Home, Home on the Mac

My four-year-old Dell crashed Wednesday, and I was up most of the night, sleepless with worry that all of my data had been lost. Miraculously (and possibly with the help of long-distance reiki performed by my sister from Cambridge) the Dell powered up yesterday as if nothing was amiss. The close call triggered another Mac Attack, and I ended up at the Apple store in Cherry Creek last night looking at the iMacs, talking to an articulate salesman about what switching would entail. They didn't have the configuration I wanted in stock, so the moment of truth was delayed.

For the past few weeks I have been listening to an excellent podcast called Typical Mac User, in which Victor Cajiao gives Mac tips for switchers and newbies. Victor switched himself last fall, so he is an encouraging role model. I asked him some questions in an e-mail, telling him I was just about to buy an iMac. His reply included this:

Congrats I don't think you will regret it if you do switch. It's a very personal decision however I have switch[ed and] still use a PC for work and my other podcast www.typicalpcuser.com, however I have not regreted it for a second. I once again enjoy computing and NOT doing maintenance and baby-sitting my computer.

Macintosh seems to be the platform of choice for podcasters and artists, and Macs also rule in my own family. So when my mother calls me from two time zones away, ready to drop her Mac out a second-story window because she can't open photos of her great-grandson, I'd like to be able to picture her screen and offer a solution. Same with my father, sister, eldest daughter, niece and nephews. I dream of getting us all linked up with easy Mac-videoconferencing to overcome the miles that separate us, especially when it comes to images of my new grandson, James. Although his mother is a Mac user, his Dad is a PC guy, so James has a good chance of growing up bilingual.

I woke up this morning to another blue Dell screen of death, and even though I figured out that the problem was a faulty USB corral, the trauma was enough to send me over the Mac edge. I called Apple and ordered a MacBook Pro, which won't arrive until mid-April, because sales are so hot. Oscar, the Apple tele-salesman, was a model of credibility, knowledge, and charm. He switched from PC to Mac two years ago. I will call Oscar back in about a week to buy the mother ship for my desktop, a 20-inch 2GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 1 gigabyte of RAM.

I remember the day I saw my first Macintosh in a store in Cody, Wyoming, more than two decades ago. I was stunned by the paper-like look of a MacWrite document on the screen and decided on the spot NOT to buy the luggable Compaq PC-compatible that I was considering. Instead, I purchased a 512k "Fat Mac" from 47th Street Photo in New York City. It was a happy relationship until my love of gadgets lured me to the PC platform, because everything new and great came out first for PCs, with some crummy Beta version tossed to Mac users six months or a year later. I was a corporate guy for 11 years, so I understood the realities of the market, and at the company where I worked, PCs were the rule except for a few artistic pansies in Corporate Communications. Now I'm retired, working in the arts, and it's time to come home. It would take more than 2,000 "Fat Macs" to equal the memory in the computer I bought today for about the same price I paid for my first Mac 20 years ago.

[Blogger had a melt-down yesterday, so I wasn't able to post this podcast. It begins with a few man-on-the-mall interviews, in which I discovered that most people could care less about Mac versus PC. It ends with my trip to the Apple store, which was buzzing with buyers last night an hour before closing time. The podcast lasts about 10 minutes.]

Friday, March 17, 2006

Condo Life

About 20 of the owners of the 227 units at the Barclay Towers attended this evening's Meeting with the Manager, an informal session with our building manager, Kathy Dingman, and long-time board member Bill Cox. I sat in as a rookie board member and audio tech. My idea was to record the entire meeting and put it up on The Barclay Show, as an experiment in using the internet to build community in this vertical village in downtown Denver. The audio turned out fairly well, so I will make another recording of the official Board meeting tomorrow.

Perhaps because of the presence of my recording device, this Meeting with the Manager was relatively free of fireworks. But we have some big projects looming, so homeowners have understandably strong feelings about potential costs and benefits of a renovated lobby, improvements to the top floor's exercise room and hot tub, as well as an ambitious proposal to build out the third floor with a variety of new amenities.

Unless you live at the Barclay, the following hour-long podcast is not likely to hold your attention for more than a few minutes. By now, I can almost recite parts of the meeting, having sat through the original and then listened to the entire thing again in order to create the podcast. A homeowners association like ours represents a very basic form of democracy. I find it fascinating when it's not driving me crazy.

Monday, March 13, 2006

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