There’s a new and especially antibiotic-resistant bug on the loose, threatening to spread worldwide. As though we needed another new epidemic, not to mention all the floods and earthquakes and rising seas and so on. In fact the suspense is killing me, as I await the plagues of toads and suchlike falling from the skies (Exodus 7-12).
But the near-universal spread of the consumerist virus doesn’t get enough press. (Maybe that’s because governments around the world have every interest in promoting the pandemic, for this lies at the heart of “economic recovery” plans. So team players don’t go around describing our favorite growth engine as a plague, and forget about the most recent collapse of the global financial system.)
But I was going to talk about my new computer, and why I have it.
This cultural worm (consumerism acts like a virus but it’s also a worm) has conspired with a trojan computer to warp my judgment. My new desktop is so sophisticated it has an agenda all its own, and when enough of them get networked, like in about a week and a half, probably, it’ll be Bob’s yer uncle. Humankind superseded by an intelligence of our own creation. At the end of our long history we come to know our essential nature, revealed to ourselves by our own offspring as obsolete, unpleasantly smelly wet things that shed hair and bits of dead skin all over the place, clogging up the fan vents on our successors.
I didn’t mean to buy a new computer. Especially an iMac 27” supercomputer with a 1TB HD, a shitload of RAM and some processor I can’t even talk about for fear agents of foreign powers come and take it from me. This machine has all the latest doodahs and gimcracks. I can now handle words of any length and sentences of any complexity. I can move the words this way and then back again. I can delete commas and replace them at will. I can adopt full-screen, page-width View and then stand back at duelling range to write without the use of reading glasses. I am a god among penniless scriveners.
And I didn’t really mean to switch from PC to Mac. But Mac Users I know transfixed me with steady gazes and made pronouncements in tones of profound certainty. Mac Cultists who were complete strangers gestured hypnotically in public places. Evil designers and engineers at Apple have gone around expressing the epitome of classic elegance, the quintessence of contemporary cool. And Sara, of course, tells me I should do whatever makes me feel good, never mind my Buddhistic arguments that this is all maya, eh? Attachments to transitory things that can only bring more unhappiness down the road when one’s acquisitive lusts find new focus. Etc.
But here I sit, gazing at several acres of screen space, my old 19” Dell hooked up to one side of the 27” iMac which (have I already mentioned this?) has the actual computer built into the frame of the monitor.
Mac Cultists have been sent by the Devil.
But here are some arguments that finally swung me from PC to Mac.
- The Mac looks neat.
- And… Um.
- My old PC has gone gaga. It does odd things at unpredictable intervals, except it predictably does these things at the most inconvenient times possible.
- It’s all of three years old, of course, but it takes so long to boot that I try never to have to boot up.
- Nevertheless the machine has taken to crashing so often that I spend more time booting up than I do working or having fun or sleeping.
- Even when the computer is booted up, Outlook, my mail program and contacts organizer, takes so long to download e-mail that carrier pigeons might make a speedier option.
- My PC is ugly.
- Macs are cool.
- I’m told Macs, unlike PCs, don’t progessively slow down till they’re neck and neck with a pre-global warming glacier.
- And they’re sweet. Or did I aleady mention that?
- The text is adjustable to any size and for any light, so I’ll avoid eyestrain.
- Mac hardware and Mac software, unlike their PC counterparts, are part of a unified design, so they work better. (Or so I’m told; it’s too soon to say.)
- I need to renew my sense of personal efficacy, and I don’t want to sit downstairs with my buddies in my new cabin cruiser wearing a Tilly hat and drinking beer and talking about fishing. (See my last post, if you want to know what I’m talking about here.)
- For years I’ve been reading about a database/search program for Mac called DevonThink, for which there’s no PC equivalent, and I’m dying to try it.
- I spend much of my waking life in front of computers, and this environment should be as efficient and pleasant as I can make it.
- This iMac is just too cool for words.
So here we are. Aethestics and ease of use rool, OK! Plus a consumerist virus ate my brain.
The illustration, above, is from an article, “Can Animals Predict Earthquakes?”, about a mysterious invasion of toads in Mianzhu, China in 2008.