Zen and the Art of Macintosh Maintenance: Part 1 | IT With IQ

Zen and the Art of Macintosh Maintenance: Part 1

. January 7, 2010 . 0 Comments

Let me start off by saying that I love my job. I’ve been doing it professionally for going on seven years now and I wouldn’t give away a single day of it. Before that I did it as a non-professional for friends and family for pocket change, and I wouldn’t give away a day of that either. I’ve been on the Apple for 25+ years, that’s actually longer than the Macintosh has even existed. In that time I’ve learned a few lessons and rules that when applied to my life have made things easier, clearer and better. So I thought this would be an appropriate venue to share some of those guidelines for life:

Rule #1: Keep it Simple

I can’t say enough about the concept of keeping things simple. Apple has done an excellent job over their history of making sure things were clean and intuitive. They never cluttered your screen or your desktop with things that were completely useless and unnecessary, or that you would never use. Things are simple and straight forward. They have avoided using overly technological terms to explain simple things.

For example, on the PC, there is an area of every program, folder and document called “properties”. To this day I find that word awkward and confusing. What does that really mean in the realm of technology? It means choices you can make about the way something works, appears, or functions. Mac used the term “preferences” instead which takes much less thought to understand.

So simple is better. Cleaner and less cluttered is better. Straight forward is better…. on computers and in life. The less clutter in your office or room, the easier you can find things. The more straight forward you are in your communication the easier people understand your intentions and the more productive and functional you are in your endeavors. And the more you learn to keep it simple, the longer you live, and the happy and easier that life is.

Rule #2: Change is Good

In my experiences, on the PC side people rarely run software updates. They worry about the downside of new operating system. They struggle endlessly with adopting new technologies, new gadgets and new ways of doing things.

Not so on the Macintosh side. It’s rare that I’ve ever come across a software update on a Macintosh that screwed something up. In fact they have generally fixed problems that I often didn’t even know existed. I tend to update without even thinking about it, as do most of my clients, and they are almost never the worse for it.

New operating systems are eagerly awaited, with lines stretching around the block. Users enthusiastically install and upgrade their machines without a care in the world about any potential problems. And they are usually rewarded with improved systems, better running machines and new and innovative ways to do things.

New technologies of any type and new gadgets of all shapes and sizes are adopted just as fervently. No fear. No struggle. A grand acceptance of the changes afoot in this marvelous universe of ours.

It’s a good way to live your life. I always explain it like this:
Salmon spend their entire lives struggling to swim upstream, and eventually they die and then their bodies float downstream anyways. The stream is the inevitable changes that life throws our way. We can choose to fight those changes and struggle until we get tired and eventually drift down that stream of change anyways. Or, we can fully embrace it, head downstream at full speed, and get there before everyone else.

Things change. It’s inevitable. So why fight it? After all, change is good.

Rule #3: There’s More than one way to Skin a Cat

On the Macintosh there are always at least two and sometimes three or more ways ways to do anything. Most commands you can use the keyboard, mouse, or some combination of the two. Sometimes you can use your voice. Sometimes you can use touch. There’s always many optinos depending on how you work best. If your hands are on the keyboard, use the keycodes or the keyboard commands. If you;re hands are on the mouse use the mouse or the right click button. On a trackpad you can use multi-touch commands. With some additional software you can do it with the sound of your voice.

Why so many choices? Because different people work differently. Because sometimes one way won’t work right. Because sometimes your faster using one method as opposed to another.

Because of this concept, you never get too caught up on doing any one thing in any one particular way. You never get too frustrated when it doesn’t do what you wanted or expected it to do this way or that way.

Overall, it’s a great way to live your life…. Keep your options open. Keep your choices around. Keep yourself informed. Do things differently. Do things that are unexpected or do them in unexpected ways. Improvise. Be unpredictable. Go with the flow. Keep yourself guessing.

Life is best when you have fun with what you do… when you feel your way through it and trust your instincts rather than becoming robotic, a creature of habit, a man in a rut.


So that’s Part 1. Just a start. Keep reading and checking in as I reveal many, many other lessons on how to live life derived from the machine that makes me smile…. and surprises me… and keeps me coming back for more… My Mac.

MacWhisperer Out!

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