In less than twenty years the personal computer has evolved so much so that there are now three major competitors in the marketplace. Most are aware of Windows computers. Commonly and synonymously known as PCs, they’ve been the most widely used and recognized computer operating system for as long as the personal computer has been around. Many of us can remember Windows 3.0, the marvel of Windows 95, and the disappointment of Windows Vista. I also remember being among only a very small handful of people in my childhood neighborhood with a computer. This was the early 90s and computers were still very much a luxury. I typed stories at home on my own computer (my dad built computers from the late 80s) and would print them out on my nifty dot-matrix printer. How the computer has changed.
Now the marketplace has three major operating systems and a slew of computer brands that run them. The top three systems are Windows (Microsoft), Mac OS X (Apple Computers), and Linux. Alternately, Windows is the system for everyone; Mac is for the super cool, while Linux is for the techies. In my childhood I used and owned Windows computers. In school we were exposed to Macs and in some cases each classroom had a computer. Do you remember the old floppy disks? No, not the 3 1/2-inch but the original 8-inch! I do. And to think, this technology has only recently been deemed obsolete. It’s been replaced by USB drives as well as online storage clients like Dropbox. Who knows what the next wave of improvements will bring or how soon they’ll debut. Unlike the early 90s, it is impossible to avoid a computer or the need for computer technology in your everyday life. Seldom do people hand write letters anymore. Sad but true, it’s the age of emails, texts, and tweets. All of this is now done on a computer.
I used to love my Windows computer. I loved that there were so many different computer options. You could build your own or get a HP, Dell, or an Acer. For years I liked that while I couldn’t really customize the Windows experience in the way that I wanted, I could be unique in the computer I purchased. What makes that recollection funny is that now I’m exclusively a Mac user. I’m fully immersed in the one computer and its operating system known as much for its sleek style as it is for it’s assimilatory practices including its now almost singular casing ‘option.’ I can use any of the top three operating systems and given my years of experience with a Windows-based computer I can honestly say, why don’t you have a Mac?
I see people fumble around trying to use a Windows computer. And while I must admit, at the end of the day most computers are very similar in what they can do, the Mac experience is superior to that of a Windows computer. Mac users are sometimes said to be arrogant, artsy, coffee drinkers. It’s a bit of an overgeneralized stereotype. However, I will say that what I am is someone who ditched using a Windows computer in 2005 and never looked back. The fact is, a Mac is much more simple to use. It makes using a computer fun, which helps when you’re glued to one for any length of time. If you no longer want a program on your Mac computer simply drag and drop it into the trashcan. And at this point most of software you may want or have become accustomed to on a Windows computer is also available on a Mac. Namely, if you need Microsoft Office (the one thing of Microsoft I just wouldn’t give up) they have it for the Mac. And you can’t beat the fact that it makes owning an iPod, iPhone, and iPad so much easier. Plus you have to admit; there is the major coolness factor with a Mac. No matter who you are or what you’re wearing, if you’re seen with a Mac, you’re instantly cool.
And don’t be fooled by those who say that a Mac is too expensive. If you were to get a Windows computer with similar specifications, you’d pay the same or more. The thing is, I get really excited when I use my Mac. However, what’s even important than the type of computer you use is just in using one. In our community there are so many people that seem to be getting left behind. The computer age is here. If you don’t have a computer or access to one, you need to get one because it’s not a fad, learning to use a computer is like learning to write ones’ own name. The computer is no longer a luxury it’s a necessity.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 8/24/11 issue of The Union-Recorder.