April 15, 2003
Macintosh Anonymous

"We've hired a new designer, and they need a Macintosh to do their job."

Words every PC sysadmin fears. I'd avoided them for more than seven years, but could do so no longer. I, Scott Johnson, would have to move from the serious, hard-edged black ironworks of PC computing into the softly lit, green-and-blue computerland of Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po.

Fortunately for me, I'd managed to wait long enough that a completely new kind of mac software, OS X, had rolled around. OS X may look like a computerized version of the Teletubbies, but underneath it's all Unix-based goodness. Supposedly, it's almost like watching Dipsy hop merrily over the hill with his teletubby companions, then suddenly throw out tank treads from his feet and push a 155mm smooth-bore cannon out of his cutely grinning mouth. "Bump-a-tum this mother----er*."

I'd even had some exposure to these new macs ("These things you call, umm, 'MAKS'... how do they function?") via my good friend Damion. Unlike most of the mac users I'd known, he was certainly competent enough to know which end of the mouse went against the table. He'd even caught me out in a complete goof with this particular exchange:

Damion: "This is a drawing tablet." (translation: Oh god, this PC gorilla is going to start smashing something soon. Must... distract...)

Me: "ook. tablet good."

Damion: "Here's the 'pencil'... isn't it cool how you can draw with it?" (whereapon he makes several stylized whisks turn magically into a skull.) "Here... you try it."

Me: "ook. tablet good. draw bunny" (scritch scritch)

Damion: "And when you turn it over, it even erases."

Me: [sets down drawing tool, lifts pad from desk, turns over pad, starts drawing again] "ook. pad no work."

Damion: "Umm... no... the pencil turns over." [cue laugh track]

Then there was Joshua, an extremely competent PC guy who, amazingly enough, also used a Mac. After long and careful observation I found he was actually doing it voluntarily, without any bribery, coercion, or involuntary medication. After these experiences, I decided macs must not be all that bad after all. I actually considered it a kind of challenge.

Unfortunately to have macs on a network you have to buy macs for your network. So I used the mac person's request list as a starting point, not realizing the mac person was flying nearly as blind as I was.

Damion: "Have you ever bought a mac?"

Me: "Um, well, no. Congratulations, you're now my mac consultant!"

Damion, in tone of 'dog that caught the bus': "Dude, I'm really not that technical."

Me: "We'll pay you."

Damion: "Welcome to TCM Computer Consultants! How may I help you?"

So now I get to play with Macs. They're awfully flash, and put out a ton of heat, but so far seem innocent enough.

As long as I remember it's the pencil that turns over, not the pad.

Posted by scott at April 15, 2003 07:22 PM

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