things. I’m not sure it really matters why, because in the end I wanted to own a Mac bad enough to write it down. So I wrote it down, figuring that it would be quite some time before I ever got around to actually buying one.

But, as luck would have it, 2010 was the year of broken things. Dishwashers, microwaves, water heaters and even vehicles weren’t exempt from the wave of brokenness that washed over last year. So when two computers died, it was annoying, but not entirely unexpected.

The HTPC (home theater PC) has been at or near the center of our entertainment system for the better part of a decade serving multiple purposes, including media server and on-site backup. When the repurposed A-bit BP6 Asus A7N8X-DX motherboard decided that USB and SATA connections weren’t important, we had to replace the system, and we did so with a Mac mini. I would have considered this a conquered 40×40 item, but after installing Plex, setting up some shared storage, and scheduling a few background processes, the machine was (not quite purposefully) limited to a 10-ft. interface.

Fast-forward to June. Our family trip to Myrtle Beach wasn’t all fun and games: I had to bring my laptop to manage a few minor work details and, if I had time, record a quick demo for a song-writing contest. Unfortunately, the screen’s backlight decided to take it’s own vacation. Returning home, this left us with a decision of repair or replace. After much deliberation, we—yes, we—decided to replace my Windows laptop with a MacBook Pro. One of the main reasons behind this decision was that Macs have a reputation of lasting much longer than their PC counterparts. So, while it was more money up-front, we’re betting on it paying off in the long run by not having to repair or replace a PC every 2 years.

Now, a few months after cracking the packaging for my MacBook Pro, I can say I’m pretty well settled in. Where the Mac Mini is a family machine, the MacBook is all mine and overall I’d say I’m a pleased consumer. Of course I can gripe: coming from Windows where “replacing” a directory means “merging” can be dangerous; freeware is limited simply because the user-base is smaller; and some software (looking at you iPhoto) wants you to follow its process flow and doesn’t make it easy handle any other workflow. But all in all these are minor. I’ve also managed to find replacements for most of the software I used in the PC realm. And things really do “just work”. Camcorders. Printers. Recording devices. They all just work.

Don’t call me a convert/cultist/elitist yet, though. I would still say both machines have their place and feel comfortable enough using either. Maybe next I’ll dive back into some Linux distro.

For now, here’s hoping the only reason I’m not using this MacBook Pro in five years is because I could afford to buy the next big thing. If that’s the case, the wife and I will be two happy campers. And in the meantime, I’ve completed something from my 40×40 list that will enable me to more easily do some other things from my list. That seems like a good thing.

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