In 2005, I was at a technological crossroads. My old desktop machine, Pandora Mk. II, was failing. With money saved up, I decided I needed a new computer. One option was, now that I was a commuting college student, an inexpensive laptop.  The other was a Mac mini, the cheapest Macintosh on the market. At the time, Iâ€™d been reading a lot of stuff from 43 Folders, and about the Quicksilver app. Though Iâ€™d been staunchly anti-Macintosh for years, Merlinâ€™s exhortation of the platform was starting to win me over.
My distaste for the Mac was not formed in isolation. Iâ€™d used Mac computers in classroom settings, and found them to be slow, difficult, illogical, and borderline user-obsequious. The Mac Performas in middle school were barely able to surf the web. During my early high school summers, I was an aide in the computer lab at the Bridesburg Boys & Girls Club, and found doing light administrative chores on the small group of Macs there to be a pain. When my high school got in one of the first Bondi Blue iMacs, I used it to redesign the schoolâ€™s website during lunch periods. Running Photoshop, Netscape, and SimpleText at the same time often lead to problems, including the mysterious â€œError âˆ’37â€. 
While off at Polytechnic University, however, I noticed the first wave of geek switchers. Another Comp Sci student, and member of Polyâ€™s ACM chapter, brought in an iBook G3 one day. I mocked him for it, but was quickly schooled. The real shift came when some of my more hardcore geek friends on the internet, including a friend who worked for Dreamhost, said theyâ€™d gone Macintosh.
Meanwhile, Iâ€™d grown exceedingly frustrated with Linux. Somewhere along the line, using Fedora Core, permissions to my USB devices got munged, meaning that if I wanted to get pictures off my camera, I had to go into a terminal, switch to root, run a series of commands to pull the pictures off the camera, and then change ownership and permissions to my normal user account. Elsewhere, if I dared to plug in my thumbdrive and my iPod in the wrong order, I had to manually edit /etc/fstab just to make things work.
Still, I didnâ€™t want to go back to Windows. Windows Vista was on the horizon, and people had already smelled a turd. XP was still broken and insecure unless you patched it offline, and ran a suite of security applications. The only option left was the Macintosh. I bought the mini. The day it arrived, once Iâ€™d set the machine up, I plugged in my digital camera. Immediately, iPhoto launched, and displayed a dialog box asking if I wanted to import the photos. It was then I realized all the time I had wasted. I named the computer Booji Boy.
Iâ€™d bought the Mac mini not long after Apple announced the Intel transition, thinking that theyâ€™d get to the mini last, a sentiment echoed by Apple pundits at the time. Five months later, the first Intel mini came out. Undeterred, I used the mini as a primary machine for about three years, upgrading it to a full gigabyte of RAM,  and adding on a 250GB external hard drive, designed to sit under the mini. I later augmented it with Kayo II, a refurbished iBook G4, which ran like a tank. The fan on the laptop died, and I never even noticed. This became my primary machine in my last year of college, and the mini went on loan to my roommate when his ancient Compaq finally died.
When I graduated in 2008, I asked my parents for one thing as a graduation present: a MacBook. I received a near-top-of-the-line white MacBook, maxed out on everything except RAM, which I upgraded myself. That white MacBook, Madame Psychosis, well, I told that story already. Its successor, a refurbished, June 2012 model MacBook Pro, works like a champ. I think Iâ€™ll be sticking with it for a good, long while.
I had to return Kayo, the ThinkPad T30, back to Polytechnic University. Iâ€™d though they would forget about it, but a bill that came in the mail six months after I left said otherwise. ↩
The mysterious error number codes really drove me up a wall. A Blue Screen of Death isnâ€™t much better, but at least it told you, or used to tell you, what went wrong. Understanding it was another matter. ↩