Santa Claus

Well, the holiday season is upon us. Families around the country are looking at purchasing a new home computer. With technology moving moving so fast, computer magazines are literally out of date by the time they hit the stands. This means that many families will make their purchase based upon slick advertising. So as I write this article during the first week of November (between parent/teacher conferences), I anxiously await TBWA Chiat/Day’s holiday ad blitz for Apple.

My advertising wish list for this season includes a television ad that bring out the best in holiday humor, and the second that reminds all of us that family still comes first.

Santa Claus
Scene opens at a modern shopping mall decorated for the holiday season. A long line of children waiting anxiously for their turn on Santa’s knee. A young girl climbs on his knee.

“What would you like for Christmas?”, Santa asks joyfully.
“A computer”, she replies.
“That’s a hard gift for Santa to carry, young lady. Wouldn’t you rather have a toy of some sort?”
“No Santa, we really need a new computer”, she replies.
“Well then, what kind do you want”.
“One that my dad won’t yell at,” she remarks.
“Really now?”
“He’s always complaining about dill and xy files”, she proclaims.
“Young lady, you mean DLL and EXE, all computers have those problems”.
“Fruity, our classroom computer doesn’t. It likes us, even Jared, who’s
broken everything, except for Fruity”, she announces.
“I don’t know if my elves can build Fruity, do you have a picture I can show them?” Santa asks.
“Here’s fruity’s address.” The camera shows a close up of her hand placing an ad for Apple’s new Internet order site. After a few seconds the background disappears, and underneath the address the words “Think Different” appear along with Apple logo.

Family First
The scene begins showing the back of the head of a thirty-something father busily surfing the Internet for stock information. In the background is the rest of the family gathered around the family room, a fire going, with holiday music being played. The wife calls for the husband to come, he waves and speaks back, “In a minute, in a minute.” The family laughs heartily at something, the husband looks up, sees the smiles and laughter. The camera shows a closeup of him, the reflection of the screen in his glasses. He nods his head, and in the reflection the cursor arrow can be seen selecting the shut down command from the “Special” menu. He gets up and joins the rest of the family.

The famous Apple ad voice proclaims, “During this holiday season, may we all remember that the greatest gift we can give is to spend time with our families.” The screen blackens and the Apple logo appears.

Rambling Thoughts
I hear a lot from people who wonder what schools can do with their outdated Macs or accessories. In my classroom, a four year dream of mine is coming true: a student writing center. I have been collecting donated Macs and parts and have slowly pieced together 3 Mac SE’s and 1 Mac Classic along a spare wall. Students can come in at the request of their junior high teacher and type away. (I should explain, there are four of us who are their teachers.)

These older machines still work great as word processors. The machines run System 6.0.5 and the students use ClarisWorks 2.0. So far, the results have been even better than anticipated.

Recently, my school received various pieces of color Mac equipment. However, the cost to get them up and running was beyond our technology budget. But thanks to a Denver used-Macintosh distributor, MediaGuide,
, I was able to trade in those various parts for 4 Mac SEs. Special thanks to Randy at MediaGuide for his willingness to work with me. Along with the private donation of 2 Classics, my dream has come true. The moral to this tale: If you have an old computer gathering dust, give it to a local school. I promise it will be put to good use, one way or another.

Until next month, enjoy the holidays, and keep those comments coming!

Mark Marcantonio (

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