The First Wall Writings at


Hi there. Let me introduce myself – my name is Mike Wallinga. Tim’s mentioned me once or twice. I’m the starting right offensive tackle on my school’s football varsity team. This year we were co-champions of our district and qualified for the state playoffs. Our 7-3 overall record and 6-1 district mark were both the best ever in school history, and I was named second team All-District. That’s by no means my only accomplishment – I’m also in band, choir, and drama – but it’s the one I’m most proud of.

Tim’s asked me to write something for him, and I am quite a bit late in fulfilling his request. (Ed’s note: Way back in issue #2!) Since I’ve put it off for so long, as I write this,I’m getting ready to flip the calendar over to 1996. So what better to write about than the traditional New Year’s resolution?

My resolution is not to lose weight, be a better person, save the
environment, or anything like that. My resolution is to not be ethnocentric about the Macintosh. That is, to not be blindly biased for the Mac and against Windows without really knowing the merits of the latter operating system. Likewise, I hope to encourage my PC-using friends to do the same and give the Mac a chance.

I have four types of PC-using friends, and I am going to share with you a quick example of each. In my experiences, these are the only four types of PC users I have ever known.

First, we have Shane the Predjudiced One. He is even more anti-Mac than I am anti-Windows. A proud user of a Gateway system, he enthusiastically will tell anyone that will listen that whatever a Mac can do, a PC can do better. Shane’s one of my best friends (all four of these guys are), but he’s just a little… misguided.

Next, I’ll give you the examle of Joey the Misinformed. Or, maybe I should uninformed. Better still, I’ll say both. Because that’s what Joe is. He users his computer – a Packard Bell – for the standard word processing and game playing, and really has little interest beyond that. He has recently inquired what the big deal is over Windows95. His only opinion concerning the Macintosh is that “nobody uses them except schools.”

Third, there is Ryan. I really can’t give Ryan a title. He’s a mixture. He is the only one of my foursome that has upgraded to Windows95. While admitting that Win95 makes his Gateway much more like a Mac, and although I’ve forced him into admitting that the Mac is overall easier to use, he still prefers to use his Wintel machine. I’m not quite sure why. He feels it is reliable and also likes to be one of the “popular crowd.” We recently tried to fax each other a report for school via our modems. It didn’t work either way. Neither one of us could get our machine to answer the phone; instead it just rang away (or the answering machine kicked in). Even though he couldn’t get it to work, either, it was, of course, the Mac’s fault. A PC wouldn’t mess something like that up… (Oh, and while I’m on the subject,the Mac’s PC Exchange does not work and is not reliable. Just ask Ryan.)

Fourth, there is Scott the Ray of Hope. He is (almost) everything a computer user should be. Informed, competent, productive, and unfortunately a PC user (I said almost). However, Scott is different. He stopped over at my house a couple weeks ago to get some information form me from my Grolier Encyclopedia CD-ROM (the one thing Scott lacks is a CD-ROM drive). As the article was printing in the background, we passed the time browsing through the contents of my hard drive. The first thing that amazed him was that everything had custom icons that were just, well, there. I dunno, but I’m guessing this must not be the case in the Wintel world. Probably those dumb DOS programs, I suppose. I’ve been over to Scott’s house a few times and seen his computer in action, and I must admit that I did not see the pretty icons. Of course, we were in DOS playing some games at the time…

Anyway, after getting over the icons, Scott saw the numerous games on my drive and had to try them out. He was impressed that DOOM was on the Mac (I had recently downloaded the first episode of DOOM I). He was even more impressed with the game play and sound quality. I showed him Marathon next, but he said that was “too complicated.” (You mean you actually have to aim your gun up or down? No way!) Various shareware titles also caught his eye.

We then moved on to paint programs, such as Rainbox. Definitely cool stuff. Play audio CDs? Pop one in the drive. We finally ended our Mac adventure/tour with a quick sign-on to eWorld, including a quick fly-by of my favorite World Wide Web sites. Quite cool and easy.

By the end of the night, Scott was a believer. He liiked the Mac. Just for fun, I gave him a disk of System sounds and custom icons so he could play with them on our school’s Macs. Scott agreed that the Mac was not a bad computer; it was a very, very good computer. He also said that if his family was ever going to buy a new computer (which was not in the near future), it would still probably be a Windows machine. Hey, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, I guess. But at least I found a Windows user with an open mind that was willing to accept and even embrace some of the Macs advantages.

And that’s how I decided on my own New Year’s resolution. If a Windows user could learn to love the Mac, certainly the reverse could also happen. I may stay – will stay – a Mac enthusiast and a Mac user by choice, but at least maybe I could learn to use a Windows machine and accept it. Maybe I could also convince Windows users to learn to love the Mac, even if they kept Windows as their platform of choice.

Wouldn’t that be the ideal world? Regardless of preference or personal use, people could still learn to love and accept users of other operating systems and even the operating systems themselves. Much like we strive for racial equality today, we could strive for equality, desegregation, and mutaul respect among different kinds of computers. What a thought… Windows and Mac users walking hand in hand along the information superhighway…

Then I realize I’m being melodramatic and unrealistic. Besides, the usual New Year’s resolution doesn’t last the month of January, so in a few weeks I’ll probably be telling you how much of a moron Bill Gates is.

Aw, heck! Why wait? Why postpone the inevitbale?

Bill Gates is a moron, and that’s that. 🙂

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