I’m getting a Mac. Again.
I’ve been a Windows guy since I received my first computer in the mid-nineties. My school had an iMac G3 in the art room; a big, colorful, semi-transparent, bulbous beauty. In spite of its appeal, I never really drifted too far from the Windows camp. Windows had games 🙂
In February of 2012 I began working for a remote company called appendTo (born out of the jQuery project). We had some of the most talented developers you could ever imagine meeting, and they all used Macs. I managed to stick with Windows, which landed us some great contracts. But in 2013, that all changed when I bought a Mac.
It was awkward at first. Simple things like installing software required a radically different approach. It wasn’t a matter of running the installer, and that’s it. I had to literally run the installer, and then drag something across the screen. It felt like some type of bizarre CAPTCHA. I wasn’t a fan.
I received advice from my co-workers to weather the storm, and stick with it. Extra advice was to avoid using a mouse. Get familiar instead with the trackpad. All of their input was received, and proven in time. The MacBook Air quickly became my favorite machine.
To be fair, it didn’t have much competition. The only other machine I had at the time was an Acer Aspire R7, which didn’t work all that well. I recall buying one, sending it back, getting another, and sending it back. The 3rd one wasn’t ideal either, but I was too tired to keep exchanging machines. The weirdest thing about that machine was the placement of the trackpad; it was above the keyboard.
The Aspire R7 was neat though, for party tricks. It looked like something out of a Sci-Fi film, with its many modes and orientations. I often worked from a Buffalo Wild Wings at the time, so I’d occasionally get curious glances from people trying to figure out what kind of computer it was.
In 2014 I accepted a job offer from Microsoft. I had been working with them on some community efforts for Internet Explorer, and loved the idea of heading to Geek Mecca in Washington to work more closely. So I headed off to Redmond, MacBook Air in tow.
As I met my new team in Washington, I found that some of them were also using Macs. To be fair, they used Windows too, but there were many fans of Apple’s hardware on the IE team. It’s worth mentioning that we were largely a team of Web Developers, so having a Mac meant having better cross-browser/platform testing.
My first couple of weeks at Microsoft were great, but the honeymoon was over quickly. Microsoft had begun massive layoffs shortly after I joined. Our building was experiencing an exodus of presumably-upset engineers. I had worked until about 7pm or so one evening, and decided to leave my MacBook at the office.
I came into work about 6:30am the next morning to find something missing―my MacBook Air had been stolen. I was so upset; how could this happen? How could this happen to me? How could this happen at Microsoft!? As the hours rolled by, we had learned that a few other devices were stolen from neighboring offices. My MacBook Air was never replaced ☹
So why a Mac? Why now? Well, today I work with another set of amazing engineers who largely use Macs. I have carved out a nice little niche, being the Windows guy, which is all well and good. But I can’t keep relying on others to do my mac-testing for me. That bottleneck slows us down, and ultimately makes me less efficient.
My long, slow, dance with Apple continues. I’m getting a Mac.