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The Day My Life Changed Forever

A couple of weeks ago, my life changed forever.

No, I didn't dump my Nikons for some other brand. Never happen. There's not enough money in the world . . .

No, I didn't leave my wife -- and she didn't leave me.

It was a little more complicated than that.

It was the day my new 15" MacBook Pro arrived, and it's presence has, for the first time in my computer life, made me a full-blown Mac computer user.

I bought my first computer in 1989. An 8088 PC running MS-DOS. Monochrome monitor, 20mb hard drive (yeah you read that right -- 20 megabytes), and 640k of RAM.

Since then I bought and/or built more computers than I care to remember, all of them Microsoft-based. But even back then, I knew down deep inside that Apple had a better machine.

I can remember playing around with the original Macintosh computers. They were all-in-ones, not unlike the latest model of iMac. They had a 3.5" floppy drive, a small hard drive, and an even smaller B&W screen. But it was great.

And like the newest iMac Pro, they were simply unaffordable.

From what seemed like the beginning of time, the simplest, cheapest, most unadorned Mac was significantly more expensive than any Microsoft/Windows computer. And for that very reason, most businesses adopted the PC instead of the obviously superior Apple machine.

And so it was with me. I just could not afford a Mac. But then something else happened -- software developers began to abandon the Mac platform, which only made sense for them, financially. Since the vast majority of the computers being sold were PCs running some version of Windows, it was not financially feasible or responsible for the software writers to create software for the Mac.

This resulted in an even greater loss of market share for the Mac, which was then made even worse when Microsoft began bundling MS Office with Windows computers. Not only wasn't Office available for a Mac, there wasn't anything comparable. And file sharing was just not possible -- neither would read the other's files.

Early on, I was still shooting film -- the idea of digital photography wasn't nearly far enough along to make it viable for 99% of the photographers in the world, and since I was an amateur at the time, shooting digital was a pipe dream.

But the work I was doing at the time -- mostly theatrical design and production management -- relied on software that only available for the PC.

The result of all of this was that I just never even thought about moving from the PC platform to the Mac. The software I needed wasn't available for the Mac, and I couldn't afford one anyway. So I stuck with my PCs. (There is still a software problem -- there are 2 things I use regularly that will force me to keep one Windows machine around and running for some time to come. One doesn't have any sort of Mac version, and although the other does, the Mac version just does not work. Period. But those 2 things are all I'll ever do on a Windows machine going forward.)

To me, the PC has a fatal flaw -- as time goes on, it becomes more and more bogged down, often to the point that working on one becomes almost, if not actually, physically painful.

Every PC I've ever had has suffered from massive slow-down, even before Microsoft introduced the Registry. And this isn't a case of our brains perceiving the computer as having slowed down. They really do.

I don't know enough about computers and the way to work to comment on why this is, but I do know that although even Macs slow down over time, they don't slow down to the extent a PC does.

I currently have an old Mac Pro desktop -- the one with the huge, silver tower case -- sitting on my desk. A 2010 model, which makes it 7 years old. Runs great.

On the other hand, on a recent to Rock Mountain National Park with my old Windows laptop, I literally could do nothing else while Lightroom was running. Once I started to import photos, I had to walk away from the computer. My backup process (copying from the laptop's internal HDD to an external HDD) could only be done overnight, while I slept. And it literally took all night to back up a few hundred photos. My switch to Mac was helped along by my son, who has been a Mac fan for a very long time. My Mac Pro was his, and when he got a new iMac, he gave this old one to me. And now, I have this incredible Macbook Pro.

I love it. I'll never go back. Once again, as with the old Mac Pro desktop, I love it. I just love it. The problems I had with the old Windows-based computers have simply disappeared.

Thanks, Steve Jobs, for a job well done. UPDATE: I actually wrote this post last week, and scheduled it for launch Monday, 1/16. In the interim, one of the keys on the the MacBook's keyboard -- the V key to be exact -- all but quit working. Instead of the nice easy touch it and and all the others have had since I first got the computer, I now had to jab at it with a considerable amount of force. Not good. You'd be surprised at how much the V key is actually used. I called Apple and arranged for an appointment at the local Apple store. That appointment was for 12:30 Monday afternoon. Because it was Martin Luther King Day, and school was out, the place was packed. Regardless at exactly 12:35, a young man named Chris approached, and said he'd take care of me. After punching at the V key several times, he said, "This could be an easy fix." He took the MacBook off to the magical back room. Less than 5 minutes later, he reappeared, and said, "I think I have some good news for you." He put the laptop down in front of me, and told me to check the V key. Sure enough, it was back to normal. He told me that all he'd done was shoot come compressed air through it, and that shook loose whatever was jamming the key. I asked him if it ever happened again, could I do this myself, and he said yes, and showed me exactly how to do it. All total -- less than 15 minutes. The last time I had to have a Windows laptop repaired, I had to send it to Dallas -- at my expense -- and it took almost a week to get it back. I cannot complain about service of this kind.

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