It’s true. I have, after all these years, migrated to a Mac.
Sure, I already have an iPhone, an iPod and an iPad. But the huge leap (of faith?) was to put aside the last of a succession of Sony Vaio laptops and embrace this Macbook Pro. My decision has met with a couple of different responses.
Some have expressed amazement that I was not a Mac person all along. After all, I have worked in the ‘creative’ industries since … well, since before computers. And it was us advertising people who first embraced the Mac.
Others have expressed amazement that I have made the change at this stage of my life. They know me well. They know that I was one of the original QDOS (quick and dirty operating system) people. People like me worked with word processing programs called Lexicom and WordPerfect. We used Control + keystrokes rather than the mouse. We despised the so-called intuitive commands of Windows 95 and the patronizing graphics of the Apple.
And what was all that stuff about style and design? Wasn’t the Sony Vaio equally gorgeous, equally classy, equally functional? Of course it was. And is.
But, as I have discovered over the last few days, there is something unusually satisfying about working on a Mac. It’s not solely the keyboard, which is the best I have ever encountered. And it is not the proprietary software – I am actually using Microsoft Office for Mac. But there is something about this beautiful aluminium (aluminum) machine which makes work a pleasure.
It is a cultural thing, I suspect.
I remember the move from Blackberry to iPhone. It was a recognition that, at my age, I could afford to be less formal, less business-like, less professional. I could justify using a phone which allowed me a little fun, some enjoyment, even (especially?) if it was at the expense of a nano-second’s delay in sending and receiving e-mails.
There is this slightly hippy-ish feel to the Mac, which is opposed to the Big Blue, IBM, business-like Microsoft.
Steve Jobs, famously, was a collector of Dylan bootlegs and something of a Deadhead, walking on stage to announce the iPad to the sound of the Dead’s Friend of the Devil. He was no Jerry, being too authoritarian and dictatorial, but he was perhaps a Captain Beefheart. An anarchist and a control freak.
There have been some books published over the last 12 years that draw these parallels, as well as some weird conclusions.
It would not have been possible to foresee back in the late ‘60s, or in 1972 when I first saw the Dead in the UK, that there would be, now, a book entitled Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead by a couple of guys from Harvard; or that some professor at the School of Business and Entrepreneurship in Florida would have coined the term dynamic synchronicity to describe what the Dead did and what Apple do.
It’s a horrible phrase. I prefer what Jerry said, that “it is not enough to be the best at what one does; one has to be the only one who does it.”
And I think I prefer Apple’s line, Think different.
Of course, I would prefer the adverb. But I’ll settle for it.
And, grammatically incorrect as it is, this exhortation, this instruction, to think different, is my new year resolution. One of them, anyway.
Belated best wishes for 2013 to all my readers.
Today's listening: Janis, from February 1969. One of the first shows without Big Brother and the Holding Company, and it shows. But there's no denying her wondrous voice and charisma.