June 2, 2005

The darkness starts to lift

Posted in Commentary at 8:44 pm by Michael Sweeney Media

Here I sit kicking off a new era in my adventures behind the green screen. Or in the case of today’s world, the LCD screen. I have over 25 years in the IT/Computer/Network world and grew up with hexpads and 8080 chips. Then I moved to the Commodore 64 (still have one) and learned the fine art of hacking (when it meant something good) with my favorite computer. It worked every single time I turned it on, it was color in a world of amber and green and it had graphics. Real graphics, not those cheesy Hercules wannabe graphics on an amber screen.

Then came the PC from IBM and DOS. I gave up my beloved C64/C128 with CPM (remember PIP) and moved to DOS. A guy had to make a living somehow. 16 colors… ohhhh..ahhhhh.. then came EGA and then VGA, we were styling then. Still, DOS was pretty reliable once you got the memory management taken care of using EMM386 or Quarterdeck. Around the same time this interesting semi-square box showed up at Hughes where I then worked. Hmmmm.. he thinks, it’s small, hi-rez grey scale, cute if a computer can be cute and it worked pretty well. The menus made sense, the graphics were good and it was easy to use after dealing with clunky DOS and memory issues (who says Windows was the start of memory problems?) A Macintosh, hell, I thought Macintoshes were an apple that you eat? But they had NETWORKING built-in, hey this is pretty damn cool. No more sneaker-net.

But alas, after working on PCs and up to the Apple Ci/Cx, I had to make a choice and left desktops pretty much behind me as I moved into Novell ELS 2.2. So my Mac tendencies waned and I watched as Apple made some stupid mistakes, almost went bankrupt, got smart and dumped Scully, brought the magic back with Steve and moved on. Still, I was a PC/Windows kind of guy since it paid the bills and very little of my required software was available for the Mac.

Then came OSX… hey now, a command line with Unix on the backend??? this looks promising but after watching Apple screw themselves over before, I’m waiting. Meanwhile my little bro is a mac-a-holic and yammering at me to get a Mac. I break when the iPods come out. Now here is a cool, no, very cool, no… WAYYYYYYY cool item from Apple. Maybe.. just maybe.

I’m in the Apple stores looking around and I love the 12 inch power book but I hate the screen.. too damn dim compared to Wintel boxes and I need the brightness. These old eyes are not what they used to be. So a new Dell arrives at Xmas. But I’m in security now and I know that the Mac is a better box than the bug-ridden Windows I use. So I start shopping for a used G4 tower and my bro hears this and offers up his “old” G5 iMac as a trial run. This gives me a chance to get used to the new Apples, run one next the PC and generally give things a workout.

So now I have the iMac sitting here as I type away. I have been working with video which is the bane of the PC and I have to say I’m impressed with the Mac’s handling of video. So much easiers. I have been using MPEG Streamclip to edit some Tivo files and work over some Quicktime files of mine. It installed and worked right out of the box. How cool is that? Wintel, are you listening? You’d better be!!! I tried the same edits on my PC and Windows XP crashed 4 times. Sad but true. And this is a Windows box that has a geek keeping it cleaned up and running halfway decent.

I have my Firefox which I love, email which Mail sucks for a lack of features (anyone want to offer a better solution with intergrated calender?), Office, Neo-OfficeJ which is my trusted OpenOffice in a clean shell for the Mac and a few other apps.

The wireless has been perfect with the exception of coming back from sleep but then the PC can’t do it either but at least I dont get a bluescreen or system lockup.

It’s been only a week or so but I have to admit I’m impressed so far. Time will tell


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