Digital Miscellaneous

How a certain computer company lost me, and how they won me back

Just a few months ago, I replaced my PC with a Mac, and I’m kind of surprised that I did. Here’s my personal technology history, briefly: 

The first computer I remember seeing was around 1986 or ‘87, when my dad brought home a “portable” Compaq that was the size of small suitcase. It had an operating system called DOS. I didn’t get anything my own computer-like device until late high school, when I got a Panasonic word processor. The Panasonic took me all the way into my senior year of college, when email was just starting to become common. My first computer was an Apple LC III (Or was it II? Hard to remember).

At my first newspaper job in 1994, we wrote our stories on Macintosh Classics with those teeny tiny black and white monitors. The World Wide Web hadn’t been invented yet. When it was, around 1997, we got up from our Mac’s to use the special “Internet computer,” which was PC. (Yes, I’m serious that it was the special “Internet” station.) I still had the LC III, but my roommates had PCs that I’d use from time to time. 

In 1998, I bought my first laptop, a Macintosh Power PC. By the time 2002 rolled around, though, I wanted a newer, faster computer. But I was put off by how high the prices for new Mac’s. I’d also been having problems with sharing documents between home and work, and with files from the Internet that wouldn’t work on a Mac. So I bought a cheap, fast laptop, and I was pretty happy about it.

I stayed with PCs for 10 years. But then a bunch of little things happened that planted the seeds for an eventual return to Mac.

I’m somewhat techy, but I did need help with certain things from time to time, especially with modems and routers. Around midway through my PC run, I noticed that the customer service offered by my PC maker (Dell) was deteriorating noticeably — the reps just were not as helpful, and it was obvious they were all based overseas. Another thing: I could see that the compatibility issues for documents and other files were going away. My students (I teach as an adjunct) had Macs and were navigating those issues just fine.

I had the misfortune to buy my final PC during the terrible Vista years, and as time went on, it created many aggravations. Meanwhile, Apple was launching its iPods and iPhones, and offering more services. I also started noticing that while the price difference between Macs and PCs were still there, they were less than they had been, while Apple was offering more services and options.

This year, when it was time to buy a new computer, I was well disgusted with my PC, so much so that I was willing to pay the extra money and switch back to Mac.

I’m writing all this down here now, and it makes a coherent story. But I have to say the ACTUAL thought processes for making the switch were much less linear and much more intuitive, and not a decision-tree type of thing at all. It was more like this: PCs=aggravating, Macs=interesting. Purchase. 

Thus are the impulses on which rise and fall the fortunes of the major tech companies.