I am a Mac.
Oh, wait, no, different commercial. Let me start again.
I have a Mac. I call it myMac and I’ve only had it for a few hours. Those of you who know me know I could not possibly own a Mac, so you may assume I stole it or something. Fine, think that. The truth is more interesting but I’ll save that for another time.
All you need to know now is that I needed a solution to certain problems and this iMac … which I call myMac … is the solution. I had two separate classes of problem, one of which could have been solved in a number of different ways, the other only with this particular machine. And you’ll hear about it all in good time.
For now, I just wanted to relate the story of my first foray into AppleCulture.
I’ve used Macs before, lots of times. I produced a monthly 64 page newspaper on a Mac II. I (with colleagues) set up a 3D fossil imaging lab which was based partly on a big-ass G4 server. I had an iBook as a field computer one year. I did most of my thesis graphics on some sort of Mac server thingies.
But all those computers were either there for me to use already, or purchased as part of a team effort where someone else did the paperwork and the machines came by FedEx. I’ve never gone into the Apple Store as a private citizen to pick up an individual computer. And it is different. Very different.
First, the store was full of about 15 people who worked there and 15 customers. Two young men were at the door waiting for me as though they’d been expecting me their whole lives. They asked me what I needed, I told them I was picking up a computer, and they made the computer appear within a few seconds. It was almost too easy.
I had assumed that if I was getting a new computer, there would be certain things I’d need to purchase to make it work. For instance, Macs come with this dumb one button mouse, I’d have to replace that. There would probably be other needs. I had a list in my head, so after they handed me the computer and resumed smiling at me, I asked a question.
“Can I ask you a question or two?”
“Why certainly!” … smiling.
“OK. I’ve heard about this .mac thing. Do I need that?”
“No. That’s been replaced by [something or another] which was replaced by [something or another] which was replaced by The Cloud.”
“So, I need to buy The Cloud? Where do I buy that?”
“Yeah, it’s already in there,” pointing to the box with the computer in it. I imagined some fog coming out of the box when I opened it later.
They started to say good bye again but I was not having it. I knew for certain that I was going to have to buy some stupid extra thing to make this computer work. I persisted.
“What about iLife, that thing. I need that. Get me one of those.”
“You don’t need that. All that stuff is free. In the box,” pointing again, “It’s in there.”
“Oh, OK,” I was going to have to think fast. “What about the mouse! That’s it, the mouse! I knew there was something I was going to need. This comes with a one button mouse. As a long time Linux user I’ve become accustom to a mouse with more than one button Far more than one button, in fact…”
“Nope,” they interrupted. They brought me over to a shelf and showed me the mouse. “The new mouse has NO buttons, which actually means it has INFINITE buttons, and it understand genstures!”
“Does it,” I inturrupted, “allow me to right click?”
“Yes, it does,” they smiled.
“Very well then…”
Thinking thinking thinking.. oh, right!
“I know … there is this other thing I wanted. A keyboard for my iPad. I need that. Do you have them? Get me one of those!”
“You don’t need one,” they smiled, picking another item off the shelf. “This is the keyboard that comes with your computer. It’s as small as any portable and works on Bluetooth. Most people just take this with them when they travel with the iPad.”
“Ugh,” I said. “Let me see that.”
And indeed the keyboard was tiny, only a little bigger than the iPad itself. They were probably right.
And so I left, with no accessories, the two of them kindly smiling after me.