Thursday, February 18, 2010

Uhming and Ahhing

The first computer I ever had was an Amstrad. Boyfriend (now Husband) knew that buying the Amstrad was a mistake; he was using Apple Macs in the laboratories, but they weren't offering students interest free loans to buy Macs. I think lovingly of that Amstrad because I typed my dissertation on it. This was a lot less work for me than it was for my peers because I could type. I had learned to type in a gap year between school and university.

My Amstrad further endeared itself to me by having a primitive spell check. You couldn't add anything to its dictionary, but I didn't know other computers could do that so I was none the wiser. I forget the title, but my dissertation was about the Jason and Medea myth, so there were plenty of Greek names that got highlighted. Every time it checked my spelling it would pick up the word Argonauts and ask if I wanted it changed to Arsonists. Oh, I laughed every time.

I got a job using an Amstrad immediately after University but fairly swiftly moved onto PCs. I used them for years with word processing packages like Word Perfect, Microsoft Works and finally MS Word. At home we had a PC but it was boyfriend/Husband's since I couldn't see for the life of me what anyone would do with a computer.

Finally I went to work at a university where I discovered Macs. Reader, I fell in love. But we couldn't afford a Mac and anyway Boyf/Husb had a PC and they couldn't talk to each other in those days so it would have been daft. We stayed with PCs because they were cheaper and easy to build and upgrade. I'd kinda got used to them.

Until recently.

Both our January guests had Macs. In that mad 21st century way in the evenings we sat in our 'family room' with our laptops on our … well, our laps; and talked, showed each other youtube funnies, listened to inspiring TED talks, updated our blogs and facebook and emailed our friends. We saw the Apples in use. God, they are so sexy.

Husband and I began to think about buying a Mac. My current laptop was showing signs of wear and tear. We ahhmed and ahhed; I emailed my computer guru, Andrew, and to my surprise he said 'yes, but it must be a macbook pro' so I said 'let's do it' and then I'd look up some reviews on the internet, think of the reality and say 'No! Don't.' I went through that process over and over and then finally said, 'Oh FI, let's just do it.'

So here I am. I reckon this is how my mum feels every time we try to teach her to use a computer. I'm confused, cack-handed and struggling. I have two left feet and am all fingers and thumbs. I can hardly do anything. I had to buy a book 'Apple Macs for Very Slow People' which is helping a tiny bit.

I played with the Mac, whooshing my fingers up and down the tracker pad, watching those sexy icons do their dance but whenever I wanted to do something I had to use the PC. I had to think so hard about what I was doing on the Mac, that I hadn't got enough brain space left to think about the task I was trying to do. *Sigh* Eventually I realised I would never get comfortable with the Mac unless I actually started using it and now, step by infinitesimal step, I am getting there.


BEAST said...

The title was “Jason and Medea, True Love or Expediency”, I remember it like it was only yesterday. But I would have preferred “Jason and the Arsonists” any day.

In a similar vein, my thesis referred to “Smectic and Nematic Discotic Liquid Crystal Mesogens”, which my spell checker insisted would read better as “Septic and Nomadic Despotic Liquid Crystal Messages”. I had to add a lot of custom spellings.

I hope you created and posted this blog on your new Mac.

Queenie said...

Hahahahaha love Beast's comment!! Have to say I agree with his spell checker - I'd rather read its version than his. I've never been unfaithful to my PC since I graduated from an IBM Displaywriter, but my Paramour skips gaily from PC to Mac and back again (and, incidentally, was part of the team who wrote the software and provided customer support for the Amstrad PCW, back in the day). I too learned to type after school, at my mum's insistence, for which I have been so grateful ever since.

SueG said...

I have been an adamant Mac lover for years, almost to the point of fascism! I will abide no PC's, despite the fact that my husband has one, and will never believe that PC's are in any way even close to being as good as Macs (do you think I can get a job doing one of their adverts?). But really--it is so much easier (if you can get the pc stuff out of your head), more intuitive, more reliable. I'm so excited for you! Welcome to the club! (btw, I have a MacBook - not a Pro -- and do just fine).

Anonymous said...

I've never used a Mac (I don't think, probably wouldn't recognise it if I had!!). But I'm the same, all fingers and thumbs and much prefer the big keyboard of a pc.

CJ xx

JJ Beattie said...

OMG, Bea, I cannot believe YOU remember it. I WROTE IT. But you made me laugh, which today, was good. Thnx.

Queenie, I can skip gaily between a manual and an automatic, does that count? Not so much with the Mac and a pc, but I'm hoping to get there.

Sue, that fascism is what made me do it in the end.

CJ, they are rather luvverly to look at but I still have work to do.

Lane said...

Have never been near one. They look so cool though. Have fun.

sheepish said...

Look forward to hearing if you become an ardent convert, have never had anything other than my 'normal' laptop so let us know how you get on and whether its hard to get to grips with the Mac?

DOT said...

You are have made the first step on the road to becoming a Hollywood scripwriter.

Macs are so cool they wear shades on Rodeo Drive.