My first job out of college was as a newspaper reporter at a small semi-weekly in Northern California. I sat in an open room with my editor and two other reporters in front of a first-generation Macintosh, which you can see peeking out from behind me below:
This was essentially the same machine on which I had learned how to use a computer in college, and it allowed me to type my stories in a WYSIWIG program, although I couldn’t tell you now what program that was (Pagemaker, maybe?). We didn’t have email, Internet or cell phones because those things had not yet been invented, but we did all have brand-new Macs. Pretty cutting-edge technology for such a small paper at that time.
When I moved on less than year later to the daily paper in a larger town down the highway, I sat in front of a 1970s-era typesetting terminal that had a Mac-sized screen but a television-sized body full of dusty vacuum tubes. The editors only had DOS machines, so that newsroom was full of antiques.
But I digress.
I started using computers at the very dawn of the Mac age, so it was really the only platform I knew. When I could finally afford to buy my own computer, I was proud to purchase a Mac Centris 650. I ran a writing, editing and graphic design business from this machine for nearly 10 years, and it served me very well. But around the turn of the millennium, I realized that technology, particularly online communication, was passing me by, and I needed to upgrade my skills. For this, I went off to graduate school to study technical communication. I left my old Mac behind for a shiny new Gateway PC notebook because my school’s campus was exclusively PC and I was not going to be the odd one out on the Mac who couldn’t exchange files with anybody. Going from Mac to Windows was not a difficult transition for me and I never had reason to regret it. There’s a lot of noise out there about the Mac/PC divide, but I’ve never invested any emotion in either platform. I had a Mac and liked it. I now have a PC and like it. Both platforms do what I need them to do. When I was doing design work with Illustrator and Pagemaker, a Mac was really the only choice. For pretty much everything else, Windows is great. I like them both.
I’ve been on PCs for 10 years now, but it’s time to go back to Mac again to do my photography commercially. I doubt my current Dell notebook has the horsepower to run Photoshop, let alone the whole Adobe Creative Suite, without a significant memory upgrade and maybe not even then. Besides, doing detailed design work on a laptop with only a touch pad is more aggravation than I need.
So there will be a shiny new desktop Mac in the photo studio, while my faithful Dell will stay in the office to take care of the record keeping and invoicing and so forth. I’ll figure out how to link the files that need to be linked and otherwise dedicate the two machines to doing what they respectively do best.
I still have a lot of research and evaluation to do, but the plan is taking shape, and I am looking forward to welcoming Apple back into my life.