Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Into the World of Apple

I resisted as long as I could. Having lived and worked in a Microsoft-based computer environment ever since MS-DOS was invented, I knew Windows like an old friend, having upgraded and upgraded until I reached Windows 7. That one was my Waterloo!  My attempts to step up from Windows Vista carried me into strange new worlds where even tech support could not go. I finally gave up, disgusted, and returned the software upgrade. Then I unceremoniously tossed the offending old HP laptop onto the computer junk heap in my storage shed.  (I'm still not sure what to do with those old relics.)

I had become aware of the Apple iMac computer from our friendship with Gordon and Juanita that began a few years ago.  Gordon is a rabid Apple user, and it was plain to see that his new iMac was a very different animal and super advanced over my PC.  The massive, brilliantly clear screen is a marvel, but no more so than the absence of clunky parts:  The screen IS the computer, and that's all there is to it, except for the small but sleek wireless keyboard.  The gorgeous graphics and the speedy processor, combined with a high-quality, modern minimalist design--the comparison with my PC was...well, there was no comparison.  

The worst part, however, was my perception that Apple aficionados like Gordon secretly sneer at pathetic, unwashed PC users (like me) who they probably think really need to be euthanized after their old steam-powered computers are confiscated and smashed to bits.  Mind you, Gordon, who can be impish at times, has never exhibited such a mindset for a moment, but I'll bet he can't help being a little smug from time to time.  Other Appleheads I know don't even try to hide their disdain for lower life forms with PCs.  They make me feel like I've pulled up to the Waldorf Astoria in a 1951 Crosley.  (How many of you remember those?)  
Now, back to the present:  I knew I needed to replace Sandy's desktop PC and my laptop, both of which had serious issues that could only be solved by Divine intervention.  However, I was very reluctant to abandon my familiar Windows PC and learn a whole new computer and operating system.  (News flash for other seniors:  As you get older, stepping out of your comfort zone becomes less and less appealing.  At this point for me, it's about on a par with constipation.)

For me, the tipping point was my recent purchase of an iPhone, whose capabilities are so mind-boggling that I have the urge to burn incense when I hook it up to its charger.  I knew the other Apple hardware had to reflect the same genius, so off I went to the Apple store.

Upon arriving, the first thing I discovered was that Apple thinks very highly of their stuff.  What I paid for a new iMac and Macbook Pro would probably get a post office named for me if I donated it to a crooked politician.  (Sorry; crooked and politician are redundant.)

Fortunately, the transition has been much less of a hurdle than I imagined, and Apple lets you take all the familiarization classes you want for free.  So, just for you inquiring minds, here are my thoughts   as a new Apple user:  

Ease of use:  Like falling off a log; just plug it in and turn it on.  Many clunky Windows-like tasks are automated with Apple, so it seems much more intuitive.  However, figuring out the file manager ("Finder," they call it) and customizing menus, toolbars and screen icons have proved to be a bit of a challenge.  I'm sure it would be much less of a problem had I not grown up with the PC.

Virus protection:  This doesn't seem to be an issue with Apple.  It is surreal not to have to do constant battle against viruses and hackers, but I still remain vigilant.

Quality and design:  These, along with superior software and uncountable applications, seem way ahead of the PC.  We would certainly never go back.

Since my old AT&T wireless card wouldn't work with the new MacBook, I replaced it with a new AT&T MiFi modem.  This is the coolest little device, smaller than a deck of cards, that creates a wi-fi hotspot from cell phone signals wherever you happen to be.  It has a rechargeable battery, so it is completely portable.  Works like a charm.  What will they think of next?

My New iPhone, MiFi and MacBook

Sandy's iMac

In closing, let me assure you that I will never be condescending toward users of those "other" computers.  Perhaps you'll forgive me if don't make eye contact, though.  (grin) 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Water Droplets Falling From The Sky...What Is It?

Oh wait, now I's rain!  I can forget a lot in two months, and that's how long it's been since any of it fell here.  And, I might add that it hasn't been particularly helpful to read the blogs of you folks who are writing about your adventures in picturesque places while enjoying near-perfect weather.  

Oh, yes, the majority of you are blissfully unaware that your photos of mountain scenery and your reports of "chilly" mornings cause my brow to wrinkle and my eyes to narrow while I read.  You are forgiven.  But there are a few out there who know me and delight in posting about their idyllic settings entirely too often, seemingly just to needle me.  I know who you are, and I will get even.  (grin)

Then why do I keep reading, you may ask?  Well, it's sort of like watching Sandy parallel park; I know nothing good will come of it, but I feel compelled to watch the carnage anyway.

One thing this summer in Texas has instilled in my mind is that I'm going to try my best to be elsewhere when the next one comes along, so I can taunt with my blog the other poor slobs who can't escape.  

RANT WARNING:  And just for the record, I don't attribute any of this weather to global warming, which I think would be a laughable hoax if it were not for the thievery its proponents are exacting from us in the name of saving the planet.  The crowd promoting this lunacy seems mostly represented by smelly young indolent and vacuous malcontents with too many pierced appendages, influenced by too many Marxists in academia and courted by guileless politicians who need their votes to ensure further perpetuation of the nanny state.  They seem conveniently to forget that it was only a few decades ago that the big worry was that a new ice age was coming!  I don't deny that climate changes occur over the millennia, mostly due to natural effects, and I don't doubt that man's activity may affect localized conditions to a degree, but I would not be so full of hubris as to espouse the notion that we mere mortals could actually thwart with a few smokestacks the power and perfection of what our Creator waved into existence.  Give me a break.