Saturday, June 12, 2004


I'm an unabashed fan of Apple Computer and its Macintosh computers. I saw the original Mac being demonstrated at the Harvard Coop in Harvard Square in Cambridge. It was 1984, of course, not long after the now-famous 1984 commercial was shown at MacWorld. I was blown away. Later, from 1987 on, I got to use a variety of subsequent models of the original one-piece Macintosh with its clunky keyboard and its odd-looking, one-button mouse. Then in 1991, I earned a "free" Mac Plus, 1 MB RAM, no hard drive. I never looked back.

I'm writing this on my sixth and latest Mac, a 14" iBook laptop running the next-to-last version of the Mac operating system, Mac OS X version 10.2 (Jaguar). I haven't updated to the current version 10.3 (Panther) because I haven't needed to. Jaguar does everything I need it to do. There's a new version coming soon anyway, probably by the end of the year, to be known as Tiger (10.4). Upgrades to the OS are running at about $129 from Apple, a little cheaper elsewhere.

The reason I bring this up is that I was talking with a friend last night, here in Key West, about his computer needs. He provides audio-visual services to organizations needing them. Its a side job for him, secondary to his day job, which is renovating and reconstructing properties around town as a subcontractor to developers. I haven't seen his building work yet, but as he describes it, its all high-end stuff.

I haven't seen his A/V work either, but he's supposed to be pretty good at it. He's been a PC guy forever, never used a Mac. But now he's planning to get a high-end Mac laptop to use in his work with video, audio and lighting. He gives two reasons for considering an alternative: 1) frustration with adware, spyware, and malware infestations of his Windows machines. He's lost the use of both of his computers to this kind of stuff, despite doing a clean install of Windows at least once; and more significantly, 2) his experience in working with a performer who brought her own Mac laptop to one of her shows. My friend was amazed with the simplicity of setting up a show. Plug the sound board into the audio port, connect the lights controller and video source(s) to their respective ports on the Mac, and control everything from the keyboard. I'd like to learn some things that he knows, and maybe I will.

In the early 90's, I sold Apple computers for a small reseller in Pennsylvania. My "territory" was universities and colleges in south-central Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, and eastern West Virginia. It was one of the better jobs I've had in terms of satisfaction. At first it paid me quite comfortably, since it was a base salary + commission position. That was a time, the early-90s, however when competition was overheating and prices were dropping rapidly. I switched my focus to government contracting, selling to federal, state and local agencies, but that too soon became less lucrative. Since our main reasons for being in Pennsylvania were a daughter, son-in-law and a first grandchild (and with a second to follow soon after we moved there), and since they had decided to move to New Hampshire where our children were raised, we too moved back to NH about six months later.

It was that move, and several subsequent events that I won't go into here, that led us to move to Key West in 1999, and ultimately again in 2004.

Now it looks very much like Janet has a job at the Butterfly Conservatory. She starts tomorrow, working part-time at first with the promise of full-time in the near future if it all works out for her and them. I've been holding off on finding a job myself until we knew what she'll be doing and what kind of transportation she'll need. Whatever it is I wind up doing, I've decided that its going to be something that's fun, the kind of job you'd do for nothing if you had to, but that provides enough income to allow us to be comfortable here. Maybe it'll involve computers, maybe not. They - computers - are something I know I do well. There are other things too. We'll make out.

Its either that or move to Wyoming.

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