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Weekend Apples

Until very recently, I had never used an Apple computer. Sure, I'd fiddled with units on display at the local BestBuy or Fry's Electronics store, but moving that one-button mouse about and marveling at the beautiful GUI hardly counts as "using" a machine, in my opinion. To actually "use" a machine, you literally have to do something with it and work with it.

Last Saturday, I had my first "bite" of an Apple. My younger sister had recently bought an iMac, one with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 1GB of RAM and a beautiful 20-inch LCD. She let me explore her new machine after initiating me with some Apple-specific commands and mouse + keyboard combos.

My first impressions were mixed. I was absolutely in love with the monitor, for sure. Its Radeon-sourced GPU really works with Apple's screens, making 2D displays far and away better than anything I'd ever seen before. I'm certainly no expert, but perhaps this is one reason why Macs have such a hugely great reputation with graphics artists. Color fidelity and image sharpness were precise and grain-free, respectively; there was absolutely nothing ham-fisted or heavy-handed about the LCD's capabilities. I wish I had a chance to watch a DVD or, actually, play a video game on this screen to have a more complete assessment of its capabilities, but I didn't.

The peripherals take a lot of getting used to, though. For example, the one-button mouse is an Apple trademark. A Windows user (or even a Linux-with-GUI user) needs at least a rudimentary education to be able to more effectively and efficiently interact with a Mac. The keyboard, so thin and lightweight, also takes some familiarity. I suppose it's a personal preference, as I like keyboards with some resistance to them. These shortcomings are not dealbreakers, though.

The best part about my Mac initiation, though, made me seriously think about wanting one for myself. GarageBand (which comes standard as part of Apple's proprietary software suite) is an absolutely must-have program; I also played with SoundtrackPro -- I believe this was that application's name. I was so impressed with these two programs and their specific capabilities that I felt inspired to tune one of my guitars and start playing. I even found the bones of a new song to write as a result of using the iMac.

No computer has ever inspired me to want to play guitar again. It had been maybe at least a year and a half since the last time I even played one of my guitars, and even far longer since the last time a song came to me. Playing with my sister's iMac and GarageBand and SoundtrackPro definitely unlocked something in my heart, mind and soul.

As I wrote earlier, I'm now seriously considering getting my first Mac. I never thought such thoughts before. It's not that I have (or had) any prejudices pro or against Apples or PCs or Linux boxes (though the major turnoff for Mac equipment is the apparent lack of any degree of personalization options; you can't custom-build a Mac, as far as I know); I just never had a taste of the Apple before.

It's a sweet taste, though, for sure.

As always, thanks for reading. Comments and discussion are always welcomed and encouraged.

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