Friday, February 25, 2011

Goodbye Dell. Hello Macbook!

I am writing today on my new MacBook Pro and I feel slightly naughty for it. I am one of the many who have for years been a faithful little lamb listening to what the media and corporations have sold us on “Dude, you’re getting a Dell”. I feel naughty due to the immense elation I feel as the buttons depress under my nimble fingertips. They typing joy I am receiving while writing these words are greater than the purchase of my Jeep; of which I am extremely fond of. Perhaps it is the newness of the laptop or the sleek design with which this machine is created, but regardless I am as happy as a gentleman who just paid $1300 for a hooker who just happened to provide the best sexual services money could buy. I know I just compared my laptop to having sex with a prostitute and perhaps that is a bad analogy, never the less I feel extremely happy and relieved to have made a purchase that is proving to be as satisfying as this.

Though the joys I am currently experiencing I am also suffering. Yes suffering, I am suffering with a fear that due to my defector status from the PC world that my other machinery in my house will rise up in a Matrix type revolt that might lead to the creation of Skynet and ultimately the destruction of man. That is if a John Connor doesn’t step forward to fight the machine threat that is being birthed in my home currently. I lay awake at night feeling that at the moment I begin to slumber my Dell laptop will spring upon me, crushing my face between it’s withering screen and keyboard thus ending my short defect from the PC world. Does this effect my determination to continue with the conversion over to a platform that offers stability and a robust system focused on simplifying my daily life? No! In fact the rebellious part of me screams for me to write, to email and surf the internet in plain view of my former laptop, my former love. Like all relationships though people grow and change, sometimes they grow closer, but for me and my PC laptop it has ended like so many of my personal relationships. With a cringing fear that at any moment that crazy bitch might slit my throat while I’m sleeping. What? Am I the only guy who is actually concerned for his wellbeing when it comes to his ex’s? Regardless I find myself in a position that I have for many years harbored a great desire to be in. How might I have come to the decision to leave behind all that I know of the PC world in favor of uncharted waters that could very well prove to be hazardous to my health due to the constant threat of my abandoned PC’s strangling me with their power cords? Follow along with me as I take you back a few years and join me in my attempt to extract key points that led me to the place I am today, finding writing bliss on my MacBook Pro.

The year was 1998 and I started work as a bright eyed 18 year old young man at an outsourcing call center that happened to have a contract with a PC company that was quite popular at the time. For obvious reasons I can’t disclose who they were on here without some sort of possible legal repercussion, besides that information is irrelevant to my story. I led a slightly sheltered life when it came to exposure to technology, I was always the last of my friends to have the latest gaming console while computers were for rich people. Rich I was not, though somehow we had an old Commodore 2000 that my parents kept as a tool to teach us to type. Unfortunately they neglected to ensure that a proper word processing software was on the system thus resulting in horrible grammar. Compiled with a lack of teaching and you have a horrible excuse for a writer. This is a problem I suffer with even after years of attempting to correct my grammatical deficiency. An issue I am sure my sister in-law finds very annoying if she ever reads my blog or facebook notes. my grammar is a far cry from 1998, but still rather poor. To return to my story I joined the computer support company with no experience in computers, but a joy and excitement was sparked in me when I started to attend the training classes. I learned to support these machines, their hardware and software, customer interaction and a rule that to this day I carry with me. “The customer is always lying!” Three months of training and many weeks on a training team taking phone calls taught me many of the processes used in building, maintaining and repairing PC’s. Inside of six months I had worked my way into advanced technical support and within a year I was made supervisor and beta tester for some of the new products. My love for PC was beyond that of religious zealots throwing themselves at a a wall wailing for a flying spaghetti monster to save them. Well maybe not that much, but by all means I was passionate about PC’s. I was aware through my work that Mac was around and that it was a shadow of what Windows and the great PC builders were doing. At least that is what I was told and believed. I purchased my own PC not long after going to work for the advanced technical support group and made many friends who were also enthusiast. They tinkered in their spare time at building their own PC’s from spare parts scavenged from work, I was never brave enough to pilfer from the company. Some sort of bronze age ethics in my upbringing prevented me from steeling from the place that had opened my world up to the wonders of technology. Later I moved on from the technical side and joined an internet department and supported the software of a couple internet providers. I missed my technical support days, but I was learning new and wondrous things about the world wide web and how it interacted with PC’s. I found a great many things on the internet, items to research and learn about. In fact much of my random information has come from the world wide web. As for any of it being accurate is still up for debate. I did learn to defer to a more knowledgable person on a topic if I happened to have one nearby, this is when I found out that a “dirty Sanchez” wasn’t a person by the name of Sanchez that hadn’t bathed. I found that porn was something that was better when you bought it on DVD at the time instead of waiting for two days for a five minute video to download on a 56k connection. But still my love for technology grew like an insidious cancer attempting to destroy your life.

