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My stepfather (now 61) and I have never fully seen eye to eye when it comes to Apple computers. It stems mainly from him being a major technophobe, whereas I'm a total technophile.

He's always been content to work off of my old, discarded computers when I finally scraped together the money to buy a new one. He used my old Apple IIe when I got a Mac Classic for college. He used my old Quadra 610 when I finally saved enough for a (just released) Blue-and-White PowerMac G3. At no time has he ever understood my passion for Macs or why I'm so devoted to the whole Mac experience. Seemingly overnight, this attitude has done a complete 180.

A few months ago, he decided that he wanted to get a fast-running computer. He talked with me about what he wanted to do, both now and in the future, and I recommended an iMac DV SE. He bought the graphite one (didn't like the Snow model's color -- wasn't "cool" enough for his tastes). He was immediately wowed by the speed of the thing compared to the clunker he'd been using before, and loved the software that came with it. He started e-mailing and doing internet research for his stock portfolio, and I got regular complaints from my mom that he was now like me and my brother -- spending all his time on the computer and hardly ever coming up for air.

This Christmas, my mom bought him a digital camcorder. He used it to tape our family get-together, and then decided he'd see what this iMovie thing was all about and if he could make his own movie.

20 hours later, he finally figured it all out and made a 15-minute movie complete with titles, special effects and transitions. He's inordinately pleased with himself and, I think, is finally understanding what all of us "Mac heads" are about. He made both QuickTime and DV versions of his final production, and already is making plans for his next masterpiece.

Don't get me wrong -- Pop's still a technophobe, and I have to do a ton of handholding any time he gets a new piece of software or hardware (heck, it took him 15 minutes to figure out how to do a fade on the camcorder). But now he wants to do all of these things with his iMac that he didn't think he'd be able to do. He wants to get a scanner and e-mail old photos to friends. He wants a digital camera to take better stills than the camcorder. He wants photo-editing software to make those stills look better. With each thing, he's getting tied more and more tightly to Apple and sees more and more of what the Mac experience is all about.

I figure that if Apple can take a guy like Pop and make him into an Apple-lover through the iMac, then I don't see how Apple can't survive (if not expand slowly) over the years.

Yes, it's "old" news where the iMac is concerned. But I thought I'd bring the tale of a new convert to the Apple ranks to cheer folks up in this time of stock bleakness. ;-)
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