bookmark_borderOn not buying a Mac

This WAS going to be quite a lengthy post. I was going to list my requirements, the things I can do now and the things I know are better on a Mac. I was going to compare my Mac experiences in the past (from the Classic II to the Powerbook of a friend) to my Windows experiences of now.

I was even going to explore the whole “fan” side of things, and maybe discuss how, sometimes, zealots are NOT a good selling tool.

But, ultimately, the main reason I won’t be buying a Mac, at this point, is simple. It’s not a complicated reason, and you can argue against it all you want.

They are too expensive.

Now, let me just quantify that a little.

I’m not talking purely about the initial layout, although that is the major factor — for the same money I can get ‘more’ PC — but the cost of switching, of learning new things, new applications, new hardware. I know my way around a PC and around Windows which, on my home PC, is highly configured and rarely gives me any problems.

I KNOW Macs are quick to pick up, I KNOW OSX is an excellent operating system, and I know, long term, I’ll learn everything I need to learn.

But right now I just can’t be bothered, I don’t have the time, nor money and much less the inclination.

So unless someone wants to chip in a few hundred quid so I can get a top of the TOP of the line, maxxed out iMac, then I’m sticking with PC land. For now.

Ohh and if you are wondering, I WAS looking at the £999 iMac, for the same money I can get a PC with a bigger hard drive, double the RAM, double the video RAM, faster processor and it’s much easier to upgrade.

bookmark_borderNo luck required

My sister-in-law Claire, despite her protestations, is a wonderful person. If I didn’t already have a wonderful sister then she would easily adopt that status (dropping the slightly off putting ‘in-law’ status seems much more personal).

She is a single mother of four, and is currently back at college and hoping to get one place of five on a dietetics course at Caledonian University. Having missed out on a lot whilst she brought up her kids, she has thrown herself back into study in a way I can only envy as I neither managed to reach her levels of dedication when I was at University nor do I think I could reach them should I return there now.

Today she has an interview, and despite being in the top % of her class (I’ll have to check but I think she is TOP of the class as it happens) with grades that kick ass all over her curriculum, she is very nervous. Louise and I chatted with her on the phone last night, trying to calm nerves and bounced ideas and advice back and forth. Having been on both sides of the interview table I hope I was able to offer some insight into the process even if it was from a commerical point of view, rather than an academic one but then so much of university life is commercially based these days I’m not sure there is much of a muchness between the two.

It got me thinking about my approach to job interviews, and I soon realised that I have absolutely no comparable event on which to base my advice. The only one that comes close was for a part-time job and that was only because it was my first ever interview as a nervous sixteen year old.

Subsequent interviews have all been, well not muted, but certainly not anything that approaches a deep seated desire to work for the company in question. For example, my first real job – at Crossaign- was as a Technical Administrator. The job advert indicated that it would require writing some user material, as well as some other bits and bobs. Going into the interview I had a rough idea of what they wanted, was fairly confident I could do the work, and was more worried about getting the right train than I was about the job interview itself. Woefully underprepared I winged it and somehow ended up with the job.

After being made redundant at Crossaig I found myself travelling to London for interviews with one memorable day involving the sleeper to Euston, and interview in Reading, one in Aylesbury (requiring travel back into London, and then back out to Aylesbury), and the next sleeper home. I was so knackered that both interviews were a bit of a blur. Thankfully Dr.Solomon’s were impressed enough with me to offer me a position (the job in Reading I turned down as they had ‘forgotten’ I was coming for the interview, never a good sign).

Anyway, my point is that I have never gone for an interview for something I really really wanted to get. Looking back on my career I can see why that is (can anyone say career change?) but I’m sure that if Claire relaxes enough to not panic she’ll sail through it. She’s a smart cookie and the kind of person you’d trust if you offered them a chance. Sure she may forget to buy toilet paper now and again (sorry Claire!) but she is so dedicated it’s both inspiring and quite scary all at once.

Her interview is at 3pm. I’ll be on tenterhooks until then, and probably for a while after. Good luck Claire, although I’m sure you won’t need it.


I grew up with a dog. No, not JUST a dog…

She was part of the family, always there, she went everywhere with us for the most part. She was a bit daft, as golden retrievers are prone to be, but she didn’t have a nasty bone in her body. She loved giving people presents (including the oft recalled ‘tortoise incident’). I miss my dog. I miss taking her out for walks. Brushing her, playing in the back garden, taking her to the park. I miss Sintra.

The nearest park to us was Levengrove (Dumbarton Common was the nearest piece of ground but was surrounded by roads) and every weekend, and some week nights, we’d pile into the car and drive over. The park sits at the junction of the River Leven (which runs down from Loch Lomond) and the River Clyde.

The minute the boot opened, Sintra would leap out and head straight for the water. There was no stopping her, so we’d just let her run off and trail after her, maybe kicking a football, or throwing a frisbee (or an aerobee – remember them?). When we caught up with her she’d be waiting in the water. Now those of you who had a dog may well remember this kind of thing. The expectancy. The patience. That dog would stand in freezing cold water for as long as it took to make you throw something. Silly dog.

So you’d pick up a pebble and chuck it and Sintra would leap into life, dashing for where she thought it would land (thinking back it was a bit dangerous chucking stones near to a dog… we weren’t throwing AT her!). Then she’d do that thing dogs do when something lands in water. They’d try and .. well.. bite the splash. Obviously doggy brains can’t quite handle the fact that, despite the fact they are standing IN the water, items landing on it will not stay on TOP of it. She’d stand there, staring at the spot where the pebble had splashed, utterly bemused that it had vanished.

You could repeat this for several hours, or until your arm dropped off. Silly dog.

Louise grew up with several dogs, all retrievers too, but we only ever had one. Anymore would’ve felt… I dunno… disrespectful or something.

Anyhoo, thanks to for the memories. His pictures of Levingrove Park (and Dumbarton Castle – a volcanic plug don’t ya know) have left me with a nice ‘homely’ glow.