Answering the Siren Call

Ok, I am beginning to think the apocolpyse might actually be drawing near. First, I register as a Democrat, now I decide that I want to buy a Macintosh. If I were you, I’d start storing water, candles and ammunition immediately.

I’m not sure exactly why I want to buy a Mac. Ok, I’ve got a few ideas, and there are some pretty valid reasons for it but I’ve been pretty firmly bigoted towards Linux from very near the beginning of it’s life. I’ve had the occasional PC loaded with Windows in order to stay abreast of the requirements of my profession and I’ve used the PC to run the games that I like to play, but I’ve always relied on a Linux box to do my “real” work. You’d think if I was getting frustrated with my current Windows machine I’d simply just tear it apart and reload it with Linux, running the OS that God intended for us to run instead of that demonspawn from Redmond.

I have to admit, though… I want a new iMac. I want to run OSX and I want to get all geeky about Mac stuff. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t know anything about Macs except that they are pretty and slick, maybe it’s the fact that they run a real operating system now based on Unix or maybe it’s just the fact that I slipped and smacked my head when I got out of the shower. All I really know is I can start to feel that irresistable pull to the… well, I can’t really say to the dark side because that would be the demons of Redmond whispering in my ears. Let’s just call it the “other” side for now I guess.

Ok, let’s stack it all up and look at it closely. First, there’s the important thing to remember which is my very first computer was an Apple, an Apple ][+ to be specific. I loved that thing. It was my first indoctrination into geekdowm and I knew that thing like I knew the back of my hand. I treated it like a beloved kit car that I was constantly tinkering with, extending, enhancing or repairing. I’ll never forget the look on my poor mother’s face when she walked in, saw me hunched over the open carcass of my Apple with smoke curling softly up from my soldering iron and valiantly did her best attempt at not freaking out and murdering her child on the spot.

As I grew older the Apple line and I parted ways. Apple marched towards elitism, expensive GUI’s and what I call “toaster” computing. They became a system for people that simply wanted their computer to “work” without having to tear it down and rebuild it all the time. It became less of a geek computer and more of a workhorse and that just wasn’t where I wanted to be at the time.

Of course now they have started to return to their geeky roots. I mean, what ultimately is more geeky than Unix? Ok, well, learning how to sing a Klingon opera in morse code might be slightly geekier, I guess, but I’m not really interested in going down that route just yet so I’ll settle for Unix in the interim.

I’m much less interested in hardware geekery nowdays and much more interested in OS, application and usability geekery. There’s some really incredible tools available for the Mac, and if you’re even marginally inclined towards the “spend three weeks writing a tool to save yourself five minutes worth of work” mindset (as I am, unfortunately) you can spend years twiddling, fiddling and geeking out with all the clever hackery available with a robust and well supported Unix OS on top-notch hardware.

It doesn’t help that the price point between Apple hardware and PC hardware has finally started to lessen. Sure, the basic Apple system is still quite a bit away from the low end PC systems but if you trick out a PC you’ll end up spending comparable amounts of cash. The Apple overlords have finally switched on their homing device and are trying very hard to call me back to the flock. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated…

I have tried valiantly to resist the siren call of the Apple.com website but I also know it’s only a matter of time before I run down to the store, offer up my debit card as a sacrifice to the gods of Cupertino and at long last rejoin the Apple fold. I wonder if they will be handing out grape koolaid and black nikes at the reunion meeting?

One response to “Answering the Siren Call

  1. Hey, it’s good to see you back writing. Don’t go off with your debit card yet :) I am going to find out about the discount thing… just be patient. PS – Good column – especially the image of you sacrificing your computer to the gods with your soldering iron. You Know Who

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