|This is a PowerBook and the early Macbook Pro|
side-by-side. They look very much alike,
only with different ports, and an iSight camera
on the Macbook.
In my career as a graphic artist, I've been a PC. Haughty Mac users have for years looked down their noses at me, since you "can't do" graphics on a PC. This is hogwash of course. And as a graphic artist in the sign industry (much as in the embroidery world), the PC has always been the platform of choice. CorelDRAW grew up with the PC, as did proprietary sign-making software. I have had no problem doing anything on the PC that a Mac user can do. In fact--in my experience--Mac artist often (very often)--cheat in their drawings, using special effects, extra shapes, masks and other tools to make their drawing look good on the screen or on printed paper, but useless for making a real-world product.
|The Adobe CS5 Suite. Pricy.|
But you know what? If I ever need to know AI or PS (or even the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite), I'd be set adrift in an unfamiliar world, despite my 20+ years of computer graphics experience. So, a couple of years ago, I decided I'd better learn, if for no other reason than I'd be able to bring something to my current job, and increase my knowledge for a future one, should I ever need it. I decided that I should buy a used computer with the software pre-loaded, in order to save costs (the Adobe suite costs over $1,000, not counting the computer). And I also decided, it should be an Apple Macintosh computer, since the goal is learning, and because I had no familiarity with it.
|The "spinning beach ball of death" A common|
problem with my PowerBook. As bad as the
Windows hourglass or blue circle.
Travis--a teenaged son of a friend and Cult of Mac adherent--reasoned that I couldn't judge a Mac based on an "old" computer. This may be true, but a four-year-old top of the line computer ought to keep up with an even older bottom-of-the-barrel PC. It sure as hell ought to be able to surf the internet without bogging down, and displaying the "spinning beach ball of death" every 10 seconds. Shouldn't it?
Eventually, I had to just throw in the towel, and admit that my old Mac wasn't going to cut it. I never did get comfortable with CS3, because I couldn't stand the frustration. So, I sold the old Mac on eBay (buyer beware!), and bought a newer old Mac. This time, it was a Macbook Pro, with a Core2Duo processor and 4 GB of RAM. I ended up winning an eBay sale, nearly panicking when I did so, not sure I got the right thing. Upon receipt though, I found that I could scarcely have done better. I got the last Mac model (early 2008) before they started making them out of a single piece of aluminum (unibody). It's the top-of-the-line, but "old" enough not to be too expensive. It's as old as the PowerBook was when I got it, but newer than this here blog is.
As I was hoping, this Mac is not only better, it's awesome! If I had gotten this one the first time, by now I might be a Mac/Adobe aficionado! Though I haven't yet completed a project in CS5 (yes, it came with the NEW suite!), I fully intend to. I'm armed with a stack of OS X Lion and CS5 books from the library. And this time, it isn't going to be torture. The new computer is quite zippy, the memory-hog programs open in seconds. The computer will even reboot in less time than any computer I've ever owned. To date, the "spinning beach ball of death" has only ever spun for a second or two, where it was a continual presence on the PowerBook.
|So, maybe I'm a little nerdy and smart like|
John Hodgeman, and a little cool and savvy
like Justin Long?
I'll be posting the results of my first Mac graphics experiment (the first successful one, anyway!) once I have it done, hopefully this weekend. If you are a PC who is bi-curious (in the computer world, silly), I can recommend staying away from Motorola-based older Macs, but Intel Core2Duos or above? Go for it! But weigh the pre-loaded software models heavier. As expensive as these suckers are, you'll be discouraged otherwise.