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Mini to Me

And in totally exciting nerdy news, my new mac Mini is at this very moment on a delivery truck speeding toward my house. (Not like a collision, of course, but I like to imagine it racing diretly to me without bothering to deliver anyone else's tedious packages.) Yay! Soon I'll be able to set it up as a server for all my archived work and whatnot, but its first mission is to take over as my primary machine for a week or so while I send my lovely PowerBook in to get rid of those pesky spots in the display.

Whenever Apple makes a big product announcement, I can't help checking out a handful of message boards to see what the teeming masses are saying about the new toys. The discussions invariably turn into a nerdy flame war between rabic Mac loyalists and rabid PC naysayers, but I’m drawn to the ugliness of it all nonetheless. As in most arguments, there is apparently no room for a nuanced opinion: just about every post either insists that each mac product is the essence of perfection, or a total swindle. Even though I’m an ardent supporter of their products, I’m pretty horrified by the blind, cultish loyalty of a lot of Apple fans. At the same time, I have too much experience with too many kinds of computers not to think that Apple's emphasis on product design is more than just window dressing or marketing bullshit.

Good design is a feature. You don't have to value it, but don't try to convince me that it's superfluous. In Apple's case, especially, good design is just one part of an overall attention to detail that makes for a more hassle-free user experience. And frankly, they weren't always this good at it, and they've really had to earn my loyalty back after the nightmare days of the first beige PowerMacs that felt more like bloated PCs than robust, flexible tools. I’m capable of worrying about drivers and video cards and patches and the entire patchwork of doodads that add up to a computer and its software, but frankly I don't want to. I’ve squandered too much precious time over the years hassling with all that. Give me a system where the pieces work in harmony and where I’m not pained by looking at the damn thing and futzing with it every day, and you've earned my loyalty. So far, no Windows machine or UNIX workstation has done that for me. I didn't need to drink any Kool-Aid to figure that out.

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