Monday, May 26, 2008

Tempus fu**it: Back to the Mac!

At least a couple of my readers with whom I interact in meat space know full well that I am a fervent Macintosh fanboy. Have I not drooled with them when unboxing the latest piece of i-prefixed gear they have acquired? Have I not persuaded ex-wife and daughter make Apple their choice in all things digital?

And yet this is, on Sunday 25 May 2008, the first document I have created on a Mac since the first year of the noughties.

How can this be? I hear the puzzlement of those who are aware that I work in the media sector in which Cupertino's tools have always enjoyed an above average market penetration. As bad luck would have it, the media firms I have worked for and with in recent years have been unenlightened in this regard; earning my daily bread has meant compromising and using Windows machines.

And although the daily bread earned could have allowed me to invest modestly in an entry-level Mac at least for personal use there was a good reason why I did not.

The personal effects which have languished in a storage warehouse for so long, now recovered and surrounding me in a delightful disorder, consist to a very large extent of paper, books, documents, periodicals and above all photos collected over, well, a lifetime. They include very few items of harware. I'm glad to see again a venerable Minolta SRT-101, a relic of days when I took photography more seriously, and frankly surprised that I held onto my first digital camera, a very chunky Kodak DC120 with a tiny LCD viewer and an 8MB memory card. (The Minolta will certainly function again precisely as it always did but I wonder if a first generation digital camera can be made to work again?)

But it was the knowledge that in one transport case there slumbered a blue-and-white G3 PowerMac which prevented me from making any new purchase; put it down to sentimentality or to Caledonian financial prudence, whatever.

No, the ten-year-old G3 has not yet been ceremonially fired up following its long hibernation. Next month I'll buy a monitor (I decided against storing the original Sumo-weight 21-inch CRT monitor) and we shall then see if resuscitation is on the cards.

There was another reason to wait. Just before leaving Europe to start my Sandlands sojourn I also persuaded my ex-wife's step-father to buy an iMac, the blue version of the landmark millennium model with its partially revealed innards which did so much to revitalise the marque. When my crazy, loveable and unforgettable in-laws died three years ago, murder victims, my ex-wife judged that the irrepressible Swiss gentleman by the name of Max would have wanted me to take on the machine I had so warmly recommended to him.

So, Max, here I am using your keyboard. I have put all your own files into a separate folder where they will remain, probably, for just as long as your mobile number will remain undeleted in the directory of my cell phone. Today for the first time I was able to create a text document; I realized that somewhere I must have the Mac edition of Windows Office 98 which I had originally installed on the G3 and early this morning I stumbled on the box in which it was hiding.

But for over a week already your iMac has been a source of great pleasure due to iTunes. Yes, I know that iTunes also works under Windows. But now I have added to the library many of the CDs that I most often play on weekends in Abu Dhabi and other old favourites which awaited me in the storage cartons. And I have, belatedly, discovered what serendiptious pleasure comes from using the shuffle function; indeed I am considering whether I do conceivably need an iPod

Then, entirely at random, maybe between Van Morrison and Erik Satie tracks, maybe while riding on the underground or a tram in Munich or barrelling along the Abu Dhabi Corniche in a taxi, I shall suddenly hear the sweetly melancholic waltz played by the Amriswiler Alphornkapelle and remember; an iMac, hardly used, only one previous owner.

Enough of this, Max. But we really must talk about last night's Eurovision Song Contest...

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