Emily Lam

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

My Relationship With Apple

I've received wonderful gifts for Christmas 2011. One of such gifts was from my roommate. She got me Steve Job's biography. She knew I was a big Apple fan. Steve Job's biography is one of those books I probably would not have bought for myself. The book is huge. Well, I finished reading and skimming the book, mostly reading, and it made me think of multiple things. So I thought I'd blog about them, but in two different posts. The first post, this one, is about my relationship with Apple and the second post is everything else. (Never did end up writing it.)

Elementary School:

The very first Apple product I used was the colorful iMac G3.

Remember these?!

This was in elementary school. Back then, all the computers in my elementary school were macs. I remember we use to crowd around the three or four iMacs each classroom had and take turns playing Bugdom. I also remember when I was in third grade, I was accepted into this program called TAG (Talented and Gifted). The program no longer exists. But back then, elementary school students would get the opportunity to go to the middle school and learn things. I went to an graphic arts one. And there I remember learning how to draw in appleworks on the iMacs. Some of my doodling and sketching styles – I don't draw – are still based on what I learned in that class. My family bought our first computer when I was in elementary school. I had wanted a iMac but I didn't win that one. We got a Windows, Sony VAIO.

(Fair warning: It's a super long post and does become a little disjointed at the end.)

Middle School:

In middle school, I remember just walking into a classroom of colorful iMacs. Not just the computer lab but also the science lab. It was GREAT! Since my middle school ran on macs at the time, there were also some old macs lurking around, you know the beige colored ones. I have no idea which models of Macintosh we had. Some didn't have CD slots and others did. But I did get to use them, I remember having to buy a floppy disk to save my artwork to. They were replaced when I was still in middle school with the Powermac G3 so few people younger than me have used the old Macintoshes. But they were in our graphic art class. And we used appleworks to draw. And of course, we played the games on them, Oregon Trail and Prince of Persia are the few that come to mind. But each Macintosh had different games on them. Good times.

Of the cube iMacs, I know I've used them all.
iMac G3 (2nd generation)


I was the kind of kid who sat at the computer and click the eject button repeatedly, so I know for sure we had the sliding trays, the original iMac G3. And then I also remember the red and deep blue more translucent colors with the slot loading which were the next generation of iMac G3. And then we had the eMacs (Education Macs). I remember then installing those toward the end of my my middle school years in the Tech Ed room and library. According to my youngest sister, she's currently in middle school, none of these cube shaped Macs work very well anymore. Oh well.

And then we had the iBooks.

There were thirty or so of them in my middle school and they were "the computers" in my school. We had the airport I remember and teachers would sign them out together. There were two carts for them, with each iBook in it's own slot on the tray. I remember they would emphasize us to be careful with them. My librarian would panic if you touched then them the wrong way. Two distinct memories: I remember using them in fifth grade in a social studies class and in the library when we learned internet safety. There was also this website: Oracle ThinkQuest. It was like a very safe school-related social network. I don't remember much but I remember I did make a few online friends.

(I've thoroughly enjoyed my middle school experience. Although toward the end of it, there were some things I wished I did differently. But it's that age. I really hate the education system we have now. My sister is in middle school now. Not enough emphasis in the arts or music or technology or other things besides Math, Science, English, and Social Studies. And even in the core subjects, it sucked. New teaching was emerging: Investigation in math instead of strict memorization which I guess is better but Investigation was too slow for half the class, well me at least. And John Collins Writing is a FAIL! Who the hell teaches kids how to write by having them focus on three things and ignore the rest. I'm not normally mean but I really don't like John Collins. I was in the midst of the change. I remember having to do John Collins Writing in art classes. None of the teachers besides the English ones were happy to adopt. I also remember the good old days, in fifth grade, having two specials a day! Specials were classes like physical education, art, cooking, not core classes. And they cut it down to one special a day my sixth grade year. But at least the classes were still there, right? But than each year, specials just disappeared. I still think I got a pretty good range: graphic art, regular art, actual cooking (maybe once or twice), Tech ed, drama, music (with real instruments of course). School is boring nowadays.)

And then high school:

Well at this point, I've been saving money. My dad and I had made an agreement when I was young: I really wanted my own laptop and my dad agree I could have one for high school but I would have to pay half of the price for whatever laptop I chose. Macs at this point wasn't as strong as it is now. Nothing was compatible for it: textbook discs wouldn't work on the mac and the likes. So if it were not for Dell's exploding batteries at the time, I was so close to getting a high end Dell laptop. It would have cost more than the Macbook I ended up choosing but it was what was deemed good at the time. But I reflected. I hated my experience on the family Windows computer, the computer was always crashing, and I loved my experience on the Macs in middle school. So I chose the pretty, pure white Macbook. 

I loved my Macbook. It was amazing. It did everything I wanted it to. It ran the Tiger operating system. It made my first youtube video. I wrote stories on it. I did my first Web Assign and Mastering Biology assignments on it. It was a great first personal computer. I did get Microsoft Word for it though. It's the standard in school. My high school sucked in that it had ZERO Apple products. But that's okay, I had my own. School computers became a hassle. And I really started to hate on the Windows operating system. Compared to Windows whatever was out, my Macbook was so much easier to use. I could connect it to any printer. Wifi was simple to setup. Of course, I didn't play games on it, but I had my Nintendo Gamecube and then Nintendo Wii. This I guess is when I started to become a Apple fan. I didn't get why people bothered with Windows. I was one of the few people who used a mac.

Moving on to Apple products that are not computers.

