The Apples don’t fall far from the tree

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family recently. No, I’m not talking about my folks or friends in the area. No, I’m not referring to any extended family that isn’t nearby. My family — and I call it that because of the amount of time and money I’m spending on it — is my growing collection of Apple computers.

My newest computer is a Mac Pro generously handed down to me by a friend. He’s the youngest of the group and obviously has some proving to do, but, like a child, watching him grow into a supercomputing machine is one of the reasons to raise a computer.

I’ve purchased several upgrades for the Pro — a new hard drive, a new video card — and these are like investing in a child’s future. Installing these components is like giving him the tools he needs for a successful future and for dealing with all the challenges — and pixel-crunching video games — that I’ll throw at him. It’s not the best video card, but it’ll do a serviceable job — more like sending him to a Purdue or Lake Forest College rather than Harvard. Do I look like I’m made of money, after all?

The smallest of my flock is a nine- inch netbook I’ve modified to run the Mac Operating System. Since this process isn’t exactly kosher, the netbook is the wild child of the three. He’s straddling the line between Windows and Mac, a strange hybrid of the two worlds. He’s doing things he’s not supposed to — each upgrade could be the one that breaks him, just like the next run-in with the law could be the one that spells jail time for the little chap. Unfortunately, he took that step — the one that’s gone too far — the other day when I updated to OS 10.6.8. BAM I got an infinite loop when I tried to restart the netbook. As such, I’ll have to spend several hours downgrading the operating system, telling him he has to live within his means and not push the boundaries too much. He’s lived that life before, and look where it got him. A spinning beach ball cursor of death, that’s where.

And then my MacBook Pro is that awkward middle child, the one who hasn’t really found his place in the world. The Mac Pro is a tower computer, meant to stay in the home and be the workhorse computer. On the other extreme is the netbook — ultra-portable but not the fastest processor on the motherboard (if you know what I mean). I have no doubt the MacBook is jealous of the Pro since I’m going to be giving the new kid many of the responsibilities he used to handle. Nothing personal, MacBook, but the Pro can load iTunes a lot faster than you. I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with him. I’ll probably end up doing what I would if I had an actual middle child — trade him for an iPad.

Yes, this is all in jest, and I know computers are much different from actual children. Most importantly, computers will turn out exactly how I want them to. They won’t get piercings without my permission or start smoking “because all the cool kids are doing it.” Well, that is until the day they’ve evolved artificial intelligence so sophisticated that we actually start treating them like humans. Oh wait, has that happened already?

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