The New Switchers

I’ve been a Mac fanboy since my college days in the late 1980’s, back when but a few of those gloriously graphical machines were sprinkled in labs around Georgia Tech. Many were the days that I circled the unobtainable Macintosh IIFX at Tech’s computer store, a machine unimaginable potential (40 megahertz processor!!). Of course I couldn’t afford a $12,000 computer then (or now!), but I did eventually join that miniscule minority of Mac users, none of whom would have guessed that ten years down the road we’d be entering into a “post-Platform”, Web 2.0 era, or that Windows users would eagerly become “Switchers”, migrating to the Macintosh because of their experience with a little thing called the iPod. But then, you already know that story. What you may not know is that there’s a new kind of Switcher on the scene: the Resista-Switcher.

Within the first six months of Apple’s 2002 “Switchers” ad campaign we began seeing an increase in new members to Mac messageboards, many of whom were honest-to-goodness Switchers straight out of the ad campaigns. It was easy enough to spot them as they’d inevitably refer to their new computer as a “MAC”, in all caps. It was mildly annoying, but soon enough it became expected and someone would always quickly post an explanatioin that the computer’s name wasn’t an acronym (as PC is to “Personal Computer”) and that they could use their “inside voice” when referring to their machine. Soon enough many of these Mac-newbies would become active proselytizers of the platform, which was…. cute.

We remembered our own Angry Mac Adolescence….

Growing up Mac was very special. You were, without a doubt, a member of a minority group. A special tribe. You had your own inside language, your own jokes, your own overpoweringly strong ideas about the way that things should be done and you had a great deal of frustration, envy and crushing disappointment that your PC-using friends could be so incredibly ignorant about the fact that your Macintosh was as much a computer as theirs.

We became adamant, angry and ultimately gained a reputation for being snobby (by our PC-using, majority-belonging friends who were baffled at our passion for a stupid old computer). Then, a lot of us Mac-users who like using all sorts of computers just plain stopped caring about the Mac versus PC debates. We officially went off to drink beer and meet girls.

The debate? Who gave a fig? Nobody seemed to be winning anything useful out of the debate and we’d realized that we’d carved out our own world and were perfectly happy living in the shadow of our PC-using cousins. We just patiently followed Ghandi’s proverb:

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.
– Gandhi

And so it was that the new Switchers provided us with an amusing reflection of our former selves…. angry and confrontational and…. and that was fine. We figured they’d mellow out eventually, and besides, the world of technology was a-changing again…. the arrival of Web 2.0 meant that your computer’s platform didn’t matter as much as the modernity of your web browser… and then last year the biggest “dogs and cats sleeping together EVER” happened on the Mac: you could run Windows on your Macintosh.

Which brings me back around to the Resista-Switcher.

The newest, strangest flavor of Switcher I’ve seen in the last week are people who are eminently content with using Windows, but want to run it on a Mac… and I don’t mean that they want to run Windows alongside or on top of Apple’s “OS X”…. they want to run Windows exclusively on a Macintosh. In fact, they seem adamant that they do not wish to have OS X active on their new computer… which begs the question that a lot of Mac users are asking:

Why would you buy a Mac if you don’t intend to run its native operating system? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy a nice Dell (Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, etc) machine and have done with it? And yet these people are, these Resista-Switchers, are popping up here and there.

This has naturally created a bit of confusion on the boards, forcing some of the more settled Mac users back up to their feet, rallying against the very (unholy) notion of using a Mac to run Windows all by its lonesome. The people who are considering making these moves are surprised at the unfriendly reaction of Mac users, unaware as they are of the history and culture of that tiny minority.

One Comment on “The New Switchers”

  1. I recently switched to a Mac. One of the biggest deciding factors was that I could run windows. It helped me justify making the switch. While I’m not a Resista-Switcher I did intend to use windows quite a bit on my Mac. But, a funny thing happened. The only time I’ve used windows was when I was installing it with parallels. I’ve found that OS X does everything I want it to do and MORE! While running Windows on a Mac was one of the catalyst for me to switch its become moot, lol.

    I’m glad to be part of the tribe and am now a Mac fanatic :)

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