Monday, July 14, 2014

What to do, oh, what to do.

I’ve now had my laptop about two-and-a-half years, and my smartphone is coming up on three.

That laptop is definitely nearing its trip to the glue factory, freezing up every once in a while and even – gasp – throwing the occasional blue screen of death.

As I do every time I have to re-up on tech, I will consider (and likely reject) something Mac-ish.

Yes, I know they’re wonderful, and cool, and lighter than air, and run Office just fine - which is a useful attribute as far as old Luddites like me, who our workaday, get-things-done apps local, and not just in the cloud, thank you – but the old Intel girlll in me always ends up just saying no to things Apple.

I do have an iPod around here somewhere, but I never transferred the files over to this laptop when I got it, so I’m not sure that I could even add anything to my playlist – even if I could find the iPod.

There was nothing wrong with the iPod.

In fact, I liked it, and it certainly saved many a long drive to Syracuse, that’s for sure.

But I’m not someone who has to have a bud in my ear at all times, and I haven’t driven to Syracuse in a while. Maybe someday I’ll dig it out. (Of course, by that point, whatever I’m using for a smartphone will be my device for tunes. I just haven’t bothered going down that route quite yet.)

Although I liked my iPod, I didn’t love my iPod.

So I’m sure that, when it comes to my personal computing needs, I will yet again be able to resist the lure of Apple.

Part of it is always the price, which is always higher than whatever comparable Intel-based thing I’m looking at. Not unnervingly higher – especially given that whatever it is yields a tax deduction – but still enough to give me pause.

And then there’s my general pigheaded resistance to succumbing to Apple’s brilliance. Maybe it’s the fan-boys. Maybe it’s that whiff of superiority that still manages to emanate from the company, even if their star is not quite so ascendant post-Jobs, and in the Era of Google. And maybe it’s just that, since my first purchase of a Leading Edge – I could always pick the cool technology – over thirty years ago, I’ve been just fine with Intel inside.

My husband had one of the early Apples, but once that croaked, he became an Intel-er, too.

Over thirty years, that has meant a parade of Gateways, Compaqs, HPs, Toshibas, Dells.

I will be taking a serious look at the MacBook Air (i.e., I will go to the Apple store and see if some Apple cultie working ad majorem Apple gloriam can convince me that this is the year).

And I’ll also be taking a serious look at the Microsoft Surface Pro (i.e., I will go to the Microsoft store and see if some MSFT not-quite-cultie can convince me that the “it’s a bird, it’s a plane” hybrid approach that they’re taking is the one). While I lean Intel, from what little I have seen of it, I’m not that wild about the Windows 8 UI – much too pictorial and, sigh, Mac-like. But that’s the way of the world. Me, there are still a lot of things I’d still be content to do in DOS…

At present, I don’t plan on just getting a plain old laptop. But there is always the possibility that MacBook and Surface Pro sticker shock will send me into a swoon.

Anyway, the plan is to have the laptop replacement decision made by the end of the month.

If I do end up with yet another vanilla laptop, it will put more pressure on the smartphone decision, since I’ll no doubt be tempted to get one of the more tablet-like ones – you know, the ones that are too big to fit in your pockets. Wider, flatter, and god knows more functional versions of the original 10 pound “mobile” phones.

And I really don’t want to add a separate tablet to my list of electronics – work “thing,” smartphone, iPod, Kindle - I really do need a “device” that I can do work on, where I can use the only apps I do use regularly. You know, the old fuddy-duddy ones like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. (And, for blogging, Live Writer and Word Press.)

Meanwhile, on the phone front, the smartphone I will be replacing is, it will come as no surprise, a Blackberry.

Just as I have resisted the lure of the MacBook Air, when I got my first smart-ish mobile five years ago, I as able to withstand the iPhone, and went with a Blackberry. At the time, this was the preferred business phone – better for e-mailing, better for con calls – than the iPhone, which was better for web surfing and for apps.

I’m quite sure that the iPhone has caught up on e-mailing and con calls, and it’s got to be better than the Blackberry for surfing. (I really don’t care all that much about apps, other than the ones that let me read things – like train schedules – more easily on my phone. Asking Siri where the nearest vegan sushi spot is, and playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush or whatever the “it” game is, are not of particular interest.)

But why bother to keep resisting the iPhone? Why bother getting tangled up in trying to figure out what Android device to buy?

My parents got more than they bargained for when they spent my childhood – whenever I asked about something I couldn’t have or do that all the other kids could have or do – drumming into my skull that “you’re not like everyone else.”

So, Liz and Al, you’ve succeeded: I am not like everyone else. In fact, I may be constitutionally incapable of buying an iPhone!

But you haven’t succeeded all that well.

You also raised your kids to be sympathetic to the underdog, to be charitable, to be empathetic. All those terrible, white-wall haircuts the boys had because you felt bad for Vic the blind barber. Those clunky red shoes I let my mother by me out of sympathy for my mother, who’d always wanted a pair just like it. (I was 10. What was popular and styling in 1960 was not, I assure you, what was popular and styling in 1930 when my 10 year old 1mother craved those clunky red shoes.)

Seriously, I’m not sympathetic, charitable, or empathetic enough to buy another Blackberry, however bad I might feel for them (or how stubbornly I feel the urge to cling to my original smartphone choice).

At least I hope not.

Stay tuned for further news on my coming device purchases…

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