I was a PC. Then a Mac. I’m a PC again.

I’m a PC.

But I used to be a Mac.  Or rather, a Macintosh. Those were the olden days. Back when we banged rocks and sent smoke signals to make plans for the evening.

In college, I took an introductory Comp Sci course in programming languages. That meant Basic, COBAL, and C.  Not C# or C++.  Just C.  (Do they even use just C anymore?)

I don’t remember much of the code I worked with, but the essential concepts of programming stuck with me: GIGO, WYSIWYG, if-then-else construction – all plain logic, really.

It would be many years before I owned a computer of my own, but I had access to the hot new labs at school.  Labs full of hulking Compaq desktops, where I typed my papers and lab reports and stored them on floppy disks that look like CDs made of mylar in a sort-of-stiff envelope.

Not a user-friendly system, not one to inspire confidence, but so much better than the IBM Selectric I had typed my high school papers on.

Second semester of freshman year, I took a Calculus course, which took me to a different wing of the university.

On the way to class, I passed a room where angels sang and golden-hour light poured out all day long.  The students in that hallowed room wore looks of wonder and delight as their fingers flew over keyboards in front of odd-shaped computer boxes.

I had discovered… the Macintosh lab.

My conversion was inevitable.  It wouldn’t be difficult, really.  My faith in the PC was not strong – the PC was simply better than what came before.

I joined the ranks and didn’t look back.  I was finally one of the cool kids.

I became a Mac.

My dedication to the Mac was complete.  Even when Windows arrived, I scoffed. I knew better: it was simply a cheap imitation, a follower.  I continued my late-night sessions in the Mac lab.

After college, I went to work.  Or to be more accurate, in the middle of college, I went to work.  Two paths in the wood, and all that.

Before I landed my first real (salaried-with-benefits) job, I worked as a temp in Toronto’s downtown core.  I found I had to be flexible.  Some businesses ran Macs, others used PCs.  They were not interested in my feelings on the subject. They just wanted the job done.

I did the job.  I was a temp super-star, in part because I spoke both platforms. It wasn’t even hard – turns out Windows and MS Word had a lot to offer.

In my heart, I was still a Mac.

Fast forward to buying computers for myself.  Wow, those Macs cost a lot. Hey, those PCs running Windows are affordable.  And they have a lot more software available for them.  And I know how to use both of them.

So, I sort of switched paths.  This was not my true allegiance, of course, but I was on a budget.  It was practical to bring a PC home.

And then something happened.

I liked the new version of Windows.  It was intuitive and easy to manage.  The software was affordable and the peripherals talked easily to each other.  MS Word (and the rest of the Office suite) simply worked better on PCs.

When it came time to replace my home computer, usually because my needs outgrew what I had, or I wanted bigger, better, badder features and speeds, the new hardware was affordable, too.

I was a PC again.

With the money I saved, I bought a high-end printer.  And shoes.  I was happy.

Until I learned about all the things the cool kids were doing on Macs.  And wondered why my parents didn’t love me.

Seriously?  Again?  I know.

Holly Cupala brought a Mac Air to the SCBWI professional series meeting – it was ridiculously light.  When Scott Westerfeld tweeted about using Scrivener, I clicked right on over, to find that it was only for Macs.  When I saw what bloggers were doing with cool stop-motion video and graphics, they flaunted their iPhoto and Photo Booth and iMovie tools.

Then I remembered: Lucy pulled the football out from Charlie Brown’s kick every time.

Here’s the thing – all of the Apple hardware is ridiculously expensive.  The software I actually use is more expensive and not as functional.  The peripherals are proprietary – if I wanted to switch now, I’d have to buy all new… everything.

And the real kicker – the hardware is not as free of failure and breakdown as Apple would have us believe.

Also, did I mention the price?

Scrivener now has a beta for Windows.  Windows Movie Maker may not be great, but it works for what I want to do.  I didn’t want to use Photo Booth anyway – I kind of detest having my photo taken.

My latest laptop – which I love – cost about a third of what I would pay for a comparable Mac.

That’s a lot of lattés.

I’m still a PC.

How about you?  PC or Mac?  Still banging rocks together?


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