Living in the Mac world and loving it

By Paul Cruse III

When I first entered college, I was very surprised by the number of people who were using Mac computers. I became even more amazed when I saw the large number of Macs in the Union computer lounge. To me, Apple computers were these strange colorful boxes that I had used in grade school. Back in 1995, it was cool to play Oregon Trail on a Mac, but even then I didn’t think of it as a serious work machine. But after converting to an Apple MacBook back in February, I can safely say it was the best investment I could have made.

Understanding a lot about computers, I always bragged about how I could change so many features, settings and files on my PC to customize it to my exact tastes. And like most tech-geeks, I was an early adopter of Microsoft’s abomination of an operating system known as Vista. My computer crashed so often I thought it was a hardware problem, and I quickly became one of HP’s tech support’s frequent callers. But after being burned worse than Harvey Dent by Microsoft’s Vista, I decided to start looking for other solutions to my computer problems.

As I watched TV one winter evening (because my PC was on the “fritz,” disallowing me the pleasures of Facebook stalking), I saw one of the most simple commercials: a young guy in casual clothing standing in front of an all white backdrop, talking to a more portly fellow adorned in the ubiquitous gray business suit and thick black glasses. And at the end of that commercial I had an epiphany that solved all my PC problems: Buy a Mac. The solution was as simple as the commercial. After doing some research and a little planning, I took my brand new laptop PC (after being repaired by HP), sold it on eBay and bought a black MacBook.

I will admit that it took some time to get used to a Mac (about a week; results may vary). For instance, it was amazing that installing most software is as simple as dragging an icon into a folder. For a short time, I even ran Microsoft’s Vista as my second operating system (which worked better on my Mac than on my PC). But after finding all the alternative MAC software, I took Vista off my machine and completely converted to “Mac-ism.”

I will admit that I was slightly disappointed by the few settings I couldn’t change in my Mac, but after seeing how smoothly it ran, I realized that I didn’t need to change anything. Why change something that is perfect? What could I, one mere computer-science undergrad, do better than teams of brilliant, experienced, apple software engineers?

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I used to think I didn’t have time to create cool presentations or home-movies. But in reality, I was limited by my capabilities, not my desire or creativity. As my father always says, “You got to have the right tools for the job.” With iMovie I can easily make professional quality movies with text overlays and background music. With iWork, I can use great tools like Keynote and become the envy of all my classmates. Keynote is the Schwarzenegger to PowerPoint’s Danny DeVito. I make film-quality presentations with impressive transition and visual effects.

Like any good convert, I am preaching the word of Mac to all my friends. As of last weekend, I have successfully converted three buddies and a girlfriend.

So if you have some spare cash from a great summer internship or a few unused scholarships, invest in your future and buy a Mac. And if you do so before Sept. 15, you get a free eight-gig iPod Touch, printer and carrying case. Don’t be limited by your capabilities; expand your horizon and take your computing to the next level.

Paul is a senior in computer and political science and is saving up for an iPhone so he can get rid of his horrible Motorola Q that runs Windows Mobile OS.