Dave's Not Here

So long Bill! Thanks for all the fish!

by on Jul.07, 2008, under Dave's Rants

I have been a unix geek for many years. That makes me a linux fan. So, I run linux on all my home machines, right? Wrong. Don’t get me wrong. I tried it. Many times. With varying levels of success. But, it always came down to a couple of issues: Hardware support, games, and SO (significant other) happiness.

I have ranted many times about issues with the stability of windows, and my love of linux. And, I have also admitted that linux is not the best solution (in my mind) when put onto a laptop. (Windows Sucks . . . No — Linux Sucks . . . No, They Both suck!) I had been toying with the idea of an Apple (well, drooling might be a better way to put it), but had never made the plunge, mostly due to their prices. Why pay $2,000 for a computer, when I can upgrade mine for about $500.

Well, after several visits to the Apple store, while my wife was playing with her iPhone, I couldn’t keep my hands off of the iMacs. They were perfectly quiet, beautiful, ran intel processors, and, if I had to, I knew I could run windows and/or linux on it, if I didn’t like OS/X. I was almost sold, except, one of the main uses of my personal computer is games. I play games in the evenings to unwind. And, my current game (spelled “obsession”, if you ask my SO) is World of Warcraft (WoW). When I learned that WoW ran fine, natively, on a Mac, I was sold. In principle, at least. I still had to justify the price.

So, I thought about it some. There has to be a way to rationalize a $2,000, beautiful toy. I finally convinced my wife (I was still secretly skeptical) that the lifespan of a “good” computer is 5 years. If we run with that assumption, the $2,000 over 60 months is really just $33/month. She bought it. But, my computer was still working fine. So, we decided to buy one in the spring, after we got our tax return.

Now was when Murphy’s Law, or, “Santa Claus”, as I like to call him, stepped in, and killed my hard disk. I simply could not justify spending $100-$200 on a new hard disk, when I new I’d be getting a new computer in 4-5 months. So, I whipped out the plastic, and went and bought a 24″ iMac. It was the one that was selling, around December of 2007, for $1,799. After my employee discount (I work for a large company that gives me a 10% discount many places), buying the apple care plan, and buying a .mac membership, I walked out at just around $2,000, my sweet spot.

Now, I am the constant pessimist. I have moved to linux on all machines in my house, forcing my wife to use it. I have ran OS/2, Solaris, and Linux as my main OS. (And, briefly, I ran FreeBSD on my desktop.) So, I am used to the “issues” when you don’t use a mainstream OS. I kept waiting for the “axe” that would prove that I made a bad choice — one I would have to live with for the next 5 years.

I am writing this on July 7th, 2008. I bought my first Mac in January, 2008. I have passed the six-month life burn-in test. There have been OS crashes (but many fewer than with windows — maybe even fewer than with linux). There have been small issues. I think I may be “used” to playing nice with things, since I’m used to running non-windows operating systems. (i.e. I always download firefox whenever I touch a new computer). But, there have been no axes. No problems that didn’t have solutions. Actually, for every problem I have faced, there has either been a solution that was perfect, or even better than anything available under Windows. — Or linux! As a desktop operating system, I am floored with all I can do.

I do not have to download cygwin to get a decent shell. All languages are there. It is unix, with an amazing GUI on top. And, since Apple controls the hardware, it is rock solid too.

So, call me a convert. My wife recently bought a MacBook Air, and I replaced the kids old computer with a powermac with Dual G4s (~$300). I do have a laptop that runs windows for the rare occasions when I REALLY need windows. (i.e. I can’t get a parallel port JTAG programmer to work)

And, when I am forced to do something with active X or some other windows specific thing, I have VMWare. The few issues I have had are nothing compared to the joy I have using a mac. The display, interface, and aesthetics are astounding. It is a joy to use. Thank you Steve. Goodbye Bill.

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