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Minority shareholder

I’ll bet you didn’t know I owned Apple. No, not AN apple. This isn’t a post about an epic journey to the grocery store. This is the story of something I wanted to do for a long time: buy stock in my favorite computer company. This isn’t a story of buying low and selling high, of market savvy, or mad money.

This is a love story.

If you’ve been on Apple train for the whole Jobs reunion tour – you get it. If you’ve been on the wagon since ’84, when the first Macs rolled off the lines, you definitely get it. If you know who John Sculley and Gil Amellio are, you’ve got it bad.

If you’ve got more little white apple stickers than hobbies, you know. If you’ve got a few striped, rainbow apples sprinkled in your collection you’re pretty damn sure.

If you don’t, I’m not sure I can explain it to you.

John, it sounds like what you really need is a good deprogramming.

I admit it sounds fishy. The “cult of Mac” label rings with a hint of truth. But there’s another, simpler explanation: great products create strong customer loyalty and a great brand name. Great products can be addicting in a way. If you’ve ever bough something and six months later thought, “I don’t know how I got along before…,” you’ve got some idea what I’m talking about.

Some folks get the cool-great relationship mixed up when it comes to Apple. Some would have you believe Apple only exists because it’s cool or fashionable. I think the cool or fashionable part comes second, dependent on the first. In order to be around as long as Apple, you’ve got to have great products first, before they can be cool. In Apple’s case, great products combine good form as well as function, which undoubtably leads to the “fashionable” charge. There’s just one thing. The first computer running the Mac OS was sold in early 1984. Being cool, or it’s cousin – a fad – has a limited shelf life, and it isn’t 27 years. You’ve got to be good (dare I say great?) before you can be cool that long, while at the same appealing to more than one generation of customers.

There’s a darker side to this story though. There’s truth to what they say: “you’ve got to have money to make money.”

I bought into Apple right before the first iPad was sold. Like I said before, I wanted buy Apple stock for sentimental reasons, not necessarily to make money. However it did cross my mind that it would be more affordable before the iPad rather than after.

Well I didn’t (make money). Not much anyway.

Oh, the stock price has done great. It’s up around 50% since I invested, but I could only afford one share at the time. I’m only up a $100 or so.

On the up side, I still received notification of the stockholders’ meeting this year. That was pretty exciting stuff, until I figured someone just wanted my little piece of the vote by proxy. I don’t think they really wanted me to show up, let alone have a speaking role.

None of that really matters though. The important thing is I’ve got my MacBook and my stock.

One share of Apple I’ll cherish forever.


Big Bother is watching

Cheryl was complaining this morning. Before you rush to judgement – of me – for telling on Cheryl, let me say up front that I complain just as much as she does. Only, my complaining tends to be more whiney, grating, and down right irritating.

But let us not talk about me, and instead focus on Cheryl – my intended target. (We’ll get to me shortly.)

Cheryl was complaining about her ratio of recreation to responsibilities this morning, but I was having none of it. “I saw you on the computer this morning,” I pointed out. “Yeah,” she replied, “but you saw me when I’d just sat down. I was only on it for ten minutes.”

“You want me to check?”

“What do you mean?”

“I can check the console logs to see what the computer was doing and when. Do you still want to stand by your ten minutes?”

“Show me.”

“Go to Applications, Utilities, double click Console, make sure Console logs is selected and click kernel.log.”

“I don’t know what all this means.”

“Neither do I, but see this… that’s when the Mac woke from sleep. And see this… that’s when you put it to sleep.”

“Well, it didn’t seem like I was on for half an hour.”

Now, some of you may be patting me on my virtual back for my cleverness. Some of you may be sneering at Cheryl’s smug prick of a husband. Some of you, if you’re really smart (or at least smarter than me), will see the trap laid by my clever wife.

Now she knows how to check the MacBook’s logs, to see how long I spend not doing the things she’s asked me to do.

Anyone out there know if it will do any harm if I start deleting my system logs?

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Ass Mac

Ass Mac sm.jpgWhat would you do if your wife told you there were too many computers in the house? Could you bring yourself to get rid of a few? What if they were more than just computers… but Macs? So what if they’re just taking up space, or the bedroom is beginning to look like a storage shed. These little guys are members of the family. You don’t kick family out of the house when they stop being useful, do you?

O.K., maybe you shouldn’t answer that one.

Besides, the Ruby fella has some life left. He’s faster than the lime in Adam’s room. I’m just waiting for the right time to do a transfer. I won’t mind taking the lime in for recycling – he’s more of a boarder than family (he grew up somewhere else).

My bondi-blue baby isn’t going anywhere though. That’s where I draw the line. Think of all the good times we had together. We made the first version of this web site together. He hosted another version on his own hard drive. Giving him up would be like bringing a puppy back to the pound. I can’t do it.