Thursday, July 19, 2012

Apple-crumble

There was no group more targeted by the Apple campaigns than the Stevens kids, raised to abide by the dogma of Macintosh by a crazed fanatic preacher. Our house is littered with Apple icons, from the 1987 Macintosh SE desktop with the floppy-disk insert at the front to those colorful 90's clam-shell ibooks and iMacs. Growing up, Apple was the standard of technology and my siblings and I knew no different (or at least I didn't, they may have). All other PCs were considered cheap Chinese products susceptible to viruses like Swine-Flu or syphilis, and we were warned to stay away.

I lived in this ideological bubble up to university level. It was then that I encountered some compatibility issues with the library desktops and sharing documents with peers. I studied humanities, so I needed the RAM space for papers and PDF files, but it was taken up by pre-installed features like iMovie or Garage Band; which were nice and easy to use but ultimately useless during the last-minute writing crunch time for submitting research drafts.

I envied students who could transfer data between devices with no worry of viruses or diseases. I assumed it was because they spent their lives fighting that uphill battle with McAfee or Spywear softwares in order to do simple tasks.

It wasn't until I needed to buy my own laptop for work that I started to see a problem. In the house of Mac I was never required to pay for any of the devices, so I didn't realize when I moved out how expensive they were until it was coming out of my own pocket. I stood at the counter of laptops lined up like soldiers, so unlike the Apple store in its matter-of-fact lists comparing their specs and prices: Acer, Toshiba, Dell, IBM, Hitachi, Fujitsu, LG, HP-- so many choices and figures and numbers. A corner of the counter was devoted to the Apple computers, so I shimmied a little that way to be with my old mates, retreating from an unfamiliar world.

In this corner of Mac, I stared in horror at the Apple specs. When I had no frame of reference, I was told they were the best, but in the stark light of this electronics store I could not see why less computer space meant higher prices. What what what what? My fathers' teachings resounded in my head, but I couldn't deny what was in front of me. Betrayal stung the heart of my frail wallet. A halo of realization dawned on me in the florescent light of Jumbo Electronics that maybe... there was something not right here. 

I spent a restless night rethinking what I was told and what I knew now. So strong was the Apple hold on me that I decided at times that I would live off Indomie noodles for years to pay off the beautiful computers I so knew and loved.

I began a painful recovery into what I think is called the real world, where the average person cannot afford an Apple computer and often can live without one (the sacrilege spillth from mine lips!). I was forced by my intern budget to learn to adapt to a PC, and so for less than half the price of a Macbook air (and two-fifths of a MacbookPro) I took home a Samsung laptop and had to install all the software myself (and handing it over to the tech-savvy boyfriend is the same thing as installing it myself).

I was often bewildered that this laptop did not come in a lovely box, tucked in and with 80% battery as a Mac did. Nor did it protect me from viruses without asking. I eventually came to know my Samsung laptop and we became acquaintances. At my office job I could download and transfer data without a hiccup in the system, and with careful updates I kept her running smooth.

I left that world of bright and shiny silver slivers of laptops and have emerged victorious and covered in grit into another world where you tell your laptop what to do, and not the other way around. I came to appreciate the diversity of different PC manufacturers and my increased knowledge of devices and gadgets extended beyond laptops. And when it came time to graduate into the ranks of smart-phones, I adopted a cute little Taiwanese HTC one X into my life.

Oh how I've progressed.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

Excess bullshit

It is my belief that at times when the bullshit gets excessive, it's time to put on your headphones and disappear. Reevaluate the causes of the excess, identify the key players who benefit from raising the level of bullshit beyond acceptable, and then destroy them.

Or, should destroying them be an unavailable option, put on your bullshit-blockers and tune them out with some chill-step du jour.