All I Wanted for Christmas

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

All I Wanted for Christmas

I've been playing with my new toy for the last couple of days. It's a Macintosh, specifically a 15" PowerBook.

I got my first Apple in 1979 as a Bar Mitzvah present, an Apple II+ with a breathtaking 48k of RAM (or less than 0.005% of what the PowerBook has). The storage device was an ordinary cassette tape recorder--a couple of years later, I got a floppy drive that seemed like something out of science fiction in those days. The "plus" in the Apple II+ was that the programming language was Applesoft BASIC, written by a small outfit in Washington called Microsoft.

My first Mac was in 1985, a bit more than a year after they were introduced in the famous "1984" commercial during the Super Bowl. I upgraded it, then replaced it with another Mac, and so on until some point in the mid- to late 1990s. I had to yield to the fact that both my and Mrs. California's employers used Windows machines, and their servers couldn't offer remote access to Macs.

Now I'm back to Macland, and it's clear that the Macintosh OS is still superior to Windows. I figure I'll be seeing some of the features of the current Mac OS on my work computer in, oh, three to five years. The Mac's overall superiority isn't as great as it was when I bought my first Windows PC under protest. For one thing, the Windows of that era was horribly buggy and crash-prone; Windows XP or Windows 2000 may be inferior to Mac OS X, but at least they do work most of the time. Also, the Motorola chips used in Macs were better than the Intel chips used in PCs back then, largely because Motorola had RISC processing and Intel didn't. But Motorola has lagged in development since then, and Intel has caught up; in fact, Apple is going to start using Intel chips this year and will soon stop making computers with Motorola chips.

So if my blogging slows down, it's because I'm enjoying all the things my toy can do, particularly with music, photos, and video.

We now return to our scheduled programming.

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