Continued from Parts I, II, III
If this essay contains typos, it isn’t because I can’t spell. It’s because this keyboard has begun doubling and skipping letters. It particularly likes to turn “to” into “too,” one of my least favorite common Internet typos, right up there with “her’s” and “their’s.”
But I was keeping on using it, pushing my luck, because shopping is not my strong suit.
While I continued to dither and moan about shopping, a friend came through town on a visit. My friend is a power shopper. The only reason I have any nice clothes (except for my Kate Schaefer “Art to Wear” black velvet kimono and patchwork vest; Kate has not yet quite persuaded me to wear a cocktail hat) is that when she comes to town, we go shopping, and she bullies me, gently, into buying nice things. She’s also a Mac user, and one of the reasons I decided to switch platforms.
This time we didn’t go shopping for clothes.
“Computer shopping?” she said, soon after she arrived.
So we set out.
You’ll recall that the last time I went to the Mac store, I turned into John Hodgman, froze the display machine, and slunk out.
My friend is not John Hodgman. She’s the 80-year-old equivalent of Justin Long, and store clerks (even computer store clerks — do computer stores have clerks?) do not ignore her. They recognize a power shopper when they see one, and come to worship at her feet.
Which is exactly what happened at the computer store. I didn’t change out of being John Hodgman, but I did reflect enough of her power-shopper glow to get noticed.
Now granted the computer store guys found it a little odd to be compelled to worship at the feet of somebody four times their age, but they were seduced by her power and submitted to it gracefully. Soon several of them were hovering around showing us different machines and expounding on the qualities of each. It took them a while to realize that I was the one buying the machine.
“She’s my Mac guru,” I said.
They’re fortunate she was along with me, because I bought a bit more machine than I’d planned on; my friend encouraged me, and I think she was right to do so.
I was still charmed by the Air, but the MacBook Pro had more everything, and since I don’t do an enormous amount of travelling in which having a featherweight machine would be a benefit, the larger (for values of “larger” equivalent to “half the weight of the computer I have now”) machine was more practical. A computer is the main physical tool of my trade, and it really isn’t a good idea to go for the cheapest tools.
I could have walked out of the store with one, except that every critter they had possessed a Shiny! screen. So I special-ordered one with a matte finish screen
I can’t figure out why anybody would want to spend their work time squinting past the highly reflective surface. But then I also can’t figure out why the Internet is infested with ant-track-sized text on so many sites and why the sites are designed to blow up in your face if you enlarge the print. (Don’t get me started on designing the flexibility out of web pages; you’ll be sorry as it’s quite a long and energetic rant.) My corrected vision is pretty OK — but am I really the only one around who has trouble with mirror-shade-finish screens and tiny little type?
And now… it’s arrived. I went over and picked it up and all the clerks (clerks?) gathered around and went, “Ooooh!” as it’s a pretty slick machine. (Maybe they just do that to make you feel good. It worked pretty well.)
I’m staring at it from across the desk, still working on the old machine (which was behaving remarkably well till it started with the ooooo typos a day or two ago) because the new one isn’t quite set up yet.
It’s staring back, with its easy-on-the-eyes matte screen. It has a line of mysterious icons to explore and a stack of software to install, and a cable that’s supposed to make transferring everything easy! and quick!
I’m telling myself that setting the Mac up won’t be any harder than transferring files from my old PC to a new PC.
I’m not sure I believe it, but I keep telling it to myself.
Stay tuned, same bat-time, same bat-station, and I’ll report back in a couple of weeks.
I doubt I’ll be transmuting from John Hodgman to Justin Long anytime soon, but we’ll see.
Superluminal is now available at Book View Cafe. You may read it in serial form, one chapter per week, or you may buy the ebook (available in a number of formats) for $4.99.
For a limited time, if you buy the hardcover from Basement Full of Books, I’ll also give you a free copy of the ebook in the format (within reason) of your choice.
Book View Cafe is also presenting Dreamsnake in serial version for free, and as an ebook in several formats for $4.99. On December 20, BVC will present the Starfarers Quartet.