I did something today I may regret. . .

. . .but I doubt it.

More than ten years ago now, I was at my wit’s end with computers.  I had a desktop and a laptop at home, and I was the de facto IT guy for the network at the firehouse.  At one point I had five malfunctioning Windows machines, and I began to notice those Apple ‘switch’ commercials.

Apple was on a roll. They had finally begun to resolve compatibility issues with Windows; moving to their system no longer meant exile from the rest of the computer-using world. We bought a 12″ Powerbook running OS10.2.8, and we loved it.  It was gorgeous, tough, and it just worked. It worked first time, every time.

We were hooked.  It was joined by another Powerbook, and they were eventually replaced by Intel MacBooks. A succession of iPhones joined the household, along with a pair of iPads. Three years ago an iMac all-in-one joined the household as our main family computer.  I was a fan. I sneered at ‘Windoze’ and preached the Gospel of Jobs to anyone who would listen.

Somewhere along the way, things went bad. I trace the decline to the advent of the iPhone, but it has taken 6 years to fully manifest.  Suddenly Apple had a killer product, and they no longer had to beat the competition. They built a closed ecosystem around iTunes/iPhone/iPad.  What used to be a better computer became just a different computer.

I tried leaving once. I felt the Galaxy S3 was a better phone than the iPhone 4s, and I bought one.  It was a great device, but I soon discovered that my iMac and iTunes were holding my music hostage. I never got them to communicate properly, and I eventually returned to an iPhone.

At the same time, the iMac has been a disappointment. It has not worked properly from the day it was unboxed. Nothing has been able to fix it, and each software update seems to make it more unstable. It seems I spend more time watching the Spinning Beachball of Death than doing useful work.  Mrs. Mack505 refuses to use it for anything she could possibly do with her tablet instead.

I have a decade’s worth of pictures, music, and data in there. It’s all backed up, though.

So today I took a bold step. I went shopping for an inexpensive laptop to run Ubuntu. I found some amazing bargains. I eventually decided to give Windows 8 a shot. After all, it came with the machine. If I hate it I can always wipe it and install Linux.

I won’t be throwing away my iPads, but I think Apple has finally pushed me back over the fence.

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