The purchase of any new Mac always elicits three emotions in me:

 

1: Pure joy.

I’ve long since thought that the purchase and subsequent unboxing/unveiling/deflowering (delete as applicable) of a new Apple Mac is one of life’s great pleasures. Like treasured children, I can still remember all my previous Macs, in order, along with all sorts of other pointless details about them.

2: Horror.

Utter unadulterated horror at the amount of money I’ve spent for what is essentially just a computer, albeit a nicely designed one.

3: Frustration.

Frustration that, despite having spent a small fortune, it’s STILL not the computer I really want.  I want it rackmounted and I want to have to use ABSOLUTELY NO USB OR FIREWIRE HUBS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES EVER. So, loads of ports on the back please. Actually, now I think about it, for the amount of money I’ve given Apple over the years, it wouldn’t be unreasonable of me to expect a foot massage and a back rub too.

I have had a growing sense of unease about Apple for the last few years and the unfortunate death of Steve Jobs has only made  my unease worse. Watching OS X evolve and seeing it’s inexorable convergence with IOS makes me certain that eventually it will be consolidated into a single ‘Buy It Now’ button that the 330lb housebound ‘Apple-ite’ will nudge with the sole remaining digit of their vestigial right hand while grunting with the effort, accompanied by the habitual wheezing outgassing, of all kinds, that accompanies any effort whatsoever.

Time was, buying a Mac was a statement of individuality, shaking a  metaphorical tiny white fist at the grey, corporate monolith of Microsoft as it strode across the virtual landscape. How I miss those days. Anyway….. Apple…… corporate monolith, I’m sure I was going to make a point. Nowadays, Apple just seem like Nike or Coke to me, this just seems to sum it up.

One of my students enlightened me to the joys of Hackintoshes, non Apple hardware that will run Apple’s operating system. I decided to try it on a small netbook first, it only cost a couple of hundred pounds so I thought it was worth a go and it was. Now, I have tiny little netbook that runs OS X! My confidence buoyed by this success, I ordered the parts from Amazon and I was amazed how easy it was and I now have the Mac that I always  wanted! Life outside the beautiful walled garden of Apple is good, I can order all sorts of crazy components from eBay after checking on Tonymacx86.com for compatibility. As for reliability overall, it’s been very good, I can’t say it’s less reliable than a real Mac, I have had no kernel panics since completion, there were a few while I was figuring stuff out though, to be expected really. It has just come to a total stop 5 or 6 times, clock dead, everything, the only way out  is to pull the plug and let it restart. Oddly, my USB cards work better in this computer, the PCIe cards have an internal USB slot, very handy for dongles and the like, I could never get the dongle for Cubase to be reliably recognised on the internal USB slot so I ended up with the dongle on the outside of the real Mac all the time. Now, it works perfectly on the internal slot!