My origins in PC were deep, I loved everything about the PC. It had style and a commonality that proved to be an easy topic of discussion for everyone I knew. Most of those I knew were from work and either worked on the technical account or had worked there and thus were nerds like myself. Though I had one friend who was a “Mac user”. A term we treated as one does an addict of a harmful drug that was ruining his life. We often tried to have interventions with this friend, each time met with staunch rebuke and denial of any problem existing. Little did I know that at the time this friend was right in that Mac was a better system to use. My life continued on moving from one desktop PC to the next, until the time came when I purchased my first PC built laptop. First let me say that anyone who bad mouths dell for their laptops didn’t have the experience I have had, I had a positive experience that lasted six years. I purchased my Dell Laptop Inspiron E1505 with a true excitement of enjoying a portable device that provided the same technology in my desktop PC. It’s 17 inch screen and it’s light 11 pounds proved to be a great wonder to me. I took this laptop with me to places I had no reason to take it. I would take it to the park when I was walking my dog. Though I never used it in the park I did have it in the car, how it was never stolen is still a wonder to me. Silly I know but I’m a nerd and it can’t be helped. I have used that laptop nearly daily for the last six years. I have taken it with me all over the country, it has seen it’s share of airports and had more than one beverage spilled on it. Yet this device continued to work. That is not to say it didn’t crash on me for the first time one week after my warranty ran out. I was forced to recover what little data I could and start over. I lost writings, videos and precious things that couldn’t be replaced. I had some stuff backed up but not enough. I have heard of two types of people in this world, those who backup and those who haven’t yet. I fell into that first category, a problem I quickly resolved after I had reinstalled every piece of software on my laptop. If I had not had the experience with supporting PC’s in the past I would have been at a loss. Things were good once I had everything reinstalled, it only took three days to get most of my stuff back. Unfortunately many of my programs that had come pre-installed were no longer available to me, including a partition on my hard drive that contained items I would have liked to have accessed again. I was a faithful PC user though and suffered the crash as a hazard of having technology, like getting the Clap from a cheap bar slut after one too many drinks at a local dive. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t get over another words. Then the second crash came, then a third... then the blue screens of death that offered seventeen ways technology would kill humanity if you read all the data on that blue screen. I had of course started seeing more and more advertisements for the iPhone and other iPod products, all made by Apple. I happen to be working for a company that had a give away for an iPod which I happen to win. I took home this iPod thinking it a neat little toy that might be useful when I go to the gym but nothing truly more than that. It came with a software fairly unknown to me at the time called iTunes. Little did I know that this tiny little program would lead to the very laptop I am writing on today. I fell in love with all the options and advanced recommendations iTunes came up with based upon my music library. I upgraded to the iPod Touch when it was released and found an addiction that has lead to my life being completely connected and controlled by my iPhone. Mac had found it’s way into my home and I was sold on the devices I had. They simply worked and worked simply, intuitively and quickly. The only problem was that my Dell didn’t play nice with my iTunes all the time and often crashed the entire system, sometimes forcing me to remove the power supply to turn the device off or the horrid noise of screaming dying children and slaughtered animals would continue to emit from the laptop. I started to research MacBook’s as an alternative based upon the recommendation of a few people I happen to know. They were convinced that Mac was the only way to go if you wanted a system that simply worked. I was dismayed at the cost of a MacBook and thus set about forcing my degrading and outdated laptop to work until I could either purchase a new PC or find a solid reason to jump ship, abandon all I knew of laptops and desktops in favor of uncharted waters of the Mac World.

A war was birthed inside me, a feeling of being in a relationship too long was ever about me. I felt stale and unloved by my PC, I felt it didn’t consider my needs anymore. Demands were made of me, “I need more memory to run internet explorer”; “I don’t have enough hard drive space to save this video” “My video card can’t run this graphical display setting” all the while my iPhone and iPod were steadily working away without complaint. Recently my laptop decided it was time to have a fit and started making noises that indicated that it was plotting my demise. A plan to wait until I was lulled into a sense of false security then explode it’s hard drive, thus committing computer suicide but attempting to take me out with it. I am pretty sure it was aware that I was researching and talking with another laptop behind it’s back. I have a strong and deep past with PC, like a girlfriend that you just can’t quite give up because you have been with her for too long. The other day I was at work with both the Dell website up and the Mac site up, I was toggling back and forth. The struggle to stay with the familiar problems, the inconsistent software and inevitable crashes that were sure to come. Or to dive into a world unknown to me, but glamorized by nearly every TV show I watched. I read reviews and personal accounts of people making the switch. It was like attempting to give up smoking, or driving around in a old van with the windows blacked out looking for the next person to kidnap and force into church. Wait, that’s a different story... The war waged and it wasn’t until I actually spoke to a rep at Macintosh that offered advice, that wasn’t pushy, nor arrogant but rather very helpful. I spoke at length regarding my concerns with switching platforms and with a seasoned experience in his voice he answered every question I came up with. In the end he asked a simple question, a question that I had asked myself many times over again. “Do you want a laptop that just works?” of course the answer to that is a resounding YES! I placed the order not for the most expensive or largest laptop. In fact the sale rep had no input as to which laptop size I should get, his concern was making sure I got exactly what I wanted and needed. In the end I am sure that he didn’t make a sale that would win him a bonus or a prize for salesman of the month. What he did though is earn a customer who has not stopped talking about the friendly service and care I received when I called.

I look back to my order I placed with Dell, the sales rep talked me into going for the biggest most expensive laptop he could get me to buy. It wasn’t what I needed or what I wanted to start with. Though I can say it was a durable laptop that lasted six plus years, but it wasn’t what I started out wanting. Mac took the time to listen and quickly develop a relationship with me as a customer, they listened to what I wanted and created a laptop with what I do on a daily basis in mind. I have to say that I’ve only had my MacBook a short time, but in the time I’ve had it I could not be more satisfied. This laptop just works. It is light, functional and provides me with tools and software that fits my world. I look forward to the time I will have with this laptop in the hope and expectation that I will be “one of those Mac people” for a long time to come.

Also if Angela or Angela happens to read this, you were right and can say “I told you so” any time.

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