Saturday, March 06, 2010

An Apple Kind Of Guy


One of the really great things about being me is that only a couple of people ever call me on my cell phone.

My lovely wife Darlene calls me. Usually when I am out and about tackling tasks on my weekend honey-do list – adding another stop here and there for the items at various stores that she "accidentally" forgot to put on the list before I left the house.

Or telling about all the places I need to stop as I am coming home from work.

Or just to tell me her latest frustration or victory as her day passes.

The great thing about cell phones is that you can put download and set up a ringtone to identify the caller.

When I get a call from my lovely wife's cell phone – my phone plays The Guess Who's "American Woman" – because it used to be that she was calling me from work in Detroit.

When my lovely wife calls me from home - my phone plays Johnny Cash's "Folsum Prison Blues" – starting at the line "but I'm stuck in Folsom Prison …"

The "married guys anthem" - how apropos.

Last week, after months of consideration, Darlene went out and upgraded her cell phone to an Apple
IPhone. A 16 gigabyte hand held device that runs on the 3GS network.

She is in love with it.

Now I know there is a great divide when it comes to opinions of 3GS network cell phones.

Some of my friends have Apple's IPhone – and they love it.

Other friends – mostly people I work with in the IT industry – despise Apple's IPhone – and rave about the Android – running what is best described as a look-a-like user interface – the same swipe moves – pinches – pulls and push moves to navigate around the phone.

There are some significant differences between the IPhone and the Andorid phones.

The biggie is that when an IPhone battery dies – they tell me you pretty much have to buy a new phone. But the Android on the other hand can be opened up and the battery replaced.

That's a big deal.

As well, the IPhone only lets you do one thing at a time. You can only have one application open – like a calendar application – and if you need to reference something else – you have to shut down that application – and open the other – like a maps application – to look up directions to the place you are making the calendar entry for – and then close it down to move back into the calendar.

It would be like only being able to open one program in one window on your PC at time.

But the Android – so they tell me – allows you to open multiple applications at a time and jump around between them – just like on your PC, copying and pasting stuff from one to the other.

So they tell me anyway. I cannot speak from experience … yet.

You see, this afternoon, my lovely wife Darlene is hell-bent on taking me to the store to get my IPhone.

As Paul Simon would say – "who am I to blow against the wind".

Now – before I go on further – let me explain my experience with Apple.

Me, the big IT guy – huge supporter of the OpenSource movement sparked by the invention of Linux in the mid-1990's – a fundamental principle in the positioning of the Android phones – a certified Java developer –

… yada, yada, yada …

I love Apple.

Here is why.

Even though I work in a very technical field – I do fancy myself to be more of an artsy type rather than a techie kind of guy.

In 1988 - my very first job when I got out of school – included being an "Apple Support Coordinator" for an Apple outlet in London, Ontario. I was instrumental to moving the London newspaper – the Free Press – to creating their graphics and page layout into the next century by introducing the Apple Macintosh into their networks.

I set them up. I hooked them up. And then I taught their graphics people and the page layout people how to draw and do page layout.

And in the process – I got very good at making computer graphics on the Mac.

I was teaching bona-fide artists how to be artists on the Macintosh. And that was so much fun.

At one point the Free Press downloaded some graphics and they caught a virus. I went in with my little tool-kit and cleaned up the whole network – on their Macs and their PCs.

It just so happened that our little store was having an open house that day – and all our big customers – including the London Free Press – were invited. The regional representatives from Apple were also there.

So in I walked – a couple hours into the event – with a big wig from the Free Press's graphics department. A very happy lady indeed. As I shook hands with the Apple reps – the lady from the Free Press took them aside – and told them about "their experience". The learning, the fun, the success – and then all about how I fixed their problems.

That night – as the evening had ended – the Apple district manager walked into my little office – handed me a beer, and proceeded to offer me a good job with Apple – in Toronto.

I had no intention of leaving London and moving to Toronto.

So I stupidly said "thank you very much – but no thank you".

As the 1990's came and went – Apple went through a very hard time. And I established myself as a strong programmer – then an analyst – then an architect. And in that process – I also turned down a position with IBM – in either Toronto, or in Rochester, Minnesota. Again I again said no.

I never regretted saying no to IBM.

But I still wonder if I missed the boat with Apple.

In my little home office – hanging on the wall behind our family PC – a dual core Pentium HP with the ulitimate multi-media components as well as a TV tuner – I have my prized possession.

In the original frame as it hung in our store in London – is the very first promotional poster of the Macintosh when it was introduced to the world.

Many hate Apple. Techies seem to hate Apple. Non-techies seem to love Apple.

I'm a weird duck this way – because I too love Apple products.

I love their design.

I love their user interfaces.

I love the look, the feel, and the ease of use of Apple products.

So if you were to ask me which phone I will choose today … I will get the IPhone.

And I can't wait.

It doesn't mean more people will call me on my new IPhone.

At least I hope it doesn't.

And it doesn't mean I'm going to change my ringtones – no way.

But as this 3GS network continues to evolve and the world moves more towards this new style of computing and people start changing the means by which they use these services ..

I am going to experience it in the Apple way.

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