Applepanda – The Switch

Okay lots to talk about so let’s get right into it. Last Wednesday I was at work tip-typing away hard core trying to plow through all the stuff I had to finish before the end of the day when my computer – loyal companion for the past 3.5 years – suddenly fritzed once, heave a terrible, terrible sad sigh that is still ingrained in my mind, then turned black and straight up died. Oh and there was a smell of burning. I tried everything in my power to revive my poor baby, but I had a sneaking suspicion it might have been the motherboard that finally went. Oh the humanity.

new mac
Yeah. It’s a new macbook. Read on…

Upon schlepping her to the local repair shop, the clerk informed me that while I could pay a good USD $200 to have it sent to the factory to get looked at, his assessment is that it was likely the motherboard as well. Estimated price tag? Umm… around 100,000 yen ($1000 USD). *gulp* Add in the fact that I need a new keyboard (which stupid Fujitsu refuses to sell to anyone to do it themselves, thus holding a monopoly on the hyper inflated 20,000yen ($200 USD) replacement fee) for her, and we’re talking two weeks and 120,000 ($1200 USD) easily just to get a 3.5 year old computer up and limping around. It doesn’t take a genius to see that we’re better off spending the money on a new computer.

For reasons that I will not bore you with, I decided to make the move to Mac. I’ve been contemplating this for a long time and decided now was as good a time as any. This decision has had its ups and downs, but here are some random observations from my first week into Mac ownership:

This has nothing to do with the current topic, but is just a pretty picture from a future post to lure you into reading this one.

Mac Metaphor I

Switching to Mac is a lot like coming out of the closet and going to your first gay bar. Upon setting foot in there, you suddenly see familiar faces from all over your neighborhood. “Hey Tom! I didn’t know you were gay!” “Oh yeah, I have been for years! Look over there! See Rob and Jake from the local grocery store? Them too!” “Wow, I had no idea…!”

Only instead of being gay, it’s like “Oh my god, hey Tom! I didn’t know you used a Mac?!” “Oh yeah, have for years! Look, Rob and Jake are Mac users too!”

LOL. It’s like this vast secret underground community and all these people I never knew were part of it, suddenly now I know. Crazy.

Stuck up Apple fan boys

I am growing to tolerate and even like my Mac and the day may come when I even start to love it as much as my previous baby. In a way, it’s a lot like buying a new dog to replace your old dog that died. Your new dog can be as loyal as it can, filled with new tricks, even look adorable in the corner with its tongue hanging out, but you know that you are going to resent it for a while simply because it isn’t your old dog. But someday I know, I will come around (I hope!).

isight panda mugging
Could a face this cute (or a seal panda this cute) ever catch a case of Apple Asshole disease? :(

That having been said, I hope I never catch a case of “Apple Fanboy Disease” that seems to afflict 90% of the male Apple user population and turns them into these arrogant elitist tools physically incapable of passing up any opportunity to deride Microsoft, PCs or paint PC users as borderline retarded Neanderthal incompetents barely capable of carrying out the simplest of tasks just cuz’ they’re not on Macs. Every time I have to read a brainless rant by one of these Apple zombies, I want to slap the taste out of their smug stuck-up mouths because seriously, it is just the worst case of insecurity and self-masturbatory public oration the poor pandar ever did see.

And so I make you a promise, gentle readers: if I ever turn into one of those retarded slavering Mac fanboys and start blindly pontificating about how much better Mac is than Windows and how much more intelligent Apple users are than PC users, you officially have officially have permission to shoot me and dump my lifeless panda corpse in the closest abandoned bamboo grove. And there is nothing sadder than a lifeless panda, so I promise you I won’t go there.

Think different? Inappropriate redeux.

