What to do without a Mac

After months of
grueling work,
everyone needs a
vacation. This year
led me to Florida,
a very nice vacation
spot with one large
problem: I was without my Macintosh. If I had a PowerBook I would have taken it, but I don’t, so that left me with two weeks without a computer. After a period of separation, you learn to do other things besides using the computer.

After the first few days of vacation, I felt the urge to surf the ‘Net. My case was particularly bad because the last e-mail I read before I left mentioned that Gil had left. I had to know more about this. The fastest and easiest way would have been to look it up on the Internet. As this was no longer an option, I simply went out and bought a newspaper. While the information was not as complete as you can get elsewhere, it satisfied my craving.

With this out of the way, I was able to enjoy my vacation. Reading while sitting on the beach is a great way to pass the time. Unfortunately, I have such fair skin that I used number 30 sunscreen, leaving me with very little tan. The inevitable soon occurred, however. I needed to have something to do with computers. You can only be separated for so long before you need to have some contact.

I found some consolation in computer magazines. Any respectable bookstore will have many to choose from. Even reading about computers kept me still for quite some time. Unfortunately, none of these magazines were current enough to have any information on Gil’s leaving. But reading the reviews of new programs and some other news was a very good start at helping me deal with being separated from my computer.

Once the separation became intolerable, there was one last thing to try. Computer stores. Go to a computer store and play with their computers, many of them being loaded with some interesting software. If you want to have some real fun, try out a Windows computer for awhile, then go back to the Macintosh. The effect it has is great for anyone’s psyche.

I’ve tried out many interesting programs including PhotoShop, Illustrator, Bryce and Excel. If you ever want to try out some popular software before you buy it, this is a good way to go. A good store will also have a selection of PowerBooks to try and possibly even a Newton. The more I look at portable computers, the more I want one.

Some of the PowerBooks had larger hard drives than my desktop computer. When I think about the advantages of them, I always wonder why I decided against one. Then I remembered that you can’t expand them easily, if at all. Sure, you can increase the RAM, but what if I wanted a DOS card or a video card? I don’t think I could live with not being able to expand my system.

The Newton is one fun piece of equipment. I really could use one of them. Well, not really, but it would be a lot of fun to have one. I tried it out for awhile and had quite a bit of fun trying to make it learn my handwriting. I didn’t have that much time with it, but I got the general idea of what it would be like to have one.

Vacations are needed to calm the mind and body, but sometimes you have to be prepared to lose certain everyday privileges. A computer may seem basic, but once it’s gone for two weeks, you realize how much you depend upon it. It’s nice to know that there are things that you can do to keep yourself sane when it seems like you’ll never use a computer again.

Brian Koponen (briankop@mail.idt.net)

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