Here is another notable personal thing from this Feast: It marked a big transition for me from PC-dom to Mac-ville.
I had broadcast my thoughts on this some time back, and this Feast saw a big step. My wife bought me a Mac mini (which I had mentioned might be the most economically feasible step for me to take) right before the Feast, and my mentioned-last-post brother-in-law Wade, in an apparent bid to become The Most Awesome Brother-In-Law In The Universe, brought to the Feast a free Apple Thunderbolt Display to give me. Seriously — a $999 27″ display. For free. It was being discarded as defective and was marked as “no returns”, and in my first two or three days of trying to use it at the Feast I could see why the previous owner may have been frustrated. It did not come on when I first plugged it in, though I tried everything I could think of and all that Google would dig up for me. Apparently the Thunderbolt displays have been a bit buggy and the problem of not coming on (or failing to wake up after sleeping) has been experienced by many — most of whom found a solution in either replacing the unit with a new one (some of whom still experienced the same problem with the new unit) or switching to the supposedly-inferior-but-still-oddly-priced-the-same Cinema Display or else found no solution at all, since repairs did not seem to make a difference. Neither of those was an option for me, however, as this was a “no returns” purchase for the original owner.
The next morning, though, after leaving it on all night with my Mac mini asleep, it work up with the Mini — bright and beautiful! I didn’t let it go to sleep all day, and, sure enough, it lasted all day, even going back and forth from the screen saver (again, but not completely dark since I wouldn’t allow it). In that way, it lasted all day until I shut it down. The next morning, though, it didn’t come on at first, but when I put the Mac mini into sleep mode (by physically pressing the button in the back) and then woke it up, the screen woke up, too. Overall, there have been three incidents, I think, where the screen did not wake up like it should have — including that initial “Wow, it would be so great if this worked! Why isn’t it working?!?!” incident — and in each case it, somehow, eventually did turn on. Actually, more often than not, now, it has just turned on like it should whenever I turn the Mac mini on. Huzzah!
So, it looks like I have a new Apple desktop computing environment to complement my iPad and iPhone. My poor old Windows-based laptop is looking pretty nervous these days, probably thinking that he has had his run and I am about to put him to pasture. Sure, I plan on using my iPad more for traveling in place of my laptop (the keyboard case I have it in combined with the Quickoffice app I have make it a pretty decent laptop replacement for my content-generating purposes), but I’m still not comfortable with giving up the laptop just yet. And I have yet to move my iPhone and iPad over to the iTunes on the Mac mini, let alone any of the massive collection of pictures and documents I have on that laptop, given that the laptop has been my only computer for quite some time. And there is noooooo way I am affording a MacBook anytime soon. (Ha! The thought makes me laugh! Ha! I laugh a second time!) So I think the little guy is safe for now.
And, FWIW, I am still rooting for Microsoft. As irritating as Windows 8 looks, Surface still seems to be alive and kicking, and the OS/Tablet/Whatever Wars are far from over. As far as I am concerned, they are finally starting to get good. And I’m rooting for Android for the same reasons. Not necessarily because I want to ever switch to Android, but they make for great creative competition.
But for now, I am committed to diving into the Apple ecosystem and staying for a while. If I were still about the business of spreadsheets and databases, I would totally still be in Bill Gates backyard camped out (and, yes, I did get MS Word & MS Excel for Mac; I’d be willing to give Pages a chance, but Numbers is flat out irritating to me). But I have to face the fact that (1) my life is about content creation now, and (2) as I mentioned before, I don’t have time to play under the hood with Chewbacca, as much as I would like to be that guy… I need a well-managed digital ecosystem that operates with minimal fiddling, effort, or even thought from me.
And in working on a Mac in a more invested way as “my” computer for the Feast, I have encountered a number of things I knew ahead of time would annoy me, thanks to having to work occasionally on my wife’s MacBook. Yet, there is a logical sense to operating system, to be sure, and much of it seems to be simply a matter or learning a new environment. So far, there has always been a way to do everything I have wanted to do; there is just a different way of doing it than I am used to.
If you are a dedicated Microsofter wanting to curse what you see as a traitorous or hasty choice, feel free to let me know below. Just be nice. 🙂 If you are an Appleonian who wants to commend me and give me some tips and advice, feel free to do so below, as well.