I bought my first ever Mac when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011. (Hey, when in Rome.)

Growing up, they were seen as luxury items in my household, which immediately made them a no-go. Computers for rich people were not something to be encouraged. Instead, we went to Computer Shopper shows and built towers from scratch, getting the best deals we could on every individual component. The computer would be ours, open, and most importantly, affordable.

Apple’s design aesthetic implied form over function to us. Design, like fashion, was oppressive and not something to be engaged with. We should seek functional objects.

I was well into my career before I really grokked that design was function; that it wasn’t about making something beautiful, but really usable; that spending a little more on something that would last longer was a good deal. (Of course, it helps that by this point in my life, I wasn’t poor, or at least was less poor. Computers are yet another way that people with less money end up paying more.)

Finally, I broke down when yet another laptop (a Toshiba, in this case, but it was the last in a long line of Dells and god-knows-what-else) broke for no reason. I had the money; I got a high-spec MacBook Pro and hoped it was everything people said it would be.

I’m not going back. I’m writing this on my company-provided MacBook Pro; my personal Air is in my backpack, as always; my iPhone is on my desk next to me. I’m still not sure I appreciate the Cult of Apple, and the design elitism still makes me bristle, but I enjoy having devices that work and last.

Writer: of code, fiction, and strategy. Trying to work for social good.

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