Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mac to the Future

I did it.  I switched to a Mac at work.  And if I'm using a Mac, it must not be cool anymore.

I suppose it was inevitable when you look at the Appling of our house... Airport Extreme (replaced the dLink), Airport Express*, iPod Video (a gift), iPod Nano*, iPhone 3G* (acting like an iPod), iPhone 4 (Lori's), iPhone 3GS (work), iPad Classic Original First Edition (work).

* Surplussed by their original owner.  Yeah, they just leave their old stuff here - like we're an electronic recycler for them or something.  Not that we don't appreciate it.  :)

So I have a MacBook Pro with the SSD and the 8gigs and... the training wheels.  Other than a few months of playing with a MacBook Air a few years ago, most of my experience with Macs was about 25 years ago.  It's interesting to see how they've changed and how they haven't.  I can't help wonder if some things that they've kept the same (menubar disconnected from app window, for one) were poor choices they regret now but stubbornly hold on to because they don't want people rioting and burning police cars in the street.

I'm slowly learning my way around Mac OS, but I didn't get it for the operating system, I didn't get it for the caché of the glowing palefruit. I got it because I know it's a solid machine, a well manufactured machine from a company who pays attention to detail. And an operating system designed to work well with it.

That is, it's not a Dell (the only other choice at work). I've been a Dell fan for a long time. But the one I have at work made me stop being a fan. It overheats (and shuts down) regularly, the bezel has cracked and is pulling away from the machine, and it overheats. Yeah, that's a really irritating thing. If I were to take it to a meeting, I can't dock it when I get back to my desk because that kills it. Often I had to have an external fan blowing on it. It came shipped with Windows 7, they downgraded it to XP, and then later upgraded it back to 7, but their version of it. Locked away, crippled, frustrating.

But you know what? I've been spoiled. My modern experience with Apple has been iOS. I know it's difficult, inventing something new, something better. And then looking around you and realizing that when you start over, you can scrap so many mistakes, leave so much legacy out. Build it solid, built it smart, build it right. But all around you, people proud of their work, resistant, resentful of the new. Slowly, your learnings make their way back to the legacy product, but it's difficult. So that's where we are with Mac OS. The learnings are slowly making their way over, but it's still early. Things don't work as well as they do in iOS and some stuff (like the app store) just doesn't seem thought out well at all.

The good news is that there's plenty of learnings from iOS and plenty of potential for future improvement in Mac OS. It'll be interesting to watch.

That poster up there?  It hung by my desk at UltimateTV and Warner Bros. I should find out if it's in storage somewhere.  That would be a cool thing to put in my cube.
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