Thu, Oct
13
2005

James Bow Switches II (For Real, This Time)

Thu, Oct 13, 2005


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(Cue funky background jazz music, stand up in front of white background, look vaguely camera shy)

(*Cough*) So, I am a bit of a geek. No, I don’t have cutting edge technology, nor do I salivate for the latest operating system upgrade or big name game, but I know my way around installing software, and I know how to design a web page. I’ve reinstalled Windows dozens of times, and I’ve drooled over the latest and greatest machines. But there’s been one key difference: I’ve been on a tight budget.

My old computer at home ran on an Athlon 750 chip and was about five years old. I operated Windows Millennium, and it did an okay job of staying on without crashing for more than a few hours a day, but gradually I knew I was falling behind, and I had to reformat my hard drive and reinstall Windows in order to maintain its fresh performance. I knew Microsoft had developed XP, and then XP Service Pack 2, and while my father sang its praises, I knew that to upgrade to the new system, I’d have to seriously think about changing my computer. But did a new computer deserve the latest Microsoft had to offer?

I got to tell you, I wasn’t happy with Microsoft. I didn’t like the way Internet Explorer got imbedded in their operating system whether you wanted it or not, or the way IE refused to render certain web pages according to standard HTML. The high price of upgrades and of Office. And I especially didn’t like how it was almost assumed that Microsoft would be my default operating system. I gradually moved away from Microsoft, replacing Internet Explorer and Outlook with Firefox and Thunderbird, ditching my ancient copy of Office with Open Office 2.0, but I wasn’t ready to leap away from the last connection: the operating system. Linux frightened me. Apple was a little on the expensive side. Did I have the technical skill to make the switch to Linux? If not, was Apple worth it?

And then I started my contract with The New Quarterly, and got to try out their brand new 15 inch Powerbook running OsX Tiger. And there was no going back. I knew Mac OsX was stable and robust, but I didn’t realize how elegant it was too, how intuitive, how fun. I fell in love. And when my office asked to borrow back their Powerbook for a weekend so they could do some, you know, work, I went into withdrawl.

I had planned to get an Apple laptop in February, closer to the release of my book, but as the long weekend approached, I decided to make the switch. Nothing ambitious, you understand: just a 12 inch iBook. It had the features I needed and was far faster than my Athlon 750. It may not have the ports or the titanium finish of a Powerbook, but it was attractive in its own right. So I plunked down my $1229, got my laptop in a box, and have spent a glorious weekend moving my old Windows documents to my new computer.

Now I have my computer, which is completely free of Microsoft. The operating system may not be open source, but it’s got quality that I’m happy to pay for. And it runs all sorts of open source programs that do what I need them to do. So I get to thumb my nose at Redmond, while I do my, you know, work.

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The Canadian Lemming Returns

After a brief hiatus, Cameron’s back at his blog with two new entries that are really quite brilliant. Have a look.


Busy Period

Blogging might get a little sporadic over the next few days, as you can well understand. Not only are Erin and I at 37 weeks, but things have been busy this month. I have a new column up for my local paper, and I have two stories on the go for Business Edge. This along with an upswing of work at The New Quarterly, not to mention a web commission (yay!) is going to keep me away from posting here as often as I’d like.

There’s also work to be done on Rosemary and Time, which will soon be retitled. I’ll have an announcement once the catalogue copy is ready…

So, I’ll try to post regularly. But if you don’t hear from me for a little while, you know the reason why.


On This Day

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