Thursday, February 27, 2003

Warning: High Geek Content Ahead

Things I Learned While Switching

- The retail Apple Store looks cool and edgy and all white like a Gap ad, but ultimately it's a lot like Best Buy: You get a person much younger than you repeatedly trying to sell you an extended warranty package. I made the mistake of telling the young lady that I was switching from a PC, and that once again set her off into a condescending attempt to sell me a three-year warranty. Hey honey: I was playing Missile Command on an Apple II in the high school computer room when you were in three-cornered pants ... I may just know what I'm doing here.

- Never ever update your accounting software. Intuit manages to worsen their accounting products, year-in, year-out. Plus, my 1997 version of QuickBooks 4.0 for PC was fully convertible to QuickBooks 4.0 for Macintosh. Sweet. It's likely that if you move beyond 4.0 on either platform, you can't convert between platforms. It certainly is the case with QuickBooks 5.0 for Mac.

- eBay was the secret star of my conversion. I was able to get QuickBooks for Mac at a discounted rate and was also able to buy a (superior, according to a tech guy at my ISP) Cisco 678 router for my new DSL service rather than go with the Actiontec routers that Qwest now leases you. Not only that, but online bidding combines gambling and pure capitalism into a unique high.

- I did have to switch the type of DSL service I had and doing so reminded me that Qwest continues to bite the big one. Drinks are on me when they finally go out of business due to incompetence or accounting irregularities. 1) Calling their customer service twice resulted in me being disconnected after being in the voice-mail maze for five minutes. 2) They told me my new DSL service would be ready in "five business days, maybe three." When I checked back in five business days, my order due date had been changed to seven business days. 3) When I placed my DSL upgrade order, I specifically told them that I did not need a new modem. They sent me one anyway, which is sure to result in me being over billed and once again spending too much time in their voice-mail hell. 4) Five hours after finally getting my DSL up and running, my phone service - DSL and regular phone line - was shut down altogether, prompting another call to Qwest. Clowns.

- Flat screen monitors are easy on the eyes. My old monitor screen looks all gray in comparison. Plus, the old monitor was the size of a car. I have a crew of five guys coming over on Saturday to help move it out of my apartment.

- Macintosh's new operating system, OS X, is slick and fast once you get used to how it works. I did have to reload it after throwing a bunch of (non-pirated of course heh heh) software onto it. But since then it's only been two lock-ups in four days, as opposed to the six-per-day I would get with Windows ME.

- Apple's iTunes is amazing. The songs are concisely and clearly organized and it has a simple, effective search engine. I typed "Gerry" into it and it immediately brought up "Right Down the Line" for my use. You can copy and paste an Internet broadcast's URL and iTunes plays it for you. I haven't explored their Net radio presets, but they do have Metal Gods. Awesome. (And oh yeah, at the bottom of the iTunes display it tells me this: 297 songs, 18.5 hours, 1.08 GB of music - in your face, recording industry.)

- My ISP rules. And it seems most of their expert, friendly tech guys use Macs at home. Seems I made the right decision.

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