Sunday, November 25, 2007

Yeh kya se kya ho gaya

Five years ago, towards the end of my first year of grad school, I felt like I needed to buy my own laptop. Then, there were no second thoughts: A G4 Mac Powerbook (15") it was going to be, and I paid for it through my newly acquired Amex Blue card. Hobbes was a faithful companion through grad school, until he began dying slowly towards the end of year 6. I was in a "Mac-only" lab in a predominantly mac department. They all looked down upon Windoze, and over the six years I had been similarly conditioned.

Besides being a faithful, intelligent companion and a great looker, Hobbes also served as a great dude-magnet. At airports, coffee-shops, he always invited admiring glances and the occasional chat with other Mac geeks. We indulged in more windoze-dissing and jokes and exchanged tricks and such.

Hobbes now serves as a desktop at home since he has to be hooked up to an external monitor in order to function. He has also gone through one heart transplant and I don't think I can stretch him out any longer.

Now I am beginning to feel the need for a new laptop again. At work we have common work-stations, and it becomes inconvenient. Most of the post-docs have their own personal laptops hooked up at their desks and I guess I need to have mine too. I'd also like to be able to take my work or pretenses thereof to coffee shops and such.

However, this time, it's not all that obvious that I'm going to pick a new Mac. Unlike six years ago, the cost of a Mac versus a PC is actually a deterrent. It is very tempting, and very realistic, to try and save that ~$500 and settle for a PC. I guess the six years is enough time to teach one the value of $$ and also put one in debt from careless management of finances. A 15" Mac Book Pro is definitely out of question, at most I can afford the 13" Mac Book. Then, my current lab is largely windows friendly (i know) and so the thought that a PC will not only be cheaper, but also fit in easily dominates my thought process.

I have almost clicked "buy" after configuring a PC a few times now, only to be stopped by a heavy heart. Given my overall computing needs, either PC or Mac should work fine, but will I be happy with a PC? Will I ever get used to the shitty interface and not being able to seamlessly open up terminal and command-line my way when I want to? Will I ever convince myself to like the way a Dell inspiron looks? And really, what face will I have to show that cute mac user I run into next and what chance of even striking up a conversation with him?

Sigh. Life is such a bitch sometimes.

P.S: How many post docs reading this blog have laptops provided by their P.I as against having to buy their own?


Shripriya said...

Do NOT buy a PC. The software gap between the Windows and OS X only continues to grow and you will suffer a heavier price than most b/c you are used to your mac.

Two options - get the Mac Book. It is probably fast enough for what you need it to do. The MBP is very nice, but the 15" one is too heavy to carry around. So, if you have to go from school to home etc., it won't work anyway.

The other option is to wait till January. All indications are that they are announcing their ultralight or the MBP 13 inch. No clue where the pricing on that will end up - it may be in the current Mac Book range (yay!) and if it is not, they may lower the Mac Book prices to differentiate them further.

So either way, if you can wait till MacWorld, you will have more clarity.

A loyal MAC user,
S :)

Prashanth said...

Are you sure the admiring glances were for the Mac? :)

Janefield said...

u buy a mac only as S adviced, when i come i must borrow and use no.

sd said...

Hehe ... I have never used a mac:) *Fearing severe ostracization now*
[Is it true that more people in engineering depts tend to use PCs and the sciences tend to go for the MACs?]

If I were you, I would buy the MAC - for no other reason than the fact that if you like it so much, have it .... I mean, we spend so much time with our computers, its only fair we get what we want. I am a thinkpad fan...I have a thinkpad now.

And I have a dept PC in my office, no laptops :(

ps: Prashant has a very valid point:)

Raj said...

I have never used a Mac because its just too expensive. It might be better than a PC but the difference is just not worth it. But if you are okay with the difference then go for a Mac. I wouldn't mind being gifted one! :)

Sanju said...

Dell's great! Dell's our client! :P Go for it, girl! :D

Sakshi said...

I am buing a Mac. Soon. My boss is going to give us brand new desktops. May be I should ask for a iBook.
A PC user but a die-hard Mac fan :)

ggop said...

Mac! But understand your hand wringing..I go through the same motions.

Born a Libran said...

Mac!! No dozing off... (me liked the pun :) )

Sujatha said...

