Aren't I Switched yet?

Jason Shellen
19 years ago · 4 min read

It's a cruel twist of fate that brings a Wired article about my Mac-over on the heels of a frustrating weekend of wrestling with my new 2GHz Dual G5 PowerMac.

I've been an ardent fan of Apple, Jobs, and the Macintosh line for years. Not a customer, just a fan. I've marketed to Mac lovers. I've named and designed product packaging for Macs. I played Oregon Trail in the third grade on an Apple IIe. I learned Photoshop 2.5 in a college graphic design course on a black and white Mac SE. I've even used a Mac or two for the odd graphic conversion that just wouldn't play nice on a Windows machine. I just never had the money or inclination to look at a Mac, or any prepackaged PC for that matter. I blame my Dad.

Being raised in Silicon Valley by a man who works in the high tech industry means that computers are built, not bought. 'Getting a computer' meant going to Fry's to buy components, a motherboard and a power supply. Maybe it would work on first power-on maybe not. Did I have the right BIOS? Did I need a driver. Damn the torpedoes - computing is adventure! Dell can't give you the self satisfaction of the first whiff of electricity in the air as you hover near sleep sitting on the floor with a Taiwanese-built metal chassis lid askance as you see C:/ for the first time at 2:03 AM!

Now all of that was fun, but I'm a married guy now. I have a 2-year old who needs to see Rolie Polie Olie and he needs it now! Computing has failed him when it takes more than 30 seconds between wanting to hear Outkast's Hey Ya and doing the dance to it. Drew has no time for processing. Can anyone blame him? I no longer have time for the adventure of computing.

This brings us to the sweet, sweet OS that is ten or X or some cat name. Mac OSX is amazing and I've been in love with it ever since February when I requested a 12in PowerBook G4 three days before the Etech conference. No respectable geek can go to Etech with a Windows machine three years in a row. It was time to switch and I've been very happy with my silver baby. I only really miss a few Windows apps (mostly HomeSite). Gmail and Firefox have made the switch even easier. Let's stop the lovefest however and skip forward a month.

My good friend Eric Case is the resident Mac expert on the Blogger team. When I told him I was pining for a Mac at home he urged me to check out the Apple Store's sale section. Eric scored a sweet deal there in February and thought I could do the same.. and I did. $600 off of the top of the line 2GHz Dual G5 PowerMac! It was a refurb but still backed by Apple and certified swell by the Apple team. 3 days later I had my Mac in hand and fired it up and then my problems began.

All fans came on and stayed on. It sounded like a Harrier jet had landed in my home office. Quick trip to the Apple Store in Palo Alto confirmed that this was bad. Seems it had a bad motherboard among other things. They even replaced the metal case. Odd but fine. I brought the repaired box home. Weird static sounds came out of the speakers. I brought it back in. Nothing. Must be my imagination and I brought it back home. Static...again. Aha! The machine hadn't warmed up in the store and the audio problem presented itself only after being on for 10 minutes or more! I brought it back. Yes! My new buddies at the Apple Store Genius bar confirmed that I was not insane and there was something wrong. More days of waiting. Confirmed, it was indeed another bad motherboard. They replaced it and everything appeared normal...until I tried to install Photoshop or Illustrator. 'Application unexpectedly quit'. KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS. At least I know when a PC barfs what to do, this is like taking a foreign language. A Mac that can't run Photoshop isn't a Mac! I've owned the machine for almost a month but it's only been in my possession for about a week of that time. I'm frustrated and the G5 is not a light machine. I can't bear to lug it back in to the Apple Store a 6th time. I'm regretting buying a refurbished machine for sure. What shall I do? AppleCare tells me to take it up with Adobe. The Apple Store tells me to take it up with AppleCare. My gut tells me to ask for your help dear readers. What shall I do next?