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Windows Requires Work Which Hinders Use

Week of September 28, 2005

Someone looking for an unusually portable portable gets advice from a family member. This someone already switched to Apple but seems to not have got the punch line yet. Here it comes.

Sorry to be brief today, I was between meetings and pressed. Anyway, here are your options for a small notebook for travel. In no particular order.

[1] If small is what you want, the Libretto is the smallest, but you will hate typing on it. It is really small. Starts at $2,000. 2.2 lbs. Lots of money for hand cramps and Windows. Critics call it an 'ergonomics nightmare'.


[2] Bigger? See the Vaio T Series. Starts at $2,049 for 3.1 pounds. Still lots of cashola. Dunno about the quality of the hardware here either.


Reviewers call it cramped.


[3] $999. Apple. Bigger, but secure and very durable. For my money, the 12' iBook basic out of the box configuration is still the best bet. At 4.9 lbs it is pretty light and sleek but not as compact as the two above. Frankly, it is like carrying a thin textbook - that's all. The keyboard is great where the other two may not be - oh and now the iBook comes stock with Bluetooth and WiFi. For what it is worth, I carry my iBook around all the time and it isn't a burden at all. Fits right in my messenger bag.


[4] You may be tempted to look at the 12' Powerbook. $1500 and 4.6 lbs. Basic configuration is all you need. No more RAM or anything.


It's more money than the iBook, but you get a faster processor, bigger hard drive, and it's a cool looking aluminum machine, but it isn't as durable for the road. It dents and scratches easily. It's beautiful on a desktop. I hear the displays are not as brilliant as the 12' iBook. The iBook was made for use and abuse but they're both superb machines. They're secure out of the box. No viruses. Both have built in hard drive protection which is key on a laptop. It just works - all the time. Battery life will be worse on this than the others. Just a fact. As I understand it (but may be wrong) the processor is higher voltage. Better processor and graphics performance is the tradeoff here, but that is what plugs are for. Very few machines are this durable except maybe:

[5] IBM. Next to Apple, they make the best notebook on the market. Quality of hardware is said by some to be better in many categories than the Apple. I'm no expert in that area. They have a great new ultra light machine (3 lbs) but also not as compact. It will be the most durable of all of them. Titanium case and all. You are stuck on Windows here (because you won't have patience for Linux) but this is a great machine at $1,700. Critics love the keyboard. You also have the option of a higher end biometric version that has a fingerprint reader to get good security. Not a bad idea in your business, Windows and all.


[My thoughts on operating systems]

This is perhaps more important than the hardware. With Microsoft you'll be stuck with all the stupid operating system updates, antivirus updates, anti-spyware updates. You have to run the firewall and these other apps ALL the time which uses a good portion of your resources. You have to defrag the drive ALL THE TIME. It is a maintenance nightmare. Stupid Windows Registry bloats and slows everything down.

***Windows requires WORK which hinders USE***

Since I switched to Apple, I've spent less than 1 hour maintaining my machine (no kidding) and nearly all my time using it. To maintain Windows the way it must be maintained, you will spend a good portion of your time running updates, security scans, and troubleshooting the odd happenings related to buggy software. It doesn't work and if it does, you are lucky, but it won't last past the next update because they always break something. Vista is coming soon to replace XP and it will be a media frenzy when it is released, it will be a security nightmare. It will be hacked for sport. There will be security patches all the time and it will hog the hell out of your resources.

[Summing up]

I would go with the Apple for your travel machine. You've already made the switch (outside of the office) so don't go back because another machine is a pound or two less in weight. You'll have stability and safety that only Apple can offer. You will have the convenience of being able travel w/ your iTunes library for your iPod. You can off-load your pictures from your camera right to iPhoto w/ FireWire. This will be GREAT when you are in transit. When you get home, it is SOOO easily networked w/ your G5. I know you might be reluctant because the whole office is still on Wintel boxes, but it doesn't really matter. Afte getting that G5 you've got, I wouldn't entertain buying a Wintel box again (for your personal use).

[Other resources]

This is another take on the subject. These articles are worth a good read, especially when you're faced with an investment decision. They really know the stuff better than anyone.

Reasons why you should - and perhaps should not - migrate to Apple


'Windows is and will always be an insecure standalone system. It is not suitable for Internet use. If you're running Windows, get offline or get Unix before the attackers get you.'


Let me know what you want to do.

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