I was just sitting here today reading my daily does of Apple news and I started to think to myself, what happened? A little about me, I've been a long time Apple user, in fact my first Apple was a IIe. Yes boys a girls, it was before the time of Macintosh and had a beautiful black and white display! As I type on my 13" MacBook Pro ... I realize how far the computing has come, simply jaw dropping amazing when you stop to think about it. Anyway, except for a Toshiba Satellite laptop I owned briefly for a week in 2002, I have never owned anything other then Apple. Lately, I am looking at the computing world outside of Apple, and I am beginning to feel jealous. When I look around I see so many choices, options and configurations ... many of them are good too. It is possible to build exactly the system to your specifications, with the software you desire. While this has always been the case, to me, it seems more compelling then ever to look outside of Apple. The argument has always been with pc’s, yes you have more options … but do you really want all of those options? Even in the "dark days" of the 90's I stuck with Apple, I felt it to be a superior product to the windows world (what was I thinking Quadra 610!). I can't explain it, other then to say as an Apple user you always felt like you had Apple on your side to navigate the sometimes turbulent world of technology. Things just worked. And who could forget the excitement of seeing Jobs coming back to Apple and single handily bring Apple back from the doldrums to the powerhouse it is today. Think Different. As an Apple user we were different, we trusted that Apple would create technology for us, the user while other companies were creating technology to further computer science and to make a dime. But finally here was a company making products for us and we were grateful. What’s changed? I don't know. I can say I feel a bit like I'm sitting alone at Perkins restaurant two weeks after my girlfriend broke up with me, or coming home after taking my dog to the vet and they put him down. Instead of collaboration with Apple to push the boundaries of what is "good" useful computing, I feel as if my mom is taking me shoe shopping and picking out a pair of dress shoes instead of those cool Air Jordans in the corner. I'm reading about Apple's new lawsuit with Samsung over the Galaxy products, perplexed why they refuse to up grade IO components while their users are demanding USB 3 (yes, I understand the thunderbolt argument) and finally the conditions about their manufacturing facilities in China and I realize this is not the same company that declared big brother the enemy in 1984. Who could forget after the tech bubble crashed and Apples stock tanked like the rest of the industry (anyone remember Apple stock dipping below 10 bucks?) and Steve stood on the stage at Macworld explaining to everyone, "We will innovate our way out of this." while everyone else was slashing jobs. Apple didn't just talk the talk, they were different. And they did it in a way you felt as if you were part of the team. Today Apple is at the top of their game; arguably one of the most powerful and profitable companies in the world and my hat is off to them. Yet it feels as if I'm listening to a sad Ben Harper song every time I read a story about their earnings report or hear about how Apple as launched another lawsuit. It all feels very HP to me. About a month and a half ago I built a hackintosh for the first time. And honestly it’s been a great experience. It's stable, fast, and designed to do what I want with the hardware I want. At some point I plan on installing Windows and possibly a Linux variant onto it, but it’s been something I have not felt in a long time with Apple … it’s been fun. Recently I was looking over an Asus Laptop thinking what a great machine it looked like and I was wondering if I’m ever going to buy a mac again. The community that has grown around making hackintosh possible feels familiar, comfortable ... one for all - all for one. I wonder if its any coincidence that the hackintosh community has grown stronger at the same time Apple has grown in dominance and big business. The spirit of the two guys in the garage that made something cool seems absent to me and replaced by shareholder demand. In a since, the hackintosh community embodies the ones who are thinking different today, it feels very much like the two guys in a garage creating something cool. As if they are the woman running down the aisle with an hammer in their hand … only at this time there is no Macintosh on her shirt. Apple is locked down, the walled garden. True, they always have been, but all of a sudden there are armed guards at the gate saying think twice before trying to leave, go smell the flowers ... march. Roger that! Even Microsoft is starting to generate excitement and as they figure out how to raddle the big dog. I’m getting excited about new things, non Apple things and really starting to see the value in them in a way I never did before. The possibilities of software such as songbird, flirted with Ubuntu and trying to figure out what exactly it is about the mac I’m still using it for. Honestly I can only think of one … one killer app that is hard for me to replace on any platform. I’ll say it and I know many will disagree, but is iPhoto really worth the price of staying with the mac? And as soon as a strong competitor (like songbird is for itunes) emerges what then? Anyway, I’m at my favorite coffee shop at the moment and I wanted to share my thoughts for the day. I guess my question is to you … do you ever feel this way too? Off to play with my bios on my overclocked mac!