So I work in A Big Boring Office filled with people in Identical Boring Black Suits And Boring White Shirts. Basically like the movie Office Space, only with more fluorescent lights and no individual cubicles. Awesome, huh? The kind of place every kid dreams of growing up to work in. (cue sigh of childhood dreams long ago smashed). Anyway, so everybody in my office is dressed in boring black or gray suits, white shirts, muted ties and sits in front of identical ugly beige boxy NEC business laptops. And in this office of 50 people, there sits one panda, who refuses to surrender the last vestiges of his individuality and wears a pretty pink tie (for spring), colorful silk pocket square, and as of last week, has in front of him the only Mac in the entire office (and possibly building).

Can someone tell me what the hell is up with the floaty invisible mutlileveled tiled palette window things please…!?

So yesterday, I’m sitting at my Mac, trying to punch swooshing, zooming application windows out of the way so I can get some work done (more about that in a sec) when one of the guys who works on the other side of the room comes and sits down next to me.

“Hey panda! Nice Mac!”

“Oh thanks! I got it last week when my computer died.”

“Sugoi!” (cool!)

>cue slight awkward pause

“By the way…” – he gestures to my tie, pocket square and then to my Mac – “you really like different things, huh?”

“Uhh… I guess so.” My panda senses start tingling the way they do when I know a Japanese person is about to say something inappropriate to me.

“Yeah… you are sugoi kiza huh?”

I don’t know what the word kiza means, so I just do the thing I do whenever Japanese people say something I don’t understand – I smile broadly and keep nodding until they leave. Then I pull out my dictionary and look up the word:

Kiza: 気障: “affectation (an). conceit. snobbery.”
〜な: “conceited”

sigh… :(


“If I can do something useful while the Mac is willing – so much the better…”

So I am still learning to come to grips with my Mac. Sometimes I loves it. Sometimes I feel it’s like it’s my greatest foe and I have to fight it at every step to make it do what I want. Like with the windows, and expose and dashboard. I loves how cool it looks in theory, but in reality, I find myself constantly having windows fricking flying in at me from all corners of the screen. Like I’ll move the mouse to try and switch to my e-mail program and all of a sudden 15 things zoom into the frame. Clocks. Calendars. Calculators. Stock feeds.

Calculator Widget OF DOOM!!

It’s like my computer is like “Omigod hi2u panda! Do you want a calculator widget? How about a calendar?

*swoosh*! Here you are!”

Me: “Umm, no thank you computer. I would just like to use microsoft word if that’s okay.”

Mac: “No, no, I think you really do want a calculator. swoosh. Here. Use it. Calculate something.”

Me: “No, really Mac, I think I just want to write a letter, please”


Me: “Please Mac… I have so much work to get done. Can I please just use Word?”


Me: *clicks randomly on widgets to make them go away*

Mac: “Fine. *takes away calculator* But first, before I bring up word, how about searching with something with Spotlight!? Swoosh!

Me: *gives up, collapses in heap, sobbing*

As a windows users, I like the way everything is neat and fitted to squares and each application window has its own toolbar etc. (regardless what generally intelligent people like John Gruber might think). It’s efficient. It’s neat. But with Mac – it’s a different user paradigm, so you have to get used to shit floating everywhere. I mean tool palettes float half-translucent over other windows, stuff overlaps and intrudes everywhere, things are cluttered and jammed together. I feel like I always have to punch a half dozen different windows out of the way to actually get anything done…!*

*Laughs* It’s kind of like this video:

Sorry for the youtube video, but I still need to find a .flv encoder for mac

*NOTE: Dear All Apple FanBoys: I already know about cmd+tab and expose. I was just making a point. Thank you.

Letter Writing Campaign 2007, Update

Okay, so as you might imagine, most of my time this past week has been occupied with getting my computer problems taken care of, salvaging data and setting up my new machine (and trying to catch it when it feels cooperative and like letting me get some work done). So the Great Letter Writing Campaign 2007 has pretty much been on haitus for a week. But now, I’ve got most of my computer situation sorted, so I’m back to writing letters with a frenzy from tomorrow!

