OK – I admit it. I was proud. I used to swear by PCs and would be very rude to Mac users – esp when we lived in Uganda and there were so few of them that they were forced to huddle together in the shadows for fear of reprisals and scorn. We always had the last laugh when their macs actually DID crash for once – or when there was a technical problem, and there simply wasn’t the backup support that PCs had in Kampala. In my smugness, I would ignore the fact that for every crash they had, I’d had 37.3 – and that i lived in fear. Fear of operational instability, fear of standing out from the crowd, fear of feeling incompatible. I muddled through of course – people always do – but it was sheer bravado. Hence the persecution tendencies of those that i suppose i always knew (in my heart of hearts) were in the right.
But then the moment came – a spilled cup of coffee; the sights, sounds and smells of electronics sizzling and frying; and momentary panic. I was frozen at my desk. Off to a conference in a few days when powerpoint was a must and the clock was already ticking frighteningly fast on the prep i had to do for my talks. I was scared – what on earth should i do now?
But you know (and i really mean this) – i now look back on this time with gratitude, even though at the time i wouldn’t quite have seen it that way. But fortunately, i had a friend. We’ll call him John (for that is in fact his name). He was patient with me, he was gentle and careful enough not to foist his opinion on me. But he had some pretty clear ideas about what was best for me – and that’s fair enough. I mean, if you are a doctor, you actually know more about the cause of your patient’s problems than he or she does; so it is only fair that you be allowed to express said expert opinions. And so John took me to a place where he knew i could find help. It was just a short walk; to Oxford Circus in fact, and then on to Regent St. There, to my amazement, was what i’d always actually been searching for, if i’d only realised it before. My previous frustrations I guess had been the result of never really being able to articulate what my search had been for. I’d no idea how many times i must have walked past the place – i suppose i’d never really dared go in before. At the door, there were all these friendly people wearing black t-shirts welcoming people through the doors (which i suppose seemed normal enough) but they didn’t seem my sort – to begin with at least. I thought i could never become like them. But John encouraged me. He didn’t leave me at the door, but actually came IN with me. And this was an act of huge significance.
The place was attractive – some striking architecture, full of space and light pouring through the clear glass – so that was a start i suppose. It wasn’t dingy or intimidating, but inviting – unlike some techie geekholes. Having said that, there were lots of people milling around, all looking as though they knew what they were doing. Some were chatting idly; some were delving deep into the causes of some problem or another; some were browsing the resources centre (perhaps some were doing so out of embarrassment and ignorance of where to begin – who knows – it’s certainly where i’d have drifted if i’d been on my own); others were sitting patiently in an auditorium area while some bloke talked them through the basics of a particular doctrine and its application. And then after a few introductory remarks, i took the plunge. I PINned, formed and signed – and at that moment, my life was changed. I possessed a MacBook Pro and it was actually like being given a brand new chance, a new start, a new life, even.
I can now safely and sincerely say that i have never looked back. The world of PCs seems alien now, foreign even, uncivilised. I suppose i wouldn’t be honest if i denied that the odd PC-only programme (as they like to call them) gave me pangs of regret and nostalgia for the old way – but i suppress them quickly enough by simply bringing to mind what i now had. For all its restrictions (which, quite frankly, are few, especially when one has, as i do, Parallels Desktop for Mac), there is just no going back.Which means i must thank John for his patience with me; i must apologise to Adam & David for all the abuse i heaped on them (“look, I’m sorry, OK, what more do you want me to say?”); and above all i must honour the one who must be honoured: Mr Jobs himself. What can i say? I’m just glad you lived.
in case you’re concerned about what on earth has caused this drivel, its catalyst was the rather extraordinary advert for solutions inc. on the back of this month’s MacFormat magazine (see closeup, up and full ad, right). I knew Macs were good (and i do have to say that i enjoy using mine far more than i ever did my PC) – but i suspect that the claims for their efficacy slightly exceed reality. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Agency should be informed – i mean what evidence can they actually provide that Macs do save souls?