★ On My Macs, Part I

I remember clearly the first time I used an Apple product.

I was probably fifteen years old. It was an iMac G4 - you know, the lamp. I had never seen anything like it. It was love at first sight.

I was living in Naperville. My dad was beginning to put time and energy into building his recording studio. Although we had always been a PC family, he decided that a Mac might be better suited for this endeavor. It was meant to be a music machine only - something to sit by the guitars and nothing more.

To this point, computer shopping had always meant going to CompUSA or some local retailer. Not for this. For the first time, we drove to the Apple Store. From the moment we entered it was obvious: this was a whole different world.

Dad made the purchase and set the machine up downstairs with the family PC. He would use it when he was recording, but for the most part we all stayed on the family's PC. I can't even remember what it was - some beige box running Windows 2000, but an HP? A Dell? Who knows. What I do remember is that I had never even considered that there was another philosophy of personal computing. To put it tritely, I wasn't thinking different.

But there sat the iMac, the art machine, purchased for a specific function and never considered for anything else. I had no reason to think anything of it, but every time I walked downstairs, I looked at it for a little bit longer. It was beautiful and new and I didn't know how to use it. How could an adolescent resist?

I finally decided to try it out. I didn't really understand what was going on, but I realized that it was different from every other computer I'd ever used. Every time I went online, I'd use the Mac a little longer. Soon I wouldn't even look at that ugly beige box.

One day dad found me on the iMac. I don't know what I was doing - probably burning a CD or looking at something online. "Why are you using that?" he said. Without thinking, I knew the answer: "The Mac is a superior computing environment," I said. I never looked back.

The family starting thinking differently about what we were looking for in our computers. And for Christmas 2003, we took the plunge: iBooks for all.