26 August 2002

Back From the Brink of Joyful Exhaustion

Okay, sorry about the lack of updates, but at least I have a good excuse. The last few days have been a whirlwind of Apple activity centered around the release of Mac OS X 10.2, aka Jaguar, which has proven to be waaaaaay more popular than anyone (Apple included) expected. Lines outside the Tampa store for the midnight-madness Jag event (and similar ones all over the country) topped 1,000 people. I don't recall any grass-roots XP hoopla like that.

The CompUSA where I often volunteer my time as a demonstrator was overflowing with people all day Saturday and Sunday. The most interesting thing about it was that most of the people I talked to (at least half, probably more like 60-70%) were PC switchers, not "Mac people."

One of things I love about my work for Apple is that I get to meet some of the most fascinating people. Here's a small sample of the people I have talked to/demonstrated to/assisted/made friends with recently:

1. A 70-plus year old who recently rode around the entire US on the train systems and plans to write a book. Wants to dictate or write longhand rather than type. Wants to hear the manuscript read back to him. Macs can do all of this easily.

2. Several young people planning to attend Full Sail (a media-specialty school highly regarded around the US, particularly for their audio-engineering programs), all of whom brought their rich parents with them to buy them the high-end line of Powerbooks, iPods and G4 towers. If you took the sum total of all the presents my parents ever gave me it wouldn't equal what these folks are dropping on these kids ($16,000 or more/year for Full Sail, plus $3000-6000 or so for a fully tricked-out pro Mac setup). PCs? Not even a remote consideration ... FS is pretty much all-Mac, just like the industries their grads are entering.

3. Various people in the movie business. The first pair are professional production coordinators/supervisors, while the latter two build cars/tanks/planes et al and then blow them up for such films as Blackhawk Down and The Fast and the Furious.

4. The owner of a historic north-central-Florida restaurant who is switching from a beige (and huge, noisy and butt-ugly) Gateway to a jaw-droppingly beautiful 17" G4 LCD iMac. Looking at the two computers side-by-side on her desk actually caused her to laugh.

5. A schoolteacher working with special-needs students, and her husband, a noted Florida landscape painter. And their daugher, a killer photographer. A simple Mac for her so she can do handouts and lesson plans, a digital camera for him so he can turn his paintings into products/cash, and a scanner and CD burners for the daughter so she can spread her images around and make new art.

6. A couple of members of Disney's Florida animation unit, the group responsible for such pictures as Hercules, Tarzan and Lilo & Stitch. These guys are always drooling over the latest Mac toys.

7. A member of the Orlando Magic basketball team. Pity I don't care about pro sports.

8. The bassist for Seven Mary Three.

9. A former Apple employee who helped work on the first early Mac machines and such software breakthroughs as Hypercard and Objective C. He left Apple shortly after Steve did in 1985 and became a NeXT/Linux god. He is deeply impressed at how far Apple has come since Steve came back in 1998.

10. A PC-based videographer who simply couldn't believe what he was seeing as I demonstrated iMovie and iDVD. "I ... have wasted ... so much ... money and time," he said, almost breathlessly, once he collected his jaw from the floor.

I'm not cherry-picking the most interesting people for you, either -- this really is a typical sampling. Now I ask you -- who wouldn't be psyched to work a job where you get to meet, befriend and really help such interesting people?

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