Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

by Marty Ditmeyer

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

Birthdays come and go, but some are more special than others -- noted by the number of candles on a cake or acknowledgment of a particular decade. I had a "special" birthday this fall. My husband, Steve, and I decided to invite a few long-time friends for dinner at an upscale restaurant in DC, the type of place rarely frequented by those with young children or those in the midst of paying their children's college tuition bills. That alone was a special treat. The dinner was excellent, and after the meal I opened gifts, both of the thoughtful and the gag type.

I admit that I had hinted to Steve that someday I would like an Apple AirPort, so naturally I was pleased when I opened his present to find he had given me one. Steve then informed me that there was still one more gift. I was really not expecting anything more -- after all, I finally had an AirPort! I had no idea what I was getting into when I started to open the second present. It was one of our guests who said, "It looks like a laptop!!" I could hardly believe it ("shock" would be a more accurate term) as I found myself unzipping a slick "slipper case" and taking out the sweetest little iBook I have ever seen. I was filled with glee and wonder at this marvelous new "toy." Upon opening up the laptop, the glowing Apple logo made an impression both on our guests at the table and on the young waiters and waitresses who came over to check it out. This fancy restaurant was the perfect setting for this sleek laptop with its distinctive logo. After passing the iBook around the table, one of my friends and I went through the pre-registration procedures. I am certain that Emily Post would have never approved of this breech of etiquette at a fine dining establishment, but then she never was presented with such a marvelous gift. Steve noted that it was the first time ever that he had totally surprised me, and that my response to the iBook, if filmed, would have made a great Apple ad.

The iBook has turned out to be the "gift that keeps on giving," but I should note that there were other steps that had to be taken so I could truly enjoy this gift. One was that, with an AirPort, I had the perfect excuse to upgrade our dial-up phone line to high-speed DSL service. I went through the process one step at a time, and the DSL set-up went smoothly with clear instructions. Once the DSL was up and running on our Power Mac Cube, I then went about setting up the AirPort. Once again, I found the instructions clear and in no time I had both the Cube and the iBook on my new wireless network. Getting our AOL account to run though the TCP setting was simple, once I realized what I had to do. I have Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2.3) on both machines and have had virtually no problems.

So how has the iBook changed my life? Well, at work I "work" on a PC; at home I have "fun" with my iBook. No longer hampered by wires, I can surf the Web from the sofa or the kitchen table. I can surf while another member of the family is on AOL. When my daughter called one evening from her cell phone in DC, I was able immediately to get on the Web and locate the proper street address for her destination. Keeping my software up-to-date is much easier; with the old dial-up line I frequently would get bumped off because the download would take so long. Now I check software updates frequently and get answers to questions more quickly. I find that I log on to the Pi's TCS computer bulletin board service more often to pick up tips and suggestions. On the TCS, I find that I have the additional support I need when troubleshooting. Recently, I downloaded Apple's new Web browser, Safari. I really appreciate Apple's effort to provide an uncluttered, simple user interface.

It was on the TCS that I wrote a note about my new iBook, and Lawrence Charters suggested I write an article -- so here it is. Obviously, he is always looking for fodder for the Washington Apple Pi magazine. Well, it has taken a while for me to get around to doing this article, but right now I am riding a train from Charlottesville to Washington, enjoying the scenery while doing my writing. It is snowing outside the train window, and I am enjoying my snow-white iBook very, very much.

Marty and her iBook

Marty and her snow-white iBook attended the January 2003 General Meeting, where they both learned about all the neat technology introduced at Macworld San Francisco. (Photo by Lawrence I. Charters)