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My Computer Odyssey Continues

October 23rd, 2007
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I finally….after too many years…sat down over the weekend and figured out how to use iPhoto and iDVD on my Macintosh. Two word reaction: "wow" and "amazing." My journey into computers began way back in a time before time (in computer time that is): back in 1984 when I was one of the fortunate few who were allowed to use an amazing new technology on the big huge mainframe system at Concordia College, River Forest (now known as Concordia University Chicago). It was called "Gramcord" and it was the mother of all of today’s Bible research software. I had little use for computers. I even made the amazingly stupid declaration to my brother (a compute science major, of course), "I’ll never use a computer!" But then I started to. And I was hooked. Our first personal computer was an Apple IIC, which was a cool little machine. I actually taught myself how to program in Basic. But then I saw Macintosh. And I was smitten. Head over heels in love. And by 1987 I had one. A Macintosh SE. With a stunning new feature: a hard disk drive! Yes, twenty whole megabytes of hard disk space. What to do with all that room? I got into heated arguments at the seminary with friends who told me that the Macintosh’s silly "graphical user interface" with "icons" and "windows" was ridiculous, a crutch for the feeble-minded, not any sort of computer for the real computer lover, who wants to spend time typing in command lines. But I had one advantage on them back in those days. I actually used both platforms, extensively. I sweated over the command lines too. And I did not enjoy it. But I produced several books using a PC. But all the while, the Macintosh was there. I upgraded it myself. I installed a new motherboard in it. I obtained a "high resolution" dot matrix printer that offered 300 d.p.i. (that’s "dots per inch"). Then I upgraded again to a full page monitor on which I would layout newsletters and books. And on we went. Well, over the weekend I finally sat down to figure out how to use the Macintosh’s latest productivity software: the whole iLife family of tools. Two word reaction: "wow" and "amazing." I’m such a Macintosh fanatic and addict. I use a PC still. We have a Dell here at home that continues to work just fine. It’s going on seven years old. For work though I use two Macs: an iMac at the desktop in the office at my job and a PowerBook when I’m away. I do so enjoy the Apple Macintosh line of products. October 26 will see a new operating upgrade, a major upgrade and it is only going to get better. And then, of course, there are the iPods. That too is a whole other story which has revolutionized my music listening habits and abilities. Macintosh. Love it.

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Categories: Macintosh
  1. Monte Meyer
    October 23rd, 2007 at 08:09 | #1

    It truly is amazing how simple and reliable Macs are. When I left a large, multi-staffed church (with computer support people) to a small, one-man campus ministry, the first thing I did was ditch my PC for an iMac. I needed it to work – all the time, because, unlike you, I am NOT a techie. I just need them to work.
    My iMac allows me to design great websites with just dragging and dropping photos, text and allows me to post it online with one click of a button. Garageband allows me to put together quality sounding podcasts of our services for students who can’t attend. Sure, PC’s can do the same thing – but not as simply, not as elegantly, and MORE importantly, not as reliably.
    Macs simply are the best – if you just like to get your work done.

  2. Peter Bauernfeind
    October 23rd, 2007 at 08:12 | #2

    Our first computer in the home was the Texas Instrument (99-4A, I think it was). Your monitor was the television and your storage medium was an audio cassette. We then upgraded to the Apple IIc. That was a nice little computer to learn on. Computers have certainly come a long way from 1984. I also remember when I was in college that no one in our computer classes EVER said anything about the Internet. I can only conclude now that 1. the professors were out of the loop and didn’t think it was any big deal, or 2. the professors were keeping the Internet as their little secret. The Internet has come a long way from 1988.

  3. wcwirla
    October 23rd, 2007 at 10:15 | #3

    Ah, yes. One of my favorite blog topics. My wife’s PC (Piece of Crap) recently decided it didn’t want to do email anymore (Outlook Express, for all you Bill Gates fans.) After 2 hours of negotiations with the stupid machine, I just set her up with a gmail account. Yet one more of an ever growing number of reasons why her Dell is named “NotaMac”
    Mac: Ferrari Testarossa
    PC: Yugo

  4. Jesse Jacobsen
    October 23rd, 2007 at 11:19 | #4

    I agree wholeheartedly, to a point. Like you, I enjoy computers that work. So in ’98 (or so) I permanently moved my computers away from the Window, so to speak. I began learning Unix, and using Linux. I’ve never looked back, and have been completely at home in the Linux environment for a long time now. The reason I like it is similar to the reason many people love their Macs: it works. The difference in my perspective is that over the years working extensively in all three environments, I’ve noticed that every computer has problems from time to time. Linux gives me the capability to fix them all, while you often have to throw money at the problem in Microsoft’s world, and to some degree in Apple’s world too. I ditched Windows when I realized that I was buying problems, bugs, glitches, and unreliability in that environment. I may have some of those problems in Linux too, but at least I don’t pay good money for them any more.
    Yet I have to say that since OS X, I’ve been sorely tempted to shell out the big bucks again. I feel almost at home on my wife’s G4 laptops, because under that shiny hood is a fully capable Unix machine. No wonder it’s so reliable, and so powerful. If I were forced to buy a computer and commercial operating system today, it would be a Mac, without question.

  5. The other David
    October 23rd, 2007 at 16:25 | #5

    I too am a diehard mac user, I have a powermac G5 and a 12″ powerbook G4. However I’m not sure if I will be in a rush to upgrade to Leopard when it comes out on the 26th. I’m going to wait for a while since there aren’t really any new features I absolutely have to have. I also have a PC here (sony vaio) which is about 6 years old and it still does ok. I bought a new ipod classic when it came out and it’s pretty amazing that you can carry your entire music collection in your pocket! All of Bach’s works along with Albinoni, Beethoven, Pachelbel, Haydn, Alessandro and Domineco Scarlatti and more all in a tiny ipod.

  6. MarkE
    October 25th, 2007 at 07:52 | #6

    GarageBand is another “sleeping giant” in the iLife suite of applications. It is a powerful MIDI sequencer and digital audio production tool. I use its instruments and loops to arrange music and build accompaniment tracks. It even displays the parts in standard musical notation.

  7. wcwirla
    October 26th, 2007 at 09:48 | #7

    ” All of Bach’s works along with Albinoni, Beethoven, Pachelbel, Haydn, Alessandro and Domineco Scarlatti and more all in a tiny ipod.”
    Not to mention Metallica, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, the Who, and the Eagles, Nightnoise, Ron Carter, Bill Evans, and David Brubeck.
    We were traveling in a rental car two weeks ago noticed that the radio had an Aux plug. A quick trip to Circuit City to buy a 6 foot miniplug cord, and we had our entire CD collection for the road.

  8. October 28th, 2007 at 19:03 | #8

    I notice that there are so many Lutherans who love the Mac OS X. It is probably because they are the under dogs and as such love those that are.
    Simply because they are big (Micro$oft) does not mean they are better.
    I see the Mac as the Reformation version of the PC world. Micro$oft will never repent. M$ decrees the way you are to do your computer work, they (think) know better than you,just watch how Word puts your document images where it wants it. It assumes infallibility. M$ won’t repent of her attitude, she is just so mega humongous to do that.
    LPC

  9. WRVinovskis
    November 21st, 2007 at 13:28 | #9

    Reading about your computer odyssey it reminded me of the distinction which now exists in our society between Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. People born after 1982 are computer “natives.” They are “native speakers” of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet. That would make the rest of us–those who were not born into the digital world but have, at some later point in our lives come to embrace new technologies–”Digital Immigrants.”
    Here is a link to an interesting article about these two cultures:
    http://www.twitchspeed.com/site/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.htm

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