‘HELLO’ from the Desktop Dilettante

We met, briefly, on iMac Eve in “IMAC EVE: Sure Cure for the Dog Days of Summer” but, due to a glitch, any email you may have sent – pro or con – is out surfing the ethernet. Sorry about that. We really do try to respond to our readers.

This is a new monthly column slated for the end of each month. In it, we will take a light look at the current state of the Mac and an occasional poke at Microsoft and other computer nonsense that catches our fancy.

Why ‘Desktop Dilettante?’ The name says it all. I am the Eternal Amateur. Forever in love with my Mac. Forever dabbling with HyperStudio, ColorIt and Clip Art while those around me master high tech, professional level programs like Illustrator, PhotoShop, LightWave, After Effects and Microsoft Office in all its glory.

I may be low tech, but I am high impact when it comes to praising the Mac. If you have read any of the ‘AppleCart’ columns in My Mac Online, (www.mymac.com) you will know that I write fluff. Passionate, heartfelt – opinionated – fluff, it’s true. But fluff.

You are welcome to agree or disagree, you wouldn’t be proper Mac fans if you didn’t hold some pretty deep opinions of your own. Just don’t lose any sleep over what I have to say. We’re having fun, here. Tongue in cheek, here. Friends of the Mac forever, here. And anyway, I am too low tech to be a threat.

I may never have the skill, but I certainly have the heart. And the joy of writing about a computer that made me, the kid who couldn’t cut on the line, the grownup who couldn’t sew a straight seam (and only pumps gas in an emergency), made me into a person able to do exciting things.

Hey, I’m so wary of new technology that I never even use the drive up window at the bank. Rain, shine or snow, inside I go. And yet, thanks to the Mac, I went from beginner to teacher, wallflower to Wonder Women in a few short weeks.

My classroom Mac was soon overwhelmed with computer projects involving the children and their pictures via my mainstays: Hyperstudio, Color it, and – God’s gift to the klutz among us – Clip Art.

By winter, I was looking forward to Christmas Open House (with a marvel of a program, so rich and full of animations that it brought the computer to its knees as the parents twiddled by the punch bowl). February brought Valentine’s Day and overly ambitious, personalized cards for each family. Mother’s Day was a winner with Six Foot banners for every Mom. Oh, that Mac and I were on a roll!

Try all that as a Johnny-come-lately on a Packard Bell.

But what we are supposed to be doing here, what I promised Jason when he asked me to write this column, is a monthly wrap up of the continuing Mac Saga. With a light touch to be sure. Or full of fire and brimstone if the occasion demands.

But, surprisingly, this summer has been rather quiet. The iMac? Quiet? Well hardly. But, I’ve covered that early and often, as have so many others. And, though I continue to feel a floppy drive would have made an important bridge to the next generation of USB Macs – and the new generation of Mac users – I have said it all before and better. ‘Let them Eat Cake’ /MacTimes / ‘Thinking Different’ 4/11/98 and ‘Aunt Bertie was a Beta Tester’/ ‘Churning the AppleCart’/ My Mac Online / July Download.

Well, yes, I’ve said it all before. But have I shown it? Say what you will, defend the current iMac until you are bondi-blue in the face, some of the new buyers must have been in for a surprise when they first tried to save, print or install from a floppy.

And I don’t know about your CompUSA, but ours was having as real tussle trying to get Epson and the iMac to play nice on the 15th. “If you had only been here at midnight,” they said. “Everything was great.” Yup. That’s what they say at the old fishing hole too. And about last week’s roses. And the weather at the seashore the day before you got there.

I have a feeling that anytime now, new owners may have an awfully familiar, awfully full sensation. You know, the one that leaves you like a kid, hopping first on one leg and then the other. All those files and no place to put them. “Hurray UP Mom! I gotta GO!”

But hold on. Just wait, will ya. There’s gonna be USBs aplenty any time now. Floppies! Printers! SCSIs! Zips! All making their way to your nearest CompUSA by Halloween. Maybe even Labor Day.

What! Halloween! Listen! I’m full of files and I gotta go NOW!

So, thanks to HyperStudio, with a clip art assist from MacGallery, I don’t have to tell you how I feel. I can show you. Even the Eternal Dilettante can be a desktop dynamo.

Aren’t Macs wonderful.

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