UIC IBM vs. Mac


Dr. D. hard at work!

When I was a student at UIC, I wrote all of my papers on computers. I tried to do most of my writing on my own computer at home, but whenever I had free time between my classes I would use a computer in one of the few computer labs they had at the time.

I did a lot of writing on typewriters and then eagerly progressed to personal computers because of their word-processing capabilities. I was definitely an IBM aficionado since I couldn’t afford an Apple or a Macintosh. Our high school didn’t even have computers when I was a student.

Anyway, UIC had two types of computer labs: IBM or Macintosh. At first, no one used the IBM lab, so I had the lab pretty much too myself. Everybody was really into Macs at the time, although I’m not sure why. Supposedly, they were better than IBMs. Then there was a sudden shift in computing at UIC and I could hardly ever find an open IBM computer. Perhaps it was when IBM compatibles started using Windows, which was definitely inferior to the Mac operating system. I never did like those early versions of Microsoft Windows and stuck to MS-DOS 5.0 for much longer than most normal humans could endure.

Well, IBM’s were no longer readily available when I was. So being the adaptable person who I am, transformed myself into a Mac user. I have convinced myself that I can survive anywhere in the world, under any conditions. So, I sat down at a Mac computer for the first time in my life and started typing. When I looked at the screen, I couldn’t make heads nor tails of what I had written. You see, I can touch type and, when I put my fingers on the keyboard, I felt for the little bump in order to find the home keys. All electric typewriters and IBM keyboards always had those little bumps on the F and J keys. Mac, however, had the little bumps on the D and K keys. So my fingers were off by one key.

Macintosh always tried so hard to be different. Also maddening was waiting for the Mac to execute a command. Instead of the little hourglass to represent the waiting, a dialog box would appear that said, “Please wait. The computer is doing something real complicated right now.” So how was this better than an IBM computer? Well, I continued using IBMs and Macs, depending on which was available. To this day, I can go on any strange computer do some strange writing.

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David Diego Rodríguez, Ph.D.

I write about whatever comes to mind. También enseño español y escribo acerca de los mexicanos y la enseñanza del español.