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Difficult Decisions

After reading the entry at Chicago Carless entitled, “I Am a Future PC: Why I’m Dumping Apple after 15 Years,” I had a number of left over thoughts that needed to be removed from my head.  I would like to first list the thoughts and then work out each separately.  First, I thought of my relationship with Apple.  Second, my thoughts moved to my work as a technologist and generally open-minded and curious individual.  Lastly, my mind wandered to whether or not I felt as though I could ever fully devote myself to Microsoft or an otherwise non-Apple technology set. (Spoiler: I am not sure I can!)

My first thoughts of my relationship with Apple need background in order to make sense to the general population.  I am an Apple user and have been for about eight years now.  When I say that, I mean I utilize Apple computers although not exclusively.  I use the machines for both work (media technologies) and play.  Until recently (two years or so), I was one of only a few people who could call myself an Apple user and mean that I had a skill set with Apple computers that was of any note.  Being an Apple fan and “power user” got me my first few jobs, as the skill set was needed more and more.  I worked at the Apple Store in downtown Chicago and loved it for the years during which I held the job.  Afterward, I moved into the world of Information Technology where Microsoft is still the majority share holder and I had to use Windows PCs to keep my jobs.  This is the point when my relationship with Apple gets interesting.  For years now, I have been an Apple proponent through and through and I believe that I will continue to be in the years to come.  However, as the last Apple purchase I personally made was for my college Mac (Powerbook G4 1.5 GHz), I have quickly come to a crossroads of indecision.  I recently let my MobileMe Account laps into oblivion, my computer is not the most up-to-date Mac (obviously), and all around, Chicago Carless and I are at about the same point.  I use my personal Mac less and less for the things for which the Mac are known.  It has become a portal to Google and a media player; I even dumped my DVD Player and play all media through the computer connected to my home theatre.  As I think about my relationship with Apple, therefore, I have to agree with Chicago Carless in that what do I use my Mac for that can’t be done with any other technology mechanism?

My aforementioned question leads me nicely into my second thought.  I work in Information Technology, a place where Apple machines are used sparingly and normally only for the type of work I do in the media space.  My job in Indianapolis is no different.  I work for a not-for-profit technology conglomerate that provides services to higher education institutions and state agencies at a low cost in comparison to the commercial entities that do similar work.  In my job, aside from the media work I do on the Mac, I work with Windows and Linux technologies to provide multi-platform services.  I think most readers know where I am going with this.  Just like my personal machine at home, unless I am doing something media related, the Mac sitting at my desk has become a portal to the Internet.  I read Chicago Carless’ entry on the Mac while working on the PC.  I like to read about technology.  I like to test and master technology as well and as I begin my career in this space, can I really make a decision to disavow all things non-Apple?  As I look at more mature Android devices and Linux distributions, the answer becomes clear that in a global society, I have to be aware of and able to use any platform that may come into being.  When Chrome OS is released, I will have to get to know and love that technology because I work in IT (and I am curious as hell about it)!

My last thought is at the crux of why I cannot, however, agree whole-heartedly with Chicago Carless.  I have been using Windows 7 since the day it was released!  I would even say I find it innovative in some ways and clearly better than its predecessors.  When I think about using Windows 7 as my main and only outlet, however, I vomit in my mouth a little.  Not because it is a bad OS or because I have preconceived notions of what it is to be exclusively a Windows PC user (although I do); my negativism is from my dislike of Microsoft as a company.  If I were to switch from Apple to Microsoft now, I would be trading one evil for another and depending on who you are, you can make your own decision about which is the lesser.  I don’t even think Apple is evil; I think that they have gotten off-track with some of their more recent decisions, but between Apple and Microsoft, I have to believe that Apple would be the quicker entity to turn their hell-bound handbasket around. 

And that’s the end of that chapter… for me at least.