I first used a Mac, a Classic I think, in the university library at Reading in the late eighties, the other computers I used at the university were BBC Model Bs and dumb terminals. The windowed interface and mouse left an impression, it was the first computer, apart from my Amiga, that I both used and enjoyed at the same time.
Time passed, Commodore and Amiga died, and PCs became the tool of choice, Windows being, for me, a way to interact with more modern games if they didn’t run in DOS mode. Moving away from gaming I found Linux which became my OS for both server and desktop, with the occasional, and diminishing, excursions into Windows for gaming purposes. VLC or mplayer running under Fedora Linux provided for my HTPC needs quite nicely.
However, when Apple announced the switch to Intel processors I was interested again and, about five years ago, purchased one of the first Intel Mac Minis. This became my HTPC and has remained so ever since. Now, sadly, it has reached the end of the line with regard to operating system upgrades as it is only 32-bit and Lion requires 64-bit. But, it still does the job and will remain in action until it dies, or causes more problems than it solves. I still run Linux as my server operating system, both at home and in the cloud.
My liking for the Mac OS on the Mac Mini lead to the purchase about a month or so later of the high end 17″ MacBook Pro on which I am still typing today. It’s got a new 7200 rpm 500 GB hard drive, and has been upgraded to the maximum 3 GB of RAM, but it’s the same model. I think that it’s had 3 OS upgrades now, and I can count the number of times that it has “blue screened” on one hand.
It’s nearly time for another Mac, but having spent nearly five years with this one, I’m not in a hurry to replace it. Yes, sometimes the lack of memory is annoying, requiring applications to be shutdown to make room for Photoshop, or even requiring the occasional reboot to clear out the cruft. And yes, the case is a little battered now, but in spite of that this is the best computer I have ever owned.
I will recommend a Mac to anyone that asks: No, they are not cheap but if you require a computer that isn’t going to “get in the way” and “just works” then there is nothing on the market that is better at the current time. It’s worth saving for another couple of months to get a Mac, if you still need Windows the use VMware Fusion or Parallels, but you’ll find your usage diminishing over time.
With the Mac App Store, purchasing Applications as easy as doing so on an iPhone, not that buying and installing outside of the App Store is anything that can be described as complicated. I’ll list some of my favorite applications in future missives.