I became acquainted with the Mac when I worked as a copywriter/researcher for a media outfit nearly a decade ago. Our creative team were using what was then called Powerbooks and PowerMacs. On my end, I could not afford to buy a Mac at that time. Still, I dreamed of owning a Mac back then even if it was a second hand one. And so this is the story of how it finally happened that I got a MacBook after seven years of yearning for it.
Like any person who aspired to own an Apple laptop, I frequented the Apple website, watched the funny online ads and even would drop by the local Power Mac stores in the malls. I would drool over each machine, I would even imagine owning one. And I was constantly updated with the latest update. Come to think of it, I was more updated with the laptop products of Apple than I was about the iPhone when it came out. The iPhone just did not register at all with me as I was more of a laptop junkie.
In 2006, a friend of mine asked my thoughts on what laptop to get as his brother was going to give it as a gift for him. He asked me if it was worth getting a MacBook for his needs. He is a lifestyle senior reporter for one of the major daily newspaper in the Philippines, he travels a lot locally and internationally and he really needed to have his own computer machine as it would afford him more time to work at home instead of waiting for the office laptop inside the newsroom to be vacated. Without batting an eyelash, I told him that getting an Apple laptop is a worthwhile investment. One, it is virus free — almost. I say almost because there has been reports of certain Macs being infected by computer viruses. Two, Macs are a lot easier to use and navigate. Six years ago they already had multiple windows that you can easily zoom in and out and navigate through tabs. Microsoft Windows XP still has not mastered this until now. Which makes me wonder if they will ever come up with this much needed innovation with the latest release of Windows 8 for desktops? Three, Apple is among the very few who came up with outrageous laptop designs. I mean, only a handful ever dared to come up with white colored laptops in a time when all the laptops where in shades of grey and blacks. Finally, they are petite enough and considerably light to lug around.
Soon enough, my friend went to the USA and he got his white MacBook edition. Unlike me, he never gives his gadgets names. I recall the first time he showed me his white MacBook. I was literally lighting up! Six years ago, his MacBook came with 1GB RAM and 120GB hard drive which at the time was considered as high end in the realm of computer specs as most laptops came with 40 to 60GB hard drives and 512MB of RAM. My Dell laptop had 60GB hard drive and less than 1GB of RAM. I remember he brought the Mac with him as we were navigating through pictures of the recently concluded BENCH fashion show.
Over the years, I used many different laptops — personal laptops that I bought and office issued. I am a Linux fanboy for the last seven years all thanks to Alexander Tan who introduced me to it when it first came out. Sadly, Alexander never stuck it out with Linux. He eventually bought a Macbook and then later upgraded to a Macbook Pro. For me, there was no compelling reason for me to get a Mac. One, I was happy working with a Linux machine. It may not be a popular operating system, but similar to the Apple Mac operating system, it was built on the Unix platform. It is virus free and I love the fact that it has way better network security than a Windows system. Oh yes, I am very particular about security systems, network access and all that. But in spite of being a hardcore Linux fanboy, I still desired to own and have my own Apple laptop.
Over the years, my friend’s Macbook encountered some issues. One, he had to change the battery. Like any newbie laptop owner, he was not aware that he had to maximize the use of the battery and drain it completely from time to time. His laptop battery suffered what would be called “memory loss” and so became accustomed being plugged in that it drained the battery easily. But earlier this year or last year, his Macbook completely shut down and he did not know what to do with it. He brought it to one of the reputable service centers for Apple products and it as declared “DOA” — Dead On Arrival. It is a little funny to say this but he actually grieved a little that his MacBook finally died on him. His brother took out the hard drive to rescue his files and his white Macbook that served him for six years was slowly gathering dust in his house. When he mentioned that it was just gathering dust, I inquired with him about the possibility of getting the Macbook from him and having it repaired. He was skeptical about this because he mentioned that he was not successful in bringing it to one of the top known technical repair centers in Metro Manila.
I think it took nearly another two months before he finally made up his mind about the matter. One, I was persistent. Two, there’s nothing wrong about giving it a try. His white Macbook was missing a hard drive and so I said it’s okay because I can easily get a new hard drive plugged into it as long as the technician can figure out a way to make it run. So we met up at Rockwell’s Powerplant Mall where I saw his new Macbook Pro and where he handed me over his white MacBook. I then started to contact a few people and was asking for inputs on where can I possibly bring the laptop to have it checked out. I was able to narrow it down to two, and then I left the laptop at their office for them to do a series of tests. In about a week, I got feedback that they can still manage to repair it and that it would need a new hard drive. I asked Nomer of Ynzal, up to how much GB can the Macbook manage? I was given two options. One is 320GB which is P5,500 pesos worth and the other was a 500GB edition at P6,500 pesos. I wanted to go for the higher specs and space, but he warned me that having a higher disc capacity would only mean more heat as the disc spins much faster and that it could affect the internal mechanism of the Macbook causing me to bring the laptop for more repairs in the future. I also inquired if it is possible to have a SSD [Solid State Drive] and he said that it is possible to install one, but the cost is just too prohibitive for me at this time as it is about P10,000 pesos for a 256GB SSD. I learned this from my brother-in-law, a long time Mac user who said that old Apple laptops are now being converted into SSDs because boot time is much faster and loading of programs is also close to twice as fast as well. This really amazed me because I never really thought that an SSD would have implications for fast processing time and boot time.
