Job yesterday was kind of a bust. I went in a 10am, did paperwork with the HR person for a while, then killed time waiting for my boss (Rich) to come in. Rich was sick, his kid gave him the sniffles or something, so he wasn't coming in. Therefore, I had absolutely zilch to do at my first day of work, and HR lady sent me home early. Went home, grabbed a burrito from Anna's, and then met Meg at the train station. She was quite happy with this situation, as she'd had a craptacular day. we went out for beers and food, I listened to her rant about her day in detail, and told her of my lack of a day. Then we went home and watched the newest Hairy Pooter movie which had just come in the post. yay!
So I've had this amorphous relationship with computers over the years. They're either one of two things: a machine to be messed with, played with, understood, and appreciated for what it is; or a conduit, a tool, an appliance which allows you to do other things.
Oddly, these two concepts, while totally compatible, don't really work too well together in my head. When I'm in a mindset of appreciating the machine of the computer, I'm obsessing about hardware. I'll play games to see how well the hardware does what it's supposed to, I'll browse websites and read up on the latest hardware and plan out my next upgrades, etc., but I won't be really using the computer to do much other than routine tasks (e-mail, LJ, etc.)
Then there's the mindset of the computer as a conduit to something more; that nebulous entity called the Information Superhighway, or the internet, or t3h intarweb. This is the state of mind I'm in when I actually do something with that tweaked out hardware that I was obsessing over a few months previously. I'll delve deeply into photo-editing, I'll hunt down the edies in the flow of information, I'll seek out the bizare and obscure, and abuse that conduit of information to it's fullest extent. I'll cease being a leech at the end of a broadband connection, and be something more. A shark swiming through the flow, scenting blood and devouring vital bits of virtual stuffs.
At least that's how it's been historically for me. Lately it seems that either these two different elements are converging into one concept in my head, or else the transitions from one state to the other are simply happening faster than they used to. Yesterday I was switching the rails that my video card was installed on to try to squeeze out the last notch of AGP speed that I could, and today I'm happily typing for hours on my locked-up little iBook that I haven't even seen the internals of. I'm wondering if it's because I have a Mac now. I can let go of that hardware obsession, because honestly Mac's just work. Sure it's slower than my PC, and it's graphics card certainly isn't up to par, and I don't know the fiddley bits of the interface so well, but that doesn't matter because I'm using it. I'm not playing with it, but instead I'm actually using to accomplish something beyond the present moment. The Mac treats the computer as a tool rather than an entity.
I've always viewed Mac people with a bit of a leary eye, they seemed to be not-quite-right. They didn't know how much RAM their computers had, or what a file extension was. They didn't care where their files were acually stored on their disks, just where the showed up most easily for access. And now I know why they didn't care: I was using the computer, while they were using the computer to do other things. It's a subtle distinction, and I wasn't really putting much thought into it honestly.
(wow, rambling. comment if you made it this far. heh.)
So, typing this on my iBook, over the wireless connection, from bed, with a sleeping prosicated next to me.
Ain't technology wonderful?