Dear Mac User;
Let me start by saying don't panic! This letter might seem long, but I assure it is very user friendly. I use easy to understand language and don’t get muddled up with difficult technical terms. Please keep reading, I promise you can do it. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to incorporate some stunning yet simple graphics into this note, but as I’m just a PC user, I don't understand such things.
I’m writing this to help you understand the main differences between what I am, a geek, and what you are a user. As a geek I have an inherent love of computers. When I say that, I want you to understand, that I’m for all machines that fit into that category. This is sort of how I imagine a car person feels about automobiles. I long to open the hood and tweak the manifold, or whatever parts you find under the hood of a car. I really wouldn’t know, I haven’t got a clue about cars. I just turn it on and it works. I like to drive but don't want to be bothered much past, keeping air in the tires and gas in the tank.
In this we are similar. Most Apple people I know really don’t like computers the way a mechanic likes cars. They just want to use it for typing or browsing their email, or accessing their iTunes, for their iPhone, or iPod on their iMac. Maybe some iWork, or iLife over their sleek Apple Airport on their iBook. Apples are computers for people who don’t like computers. This is fine, but please don’t pretend you have a clue how it works.
When I hear knocking under my cars hood I know I haven’t a prayer of fixing it. I certainly don’t tell the mechanic that he needs to adjust the timing on the piston ring, or zap the p ram, because this car is different than other cars that he is familiar with. It’s insides are special and they cost me more money. I paid this money not because I was had by the salesman, but because it’s a very pretty car that’s easy to drive and as such it is worth more. I should know, I read the marketing pamphlet at the auto retailer! It was very easy to follow.
Most Apple people I know are shocked to find out that some arcane and ridiculously old engine like Unix is actually the driving force that runs their stylish beast. I’m not sure which primal animal service pack is the newest machination of OS X but I’m sure it is the descriptive antithesis for the end users grasp of the Mac’s power. Using their absurdly simple single button mouse, they are clicking and dragging away on some Internet Safari to download Tiger, Panther or Leopard. They are unaware that the useless rectangle called a ‘keyboard’ sits sallow under a ever growing pile of dust. You might be surprised to know that the keyboard used in conjunction with the command line could unlock the true nature of your machine. Maybe if Apple replaced all those ‘complex’ letters with pictures and renamed it to iKey it would get more use.
Anyway the issue is that for so many years I’ve been making fun of Mac users, because first off you absolutely deserved it and second off you were touting this toy machine as a computer. Since the release of OS X, built on BSD, I find that I’m now a Macintosh computer expert. Additionally the Macintosh has moved from pre-school novelty to a system with real geek appeal. This fact is hard to come to grips with. Luckily none of you Mac users have any clue that something has changed. Which means that I can go right along abusing you and your computing habits. At least for that I’m thankful.
Peter "CLI" Brown