Paul McAleer

The Cube

Paul McAleer

Much was made this past weekend (in some circles, small ones, at least) of this being the 20th anniversary of the iMac. At the time I mostly dismissed the iMac, because I'd had bad experiences with Macs in college (Director was rough and crashed a lot for me) and totally bought the line that Macs were toys, not tools.

But the G4 Cube came along in 2000 and that all changed. I distinctly remember being at CompUSA out in Downers Grove, Illinois, one random day and seeing the Cube and a 15" Cinema Display. I was kind of stunned, and it hit me at a time when I was going through my first forays into figuring out my adulthood and what was important to me in my early 20s.

I started investigating the move to the Mac and decided to take the plunge. I bought a Cube and Cinema Display about 3 weeks before Apple officially discontinued them. I bought them on credit, because I didn't know how money worked. (I had enough cash to buy it, having saved money for years when I was a kid, but was taught that money in savings was just to be saved – not to be spent, ever.) I started documenting my move to Mac on my website, got a ton of traffic and goodwill about it, and started actively hating on PCs when I saw the world as something binary.

One of the reasons I chose the Mac was because I was a little tired of the computing path I had gone down. Building computers was fun, but not that fun, for me. I bought completely in to Apple's vision and marketing for what computing would be. On the plus side, the Mac ended up being a good choice for me – I am still a Mac user nearly 20 years later.

But in retrospect, I shouldn't have gone into debt over it. That was a bad choice.

Things are different now. My wife and I had individual computers when we first met each other (of course!) but eventually sold both and got a single family computer, which is now 7 years old. It's totally fine for what we do. The CompUSA is now a Brazilian steakhouse. The debt from the Cube is paid off. And how I view technology and what it can do for us has shifted dramatically, too.

The Cube still holds a little place in my heart. It was a great machine. But it was a machine, and nothing more.