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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Friday, October 05, 2001

A Mac fan welcomes new Apple store A Mac fan welcomes new Apple store (October 05, 2001)

by Frank A. Bravo

To say I am a diehard Apple and Macintosh fan would be an understatement. While most IT professionals vow allegiance to the PC and Windows platform, I am the opposite.

There are three things I display proudly in my office: Photos of my wife and two sons, an iMac "Yum" poster, and a Macintosh-clone advertisement with the text "You can take my Mac when you pry my cold dead fingers off the mouse."

In grade school, during the early-1980s, we used an Apple IIe. I remember thinking how easy they were to understand. Most students knew more and could do more with them than the teachers. We were the first generation to grow up with personal computers available to us, and our knowledge and the ability to learn the systems outpaced the adults.

At home, we had an IBM PC, because that is what my father used at his office. I am glad for the endless hours I spent learning DOS commands on that machine. But it was an enlightenment when I had my first experience with a Macintosh -- when I got my first real job in 1990 with the now-defunct Peninsula Times Tribune.

Once I saw what it could do -- from graphics and games to layout and sound -- I was hooked. In late 1990, I purchased my first very own computer, a Macintosh LC, complete with a 16MHz 68020 processor, six megabytes of RAM and a 9,600-baud modem.

I learned on the PC, and most (but not all) of the computers I work with every day are PCs, but I have pledged my personal devotion to the Macintosh.

That first machine lasted a long time, several real-time years, but I finally upgraded to a 7100/66, a machine I still have, although my primary computer at home is a G3 now.

I learned from my first experiences with Apples and Macintosh that if you want to do layout and design, or if you are a student, you use a Mac.

Of course, programs are now available for PCs that do the exact same things Mac programs do -- but Macs are just better. A Mac looks better; feels better and, in a lot of cases, just runs better.

A few years back, when Apple was having so many technical and financial problems, a KNTV-11 reporter doing a story on the state of Apple called me. She was looking for a small to mid-sized business IT professional to give an opinion about Apple and its future.

At that time, I said I didn't think Apple was going to go away and would always be the leader in the publishing/design/creative field. I still feel that way.

It is great to see Apple back in the education and home markets with the iMac and iBook. I was not at all surprised this year when my oldest son (who has used a Mac since he was able to sit on my lap and see the screen) started kindergarten and his classroom had an iMac and two older Macs. The school is also just finishing up a computer lab where there will be 30 iMacs.

And, like father like son, he knows more about fixing errors than his teachers do.

A little over a year ago, Apple announced that it was going to venture into physical retail space. Saturday Apple will bring that store online, so to speak, in the heart of the downtown commercial area. And Palo Alto -- birthplace of many inventions and advances in the computer field -- will be home to one of the stores as well as to Apple founder Steve Jobs.

As a Mac faithful, will I be at that opening Saturday morning? Most likely.

Will retail stores be the catalyst that will bring Apple from a 5 percent market share to challenge the Windows market or will it just be another cool place to go downtown? Hard to say.

In any case, I am happy to "think different" about computing and use an "insanely great" machine.

Frank Bravo is director of computer operations and Webmaster for Embarcadero Publishing, the parent company of the Palo Alto Weekly. E-mail him at [email protected]


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