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This decision was made after a 12 month agonizing debate over whether or not to try the switch... again. Interwoven into the decision was the fact that almost two years ago to the day I had already tried the switch . I reflect on why I bought my first Mac, why it ended up on eBay, and why I struggled over the decision to buy my second Mac. Did I make the same mistake twice? You can read how I feel about my decision, and what the outlook looks like.
Let me start off by giving you a little background about me. I am a thirty-two year old self proclaimed (and proclaimed by many others as well) geek. I have been using computers to write code since I was thirteen years old. Hammering out Basic and Machine Language on my Commodore Vic-20. Today I am a Software Engineer who enjoys writing Java and can wrangle Vi with the best of them. After my Vic-20 and Commodore-64, I graduated to an IBM PC clone to head off the college with. My only Apple experience had been when I was exposed to them in the 6th grade. We ran the Logo program (the little turtle guy) and a GUI word processor which was amazing to me. Besides this short lived experience with Apple computers, I never used them again. They were always a bit out of financial reach of my family, but I envied the kids that owned such beautiful computers. I stayed within the PC line for my personal computers and have worked on Sun and HP for work. I also started working with Linux pretty early on because I was running a 4 line BBS and was trying to write an application on Linux that could route Internet mail to my BBS.
I am thinking back to when Apple computers recently caught my eye. I recall being a real PC power user (always having the latest and fastest of everything in my PC) and laughing at those crazy Apple users. I remember thinking to myself, "What a boring experience, those people can't even get to a command line and tweak their setting." I was wondering when Apple would just go out of business and die. Those thoughts were pretty consistent in my mind for many years. Until... one day I was watching television with my wife and I saw it... an ad for the Apple Titanium PowerBook G4. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow! That is a beautiful machine." I immediately navigated my web browser to www.apple.com and was in for another huge surprise. Apple had recently released a new operating system called Mac OS X based on one of my favorite OSs, FreeBSD. I couldn't believe it. I have always loved and admired FreeBSD. I love the elegance and beauty of it. I love the philosophy of it. Unfortunately, I have only been able to be a FreeBSD supporter by way of user and cheerleader, but I admire and respect all of the individuals who put long hours into it.
I poured over all of the specs for the PowerBook and OS X. I was impressed. My wife could tell that I had that fixation about me that could only be cured by one thing... owning one. But alas things would have to be put on hold for just a bit while my wife and I tended to our newly born son. The time off from work tending to baby and mom made me a little stir crazy. I couldn't stop thinking about all of the amazing things I would be able to do with my new PowerBook. My wife finally said to me, very lovingly, "Honey, go get your computer." I think she was just tired of me asking her if I should buy it or not. So I trucked on over to the new Apple computer store and introduced myself to my new laptop. The purchase was not quite the fan-fare I thought it would be. I made sure to tell all of the employees that I came in contact with that this was my first Apple computer out of about twenty Wintel PCs. In the end, I think they thought I was more goofy than anything else. While waiting for the final checkout, I started chatting with a woman who had owned Macs her entire life and had that "Think Different... Apple or die attitude." I couldn't wait. I just couldn't wait to be part of a culture that loved their computers so much that they were willing to charge into verbal battles on their behalves and emblaze their environmentally friendly vehicles with Apple logos. I was ready.
I journeyed home and opened it up. I was so excited. I planned to learn all about my new computer, get it all set up, and have my Windows based laptop on eBay within weeks. Then I slowly started to realize something. My new PowerBook that was supposed to be faster than my PC despite the Mhz gap was terribly slow. Then other things started to chip away at my excitement. All of the software that I currently owned and used on my PC was not available in a Mac version or even worse, if a Mac version was available, I was not eligible for upgrade pricing. Purchasing software for a new OS is considered a new purchase in the eyes of software manufacturers. I had heard about a product by Connectix called VirtualPC which would allow me to run all of my PC software on my new Apple. So once again, I returned to the Apple store and purchased a copy. If the computer didn't run slow enough with native applications, it ran my PC applications even slower, unacceptably slow. So I antied up some more bucks and increased the RAM on my 400Mhz PowerBook to 1 Gigabyte. Surely that old Windows trick would work on the Apple side too. I started to become sad. I had passionately wanted this machine. I was planning on replacing my Wintel laptop with it. I was ready to start my basic training to become a Mac fanatic. Instead, I sat in sadness as the launcher icons bounced mockingly as I waited to get some work done. It became obvious I would not be able to replace my Wintel laptop with my new PowerBook and at almost $3,500 spent so far, this toy was far to expensive to keep around. Sadly, I took the "buy me" snap shots, packed her up and posted her on eBay. I took a bath on the sale because the new, faster and improved PowerBooks had been announced. I made my final "6 month same as cash" payment to MBNA months after my PowerBook was gone.