So we took the plunge at the Lane household and bought an iMac. That is the good news. The bad news: it was my wife, and not me, who made the purchase.

My wife’s laptop performed the 25 month post-warranty belly flop while I was at DefCon. A few flickers on the monitor and nothing. A very cold no-boot followed. So off we went to Fry’s today and after an hour browsing she wandered by the Macs. She was looking at the iMac and asked. “Where is the box? Doesn’t this thing have a disk drive?”, to which I replied “The disk and processor are built into the monitor housing, so there is no box”. Her eyes opened a little wider and she stared for another minute or two. That was all it took, and she jumped in with both feet. I warned her there would be a learning curve with the new OS and software, but she was not deterred. I made the statement more for my benefit than for hers, as she is a type ‘A’ personality with a bullet, so patience is not usually a word used in her vicinity.

However there is one consolation prize in this effort, as the phrase “I don’t know” is the correct answer. Let me explain what I mean by that. As many of you may have experienced, when you are the Computer Guy in the house, it is expected that for anything that goes wrong with anything that has electricity, YOU will fix it. You know what is wrong with any piece or hardware or software and exactly how to fix it instantly. Otherwise you get the “You call yourself a CTO”? jokes. Not only that, when you’re married, friends and family get to ask for IT tech support as well. This is one of my major annoyances in life. But when you know next to nothing about a Mac, the stream of questions directed at me always results in “I don’t know, why don’t you look it up?” This brings a wonderful, liberating sense of freedom from responsibility. “Why is Safari doing that?” “How do I ______?” and my personal favorite, “I am taking this &;@%”@%/ of *&@(;( back to the store if this does not, oh, wait, now it works.” And I have been smiling at the fact it is not my problem all day long.

She has let me use the machine for a bit. All in all this is a seriously nice, well engineered and very cool looking piece of hardware. While the approach is different, everything is conceptually easy once you get used to the difference in perspective. She really likes it and I am very much looking forward to buying a MacBook for myself. In the meantime, I am going to fly off to California for the next couple of days until the swearing stops.