No Avoiding Pain In An Upgrade
Wednesday - November 09, 2005
I recently changed my whole home-office computer system.
I’m writing about this because I know that for all of us not touched with extreme geekdom, making substantial changes in our zone of comfort is very discomforting.
It’s like divorce, splitting property and going through custody of kids. I’ve never done any of that, but every ten years or so the computer software people force me into an operating system change if I want to keep in business as a columnist and tour operator.
I had to go from my comfy Mac Performa in the ‘80s to a G-4 Classic in the ‘90s to my brand new Mini Mac with OSX Tiger last month.
Computer programmers never leave well enough alone. They change so much that most of us drudges cannot even migrate our old data to a new system without professional help, let alone figure out how to work the new system. We have to pay somebody to do that.
The one nice thing about Macs is that they cost the same wherever you buy them. I buy mine from Mac Mouse Club on South Street rather than the Apple Store or CompUSA.
Why? Simple. I like to support a small shop of people I know (at Mac Mouse that’s Rolf Nordahl (Head Cheese) and Mike Palcic (Big Cheese). They set me up, phone-help with my many questions and quickly fix my screw-ups. The big stores put you on a long wait list for repairs. I stopped by the Ala Moana Center Apple Store at 2:42 p.m. with a question. The customer-being-served clock said I’d be helped at 3:30. The Mac Mouse wait is at worst about 30 seconds.
I went through some agony as I switched to Mac OSX Tiger and nothing looked familiar and I was desperately looking for landmarks that were not there.
Then, like a fog lifting, it all became perfectly clear (Mac Mouse offers free, two-hour classes every Saturday at noon.)
And I realized that hanging on so long with my old, cranky, low-performing OS9 was really dumb. As dumb as anyone opting for a PC with Windows because “everybody I know has that.”
Mac OSX Tiger is Unix based (Windows is still DOS based). That means the Mac is really hard to crash. The worst would be the crash of an open application. Your computer keeps working. You just restart that one application. No more rebooting.
Tiger writes PDF - portable document files. No need to buy expensive Adobe Acrobat if you’re not into major newsletters or brochures. Tiger opens all those PC documents you get in your e-mail. No need to buy MacLinkPlus translators. Tiger writes in many languages, including three types of Pakistani. Tiger talks. You write something and tell the computer to read it back so you can see how it sounds. The built-in e-mail program is an electronic miracle.
It took me years to make the switch. I’m like many of you.
I prefer things the way they’ve always been. New technology intimidates me. I still shoot all my photos with film. I don’t have a cell phone, fax machine or an iPod.
We do have to make jumps into scary territory. My new computer tracks all airlines flights, stocks and automatically reminds me of tomorrow’s weather and the change in value of the yen and euro. I’m unlikely to need a movie maker or to do instant chat with somebody, but the capability is there.
Change isn’t painless. But at least it has become affordable.
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