Treason

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I feel like I have committed treason. I have cast off thirty years of loyalty to the PC and bought a Mac Airbook. I could probably convert from Lutheran to Catholic and feel less like I’d betrayed my beliefs.

I started using computers before most people had any idea of what they were. Just us wonky professors and the military. I’d tell people what I was doing and they’d look at me like there he goes again, talking gibberish.

We were using VT100s, learning code. The computer filled up the entire basement of the Clairihue Building. The first book move was when we got VT100s in our office. We could send messages. We could write documents and control layout with code. We could print out our documents. We had to run down three stories to the basement to retrieve the print outs. They weren’t immediately available. Printing was queued. We all had mail boxes and our work would be put in a mail box by a certain time each day. It was space age stuff.

Then, we were told we could take the VT terminals home and use them over the phone line. Captain Kirk, I’m living in the future. We could write on them, we could send print commands to the computer in the basement of Clairihue. We could play Pong. It was astounding. Hitting a square back and forth on a black and white screen.

The earth shaking stuff was when we were told, the VT100s were being scrapped. We were each given an allowance and told to go out and buy a PC.
I went to London Drugs. The salesman was crazy. He kept clicking on things, creating windows, closing windows,. None of it made any sense. I bought a computer anyway.

I bought a PC because we had Dave Godfrey in our department and he was a PC man. He extolled PCs for the many tasks they could do. We became PC people. Windows people.

The university made a deal with Apple. Apple was making deals everywhere to get their computers into learning situations so that users were become attached to the Mac. Even our faculty got a Mac lab. We looked down on Mac users. Losers. Kid’s stuff. Real computers for grownups were PCs.

Except, of course, I wasn’t running a publishing business. I wasn’t doing mathematics. When it came down to it, I was writing stories, reports, emails. What I really needed was an efficient typewriter.

When someone said “Get an Apple,” I said, “The only thing apples are good for are making pies.”

I went through a number of desktops and laptops over the years. Technology ages quickly. Nine years ago, I found a Sony ViO. I was shocked by the cost: $1200.00. Top of the line. “You won’t have to replace this computer for a long time.” the salesman said. He was right. It has been an indestructible machine. Its been dropped, soaked, had food dropped on it, coffee spilled on it, left in a hot car, a cold car, it has suffered every insult possible. I love it still but even after some upgrades, it boots up very slowly. Some days it is cranky and won’t open until I’ve started it and turned it off a number of times. For no knowable reason, it has started opening a lot of time in safe mode. It won’t download large updates. “No,” I can hear it saying, “I’m not going to cooperate.”

I’ve transferred all my important files to memory sticks. Just in case death overcomes it before my new Mac arrives.

I thought about getting another PC but I want one that is `13”, I don’t want a touch screen, I don’t want Windows 8 or 8.1 and I’m suspicious of Windows10. That’s going to be a pig in a poke. I’ve been reading the pre-reviews. I don’t think I want to go there.

Yet, I might have chanced buying a Lenovo. That is, if I hadn’t got a message from Aeroplan saying they are having a special on Macs. Turns out that a new generation is coming out shortly, like in a few weeks, and Apple wants store shelves cleared of old stock. This new issue is going to have a new processor. How much processor is necessary? The Mac Airbook will likely be the last laptop I’ll need.

I’m not jumping into water without knowing what is under the surface. When I worked at the newspaper, I learned to use a Mac. Once I got used to the silly icons on the bottom of the page and their bouts of hysteria, I was fine.

Done is done. My air miles are spent. The notice says that the Mac should arrive in three to five weeks. Lots of time for buyer’s remorse. I know it is just a computer but sitting here at my desk with my Sony laptop in front of me I feel I should apologize, say I’m sorry, comfort it. Rejection is hard, even for computers. We’ve traveled the world together. Worked through the night together. Been on trains, planes and buses together. The only thing it hasn’t had to do for me is stop a bullet. Thank goodness.

I’m not going to throw my Sony into the garbage. I’m not going to give it away. I’m going to give it a place of honour, go look at it every so often. Maybe even use it for working on a separate project, always backing up just in case one day no lights flash, no screen appears.

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