The Life and Times of a PC User: The Mac Experience

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I remember my family’s first computer.  It was one of those square shaped beige boxes that lay horizontally beneath the monitor.  It had no sound, no disk drive, a very limited color palate and ran on Windows 3.1.

While I certainly enjoyed my time of playing Chips Challenge and the original Duke Nukem whilst also drawing away with all the 256 colors that Microsoft Paint offered, I realized very quickly that the abilities of this computer box were a bit limited.

It wasn’t until our second computer we received a few years later that my eyes were opened to the wonders of a PC.  Since my parents knew almost nothing about computers, it was up to me to figure out how to use the thing.

To push its capabilities.

To fix the thing when I broke it.

Even with no internet, I spent countless hours exploring and gaming.  And this was all made possible thanks to an operating system called Windows 95.  We didn’t have Windows 95 for too long however.

Soon we upgraded to Windows 98.

I remember how excited I was.  It had everything I had come to love in 95 but with faster speeds and a sharper interface.  Naturally I was the one to install it.  In retrospect, this process took forever, but at the time, I didn’t care.  I could stare into the depths of the Windows 98 install screen for an eternity.

My joy for the PC had reached a new peak.  Things were starting to get serious.  It was time to make my first personal investment into the family computer.  I bought a brand new graphics card.

With the power of this card and Windows 98, I could run games with true 3D hardware acceleration.

Oh the places we’ll go, I thought to myself.

As the years progressed, Windows and I went all sorts of places.  I was surrounded by it.  My family had a Windows computer.  My mom used a Windows computer at work.  My high school used Windows computers.  My friends all had Windows computers.

It was on these various computers that I became exposed to the internet and to Adobe Photoshop, that I spent hours typing in Microsoft Word and chatting on MSN Messenger.

When I graduated from high school, the time came for me to by my very own PC.  To me, my first computer was arguably more exciting than my first car.  But as much as I loved this first computer of mine, I still wanted more.  Eventually, I would go on to build my own Windows desktop computer by hand.

Today, I have my Windows desktop (which I assembled myself), my Windows laptop, and am currently in the process of assembling a third PC out of spare parts I’ve collected.

And I share all of this to establish a simple fact:

I am a PC.

But this past week at the Radiate Digital offices, something happened.  See, all of us employees received these shiny, brand news computers to work from.  They’re sleek, compact, and the displays are down right gorgeous.  There’s just one problem…

They’re Apple iMacs.

The Macintosh: A Distant Acquaintance

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I’ll be frank; my exposure to the Mac is quite limited.  In middle school, we had what was known as the “Mac lab”.  This computer lab consisted of all Apple Power PCs that were truly awful.

They were slow, froze constantly, and ran Netscape, a browser that was so awful, it made Internet Explorer look good.  Using these piles of technological excrement was a chore and everyone in our school despised them.

I realize that it’s a little unfair to judge Macs based on that experience, but people judge Windows by their experiences on outdated $300 eMachines, so it balances out.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more and more friends purchase Apple products.  I’ve used them from time to time, respecting their design while despising little differences like the “command key”.

And it’s not like I never considered buying a Mac.  But ultimately, I found them to be too expensive and a little too incompatible with programs I regularly used (mostly games).  I could do everything I wanted on my PC for less money and I didn’t have to relearn how to use a computer.

Many have tried to persuade me otherwise.

“But PCs breakdown and fall part and get viruses and stuff.”

I’ve had very little trouble with my PCs in the past.  In fact, my laptop ran for 4 years on it’s original Windows install.

But Macs NEVER have problems.”

I’ve known plenty of Mac users who have had hardware issues, software issues, and of course, compatibility issues.

But now the time has come where choice has been removed.  Now, I am using a Mac nearly everyday.  In fact, I’m writing this blog post on it right now.  So what do I think?  Am I forever changed?  Can an iMac with Retina Display win over the most devoted of PC users?

You’ll have to come back here to find out!  Join me on The Mac Experience, here at the Radiate Digital blog.

Are you a Mac or a PC? Does a person really have to be one or the other?

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One Response to "The Life and Times of a PC User: The Mac Experience"

Written by Timothy Snyder
on August 12, 2013