Split personality: I’m a Mac AND I’m a PC

Like me, my son’s girlfriend recently became a MacBook owner. One day not long ago, she had this up as her status message in Google Chat*:

I miss my macbook track pad when I’m at work :-(.

I hear ya, girl. Sort of. I’m still not exactly crazy about the trackpad, but I’ve been getting used to it, since it seems to defeat the purpose of a “laptop” computer to hook a mouse up to it and, therefore, have to sit at a table to use it. But I do miss a lot of things about my MacBook when I’m at work, since that’s a PC kind of place. (The technological kind of PC, that is, although it can be “PC” much of the time, too.)

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m part of a mixed marriage. Tall Paul has been a Mac guy for longer than he’s had children. Macs have long been preferred for creative work like graphic design, but his attachment is personal as well as professional. For my part, since spreadsheets and writing are what keep me going, I’ve been a Microserf for lo these many years, and have kept a PC at home for compatibility, so that I could work at home when I had to (which, granted, isn’t very often). The chances of my working in a Mac environment are too small to be measured reliably.

But my home PC is going on four years old now, and when I began craving a laptop last year, I decided that when (if) I got one, that would be the time to jump ship. I do most of my personal work online through Google Docs these days anyway, so the system and software don’t matter much. And if I actually do have to work within Office, the Mac versions of Word and Excel are friendly to Windows documents. (It’s still not always reciprocated, though.) This past weekend, after about six weeks of loving my MacBook at home, we packed up the PC and put it in storage.

The trackpad on the MacBook was one of my least favorite things about it at first, but now that I’ve worked out the fingering necessary to double-click and scroll, it’s much better. But my initial irritation drove me to try keyboard shortcuts, and now I’m hooked on them…they’re so much faster! However, I’ve never gotten into them on the PC and have no real desire to start using them on my work computer, although I’ll sometimes find myself trying one without really thinking about it – and then wondering why it’s not working. Sometimes I forget about my PC’s mouse, too, and start scrolling motions in the air above my keyboard. Like many who come to Macs from the PC experience, I’m still marveling at how easy so many things are. The thing that’s not so easy is that I’m now living in two technological worlds on a daily basis, and I have to remember the rules of whichever one I’m in at the time. It’s more challenging to remember that when I’m on the PC side, which surprises me a bit since I’ve been there so much longer. I suspect an out-and-out conversion is easier than the dual-system existence I’m living now, but it’s keeping me on my toes.

“Mac vs. PC” has been an ongoing tech debate for years, mostly spurred by the Mac contingent, since the PC folks still have numbers strongly on their side, but it may be evolving into a shorthand to describe a contrast in style in two otherwise similar entities.

Over half the country will have caucused or voted in primaries by the time this post goes up, but if you haven’t yet done so, you might be looking for new tools to assess the candidates. Have you visited their websites? The New York Times looked at the leading Democratic candidates’ online presences and suggested that

…on one thing, the experts seem to agree. The differences between hillaryclinton.com and barackobama.com can be summed up this way: Barack Obama is a Mac, and Hillary Clinton is a PC.

The article gives examples to support the analogy, and prompted my husband to observe that “I think it does emphasize why Obama seems more likely to be the one to bring change. He (through the website design) makes Hillary look old school.”

(UPDATED to link to this website-review post, so you can see some examples for yourself – I didn’t find this until a few hours after I originally posted this entry.)

If you’re working both sides of the street like I am now, I’m not sure how this is terribly helpful to your decision-making. (Seriously – it should have nothing to do with your decision-making!) But if they end up as running mates and win in November, does that mean that the nation’s capital would have a Mac/PC split personality too? That would keep everyone on their toes.

*I don’t Twitter – status messages in the Chat window in GMail are one of the ways I keep up with people. If you have a GMail address and we’ve exchanged e-mail, you’re probably in that window too. Just thought I should warn you…

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  1. Both my husband and I are PC people. We’ve talked about switching to MAC, but it’s never come to anything.

    That’s interesting abut the candidates. I can see how each would be classified as such. It definitely wouldn’t be the determining factor for how either hubby or I vote, of course. 🙂

  2. Literary Feline – I doubt I would have made the switch if I hadn’t been exposed to my husband’s iMac for awhile first, since my work life is still PC-based. (I can say this here because my husband reads my posts but not the comments! :-D)

    And I’d be a bit concerned about the judgment of any voter who used that Mac/PC thing as a decision factor…

  3. It’s probably better than what I almost did : eeny,meeny, miny, moe. Half kidding. I wasn’t sure who I was voting for up until I actually had to sit down and vote. I kept going back and forth. Honestly though, if any of them makes it, I’ll be satisfied.

  4. Literary Feline – Wendy, I have to say I strongly agree with you on that last point. 🙂

    On the one before that, it may be just as well that I sent in my absentee ballot before the field thinned out. I think quite a few people were reduced to something like a coin flip in making their decision. But apparently a lot of people DID make a decision – turnout was supposedly very good – so yay for the system!