Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy PC’s

My friends and loved ones gathered around me. I could tell they were gravely concerned. Their looks were changing between love and pity. Concern and frustration.  They whispered about my obsession with doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Insanity was mentioned.
I knew the subject of this loving confrontation.  I knew what they would say. I had said it quietly to myself so many times. I had to quit, to give it up, to begin my life anew. But I couldn’t.  Just couldn’t. It was a thirty year journey that would end. It was a thirty year love affair with an inanimate object.  I thought of the pain of withdrawal.  The pain of losing my “friend” and constant companion.

Looking into my daughter’s eyes was the hardest part. There was pain in her eyes, but also love and understanding. “We’re all here for you, daddy”, she said.

My wife looked on a bit bewildered. Never acknowledging that there even was a problem, but knowing at some level that things weren’t right, that not everybody lived their lives like this.

My always supportive friend, Andy and his wife Paula had initiated this intervention. He was a close friend, but objective enough to say what the family couldn’t face up to. “I’ll be there for you buddy. Whatever you need, I’ll walk you through it”, he said.  His wife Paula grasped my shoulders and looked into my eyes. “Alan,” she said, “face up to it, accept it, you’re an idiot!” Her deep blue nordic eyes said “idiot” but I read compassion in them, carefully disguised as contempt.

My daughter stepped forward and put her arms around me. Out of this loving embrace it appeared in front of me. It’s glowing screen tempting me- teasing me- mocking me. “Watch this, daddy,” she said. Before my eyes appeared antic cartoon birds flying through the air squawking as they exploded in a cloud of feathers before decimating an evil pig. Then she clicked to another “app” as she called it. Then another and another at blinding speeds. I tore it from her grasp, my heart pounding, begging her to stop! “You can’t do that, honey, it will crash the device!” There will be errors. It takes time! Time! Time!” I fell into a chair sobbing. She sat down next to me and placed something onto the top of my lap. She slowly opened the lid. I asked her what she was doing. “I’m booting up my laptop, daddy.”

“Oh,” I said. I began to get up from the chair. “Where are you going,” she asked.

“To wash the car. It should be done booting by the time I get back.”

“Silly daddy,” she smiled, “It’s already done. And look!”

With those words she started opening programs.  There was iPhoto with all my thousands of pictures, and iMovie with my videos, and Garage Band and my e-mail and more!

“Stop,” I shouted, “it will lock up! It will seize and crash and befuddle the CPU and confuse and overwrite the registry and bring in viruses and all manner of doom and gloom. Stop! For the love of God, stop!” I curled myself into the corner of the chair and was told later that I kept muttering, “Registry Error! Registry Error! Registry Error!”

They stood around me knowing that this too would pass. My wife held my hand, my friend Andy checked soccer stats on his iPhone and Paula muttered, “idiot.”

I gathered my wits and knew what I had to do. A thirty year love-hate relationship was ending. I walked to my PC and pulled the plug. It would be hard to learn something new but my MacBook held great promise. My daughter had made the switch and she cried freedom! My friends had made the switch and never gave a thought to whether their programs worked or conflicted, stalled or crashed. Their programs just work and so they too can work, or play. They don’t have to download programs to fix their programs to find their programs to tell them what programs they have that don’t like their other programs. They don’t have to watch infomercials about programs to “speed up” or “clean up” or fix up” their Apple product because they don’t need to.

It’s six months since the day that I euthanized my PC.

Of course the above is what I hope is a humorous take on my switch. But it comes from a kernel of truth. Those people did keep asking why I put up with my PC. Well, it was fear. Just like the addict coming off of a drug fears the change in his life when his “friend” is gone, so do PC users fear the unknown.  I was also concerned about cost. Apple costs more than PC. But that’s wrong. In the long run Apple is cheaper. Do the math kids. They last a long time. You don’t have to buy more software to keep your software working, you don’t need to replace them every four years, and you don’t have to buy so many antacids!

Thank you reading this little essay. You honor me by sharing your time.

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3 comments on “Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy PC’s

  1. For the last few years I’ve been told numerous times and read reviews all over the net mentioning Apple products – the best thing ever. Every report says they blow PCs out the water and they are the future of the world. I therefore decided to take the plunge and order my first Apple product – an iPad 3G.

    I took delivery 8:00am about 3 weeks ago at work and was super excited to open my new toy and play. I eagerly unwrapped the parcel, plugged in – and notice a black screen indicating it should be plugged into iTunes before anything can happen. That was a full 12 hours away …

    I waited the 12 hours and got home, plugged into my home PC and bang – it started up. The excitement started again as I realised I was holding the future in my hands. I had planned what I wanted and registered a new Apple ID by entering my credit card and address. I logged onto the app store and searched ‘Angry Birds’ – but it was unavailable. I tried the Steve Jobs Biography and again, it wasn’t there.

    After more research, I realised that South Africa – like many parts of the world – had an extremely limited App store. I was slightly disheartened by the fact that although officially sold around the world, it couldn’t be used correctly – I started to see if there was a way around. I found a link that explained how to foil the device into thinking I lived in the US and managed to get everything setup. The only problem with the ‘fake’ account was payment, which needed to be made via gift vouchers. Finally setup after even more time – it was time to sleep.

    The following day I take into work convinced today would be the day to play with my iPad. I had a spare SIM card with 3G data and opened the slot on the iPad … only to learn Apple decided to use a microSIM and incompatible with everything out. A let out a slight sigh and went to the cellphone network to get the correct SIM. By now it was approaching mid day and I still hadn’t played with my new toy. However I was convinced on returning, I’d finally have a chance!

    On returning to the office, I logged into the App store to download a few apps. Garageband looked great and received great reviews – so I clicked on it. Within a few seconds I received ‘App is over 20MB – please go to wifi’. Baffled, I researched even more an found out the 3G was – in fact – limited.

    Even worse was the fact that the iPad cannot receive/send text messages – so when my network send the friendly ‘You’re at 90% of your 3G cap’, I’ll miss it … with a chance of going over and being charged hefty data pricing. I don’t have the option of putting it into a phone either, as it’s incompatible. This means a call to the network every few days to see how far I am …

    Annoyed that the future has these errors, I decide to subscribe to a magazine on Newstand – and choose Readers Digest at 400MB. I start downloading – but it doesn’t seem to download in the background. I’d get to 200MB … swop connection …. and it’d say 50MB. This went on four hours and eventually after 1.3GB of data, I got my magazine. Google confirmed this happened offen with iOS5.

    The 3rd day a friend from Cisco arrived at our offices and I wanted to show him my new toy. His instant reply was the passcode security issue (documented) and showed me how it worked. I didn’t understand that a limited, flawed, closed and horrible device could have so many blind Apple followers. I mean the setup was a joke. The 3G is a larger joke. The flaws in iOS5 are a joke.

    What’s worse, is that every iSheep I speak to has the same answer regarding my issues : ‘It’s a dying technology’, ‘there’s no need’, ‘blame our government’ ‘that’s an AT&T issue!’ or ‘simply a user issue’. After reading much on Apple, reading his biography and watching iGenius – I admire Steve Jobs for ability to brainwash millions around the globe.

    With so many issues, it boggles the mind that anyone would buy this. It’s certainly put me off any Apple product in future

    • Grant, Wow you had a lot of problems. I can only speak from my own experience. I don’t personally own an iPad but the friends that do speak of it highly. My MacBook and iPod3 always work flawlessly. I guess this is why we have choices. When one technology doesn’t work, we can switch. I really appreciate your time and well written counter-point to my post. You’re welcome here anytime!

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