Crap free computers

It is getting to be that time again — computer replacement. I have let my replacement cycle get out of synch and am going to have to replace both my desktop and my laptop, but the laptop is more mission critical. I’m currently keeping my laptop together with tape and prayers.

My Mac friends chide me to go Mac. I dread Vista, but I am also fed up with the religious zeal part of the Mac/PC debate. Apple has just business practices that are just as awful as Microsoft. Yes, there are design and usability issues. But I work mostly in international development where most people cannot even consider Macs due to price differentials, so I’m mostly working in a pee cee world. If money were no object, I’d have both, but hey, that is not realistic.

What has been driving my delay has been Vista-Fear so I was happy to read these two ZDnet articles, the first on
crapware free PCs from Sony – which might put me over the edge for Sony’s higher cost, and the second on removing crapware from other PCs.

I am glad there is a chink in the ever growing trend of preloaded crapware on new computers. And I have a new appreciation for ZDnet, which I had not read in a while. So many good things to read, so little time.

8 thoughts on “Crap free computers”

  1. Are you sure you need both machines? Laptop plus external monitor, big media/backup drive, maybe keyboard?

    I used Macs 1984-1998, Win 1998-2005, mixed 2005-2008, now Mac-only (talking to Linux servers).

    I paid less for my MacBook than that Sony crap-free laptop cost, so don’t really see the point of that.

  2. hmmm … most of the people in my field moved to Macs in the past year or so. The fundamental driver for us was a unix box that could also do some PC tasks. The fanbases don’t bother me one way or the other (Windows and Linux fanboys can be just a strident as Mac types I’ve found) – I just need to get work done.

    Are there specific programs that limit you to windows? I’ve found that almost everything that can be done on a PC can be done on a Mac (although not everything – and there are things you can do on a Mac that can’t be done on a PC). Is there a strong reason to have exactly the same platform as the folks you are working with? There may well be – I’m curious. I’m sure they won’t have Vista – that is hardly going to make it in the third world. The hardware requirements are stiff. The $500 Vista machines just don’t work very well.

    All operating systems have their issues, but I’m very happy with my MacBook.

  3. I would suggest a MacBook and have either Parallels ($), VMWare Fusion ($) or Sun VirtualBox (free) running Windows XP preferably and Windows apps when you need them, just about transparently. Why? Macs don’t come with garbage, neither installed software garbage nor user interface candy garbage. As the above poster stated, it’s UNIX underneath, essentially bedrock as far as operating systems go. The end result is you’re more productive because you spend less time hassling with the operating system.

    I’ve always worked on trading floors and have used Windows (mostly Windows 2000) on a daily basis for years. (BTW, Windows 2000 is an excellent Windows OS, rock solid, no garbage to deal with.) At home I’ve always been Mac, even going through what I call Mac hell in the mid 90s. Mac OS X is a jewel now.

    Either way, Win or Mac, get as much memory as you can.

  4. Nancy, I second everything Steve said, except I have no firsthand knowledge of Vista other than avoiding it for my clients up until recently. Now, I would buy and not worry about Vista as long as we up the RAM. My next home pc will be likely be a media center that displays to a large flat screen TV and manages our house music. I will buy it from a shop that builds them nearby, as I have for some others; they do not come with crapware then either. I bought my Macbook laptop last year at this time w/ a 3-year warranty primarily to become bimodal. Got a great deal for being end of year and floor model. Had been jazzed about Parallels -thought I might need it for MS Access, but all that would have required redundant copies of MS op system and applications – so never got it, never missed it. To tell you the truth, with MS Office on my Mac, I never notice the difference between the systems, except it never crashes -will give it that. Once consideration for you might be the graphic design software you have. Since I needed my own copy of Adobe Creative Suite, I got it for the Mac. If you already have a good copy on the pc, that would be a spendy addition. I personally would never pay extra for for a Sony as I’ve had three friends w/ Vaios go bad in the last two years. One had two successive ones go bad.

  5. My next computer will be a Mac. Both of my kids have Macs and I daily envy their ability to handle media and visual tasks with ease and less keystrokes.

    I have not been impressed with Vista. I also don’t really see much coming out of Microsoft to improve it. I would rather buy a Mac and run Parallels on it for whatever PC tasks I need.

  6. Hi Nancy,

    since so many other people have gone over the advantages of going Mac, I’ll just say that it saves you loads of work time. It’s more flexible (you can jump from place to place, just switch between network configurations, no hassle; you can set all sorts of connections with ease), its hardier (very much harder to misuse), and generally does less strange things. Plus, it’s got loads of free tools to get your multimedia work done without hassle.

    And it’s compatible. You have Office, you have Open Office, you can connect via good VPN, you can use Sharepoint sites and Outlook web access without difficulty, you can just about do a perfectly normal life. Unless you live inside a large corporate with rigid IT support, which you don’t (or if you specifically require some PC-only tools like Access instead of better databases), my experience is that it’s clearly better for a mobile knowledge worker.

    I’m talking from over a decade of consulting work :-D, where, as soon as I can, I leave the corporate-issue PC at home and bring along my own Mac to customers and projects. So MUCH better work experience.

    Only… be careful with the MB Air. It’s not for everyone. And it might be a bit flashy in some situations.

    And yes, I’m a blatant Mac enthusiast as you know, but I’m not blind to Apple’s practices :-). Sometimes I do reccomend other tools.

    Best regards,


  7. Gee . . . glad to see you are dealing with this just ahead of me. I guess in another 6-9 months I’ll have to replace both my laptop and PC too. Your thinking is along the same lines as mine. I will have to add that when consultants using Macs try to contribute text and graphics for print and online production in my current PC work environment in healthcare, they are having some serious problems. That makes me leery of going the Mac route in my own consulting.

  8. Get a mac book …
    And you can have both windows (Vista or XP) and mac in one laptop 😉
    That’s what i did … It’s sooo simple and cool

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