Monday, August 29, 2011

Mac Anxiety

I have been using PCs since, well, they first came out. My use of early computers included the Commodore PET, Commodore Vic-20, Commodore 64, Commodore Amiga, IBM 5150 (the original IBM PC,) the Kaypro II, TRS-80, the Apple II, the Apple Lisa, the Apple III. By the time the first Apple Macintosh came out in '84, I was firmly entrenched, at least at home, if not always at work, in the PC world of DOS and later Windows. Over the years I've acquired a great deal of experience with PCs - hardware, software, networking, maintenance, and more. I haven't yet made the switch to Windows 7 (though I have used systems running Windows 7) but have been eagerly awaiting my chance to replace my existing laptop and desktop and make that switch.

I'm not unfamiliar with Mac and Mac OS. I used a few classic Macs here and there. In the summers of '97 and '98 I was using PowerPC-based Macs in my work as a camp video specialist. I repeated this again in the summer of 2010, this time using Intel-based iMacs and Mac Pros. I experienced Mac OS 7 to X. I'm not as quick and profficient using a Mac as I am a PC, but I can use them. I know the basic differences and the pitfalls one might encounter when switching.

At this point, I'm not switching at home- but I am starting in a new job for a place that is entirely Mac-based. Thus I have Mac anxiety. I am not a Mac- or Apple-hater. I will be just as happy to use Macs. It's just that I've been using computers for a long time. I've developed a lot of habits and a high comfort-level in PC hardware and software. I am no slave to my computers-I have learned to make them work for me. I have carefully crafted relationships with particular pieces of software and hardware that allow me to work the way I want, instead of being forced to work the way the hardware or software wants me to work.

Intellectually, I understand that most of the PC software I love will run just fine on an Intel-based MacBook.(There are some exceptions, and I worry about those.)  I understand that great customization is available in the Mac OS (though I still feel that Macs do somewhat restrict the ability to customize to the level and extent I have been able to do over the years on Windows machines.)

As I analyze my fears and concerns, I realize that the core of them is this: I am totally unused to turning to others for help when it comes to computers and technology. I am the one to whom people usually turn when they need help with their computers and technology. Though I have little doubt I will be able to develop a similar level of knowledge in the Mac arena, there will be a learning cruve and a time when I remain dependent on others to teach and show me.

I have learned that to conquer fears you need to name them. So now I've named mine. I am afraid to be the one asking for computer help rather than the one asked to give it. It's foolish to let pride hang me up like this, and I'm sure I'll get over it.

On this blog, you’ll be able to follow my experience with this adaptation. My die-hard Mac-user friends are convinced that I’ll become one of the “once you used it you’ll never go back” pack, but I remain unconvinced, particularly because I am already familiar with Macs and Mac OSs, and I still prefer Windows –not because I’m comfortable but because it works better and more intuitively for me than Mac OS. Plus I’m a cheapskate always looking for the best bang for the buck –something Apple has never really delivered. Making the switch to Macs at home will be far more expensive that getting new PCs. I’ll have to learn to integrate my MacBook from work into my Windows-based home network, and I’ll be able to use both side-by-side. I am fairly confident that my comfort with what I already know and prefer will find me still using the PCs at home and then transferring the work to the MacBook. We shall see.

Thanks for this opportunity to name my fear. Now wish me luck in overcoming it.

Kol tuv,