Saturday, January 12, 2008

Time for a laptop change?

Now that my iPhone is a brick because the touch screen gave up on me, I should start saying that Apple hardware sucks and that nobody should buy anything from Apple. This is actually true, I have heard it from many sources (laptop crashing, iPod unusable after few months and so on), including Dave and Matt (who is an hard-core Apple fan). However, since I am still in Europe, I am dumbly hopeful that next week I will be back in the Palo Alto store and the smiling dude will give me a new iPhone. I am probably dreaming, but I will report about it later...

My laptop is suffering of Windows aging. It is a well-know phenomenon: you leave Windows to run for a few months and it slows down inevitably, day after day. The time for boot becomes longer. The time after you login becomes infinite. Usually, when I reach this state I re-install Windows from scratch. I keep a backup on a separate PC, with all my data and applications. In a couple of hours, I have a rejuvenated laptop.

This time I am tempted (again) by what Steve Jobs will announce next week. I always thought I could not use a Mac because it lacks the right button of the mouse (but I was told you can still make it, clicking one of the special keys) and the damn dongle for the VGA: if you do presentations all the time, you will lose the dongle one day between presentations and you will be dead (but I was told I could buy two dongles and store one in a secret compartment of my bag, just for emergencies).

What is compelling is that every laptop I bought recently for Funambol has been a Mac. Everyone got one. Parallels works really great and people are running Windows XP applications happily. Including Outlook, a tool I can't really live without (today, but I am sure it won't last).

Actually, because of Parallels and the Intel inside, the upgrade from Windows XP to Vista is more difficult than the upgrade from Windows XP to Apple Leopard... XP applications run smoothly in Leopard and you do not have to learn a new paradigm for applications. In part, this is because the upgrade from Office 2007 to Office XP is more difficult than the upgrade from Office 2007 to OpenOffice... I find all this quite bizarre but a great opportunity for the non-Microsoft camp. If they hurt themselves, we should not stop ;-)

However, I can't get an Apple laptop today. Their laptops are just too heavy. I am what computer magazines would call "a road warrior" and wifes "an idiot". I travel a bit too much to put a heavy laptop in my bag. I need it light. My HP Compaq nc4010 does it well as an ultraportable at 3.5 lbs.

Now, it appears Steve will announce an ultraportable laptop at MacWorld... With a flash disk. Thin and light. One that will break in six months... If the former happens and the smiling dude will give me back a new iPhone next week (maybe with 3G, Steve go for it), I might actually go for it as well.

Stay tuned.