Difficult Decisions (or why I only half agree with Chicago Carless this morning)

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.

Read, Think, Share, Repeat

The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.