Losing My Mac Virginity…

By Kathryn Matthews

…wasn’t as painful as I had imagined.

Actually, my spanking new MacBook Pro, with its sleek aluminum body, intuitive smarts and powerful performance, is kind of thrilling.  It’s been a life-changing experience.

I’m a writer who had been a lifetime PC user.

But through the years, I always seemed to attract bad tech karma.  There was the time when I was working on my brand new HP laptop at home—in my office—when a large stapler suddenly toppled from an overhead shelf.  It landed smack in the middle of my keyboard—and I had to replace a damaged hard drive.  Another time, in a sleep-deprived, deadline-driven state, I accidentally knocked over a mug of espresso on my desk.  The dark liquid that rapidly seeped into every crevice of my Dell PC set off ominous crackling and sizzling noises.  Panic-stricken, I called my dear friend Cal, a computer wizard, who counseled me to turn the power off, wipe everything dry, remove my hard drive, turn my laptop upside down and shake vigorously.  How did I spend that Sunday afternoon?  Crouched under my tented laptop, diligently blow-drying my keyboard.  Just another exciting day in the life of a writer.

More recently, my three-year-old HP Compaq laptop began acting out.  The last six months have been especially trying: a screen that periodically froze, disabled search engines, corrupt files and an extremely slow-running computer.  Last month, out of the blue, I was plagued by clusters of pop-up boxes, with ominous messages warning of security and hacking threats, which eventually prevented me from opening any programs.  Forget about writing!  Turned out, that somehow, some way, I had contracted nine different malware viruses, some disguised as “Windows Security Updates”.  Cal valiantly came to my rescue as a master cleaner.  “You need your own IT department,” he joked.  I couldn’t disagree.  The malware viruses were persistent, requiring several cleans.  The last cleaning targeted the registry, finally ridding my PC of the security alert pop-up boxes. Unfortunately, it also removed the printer spool in the programming, leaving me unable to print.

I ran to the Apple store.

Not only did I buy the MacBook Pro, I also promptly signed up for a year’s worth of One-on-One tutorials ($99).

Without question, Apple products are expensive.  And, with very few exceptions, there are no deals.  But Apple promotes a culture of technological empowerment—if you’re willing to invest the time and energy to learn.  The staff at Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue store—open 24 hours—is ever-ready to assist.  And I’ve found my One-to-One sessions invaluable.

As someone who is vigilant about drinking clean water, eating low-mercury fish, pesticide-free produce and antibiotic and hormone-free meats, minimizing toxic chemical exposure, where possible, is a personal priority. I find it reassuring to know that Apple  products are free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), mercury, phthalates, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and arsenic-free glass.  And their product designs, focused on product longevity, energy efficiency and recyclability, reflect their commitment to reducing environmental impact.

I’m still on a learning curve.  But it’s good to know that my very first bite of Apple tastes green.

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