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Think Different

Neille Ilel

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Think Different
(Neille Ilel)
Think Different, by Apple
(PeterGreen125)

Last week, I was thinking of replacing my outdated iPod Mini.

Naturally I went to the Apple web site. I looked through the sleek and shiny Nanos. I was momentarily dazzled by the red AIDS in Africa one. I lazily clicked on the teeny tiny iPod Shuffle. I lingered on the big 80-gig model.

And then I thought, "I want something cooler than an iPod."

That was sort of a crazy thought for me. I'm a serious Mac person. OK, there was that IBM PC Jr., my parents got me when I was eight, and a wayward year in college with a Dell knock-off. But besides that, I've never strayed.

I've owned three Powerbooks, two iPods, an LC 2, an iMac, four mice, three different Apple keyboards, two Airport Expresses and way too many of those goofy rainbow, apple stickers.

If I started a new job, by the first month, I would have spotted all the other Mac-people. It wasn't hard, they had cool clothes and better haircuts. Usually I'd start dating one or two of them.

We had certain things in common: we appreciated good design, we valued an intuitive interface, but mostly, we loved our computers.

And it wasn't always easy to love Apples. Often you couldn't find software for them.
Before OS X, Macs crashed. A lot. The accepted wisdom was that eventually, the Macintosh would disappear. But I didn't believe that.

And Apple, cleverly, told us we were exceptional, not crazy, for embracing our Macs.

Remember the Think Different Ad? It has these grainy black and white movies of Einstein, Bob Dylan, Mohammed Ali, even Ghandi. Maybe they didn't all use Macs, but they embodied the Apple spirit: brilliant, artistic, audacious and misunderstood.

And then the iPod came out. It was beautiful (that track-wheel, only four buttons, not a single extra piece). I wanted one.

And so did everyone else. The hipsters on the subway all had white cords coming out of their ears. Every well-heeled pre-teen I saw had one.
The slick dancing iPod ads papered my walk to work on Lexington Avenue. The Apple stock soared.

I got black Sony headphones with my iPod.

And then, my apartment got robbed. I call it the Great Computer Theft of 2005. The burglars made off with my Powerbook G4 and the 40-gig iPod. They also stole my backup hard drive, which to me, was just rude. The burglars didn't care how many cute shareware applications I found, like the one that told me the humidity in Beijing. To them my Mac and my iPod were just expensive products with decent resale values.

Things have been different since The Great Computer Theft. When I went to the Apple store to buy a replacement, I wasn't giddy like I usually am when buying something Apple. I elbowed my way to a sales clerk and gave him my order. Before I would have taken it as an opportunity to bond with a fellow Mac-head, but not this time. He tried to chit-chat with me about RAM.

I waved it off. He hyped the latest i-something-or-other software, but I was uninterested. "Just give me the basic build," I sighed.

It's been over a year since I got the new Powerbook, and I haven't even changed the generic blue desktop pattern it came with. It's just not the same. Having a Mac is like having any other computer made by any other giant corporation.

But what are my other choices? I hate Windows. And as far as portable music players, everything out there is a poor imitation of the iPod.
The new Rios are just lumpy copies. And while the Zune looks okay, it won't work with a Mac and who knows what sub-par software Microsoft's gonna release with it.

Let's face it. I'm not leaving Apple. I'll just have to think different, like everybody else.

  • Music Bridge:
    Royal Peppermint Forest
    Artist: Kiln
    CD: Sunbox (Ghostly International)

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