I got my first iPod with my Macbook. My dad had his college friend purchase my Macbook so we would get the education discount and free iPod and printer. The free iPod was a white 2GB Nano. 

I took great care of it and really it has less scratches on it now than my iPod Touch. I was always very careful with the things I owned. The iPod Nano currently won't hold a charge and I'm on the verge of sending it back to Apple. They're offering a Replacement Program. Good folks, the people at Apple.

And then 2GB wasn't enough and Apple had way more impressive devices out. The iPhone had just come out and I really wanted one. The touch screen looked awesome. My parents couldn't justify getting me one. I had just gotten a cell phone and at this point my parents weren't willing to pay for texting yet. And the iPhone would require both a texting and data plan. But the iPod Touch came out too. And I got that for Christmas my junior year. 

The game on the screen, Tap Tap Revenge, was one of the first apps I got.
I never did end up getting a case for the thing but I did get a screen protector. As result, the screen is in perfect condition, the back, pretty scratched up. The iPod Touch had wifi, so I could browse the internet and more memory for music. It was Touch screen and the best portable music player and plus. I was pretty content. I had a Macbook and a pretty iPod Touch – in retrospect, the iPod Nano was prettier. I like edges more so than the tapered curves. I also had a cell phone. I didn't have a camera but I wanted one. Always putting up the argument that it would be so much more convienent to have an iPhone, you know so I wouldn't have to carry around an iPod and phone, but I didn't push it. The iPhone 3GS that was out at the time was attractive but it was not extremely attractive. Like I said, I liked edges better than curves.

Next, my Macbook started to have problems. The screen kept flickering. The power adapter was blinking between charged and charging. I also cracked the case. I brought my Macbook to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store and they fixed it. They replace the whole outside casing. They replaced the battery and gave me a new power adapter. That's when I learned Apple had great customer service. Yes, I had bought the Applecare plan but all the cost of all the repairs surpass the cost of Applecare.

And now college:

For college, I wanted a new laptop. I hadn't updated my Macbook so it was still running Tiger. The Macbook was a great laptop and I still love the thing. Currently, my youngest sister and mom share it. But I didn't want to be behind in the technology front using my four year old Macbook. And I had gotten a pretty nice financial package from BU and some scholarship money from my high school. So my parents agreed to buy me a new laptop. And by this point, I was a Apple fan. And my experiences on my Macbook were pleasant. So I decided I wanted a Macbook Pro. 

The starting Macbook Pro was what I wanted: it had a 13" screen, all aluminum casing, running snow leopard (I've since updated to Lion). The thing looks beautiful. But it's processor was a little outdated. For the 15" Macbook Pros, the standard processor was a Corei5 and depending how much money you wanted to put into it, the processor could be up to Corei7. The Macbook Pro 13" was not Corei3 but Core 2 Duo. I was considering the 15" for the speed bump. But I decided I didn't need the speed bump. Hasn't bitten in the butt yet, but we'll see. Laptops were a lot cheaper at this time. And buying the Macbook Pro purely on looks was basically what the general consensus is. But I still bought it and I'm happy. I got a copy of Matlab from a friend and my Macbook Pro runs it well. So I spent late nights in my dorm room instead of labs. I also have AutoCad and Mathematica on my mac along with the default mac apps. (February 2012 Update: I've also recently started using Xcode and the Terminal for programming.) Unfortunately, I also have Microsoft Office 2011. When I upgraded to Lion, my PowerPC apps stopped working, so I couldn't run Microsoft Office 2004, which I liked. Now, I have this clunky Microsoft Office 2011 that just plain sucks. The upside, it cost only $40. The awesome thing is that now people buy macs. I walk into my university and it is a pretty even spilt, sometimes more macs than windows. It's amazing!

And finally the iPhone. 

When the iPhone 4 came out. I wanted it. It was just the best looking cell phone out there: Apple had went back to the edges that I liked, it was sleek, all glass (plastic is not my favorite material), and had a great weight to it. I was familiar with it abilities because I had the iPod Touch. But the iPhone unlike my iPod Touch had a camera and a camera better than the digital camera my family owned. It's screen was ultra high resolution. I was sick and tired of carrying multiple devices. I'm not a purse person so my pockets are my limits. With the iPhone, everything in my digital world began to just sync. There's a whole post about the iPhone here so I'll just say I convinced my parents to get me one for Christmas 2010. And I'm very very content.

Think Different. Of course college made me start to think. Last summer, I read Think Different for the time that counted. That's when my relationship with Apple became not just that of a proud consumer and apple fan. I liked the thinking at Apple. I liked how they paid attention to the very littlest of details. I became an admirer. I appreciated their designs. How they made a power adapter cord that would just unlink itself easily when someone tripped over the cord. How they had the engineers figure out a way to have a steel rim on the iPhone 4 and still not block out service. Apple was the underdog who thought different. I just hope it stays the same now that Apple is no longer the underdog.

And finally I read Steve Jobs' biography and I read Apple's history. So now I understand what Apple is: a company aimed at making great integrated products. (A post to come . . .)

Now that I'm thinking about it, I've used A LOT of macs, apple products in general. Its no wonder, I like them so much. For most people, it's I've switched to a Mac at said date. But I've been fortunate enough to always been using one. My family computer, a Sony VAIO, was a Windows but I only used that at home and really, I spent more time on the school computers than the one we had at home. It was only toward the end of eight grade I started using the one at home, you know, the start of the social network era: Myspace and AIM.  (I still use AIM. =]) And over the course of just five years, 2006 to now, I've come to own two iPods, two macs, and one iPhone. Wow! I think I'm content. (for now . . .)

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