Stuff I Use: The Mac

Macbook Pro

I’m a Mac fanatic.

I haven’t always been. In my Software Engineering days I slagged the Mac as a shiny, expensive toy. Outwardly hostile, inwardly I eyed them with envy.

On the side, I built a recording and IT consulting business based on the Windows world. I would make money off of the failures of Microsoft, fixing problems that ought not to have existed. In my own creative space, I chose PCs for music & photography out of necessity. I could get discounted PC hardware, leaving more money for paying the rent.

But as I grew out of enjoying the tinkering and into actually wanting to get work done, my enthusiasm for the DIY World of Windows quickly faded.

The final straw: one day, a well-meaning roommate inadvertently plugged my PC workstation into the internet without a firewall. Within five minutes, the machine was completely locked up with malware & viruses. Not only that, but it took two days of OS updates, driver installs, and software installation to get it back to a usable state.

Ever since then I’ve been sold on the Mac.

Not long before, I had set up my first video editing suite: Final Cut Pro, and a shiny new G4. Robb, my local Mac evangelist, dropped off the machine and took it out of the box for me. He plugged in the power. He plugged in the monitor. He plugged in the keyboard & mouse, and turned it on. He dropped in the install DVD and let it churn… and that was it. 15 minutes top to tail, and I had a working edit suite.

They’re still computers, and they still drive me nuts at times. But I’ve been won over. The user interface is designed & thoroughly thought through. The APIs given to third-party developers have been created in a way to make applications have an air of familiarity, even if they do vastly different tasks. There’s consistency. There’s simplicity, with the underlying power of Unix (if I really want to hack away).

And there’s the beauty of the thing, both in the software and Apple’s renowned industrial design.

With all that, I think my favourite part about the Mac is the ecosystem it creates for 3rd-party software. While Apple covers the bases well with the included applications, every productivity or creativity task you can think of, has been… and turned into a simple program to allow you to work. Apple’s design philosophy trickles down into these applications, where interface design and engaging me as a user is as important as the functions the software performs.

They still drive me nuts. Really. But if I have to choose a desert-island companion, my Mac just might win over my camera. Maybe.