Tag: iMac

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Apple Turns 40

Summer 1984, Chapel Hill, N.C., I learned something about prejudice and discrimination in America and saw my first Macintosh. Strangely, looking back at Apple, which celebrates its 40th birthday today, the two things connect.

As I reflected in Jan. 18, 2004, post: “Racism and Naiveté“, I never thought much about skin color growing up in a region of America where most everyone is Caucasian. Northern Maine is a white wonderland for more than abundant snowfall. Strangely, though, my best friends had last names like Chung and Zivic. The local Air Force base, Loring, added color to the populace, and when it came to people I was decidedly colorblind. 

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My Macintosh Moment

Macintosh is 30 years old. If this were “Logan’s Run“, January 24 would be Last Day. Or the 1960s, time to ditch the computer because, you know, don’t trust anyone (or anything) over 30. Declaration: I am a Mac user, which surely surprises the long line of people accusing me of being anti-Apple. My Mac sojourn started on a Winter’s day in December 1998. I’ve abandoned Apple a few times since, even briefly boycotting, but always come back.

My first Macintosh sighting was August 1984. I spent the summer in Chapel Hill, N.C. and often hung out on the University of North Carolina campus. The college book store displayed the Apple, which I found remarkable. I wasn’t a computer geek, nor am I one now, but nevertheless found the device charming. A decade later, I started using a Windows PC and for a while was a Macintosh bigot. I particularly enjoyed ribbing the graphic designers with whom my wife worked when their Macs crashed, wiping out hours of Photoshop or QuarkXpress work. “Get a PC!” was my common retort.

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My First Mac

It’s December and time to remember buying my first Mac. As a long-time Windows PC bigot I used to persecute the heck out of my wife and her coworkers. In the early 1990s, we worked at the same magazine, she as a graphic designer and I as an editor. I would tease the graphic designers, with great delight, about their Macs. I recall reading a University of Delaware study that found Mac users to be 40 percent less productive than PC users. Oh, how I taunted the graphic designers with that information!

So it was with strange compulsion I walked out of a CompUSA in early December 1998 carting an iMac (and free 13-inch color TV, which my daughter uses today). The iMac’s alluring design and blue cool color (OK, more like teal) won over my curiosity. 

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iMac boots the Media Center

This afternoon, my buddy from down the street dropped by a new, 17-inch iMac, the hot model with built-in iSight camera, Front Row, and remote control. We had planned an Apple Store trip together, when the iMac arrived for sale. But my work schedule wouldn’t accommodate the time off. We had agreed to an even swap. He would take my Dell Media Center PC, so he had always planned on buying the iMac anyway.

The Media Center’s departure is emotional, because of the attachment to watching television. The dual-tuner let me record two TV shows at the same time. The DVR also meant more TV watching and still too much time wasted channel switching like a mindless hamster running a wheel. Going nowhere. 

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Snow Day

Work blogging has sapped my personal blogging interest, so things have languished here. But I’m looking to generate renewed enthusiasm, and so more posts.

Big week here in Washington, with the presidential inauguration. My wife got a free ticket from the church leader to one of the events, on Tuesday; Bush and Cheney families in attendance. 

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Toidy Bowl Packing

They say that kids do the darnest things or that kids growing up with newfangled technology take to it differently than do adults. These two pictures are evidence of both.

Looks like a toilet boil, doesn’t it? Turns out this Styrofoam wonder is from a first-generation, flat-panel iMac box. Flip the toidy boil over and it fits over the iMac’s lamp-like base. I must have no imagination, because I had unpacked a couple iMacs without seeing the resemblance, flipped over, of course. 

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iMac, I Like

Anyone who has used PCs for a long time knows the joy has gone out of computing. The “wow” experience from setting up that first computer or exploring the vast informational riches of the Internet are memories. It is like the first time having sex, only sex is still great other times. Getting another new computer just doesn’t reach the same level of excitement or joy.

Until now.

I cracked open the box on a new iMac in mid-March 2002, the midrange model with 700MHz PowerPC processor, 256MB of RAM, 40GB hard drive, and CD-RW/DVD combo drive. (Ironically, later the same day Apple raised prices on all iMacs by 100 bucks; by October the price had dipped another $200. ) For the first time in as long as I can remember, working on a computer is fun. And that’s doing work. Other activities just get better from there. 

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Hey, Apple: Think Smart!

Apple Computer is well known for its “Think Different” slogan, but that doesn’t mean the company thinks smart. If anything, Apple’s recent launch of the revamped iMac demonstrates there’s not much thinking going on at all in Cupertino—that is unless the company is trying to write the textbook on how to totally screw up an extremely important new product launch. If that’s Apple’s idea of thinking different, well, congratulations on a job well done because it’s looking like the new iMac’s launch debacle will be more talked about than the fate of the ill-fated Cube.

Apple’s problem: The iMac product shortage. Financial analysts and some media outlets have taken note of the crisis—and I must state firmly that it is a very serious crisis. This is no typical product shortage brought on by high demand for a hot, new computer. Worse, the timing of the shortage coupled with the importance of the new iMac to Apple are major disasters that could have been avoided. Strongest sales usually take place right after a product’s introduction, a phenomenon that typically cannot be recovered at a later time. In characteristic fashion, Apple is silent about the shortages, instead touting 150,000 early orders. (For the record, an Apple retail store representative on March 3, 2002, said the number had increased to 200,000.)