The Cutting Edge

by J.D. Roth

Warning: religious discussion ahead.

I’ve become a full-fledged member of the Cult of Mac. These machines are great for a number of reasons:

I don’t begrudge people their Windows-based PCs. Many people have to use them. Others believe they’re the only real option. Some genuinely prefer them to Macs. That’s great. I’m not any of those people. I’m one of those geeks who could live in Windows or Linux, but who has decided he has better things to do. I’d rather live on a Mac, not have as many options (though really, I’ve never noticed a limitation), and be able to constantly productive.

That’s not to say that Macs are perfect. They’re not. They crash, though not often. (Mostly they just freeze up when they crash.) Certain individual programs have a tendency to crash, especially web browsers. Safari (the default browser) can be damn sluggish. I have problems with Mail several times a year. iTunes is a bloated resource-hog. iPhoto isn’t particularly useful.

Or is it?

Here’s the thing: I’m constantly amazed at how different Mac users know how to do different things. I think that iPhoto is a piece of crap, but Jenn thinks it’s fantastic. She thinks it’s versatile, easy-to-use, and totally worthwhile. And you know what? She amazes me with the things she does in iPhoto and iMovie. She does things that I didn’t know were possible.

I like getting together with Paul Carlile because he, too, shows me ways to use my Mac that I never would have imagined. He seems to know iTunes inside and out. It’s amazing to watch him work with it.

Paul has also taught me a lot about chat. I’m old. To me, e-mail is cutting-edge technology. In reality, it’s trailing edge stuff. Kids today are on to bigger and better things. One of the things they were into a few years ago (and still use today, though it’s certainly not cutting edge) is instant messaging — internet chat. I don’t do instant messaging. I find it overwhelming. I used to do IRC, and I do in-game chat all the time, but for some reason I find one-on-one instant messaging intimidating.

But Paul prompts me to try new things. He often e-mails asking if I’m available to chat. And so I chat. But he goes beyond that. For example, because I knew he and I had been e-mailing back-and-forth this morning, I set my iChat status to “available”, which is something I’ve never done before. Paul pinged me and then requested an audio chat. An audio chat! And so we chatted over our computers, just as if we were on speaker phones. Very cool. He sent me an mp3 via chat. I sent him a photograph. I realized that when my new computer comes in a week or so, I’ll have video-chat capabilities. (Remember when I did product-testing on the videophone?)

Yesterday I experienced my first unbridled splurge in many months. I went out and bought a video iPod to send with Kris on her Colorado trip. I brought it home and spent the afternoon loading it with music, games, and television shows. Last night I took it to bed, and while Kris fell asleep, I watched an episode of Who Wants to Be a Superhero?

I feel so cutting edge.

Updated: 05 November 2006

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
Copyright © 1994 - 2022 by J.D. Roth