I’ve been a mac user for half of my life. I’ve also used PC’s most of that time as well,5, even for employment, but I’d never identify myself as such. There’s something unique about being a mac user, which might stem from the fact that we’ve been hustled for years for being elitists, simpleton, extravagant spenders, and cultists. We may be, but we’ve had our share of disappointments, betrayal, and moments of pure joy.
In 1994/5, the mac world was in such disarray. There were companies building mac computers, and they made much better computers than Apple did. Be even made a better OS than Apple did. Steve Jobs came back, and saved to company. It took a while, but we kept giving them money, and convincing our friends and family to buy macs. With Steve, Apple returned to the limelite with the best designs, best OS, easiest user experience. We could use the internet easier than everyone else. The mac users I was in school with knew both Macs and PCs better than anyone else, and we naturally picked macs.
It only get better for us, because we love our computers and the operating system when Mac OS X is released as a public beta. Apple let us test their operating system for them. We did their work, paid for it (or, someone did) then we bought the release, which was a beta as well. It was great for nerds, anyway, because it was an OS that we could be proud of. In fact, MacOS X’s unix underpinnings made those of us who actually enjoyed using macs “cool”. For some reason, now that we’ve added a command line to the things we’ve been doing for years, we become legit.
MacOS X has been a blast. I now revel in the command line. I used to make fun of people who complained that macs had no command line. I can be proud of the computer identity I’ve rallied behind for years. It’s like collecting on your investment (speaking of which, apple stock is at 15bux). Every 6 months, Mac users get rewarded with MacWorld, which is the trade show that Steve Jobs uses to release Apple’s next and greatest computer or software. Its almost always worth the wait, and the suspense. But as a shareholder (hardly), I watch as stock prices rise a bit until the announcements, jump a dollar afterwards, then drop 2 dollars. Technically, every breakthrough they make, they loose my money. I know its not their fault, because capitalism is not capitalism, and the world is full of people who hate it when people show them up.
Macworld was today. Steve announced a 17″ flat-panel iMac, MacOS 10.2, iTunes 3, and .Mac services. These are some pretty exciting announcements, but the overwhelming feeling mac devotees got was that Apple has truly sold out. We got that feeling when they teamed up with Microsoft. We accepted it because apple needed it (office 98, 01, X) and Microsoft needed it (we’re not a monopoly! look at apple!). Today’s announcements included 10.2 ( a 130 dollar upgrade) and that they were going to change the free service (itools) to a pay service (.mac) What they’re doing is charging for a service that they once gave away, and extolled as one of the virtues of having a mac. I’m a @mac.com subscriber, and i don’t use iTools, but I’ll have to pay if I want to continue using my andy_freed | @mac.com address. Lame.
This was the first day I agreed with the investors who made stock drop 2 dollars a share. I’m mad because I’m losing my e-mail address in 60 days. In this world, that’s the electronic equivalent of being neutered. The company I’ve spent so much time working and advertising for has pulled a microsoft. I remain confident that the overwhelmingly negative response to some of these changes will force changes, but I’m upset they even brought it up.
Apple just gave us the world of open source, and now they expect us to pay for it? Its unlikely. If Apple is going to turn in to Microsoft, they’ve lost their devoted following. I’m sure they hear this all the time, but if you’re thinking about a mac, just realize that computers and technology are no longer free and unlimited. Apple is a better place for it, but don’t expect the wonderful 4 years that we’ve have had recently. Companies have found a way to commercialize, simplify, and severely limit it. Just note, Apple is filled with amazing talent, amazing creativity, and amazing potential, but they’re also a company.