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February 7, 2006

The Blended Family

We are quite the blended family. Alexis and I are both half-Jewish and half-Catholic (when added together equally zero religion whatsoever). According to various friends, Uncle Irving is a rabbi but Olive is Protestant. Who knows what Olga and Frieda worship, though I am sure for the former it is a bowl of kibble, the latter a squeaking panda toy. Indeed, we share a great deal of diversity in our household, ranging from fur pigmentation to religious identification to computer platform.

And therein lies the clash.

I have used a PC since the day my father lugged one into our home from work-- most likely around 1986; the only reason that I have maintained this relationship is genetics. Or, to be more accurate, the paternal lineage of PC use has traveled down to me via software upgrade bloodlines and various other father-to-daughter ceremonial rites. Like PhotoShop CS2 and other fatherly advice. For free.

Alexis is a Mac user. I detest his iBook for a variety of reasons, most notably the fact that it is running on two different platforms and his browser is from 1954. If I cannot do my online banking on a computer, it is useless. I don�t care if it can process images at the speed of light (which it can�t). Regardless, Lex needs a Mac for work and I can respect that. At some point in the far off future, we will get him a nicer, faster and more up to date Mac and I will inherit his little white laptop, strip it of everything but Microsoft Word and use it for graduate school/word processing purposes only.

It would all be great and good-- my trusty Dell desktop serving as my photo computer, the laptop for work-- except that my Dell is five-years old and slowly dying. Last week it gave me the "Cannot load/Strike F1" error, otherwise known as the Fuck You beep, and my father�s diagnosis leans to the side of a busted controller and motherboard. It still works but I am afraid to shut it down for fear that it will never reboot.

So, I must get a new computer. I get a sweet discount on both Apple and Dell through work and am now trying to decide what the best purchase might be. I could get a simple Dell desktop for about $700. Or I could take the plunge and make us a one-platform household, opting for a Mac (probably a laptop).

What do I choose? All I really need in life is the ability to 1) use the latest PhotoShop, 2) type things on a word processor and 3) access the internet with a browser that works. Buying software together is a huge plus (well, for Alexis�I�m set) but it also means no more inherited stuff (boo boo). I can also take a PC apart in a matter of seconds and have learned to troubleshoot. I don�t know Macs as well and�inarguably one of the larger annoyances�I refuse to seek assistance from a help desk named The Genius Bar.

Posted by callalillie at February 7, 2006 4:39 AM | Geek


"Olga" and "Frieda"? Definitely Lutherans.

Posted by: will at February 7, 2006 11:38 AM

I'd say that since you are already pre-disposed to loathe Macs, or the culture surrounding Macs, you should go with Dell. You'll probably find something wrong with any Mac you buy regardless of how good it may be.

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at February 7, 2006 11:49 AM

Actually, I don't loathe Macs. If Lex's actually ran on one up to date platform, I'd enjoy his more than my own PC.

Just because one does not enjoy a particular culture does not mean that they cannot appreciate the fruit that it yeilds. Neither type of computer is perfect and I strive to find and complain about the faults in each of them.

Posted by: corie at February 7, 2006 11:56 AM

mmm...educational discount.

maybe you can get a mac for cheap-er right now as they just did that intel upgrade. you prob shouldn't get their first generation of computers with that chip.

Posted by: tien at February 7, 2006 12:08 PM

very true. does the intel chip mean that eventually software will be cross-platform? or do i have no idea what i am talking about, which is generally the case?

Posted by: corie at February 7, 2006 12:10 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by Lex's iBook running two platforms or a browser from 1954. I do all my online banking with my Macs without any problems. That's with the latest MacOS 10.4.4 and the latest browsers (Safari and Firefox). No worries.

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at February 7, 2006 12:18 PM

no, all software will have to be replaced. i was reading somewhere that adobe isn't releasing a new version of their software yet, so it might not be available for the first gen anyway.

on the intel laptops, there would be a way to run the old programs too.

Posted by: tien at February 7, 2006 12:19 PM

what about mac to pc software? do you think at some point they'd make a pshop that could run on both?

lex's ibook has both system 9 and 10 but i think it generally runs on 9. he has an IE browser that can't handle many current web pages. that's not a mac issue (nor did i say that it was)-- it's an out of date software issue. i'm not sure if safari or firefox is compatible with system 9. citibank's site only partially works in the version is IE that we have. if i were to take his ibook for school, we'd probably upgrade the OS as much as we could and just run word processing software.

Posted by: corie at February 7, 2006 12:22 PM

ha. no, i doubt they would do that. they would be cutting their software purchases.

you should look into upgrading the OS on the computer. not sure how high you can go though if the computer is so old.

