Women in Technology

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Article:
  Switcher Stories Follow Up
Subject:   20-year WinTel User Pleased with Switch...
Date:   2002-11-18 11:36:27
From:   anonymous2
Since I am probably more representative of the "everyman" switcher (and because I can't restrain myself from spouting off whenever there is a story like this one) I wanted to relay my "switcher" story.


You can stop reading now, and shred if you've read enough of these.


I was a PC guy from the get-go. in 1983, I was a medical student starting to prepare introductory letters on the bank of PCs upstairs at the library. At the time, I couldn't get past the A:> prompt, and had to ask for help every single time.


Then I discovered "Mailmerge" and the fact that this tool would allow me to explore 100 residency programs in the time I would have taken to type 10 letters. This was a tool I needed to learn how to use. So I went out and started pricing computers. It soom became obvious that I WANTED a Macintosh, but I could barely afford a used Eagle Spirit II luggable PC.


So I went out and purchased an introductory book on DOS
(pre-"Dummies") and became a "PC-guy" for the next 20 years, give or take. As the capabilities of the PC grew, so did its involvement in my life. Soon, my hobby of photography found it's way into my PC. Then, with the advent of the Internet, my passion of political activism became the center of my PC existance. (All the while, my business involvement in PCs was growing even faster - but that's boring.)


Then my daughter was born, and so was my new hobby of videography.


My first real "Poweruser" PC with video capability was a PII-400 Dell, and I was able to use it with my scanner and my DV500 video card without trouble. But as the archetecture continued to develop and the clock speeds exceeded 1.2 GHz (I generally had required a tripling of clock speed before I would move to a new machine) I decided I wanted some of that.


By this time, I had graduated to building my own machines, using the best components I could find. I went through building three new machines (two Athlon 1.2s and a P4-1.4) utilizing 5 different motherboard configurations, and I could not find (or hack) a single machine that would run both a SCSI card and the DV500 video capture card. It was one or the other. The obvious choice was to have one machine for video, and one for graphics, but space and usage patterns made that an unacceptable solution.


About that time, OSX was rumored to be near release, so I shut down my hobbies, and waited. (And my three new PC's ultimately became two excellent enterprise servers at my office, and one excellent workstation at my desk.)


Finally, just under a year ago, I purchased a Dual 1GHz Mac running OS-x, and the rest was history.


Even in its early iteration, the OSX machine handled the SCSI card and digital video capture without a hitch. Now I am running Jaguar, PhotoShop 7 with the same Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 and the OSX version of SilverFast. I've moved from Adobe Primiere to Apple Final Cut Pro, which took a little getting used to, but I am VERY pleased now. And I am able to burn DVD's with all the bells and whistles using Apple DVD Studio Pro.


I would never have been able to afford to move from high-end PC setup with all the software to a high-end Apple with an equal or better setup if it wasn't for Apple's generous academic discount program. As a faculty member at UCLA, many of the most expensive software packages were 70% off.


So while cost was rendered a marginal concern by the discount program, the learning curve for the software is still ongoing.
A year after the switch at home, I am about where I was on the PC before the switch, skills-wise. Which means I still have a long way to go before I am satisfied. But at least the learning process hasn't completely shut down my "productivity". After being almost two years behind on my scanning and video editing, I am now only about 6 months behind.


I love the Mac. I wish OSX had been available 10 years ago - I might be running a Mac office right now. I would never have gone to Mac 9 - I would have gone to two PC's first. (learning Linux was just out of the question - my computer involvement (nuts and bolts/network support etc.) is being scaled back, because doing it right requires as much effort at keeping up as being a doctor does. No way could I do both much longer.) But OS-X is a robust "Business" operating system. It may not be quite enterprise level yet, I don't know - but I sure do think it is heading that direction.


Geez, I have so much more to say, but now I'm rambling, so I'm going to cut it off. If you got this far, you are one amazing dude. Thanks!