Commentary

Identity Crisis

I’m a journalist.
I’m an educator.
I’m a PC.

In a day an age when what type of computer you use defines who you are, a recent identity switch has left me wondering who I am and where I fit into this crazy little thing called life. Yes, I might be a PC but I once was a Mac.

My Mac was shiny, wonderful and ran programs that my PC would scoff at. It was an affair to end all affairs. We started out hot and heavy, it went everywhere with me. I wouldn’t let it leave my sight for months and no drinks were allowed within a five-foot radius.

Gradually the newness wore off and our relationship became one of comfort, familiarity.

The unintended by-product of comfort was carelessness. One evening while stumbling half-asleep from bedroom to kitchen and back for a mug of milk the unthinkable happened. I dropped the full mug of milk directly onto the computer. It was closed, but a no-holds-barred panic attack ensued.

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I was wracked with guilt, confusion and remorse. I thought the Mac was done for, but it surprised me and pulled through without a scratch. It continued to work as well as it had the day I brought it home.

However, it would betray me in the end. One day without warning a new, devilish error message popped up and basically said, “Sorry, your hard drive doesn’t exist. Have a nice day.” Not the message you’d ever want to receive from a computer.

My warranty had expired. My measly sophomore college student income was stretched to its limits to afford my $1200 lover. Buying the extended warranty was by far the farthest thing from my mind.

Thus the time came to make a decision. Do I part with my first love? I worked so hard to keep it in great shape throughout our three short years together. The milk incident was the worst thing that ever happened to it. I didn’t steal music, I didn’t download movies. I didn’t do anything but cherish it.

However, I had changed a lot since my sophomore year and needed to reevaluate my technology needs. Fall 2009 marked the beginning of my graduate student career, and also of my teaching career. I was assigned two sections of COMM 210. I would need a computer that works well with the equipment in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building.

Macs can be plugged into projectors…if you’re willing to purchase an additional adapter.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t a Mac anymore.

I didn’t want a high maintenance computer. Everything cost more with a Mac. It wasn’t compatible with all external hard drives. It was a finicky pain in the butt and I had outgrown it. For a mere $400 I purchased a glorious HP widescreen laptop.

That’s when the identity crisis started. Once the computer was home and I began playing with it, I realized I didn’t know how to use a PC anymore. It had been so long since my primary computer had been a PC. The concept of using a control panel was lost on me. I had forgotten why it existed.

The computer in my backpack said PC but my hand still went up when someone asked who the “Mac people” were in a classroom. My computer had defined me for so long. I was one of the cool, hip kids with the sleek, slim Macbook. I was part of something bigger than myself. I was part of the Mac movement. I belonged.

Now, I still belong. Just to a different group.

I have escaped the Mac people and am now living beyond the trend. I’m living in the practical world where $1000 for a laptop is outlandish. However, one thing that will stay with me no matter what type of computer I use, technology hates me. The Mac took three years to officially crap out on me where as the PC hasn’t lasted three months and already has a hard drive problem.
The difference? I was able to purchase the most expensive warranty that was available and still only paid $700 total. I could pour water on it while tapdancing on the keyboard and the repairs would still be covered.

A Macbook starts at $999. I think you can see the appeal of the HP. Apple has been effectively brainwashing the youth of America into believing they need Macs, that a Mac is the answer to everything. The interface is simple, appealing and gorgeous.

However, I’ve always preferred intelligence to beauty. Perhaps that’s why I’m a PC, and it was the smart choice.

1 comment about "Identity Crisis".
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  1. John Dailey from Ball State University, January 16, 2010 at 12:20 a.m.

    Hmmm... Macs are and always have been about great software + great hardware which are both baked in the same oven to create a great cake. The software layer is so usefully spread across the hardware that from the very first "byte" one knows that they are eating great cake. Windows is sugary crust on a very old pie. Yes, it is now more shiny and maybe even easier to slice, but to seems to get stale very quickly. I'm sorry about your loss, but with the coming cloud that Microsoft would have you live live in, your recent PC problem will be a thing of the past. Everything you do will be done through the net and stored on MS servers. In a few years, this WILL BE the only way that PCs will operate. Me, I'd rather eat cake.

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