Still Macin’ (for now)

MacBook Pro

The phrase “I am no longer Apple’s Target Market” is one that I can identify with… and the blog post of the same name makes a lot of good points.

I’ve been using computers (mostly made by Apple) for over 30 years. Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon at this point, but I actually like being able to see the file system, and I don’t want or need some specially curated “App Store” or procedures to protect me from naughty applications I download from the big, bad Internet. I’ve been doing fine for nearly 20 years. As for people who do need such things, I understand the need, but I hope I’m not further restricted due to others and their (lack of) knowledge.

I’ve said this before, and I’ve said it again, there’s a learning curve to using computers, and I’m fine with that. There’s a learning curve to operating a motor vehicle, or a table saw, or a pencil sharpener. There should be. That’s part of life. Learning should not be looked upon as something that is a bad thing, and hey, I’m sorry, but you might have to actually learn a bit to use a computer, or table saw, or kitchen appliance. I’m not saying some things don’t need to be easier, but there’s a middle ground between ease of use, and restrictions of freedoms we once had. And easier? Hell, it’s a million times easier that it once was. Why, when I was a kid you turned on your Apple II and got a blinking cursor. No icons. No menus.

I use Apple hardware, and I use a lot of Apple software (and a lot more non-Apple software.) I also use Linux a lot. Linux has never been my desktop OS of choice, but for servers I love it. I do run some Linux desktop machines though, and they’ve improved much over the years. The work I do though, does at this time require Mac OS X.

I have a first generation iPad. I love it. It’s a great device for what it is. It is not a computer. Sometimes I wish it was a computer, but I find it very enjoyable to use as it is. I wish it were more open though. (But I wish that about a lot of things.)

Mac OS X is still my favorite desktop operating system. Is it perfect? Nope. Has it gotten better or worse over the years? Probably both. I’ve always got a terminal open with multiple tabs, which is something 95% (?) or Mac users probably don’t do.

Anyway, it’s December 2012, and I’m still using Macs (a lot) for business and personal use, and most of the time, they work well for me. I’ll let you know where I’m at some time in 2013.

2 replies on “Still Macin’ (for now)”

Yeah, I feel like I’m on the way out on Apple, too. And I prefer tools that offer more power in exchange for learning.

But, I think “ease of use” is what sells vs “how this empowers you”. And, sure you can get a lot done with an iPad or iPhone. But, you can get so much more done with a bash shell, given the know-how.

Sometimes I wonder where things like table saws and jet fighters would go, if they followed the same evolutionary pressures? How could a table saw be like an iPhone, and would it make any sense?

I think the iPhone equivalent of a table saw exists, it’s some other guy with a table saw.

With these devices you delegate control for the sake of convinience. The sweet spot for this delegation differs from person to person and from application to application.

That said, the main reason I use Apple computers today is that the hardware is the best made I have found. In fact I’d be running Debian on my MacBook Air if I could get the display resolution right (which probably says something about Linux, but I’ll leave that to the reader to explore). I do like OSX, more so back when it was more like NeXT Step, but at this point I use it because it’s good enough to keep me from undertaking the effort of switching.

I also find the trade-off of iOS on the phone and tablet worthwhile since I use these devices for their designed purpose and expect them to work with little or no fiddling.

On the other hand, the systems I build for the laboratory are purely Linux because I like fiddling with these machines and since I decide everything they run, I love the customization that is possible using Linux. Additionally, openness is very important to me, especially in regard to the creative work I do so using Linux (and other open tools) here helps prevent baking any closed tech into my creations.

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