Posted by: tien at February 7, 2006 12:31 PM

Microsoft stopped development on the IE for Mac years ago, literally. According to Citibank's site, they support both Firefox and Safari. Neither run on System 9 as Apple dropped support for 9 a couple years ago. How old is his iBook?

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at February 7, 2006 12:37 PM

As for one program running on both platforms, I doubt you'll ever see that. The new Intel based Macs are supposed to run the next version of Windows as well, but will do so unsupported by Apple.

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at February 7, 2006 12:43 PM

I was a hard-core PC user until I bought my PowerBook G4 with a student discount and I love it, love it, love it. The new MacPro with the intel chip looks tempting, but I think I will give them a year or so to work out the bugs. One of the other perks of grad school is that often you can get some software for free from school licensing. I didn't have to buy Photoshop because my school has it for download on their server, of course it is only elements, but it gets me by until I can afford the full program. My two cents anyway....

Posted by: amy at February 7, 2006 1:07 PM

Macs are definintely better for graphics and photoshop works great on my ibook g4. i'm biased though because i've been using macs since we had a commodore 64 back in the day. but, macs are easier, cleaner, and less vulnerable to viruses/crashes.

Posted by: Nancy at February 7, 2006 5:06 PM

There is a version of Mozilla for OS 9 which works quite well, albeit with a few kinks. Currently, it's the best all-round browser for OS 9. You can get it here:

There is also iCab. I probably wouldn't use it as my main browser, but it's a good backup one. Get it from here:

Posted by: Vic at February 7, 2006 7:08 PM

I switched to a Mac after a couple of years of infuriating problems with a PC. What I hated most was that when I called for support, I never, ever got a solution. I love my ibook. I don't use photoshop or do on-line banking anyway, so I can't speak about those things, but I love my iBook. And what I love most is that when I call AppleCare, they are polite and nice and they actually solve the problem. Or they set up an appointment and solve it then (I have never had to do this, but friends have). So they call it the Genius bar? Perhaps irritating, but so much more helpful than anyone I ever encountered when I owned PCs. Finally, when I went to the Apple store to choose my laptop, I feel like they listened to my budget and uses and sold me a good fit, not the most expensive model. I respect that.

Posted by: ms. frizzle at February 7, 2006 9:15 PM

I believe that if you switch, you've gotta quit the other OS cold turkey... and for, like, a year at least. Otherwise you'll constantly be grumbling about how the Mac does things 'stupid' and you'll never change your idea of 'how a computer should work.' Like you said, you were raised ( razed? ;)  ) on Windows.

If you're on a PC all day at work for eight hours, and then come home to your Mac for only an hour or two of computing, you'll always be frustrated - unless you're adventurous and like discovering new ways of doing things. I love all the different things you can do with just 'drag & drop.' Expose rules. I constantly hear that the Mac version of Office is way better than the Win version (dunno how, tho).

It really boils down to what you like. While my first computer was a Win98 machine, I've switched to Mac (cold turkey) and love it. But that's me - I like to see what happens when I do this, or that, and generally explore OS X.

Sadly a Mac is no longer better at video/graphics work, than a well made PC. It's all a matter of taste... i.e. whether you have it and buy a Mac!!!

Ooo, THERE'S that snobby Mac attitude people love to hate! ;)

Yeah, I don't think Adobe will make their software Universal until the next update (CS 3) which will be around 2007 (ouch!).

Posted by: matt at February 7, 2006 10:35 PM

My wife and I are also in a mixed marriage. It's been easier since OSX, though, because for awhile it was crashing and locking up as often as Windows 98. The stability's improved, but she doesn't gloat as much.
I find Mac frustrating because in my limited use of it there often seems to be only one way to do things - it's simpler but not necessarily easier. From what I see with my wife, Mac is still much better with graphics, at least for professionals. But the software is much more expensive, and there's less of a software ecosystem.
So to me it boils down to the variety and cost of software and how much I have invested in learning PC's that would prevent me from switching.
Good luck!

Posted by: mark at February 8, 2006 7:42 AM

I used to be PC all the way, until I started a new job that required I use a Mac. Then I got the 12" Powerbook and never looked back. Plus, you can't beat the cute factor - I look much more hip with my Powerbook laptop when I'm at a cafe/airport than I would with a PC laptop.

Posted by: Lesterhead at February 8, 2006 8:35 AM

I'm in kind of same boat with regard to the decision. I've always used PCs (since 1984 -- I'm, er, mature), but I'm thinking my next computer might be a Mini Mac. It's about the same cost as the Dell you mentioned but doesn't include monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Which everyone probably already has several of. I'd be the only one in our family of 4 who has a Mac, though, so compatibility is a big issue.

I shall be checking back here to see what other advice you get.

Posted by: Kathy at February 8, 2006 1:06 PM

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