by Matthew Bookspan Mar 20, 2007

Hello everyone. As the newest blogger to Apple Matters, I thought I would write a little story on my relatively recent return to the Macintosh. I started my computing experience on the Commodore 64, when I was in the 7th grade (1984—yikes—that was awhile ago). When I began attending UC Berkeley (Cal) in the fall of 1989, I purchased (with a lot of help from my parents) my first Apple. It was a Macintosh SE with 1MB of RAM and a 20MB hard disk. Oh, the romance with the machine was just beginning….

Throughout my tenure at Cal, I was a huge advocate for the Mac. I became a volunteer at the Berkeley Macintosh User’s Group (BMUG). I started working at The Scholar’s Workstation—the student computer store. I eventually worked in the Computer Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley Labs, teaching classes in Microsoft Word.

In my junior year at Cal, I had the opportunity to purchase a Mac IIci at a significantly discounted price directly from Apple (it was a perk for working at the student computer store). I had to scrounge up every penny and then still beg for a loan from my father so that I could own that beautiful computer. The IIci was amazing—it had 8MB of RAM, a SuperMac Thunder video card (on permanent loan from a friend at the time) and an 80MB hard disk. I kept that computer for three years. It was probably the second best Apple I have owned to date (the first being the one I am typing this article on right now).

When I graduated, I accepted a contract position with Apple. Unfortunately, working there caused a little disillusionment with the company. I loved Apple’s hardware, software (even when it crashed), and peripherals. However, working at Apple (albeit in a contract position) was disappointing for me. It was late summer in 1993 (I had just graduated from Cal) and a good friend recommended me for a contract QA position at Apple (the same friend who worked at SuperMac many years earlier). I heartily accepted and thought I had just reached computing nirvana. And yet, I would become disenchanted, as working at Apple is not the same as using their products.

I don’t want to say anything negative about Apple as a company as I know that much has changed since my short tenure working there. I have many friends who still work for Apple and I applaud what they have achieved. Nevertheless, it was good that I moved onto something different (much different—keep reading).

In early 1994, I purchased my first PowerPC based Mac—the PowerMac 6100. I liked it because of its profile. I also purchased the upgrade for the AV version so that I could use speech as well as the answering machine software. I thought I was pretty cool using my PC as an answering machine (little did I think about the electric bill impact with this decision). I kept that machine until 1997. I then gave it to my brother and walked away from the Mac for almost 10 years.

What happened? Well, I was working for Microsoft (I joined the firm in late 1994) and no longer needed a personal computer as I had a work computer available to me. Further, I was drinking the Kool-aid and really delved into using Windows. I know, I was a sell-out to all of my close friends (and the Mac community). However, I had been using Windows since my days at Lawrence Berkeley Labs (I used both Macs and PCs there). Thus, it wasn’t that much of a transition to use Windows instead of the Mac OS. For the next nine years, I continued to use a Windows-based PC for both personal and work computing. It suited my needs. Until….

Fast-forward to summer of 2006. I decided that I was tired of using a work computer for my personal data. I started investigating what my next PC was going to be. I had a modest budget and I was open to anything (including Linux). I knew I wanted a notebook and I knew I wanted it to be small (I like lightweight machines). So, after performing the appropriate research, I decided on purchasing a new MacBook. Why did I return to the Mac?

Honestly, it wasn’t because of the lack of spyware or viruses. Any smart PC user can use software to prevent attacks. It wasn’t because the Mac is easier to use either (I debate that issue). Simply, the decision was based upon the hardware. The MacBook is an excellent piece of hardware with an integrated iSight, DVD burner, and an Intel Core-Duo. I upgraded the memory to 2GB, as I run Parallels for utilizing Windows on the Mac. The hardware purchase for the dollar was an excellent value. I could not pass it up. And, yes, I will admit that OS X Tiger was very compelling as well. The feature set is still unparalleled today.

Of course, switching back to the Mac has had its pitfalls. I had to re-purchase software (Office being the key product) as well as purchase some unique Mac-only products. I have also had to re-learn the user interface. Admittedly, I love the keyboard access, as I prefer using the keyboard to the mouse. Further, I love how the plug-and-play with peripherals (I have an HP printer now) just works. I still use Microsoft products—I prefer the integration of email, calendar, and address book in Entourage when compared to Mail, iCal, and the Apple Address Book. However, I am always willing to try other products when presented with rational arguments. In fact, I only use KeyNote for presentations now, and I must say that KeyNote is an excellent software program. I look forward to the next release.

So what can you expect of me in my weekly column? My intentions are to write opinion pieces, some software reviews, and random thoughts on the industry at large and how it pertains to Apple. I am very excited to be a part of the team here at Apple Matters and look forward to a lengthy career of writing for Hadley and the team. Feel free to contact me at my Apple Matters email: matthew[at]applematters.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Until next week….



  • Welcome aboard Matthew.

    Tanner Godarzi had this to say on Mar 20, 2007 Posts: 70
  • Honestly, it wasn’t because of the lack of spyware or viruses. Any smart PC user can use software to prevent attacks. It wasn’t because the Mac is easier to use either (I debate that issue). Simply, the decision was based upon the hardware.

    I agree with you here.  I use both Windows and OS X and like them both, but I run them on my iMac, which is the best designed PC I’ve ever used.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Mar 20, 2007 Posts: 2220
  • Tanner/Beeblebrox:

    Thank you both for the comments. I look forward to the continued dialogue.


    Matthew Bookspan had this to say on Mar 21, 2007 Posts: 12
  • Hey Matthew! Welcome aboard. grin

    Smaran Dayal had this to say on Mar 21, 2007 Posts: 15
  • Hey! As one of your ‘Mac’ friends, I say welcome back!
    Somehow, even though I too spent the better part of 10 years at MS, I was able to keep my mac identity. I’m glad you finally saw the light wink I look forward to reading your opinions about all things Apple.

    Kageysea had this to say on Mar 21, 2007 Posts: 9
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