The first batch has been sent out and it seems like some people have already gotten theirs! I am hoping to get the second set sent out by the end of the week. *crosses fingers* So keep your eyes open and checking your mailbox if you see your name on the list, and if not, it’s not too late to get put on! Just drop me a line from the Reader Feedback link over on the sidebar to the right with your name and (mailing) address and I’ll put you in the queue! But remember – you have to promise to write back!

People already in the queue

completed!letter completed!
in progress!letter in progress!
waiting to be written!In the queue!

  • The Lovely Catarrh
  • Liz
  • Momo
  • Smurf
  • Bellish
  • Fudge
  • Veronica (package too!)
  • KC
  • Lina
  • Gwen
  • Ben
  • Lorelei! En route soon my panda buddy!
  • ……
  • Your name here!!

Okay, that’s it for now! But lots and lots of good stuff waiting in the queue for future blog posts – some lovely adventures to see the Studio Ghibli Museum, beautiful spring hanami (cherry blossom viewing) pictures, some urban night shots (which you caught a sneak peek of on this post!) and a tale of a co-worker who smells very, very, very bad. Oh god. Now that’s a story you gotta hear.

Stay tuned!

Now listening to: Sarah Brightman – Eden (Hooverphonic Remix)
Thanks Liz!

sarah brightman - eden

Did you ever think of me,
As your best friend.
Did I ever think of you,
I’m not complaining.

I never tried to feel.
I never tried to feel.
This vibration.
I never tried to reach.
I never tried to reach.
Your eden.

(Your eden. Your eden.)

14 Reactions

  1. Lorelei

    Huzzah for the new maccie! And for me being in the queue!
    BTW: My E-mail open in the back of the floaty invisible multileveled tiled palette window things? Awesome!\(^.^)/

  2. felix

    Ah, the leap into the world of Mac. Congrats, MP!
    Now, /we/ just have to wait for either one of our PC laptops to die, and maybe then we’ll finally make the leap. Especially since I am not liking the next generation OS for PC, Windows Vista.

  3. devin Singley

    excellent. now all thats left is to drink the kool-aid and join the fan boys. i switched a couple months ago and haven’t looked back.

  4. momo

    I GOT YOUR LETTER! It was really an awesome surprises to my day to receive your sticker-festooned festival of cheer! Japanese stationary is so cute. :)
    For some reason I always thought that you owned a Mac. Did someone call you a hipster snob?? I might use that on someone…

  5. moritheil

    The fervor you describe in the Mac community is nothing short of hilarious. Also, thanks for teaching us a new word!

  6. Photosushi

    UHHHHUUU ! Finally .
    welcome to the club ! 10 years of mac and couting !
    Mate if u need any help or software just let me know ! I’ll hook u up !

  7. lizb

    ohhh i hope it settles down it’s just excited to have a new daddy! like that little puppy?
    that is a good song, btw. and i’m suppppper super excited to see some totoro!

  8. ashan

    Welcome to the Wonderful World of Apple :)
    I feel I must mention that I am currently typing this on a black Macbook. Great minds think alike.

  9. Ben

    I gave you my advice for buying a Mac and you didn’t mention my me in this post?? Jeeee… just kiding but seriously. Well, you’re in the cool group of Mac geeks now. I’m loving mine.
    And I’m still waiting for the letter.

  10. andrew

    Sorry to hear about your computer’s death. I hate when that happens.
    Interesting that you bought a mac. I hope it works out for you. I know with BootCamp you can install windows..but why would you.
    As for me I use Linux so I dont think I would go anywhere near a mac. In fact all the little penguin avatars on my site are re-dressed versions of “Tux” the Linux mascot.
    ok ok…I know…loser get a life.
    As for your co-worker, why break out the dictionary when if you have internet access you can go to
    and embarrass him/her right away.

  11. DH

    (ctrl/tab) is a handy feature and will help you over the ‘things floating everywhere’ bit. The dashboard, as you know by now, goes away simply by clicking anywhere on your desktop that is not a widget. Congratulations.

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