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My last laptop was a Dell Inspiron 8200. HEAVY HEAVY HEAVY. It was loaded by 2002 standards. Pentium 4, 512 MB RAM (anymore would have been a fortune), graphics card off the more powerful business version of the machine (eBay).

That was the last Dell I would ever own. Certainly the last Dell laptop. See, Dell’s customer service is pure shite. Just awful. OK. I don’t know how it is in 2007, but when I was actively contacting them in 2002 and 2003, just the worst. Textbook example of why outsourcing is just *wrong.*

Overall, except for some truly awful tech support experience with Dell, that machine was pretty solid after five years of use and thousands of miles of travel and wardriving. Two things made that possible: My computer expertise and the bulky design of the Dell, which made servicing it easy.

Five years later on, along with circumstance, and I am trying on a new machine. Lighter, faster and more appropriate, frankly, for my current level of computer interest.

The machine I am using right now to write this screed is an Apple Macbook. Black of course. I think non-black/grey laptops are just dreadful. Worst design mistake Apple made.

So far though, except for some anomalous behavior that could just be me getting used to this OS, I am digging the little Macbook. Take a look at it sometime if you get a chance. The only computers that approach it in terms of lightness and tightness are IBM/Lenovos.

Now as the title implies, I was a Mac user years before I was a PC user. No. Strike that. I was a RABID Mac user. My first Mac was a Mac SE which I refit into an SE/30–one of the better examples of a superior Macintosh. After that, I countered with what was the worst of the Macintoshes, the Powerbook 5300. Just as with the Dell, I ended up tearing that machine apart to fix or replace broken parts–mainly plastics–many times throughout my life with it. Then, the Powerbook G3–specifically the Mainstreet version, if you’re familiar with Apple’s internal names. That was a pretty good machine. Also the first I’d had signed by a porn star–Serenity in that case. The other, so’s you know, was the Dell, signed by Houston.

My time with that G3 was probably the best I’d had with laptops–PC or Mac. It was a solid machine with dreadful hinges–One of many laptops from the ’90s with LCDs too massive for the hinges. But I could do stuff with it, and I had a lot of Mac software on hand I could load and use on that machine.

Over time though, I ended up with more Windows software than Mac–for reasons which I will not go into, but you know perfectly well. My Mac software was fast becoming obsolete. Then OS X came out, which was kinda where I had to break with my roots and buy a PC.

Fast forward five years, and I am looking for a new machine. there are PCs which are worthy, but I’ve never had good luck with Toshibas or Compaq/HPs. Having worked with a fleet of road-used laptops, I can attest that neither brand can stand up to prolonged hard use.

And then I saw the Black Mac. The price? Better than any other Mac I ever owned, but still really expensive–$1600. HOWEVER, it answered handily every issue I’d had with every previous laptop. Light and tight, as I said. Black, which is beautiful. And the promise, at least, of stability. And, no bullshitting around (so far) like I’ve had to with every other laptop. I am no longer in the mood to tinker with a computer. Working in tech support, the last damn thing I want to do is go play with a computer when I get home. I am not the hobbyist I used to be. These are tools, and Macs are precision instruments, to extend the metaphor a bit. I no longer like messing with a computer for the sole purpose of messing with a computer. If I don’t have a purpose for it, I don’t want it. And I wanted–NEEDED–a lighter, faster computer for general use that didn’t need my constant intervention. Something that wouldn’t kill my shoulder.

That machine, kids, is this black Macbook. Between this and other financial concerns, I’ll be paying for a while, but it’s going to be worth the bother, I think.

Oh–one cool thing. Since the Mac OS is now Unix-based, open-source makes this an even better fit for me. Instead of Safari I am using Camino, which is based on Mozilla, and thus is more like Firefox. OpenOffice was another obvious choice–NeoOffice in my case. And, of course, the Gimp. Mind you, years of Photoshop use means I have to click and dick around a lot trying to find things I used to know implicitly, but it’s still a fine application. Inkscape instead of Illustrator. SVG instead of EPS. XML rules.

The only other thing I have to resolve is desktop publishing. There is an app called Scribus out there which is the open-source answer to Quark and InDesign. I’ve loaded it, but haven’t dug into it yet.

And wireless ethernet. I was working with wireless back in 2002, and trying to wheedle my way into it when they were testing PCCard wireless adapters for Powerbooks back in 1998. I used to park in Borders’ parking lots throughout the northeast using the wireless. In fact, when I used to drive to Pennsylvania every month, I used to look into what wireless hotspots were out there. In 2002, not many. Now? A bunch.

OK. So as to bring this ramble to a halt, I’ll summarize. This machine is the ideal one for my situation right now. This is the natural progression for me. I am truly not a computer enthusiast like I used to be. But I am enthusiastic about this Macbook. Not the rabid Mac dog I was in the ’90s–Apple’s infatuation with silver and white is offensive to my sensibilities, I think the iPhone is two iterations away from being OK and any hard-drive-based MP3 player is a waste of your good money. And a single trackpad button is silly.

OK. More later.


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