Hey TGFI! Thanks so much for blogrolling me and for your comments on my post. Just catching up now afterbeing out for a few days.

Anonymous said...

Too much of Windows(I noticed the spelling also!) dissing happening here, I see..

Look, all agree that Mac looks good and all.. but PC is better than Mac for the sole reason, that most other computers in the world are PCs, and interfacing with them is easier.. (I know PC and Mac interface is also possible, but phir bhi.. )

Moreover, Vista might suck as far as the critics go, but its not all that bad... so get a PC, and I am sure you will get used to it... :P

Anonymous said...

Haan, if u you buying, then dont buy the Dell one.. Toshiba is not bad, but go for atleast 2GB if u are getting Vista on it.
HP is good too..
But groundrule - U are having Vista, see that you get atleast 2GB, otherwise u will end up cursing it all the more...

greensatya said...

I have always been using PC, never used MAC, it seems too geeky to me.
I have never faced any software or computing challenge with my Thinkpad.

But as they say MAC is better, so buy one if you can.

La vida Loca said...

read some of your archives..dint quite get what ur phd was on. what was it ? :)

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

sigh. but thanks for the tip off. may be i'll hold off until jan.

hehehe! so then the dell is not going to hamper my chances, eh?

:) ok babe. whatever you say. :)

never used a mac!


:) yes- i have seen a preponderance of macs atleast in the life-sciences field.

"you like it so much, have it"

sigh. sigh sigh. :(

and P.S: but that only confounds the issue further! :)

yeah. i am not okay with the difference- especially when we're talking about money i don't have!

hey sanju,
hehehe. so now its dell again..

mac desktops are pretty cheap. ask your boss to get one of them..are you going to buy the macbook or mbp?

its amazing how many people are rooting for the mac here. i am still awaiting offers of donations to accompany the vote. :)

:) et tu, brutus? and you didn't say- has your office provided you with your own desktop/laptop?

i knew you would root for windoze. well- the plan is to buy one with xp installed, not vista. but i dunno.

if i can. hmm. i dunno what i can or can't any more. :/

vida loca,
it was in the life-sciences field- generally speaking..or genetics, more specifically speaking.

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

hey sujatha!
sorry missed your commment. :)
i LOVE LOVE LOVE the banner on your blog. :-) welcome back!

Born a Libran said...

We didnt want to rub it in... Fellowship provides for some amount in which said laptop can be purchased. I have been pro-Mac and pro-Linux for about 8-9 years now.

Pri said...

just make sure it's shiny.

Pri said...

is this the same sujatha with the colourful chathri banner? i love it too. i didn't know how to say "hello i like your umbrella ella ella"

Ady said...

Follow your heart'll end up happier even if its worth a few dollars more!

ferret said...

i was just about to join microsoft, but they missed it!!!!!!! go buy the mac now!

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

You should do it my way: buy a PC and then get rid of the virus: delete Windows and install Linux. And then you can have a small Windows partition just for that occasional Age of Empires rush :)

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Tachyoson said...

recommend against a Dell.

at the end of the day its the amount of bang for your buck, and not the "wow or boo" factor of the Operating System or the Computing Unit.

havent ever got a Mac as back Eastwards its rather pricier.

but the OS X thing with the UNIX roots is good.

i have two words for you or maybe its a phrase "Virtual Machine".

Rays Of Sun said...

Hey Girl,
I have barely read the first para of this post and I couldnt contain myself..FOB in US..and I got into a all Mac only lab:O and I was so restless to buy a laptop, but had no money then:)) and the next year I got one and I am still using it for 4 years now..:)
Towards the end of this post, Hmm..One post doc here is sitting right next to me and he has his own laptop..not provided by the PI;)

khal said...


just wanted to add my two cents mostly because I've almost hit "Buy now" at least once everyday.

I've owned PCs and Macs and I've had one Mac for the same time that I've changed like 2 (or was it 3?) PCs. Go for the Mac, spend the extra 100 bucks, get the black Macbook. You won't regret it.

The only reason I didn't hit send is I just found out, my next boss is buying me one. Yay!

khal said...

Oh and before I forget, since you mention Dell, their customer service SUCKS.

And I have a very good gora friend who got the same shitty service that I did. Twice bitten, need I say more?