I forgot to mention that I was taking a step of faith at the time of getting the Macbook from my friend. One, I was back at doing freelance work and so in terms of income I was dependent on projects that were given to me. So I am really thankful to God that though I was just starting to build on my new business venture while taking a break from my normal routine and career, I had projects that slowly came in. Thus, when the repair center mentioned that they can do something about the Macbook, I immediately grabbed the opportunity. Two, I really wanted to own a Mac. I even informed my friend that I am still willing to pay for it. He could not fathom why I would bother with such an old laptop machine when I can easily buy a new one, like an entry level netbook for my needs. It was here that I reminded him that in spite of netbooks being much faster than ever and having HD graphics and all, it is still not a Mac. Furthermore, I’ve always wanted to have a Mac and I don’t mind at all that it is second hand. Sometimes, it is best to start with second hand gadgets because it gives one a feel of how it really is without having to spend so much. I remember the first time that I had a mobile phone. It was a company issued second hand phone. See? I am not really a difficult person to please. And the same goes for a Macbook. Besides, I kept telling my friend that he is very good in taking good care of his Macbook. More on this later. On top of it all, I really needed a new laptop because I recently resigned from my regular work and returned the office laptop and my DELL laptop died on me AGAIN! Well, all things considered not a lot of people can say that their laptop has reached a life span of seven years.
At about the same time, another friend of mine offered his MacBook Pro. I told him I was interested in it but alas, I just did not have the necessary resources for it. It did not need any repairs, but I had to pay cash for it unlike this other friend of mine, who did not mind me waiting to having it repaired and that I also informed him that I will pay him through installment as it was the only way I could afford to pay him at this time. As such, I ended up with the white Macbook instead of a Macbook Pro. All things considered, I am very happy with the white Macbook that I got!
I can still remember the first day that I opened the newly revived white Macbook. Being true to myself, I gave the gadget a name and called it Genesis. My DELL laptop is called Trinity. I spent about an hour or so in Ynzal just playing around with it. I sent an immediate text message to my brother-in-law about it. I even informed people at Without Limits about it and all. I was just very HAPPY, no, EXTREMELY HAPPY about it! And like my first experience with owning my first laptop, I spent the wee hours of the morning just toying around with the Mac and the built in software. I immediately contacted my brother-in-law and asked him when will he be available because I also wanted to know more how I could maximize the said gadget, aside from the fact that he offered to install a few more apps and games for me to utilize.
I informed my friend about it that his white Macbook is back from the dead. He was completely floored by it! He then asked me how much did I spend for it? All in all, I initially spent P7,000 pesos to have it repaired. He asked me to bring it because he wants to see it again. So I did, and after the BENCH Universe fashion show, we had dinner at Resorts World where I brought out his Macbook. It’s funny because he was both happy and a little sad seeing his Macbook. I could tell that he would have wanted to keep his Macbook instead of upgrading to a new one given that there are no longer white Macbooks let alone white Macbook Pros as Apple phased it out last year. Earlier this week, I called him up and treated him to dinner and also attempted to hand him the money for this Macbook that I am using to write this blog entry. To my surprise, he said that I can keep the money! He only has one major request. That I do not give this Macbook away when the time comes that I would eventually upgrade to a new Macbook or even get a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air for that matter and that I would never sell it either. Sounds like a pretty reasonable request to me. I was soo happy about it that I also informed my brother-in-law and a few close friends that very night!
With the money that I was suppose to pay him, I decided to spend it on Zagg’s Invisible Shield. Why? Well, there are no more hard shells available for this white Macbook being a 2006 edition. In addition, the Macbook in spite of being well taken cared of still showed signs of deterioration here and there. There are cracks at the Apple logo which indicated that this laptop probably was being squished in a bag or luggage with the many travels that my friend had with it. To help curb down those cracks, I needed to do something about it. And so it is good to know that they had a 2006 Invisible Shield available at SM North EDSA. Man, you should see this Macbook! It looks relatively new because of the Zagg Invisible Shield. I kinda scratched it a bit as I was testing its durability and all but overall, I am quite satisfied with it too. At least the crack won’t expand easily anymore. More so, at least now it looks sleeker, cleaner and it would protect the laptop from further smudges. It already has a few stains that I just could not remove even with the best possible efforts that I’ve done with it.
Why GENESIS? Well, for me this laptop is about having new beginnings. I’ve realized so many things the past two months that I’ve had this laptop with me. For most people, I notice that the fascination over technology is only at the onset. Then it fades away. Not so for Mac users. Now I know the feeling. There are a lot of die hard Windows fanatics out there. And mind you, I am still a Linux fanboy too — and yes, I was able to find a way to bring my seven year old DELL Trinity back to life again! But for some reason, the Mac really is amazing. This white Macbook might not be the latest. It does not even support the latest HD videos and DVDs. But it suits my basic computing needs which is basically all about emails, making spreadsheets and basic presentation decks. and until any person has fully spent one week working on an Apple laptop, please don’t look down on something that is really an amazing piece of technology from the inside out. It’s worth every effort I’ve put into reviving it. And I cherish it even much more now that my friend has really given it to me for FREE. So thank you, Alex Vergara. You’ve made my week! This is really the best gift you’ve given me to date and I’ve made full use of it already to make presentations to clients and it has already witnessed bagging projects. Indeed, I will make sure that it would serve me well and have a good run like it did you. I also hope that the same creative juices you’ve had in writing all those articles would flow to me too — as part of me hopes that you’ve managed to imprint an essence of your creativity into this machine
This is the story of Mac. Born out of dreams. Bought by a brother. Used by a journalist. And now in the hands of a business continuity planner and ultramarathon blogger.