MAC AND ME, PART 2: When Learning Curves Turn Into Switchbacks


Being a MacBook Air user for two weeks, now, I can  finally cross “Own a Mac” off my bucket list.  This baby has been fun to hop onto, get stuff done, and then hop back off without the hassles of a ponderous, munching-and-crunching PC. Mac is feather-light in my messenger bag. And, okay, I have to admit I love raising its lid and showing off the signature Apple when I work on it during lunch at McAlister’s Deli.  Oh, but the best part — and my main reason for buying it –is its virtual immunity to viruses.

In short, Mac is truly “Mac-alicious”.

But the learning curve is still there. I still spend more time getting used to it than typing on it. I’ve dealt with the challenges by monkeying around with Mac to my heart’s content. This high-dollar contraption does offer a host of tasty features. Among them, Pages, Apple’s answer to Word.

Pages offers almost the same benefits and works almost like its cousin. Note the key word: almost.

Bottom line: for a writer like me, Word is mighty hard to beat. Our friendship began in 2001, when I downloaded a school disk of Microsoft Office onto my first-ever computer, a laptop I bought secondhand for $75 at Salvage Electronics.  Since that day, I’ve used Word to generate lesson plans, quizzes, and, since 2009, novel drafts. It is still old-shoe comfortable and invaluable, to boot.  In fact, the more I worked with Pages, the worse I suffered Word-withdrawal.

Then, a week ago,  I was scrolling through my school email when I found a  message with a link to Office 365. There was even a version of the program for Mac! Granted, Office is expensive, but this version is free to teachers with valid school email addresses. Well, as you can imagine, I was tempted to go AWOL from my last class, pull up the email, click the link, and download the program.

After two tries, I was once again “Office-worthy”.  Bing-bang-boom — problem solved. Right?

Nope. Not right. Now, maybe some of these problems may not really not Mac-related, but they have seemed to be. When I clicked on the W, an Office box asked me for a product purchase key.  Well, since I didn’t buy it, I had no such code. Another option — to log onto an existing Office account to view my files — turned out about as successful. When I typed in my  username and one possible password after another. Office gagged on every one of them.

I was ready to spit nails. Instead, I spat — no, screamed — in exasperation. Well, the vaulted ceiling downstairs makes for some excellent acoustics in our living room.  Expletives echoed in Surround Sound, flushing my husband, coffee mug in hand, from the office upstairs.

“Hey, babe,” he said, with a snort  “I just learned some new words!”

The  next day was a new one. My exasperation upgraded to determination. I would settle this matter, once and for all, by doing the same as I always did on a PC: uninstalling and then reinstalling Office. At least, It sounded reasonable until somehow, some way, I got confused and downloaded a second copy. Now, my toolbar is super-colorful with two each of the blue W, green X, orange P, and yellow O.

Thankfully, at least one download works. As for the other one? I’ll eventually find a way to uninstall it. Someday.  In the sweet bye-and-bye.