My path to Apple

Upon reading How the Editor of Windows Magazine Became an Apple Fanboy I started thinking about my path to the Apple way, as it was kind of the other way around. And I know a lot of people who took somewhat the same path as me, that's the two main classes of nerdy new Apple users.

My reasons to stay with Apple products are essentially the same as Mike Elgan's, but I was never a Windows person. Never will be.

My very first brush with computing as a kid was a ZX Spectrum my uncle had. It was fun to write on, but I didn't get any further than that as far as I remember. Maybe typing in some simple BASIC, but that was it.

Then a lot of years went by, and then my best friend got a PC. A 286 running DOS and a few simple games. Oh, And fractint! We spent whole evenings waiting for it to render a zoom into a Mandelbrot fractal to see what would appear. Sometimes we even had it rendering overnight. It was fascinating.

Then some more computerless years went by while I decided on becoming a forest worker, a carreer I abandoned to study math and physics instead. I really sucked at studying math, but I did get to use the HP Unix terminals of the university, with their enormous 20" CRT screens and Motorola 68k CPU, and got my first taste of the Unix shell, email and the world wide web (Netscape 2.0). It was good, and I liked it, I just hadn't really developed my interest in it yet. In retrospect I should've studied computer science instead of math, but I knew no better back then.

Anyway, failing university and starting lab technician school I decided that it was time to buy a PC. It was 1998, and I got a beige PC, AMD K6-2 300 MHz CPU, 6.4 GB 3600 rpm disk and 64 MB RAM. I later doubled the RAM and upgraded the low-end S3 graphics card to a nice Matrox G200 with 8 MB of RAM — I'm now writing on a computer with 1 GB of graphics memory. Mindboggling. Because that Matrox card was a huge step up, real quality back then.

It was really nice having a PC with Windows 98 and Office 97 to do homework on. And I had a Stofanet cable to the web, I think it was around 1 mbit. Really fast. And a static IP with reverse DNS, yeah, it's on Please don't look.

I took me less than 6 months to realize that Windows 98 sucked and that Linux was what all the cool kids were using. So I started dual-booting with RadHat 5.2 at first. I liked it and decided to buy SuSE Linux, I believe it was at version 6.2 when I started, and I ran SuSE for a long time, buying the releases, and I started running my own website on my PC, having it turned on 24/7. It was fun. And noisy.

Around a year after switching to Linux I got interested in OpenBSD, and for a while I triple booted Windows 98, Linux (I think it was Debian then) and OpenBSD 2.6. What a mess. I still only had a 6.4 GB disk, so not much space to do anything with.

Eventually Windows went the way of the Dodo in my life, and from then on it was mostly OpenBSD for daily tasks and geekery, and from time to time I'd switch to FreeBSD or maybe a Linux distribution just for fun. It was made easier when I got an IBM ThinkPad X20, lovely little machine. I used the old PC as a server.

Eventually the X20 started dying, and I needed a new laptop. By then I was working as a sysadmin at TELMORE and had real money, finally. So I bought an Apple PowerBook G4, 1.67 GHz and 1.5 GB RAM. What a massive improvement.

I loved the sweet Mac OS X interface and the fact that I could just launch and I'd be home in the Unix environment I felt so incredibly comfortable with. And everything just magically worked. It was the most beautiful marriage of a great GUI and Unix. Still is.

I could go on about how cool Mac OS X is, but I won't, lots of people already have, so no need to add more. The interesting thing here is the path I took.

And I now have an iPhone 4 too, after holding out on that for a long long time. So to me the gateway drug was Apple laptops, but I don't see me geting fewer Apple devices, rather the opposite.

I'm now on my 3rd Apple laptop, a few weeks old MacBook Pro, and it is sweet, and I shall definitely blog about that soon, but that will be another post.