That’s Why I Use a Mac

“PC load letter? What the f*** is that?”

Ever since my wife had our child back in February, she’s been staying at home taking care of the little guy. OK, technically, she’s been staying at home since she was laid off in October, but that’s neither here nor there. Last week she got a call from her old job. Turns out they need help, and she’s the only one who can do the gig, so they want her to do some freelance work. That’s good news of course – money is always a good thing – and they gave her a copy of their software plus a key to install onto her computer. Plus a deadline – Thursday afternoon.

About a year ago we bought her a 17-inch Dell laptop for her job as a designer. It was originally a Vista machine, but she upgraded to Windows 7 Ultimate fairly recently.  Most of her software is Windows only, and although she likes Macs, she’s nowhere near the Apple geek that I am. Today though, she might have taken a step in that direction.

It’s Tuesday night and she starts installing the software on her machine. It doesn’t quite take, so she decides to go to bed and try again in the morning. 6:30 a.m. rolls around and with it, the two of us. She gets cracking on the install again, while I get ready for my day. I shower, eat breakfast, watch a little TV while she’s hunched over the computer, one hand on her forehead, one on the mouse. Once I’m done around 8:15 or so, I meet her in the office and start doing my work. Up and down she goes, alternating between installing the program and taking care of our son until at 11 or so when she turns to me and says, “What am I doing wrong? This just won’t install.” We try troubleshooting, including calling my Dad the software programmer, and decide to try the Mac. I have XP on VMWare on my iMac, so we gave that a shot. It installed, but it still didn’t work right, so now we decided to try the XP emulation mode on Windows 7. Same problem as the iMac, leading us to believe that it was a problem with running that program on an emulator.

Around 2 p.m. she’s even more exasperated. The hand is still on the forehead with the other on the mouse, but now her jaw is almost constantly open and every so often she says “Really? REALLY?” Then she turns to me and says, “Kevin, can you help?”

At this point, I was a little behind in my day as well. I had run a few errands, taken care of Kevin Jr. for a bit, and I needed to catch up myself. So I said what I felt. “Kirsten, I’m sorry but I just don’t know what to do. It’s been a long time since I had to figure out something like this. I just don’t budget ‘fixing computers’ into my work day like I used to, because I don’t have to.”

That epiphany really changed my perspective a bit. I remember spending hours on end trying to get scanners to load, or printers to be found, all trying to work the angles and get XP working correctly. When it did, I felt like the hero who just saved a town of kids from a stampede of cattle. But now I don’t have to deal with those problems very often, so I just don’t worry about it. My day is more about productivity, not about trying to troubleshoot. It’s relieving.

We did finally get the software to work. Turns out there was a newer version available for Windows 7, and the company was able to remote in to her computer and download it for her. That said, it was 4 p.m. before she got started on her work, which was due the next day. I decided that we’d make a fun night of it and have an all-nighter so she’d feel more comfortable with company nearby. We got a lot of Red Bull and she eventually got it done.

When PC people talk to me about how inferior my Mac is in the future, I’m going to tell them about this moment. It may sound cocky and arrogant, but my computer does pretty well on a regular basis and that’s a welcome relief from my PC days.

Comments

  1. AMEN…SPEAK THE TRUTH…

    I am the Apple Expert at my Best Buy…and it makes me so depressed to have to sell PC’s too…

    and I always say…Really? do you really want this? do you really want the headaches vs the dream?

    and they always say…Macs are too expensive…and I say “you get what you pay for”

    nice article…reminds me of the constant problems my mother has with her PC’s how she is always have something to bitch about…and I say…Really? I don’t have those problems because Macs just work!

  2. ReginaldW says:

    So, Mac software doesn’t require updates and upgrades? All those Haxies that prevented various versions of OSX from loading properly on an upgrade? Vista and Win7 are very different from XP, and a lot of software from XP and previous just doesn’t run properly due to the changes that MS finally put into place with Vista. Any time I get a piece of software, I check to see if there are updates for it, unless I am buying it directly from the vendor at that point in time. I check on a periodic basis for updates as well.

    ALL software gets updated, at least to the point where the developer drops dead, goes bankrupt, sells out to someone else who drops the product, or one of a zillion other reasons. Checking to see about compatibility should be one of the first things to do. Of course I recently spent a bit of time trying to install a printer driver on my sisters iMac running Leopard 10.5 that just didn’t work and there is no work-around for that version of the printer. Works fine on Tiger 10.4, but no version for 10.5, so I know about the frustration your wife went through. If I would have done a bit more searching first instead of trying to install the driver a second and third time after my sister did it first, I would have saved myself some time.

    Not saying Windows is perfect but changes happen that can affect some software more than others. Checking on updates should be the first thing that gets done on installing a program. Can save a lot of grief if your setup is different from the recommended hardware/OS version.

    I don’t run Vista or Win7 and my XP machines are strictly for one business purpose with no net access. I use my Macs to surf the net, get email and do my other creative stuff. I’m no great MS fan, started on an Apple ][+ in 1979 and have worked in three different Apple dealers and three different schools/school boards servicing Apple product. Just trying to put perspective on your comments about Macs just working. Sometimes they don’t in upgrade situations. My XP machines have been stellar machines, but I attribute this to having NO access to the net for infections.

  3. Are you serious?

    This is not a good article at all. I think you just wrote this article only to brag about owning a Mac.
    Have you not had any software not work for your 10.6? How about writing about something like that?

    I have been a Mac user ever since OS X came into the scene with BSD back-end. I can say that I have experience a piece of software not operating as it should on a new OS. It’s not the platform’s fault, but it simply needs a newer version of the application as well. It’s the same thing across the board, whatever platform you’re using.

    Bloggers don’t always make good writers. This is clearly not an Apple Gazette’s standard article, but merely a blogger’s opinion.

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