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October 01, 2008
CounterPoint
Jeremy Rock

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© 2008 Hospitality Upgrade. No reproduction without written permission.

I’m in New York on business and during a break from meetings I’m catching up on my e-mails when all of a sudden the screen on my laptop starts to do an imitation from the “Matrix” movie and then just goes blank.

No – that didn’t just happen! So I powered down and tried to reboot. Nothing. I just happened to be in the computer room of a large hotel so I hooked up a spare monitor and booted the laptop up in safe mode. Again I see the flickering of the screen before I lost the image. Now my mind tries to think back to the last time I backed up. Holy $%&*! With all of the recent travel it must be over a week ago since my last backup.

So now it’s triage time and the options are as follows: do I try to repair the laptop? Do I accept the fact that my laptop PC is dead and I need to buy a new one? Or do I buy a Mac®? Everyone is raving about Macs and I just heard that quite a few of the CIOs who attended the CIO Summit were using them.

A few hours after this discovery and I’m in the back of a cab on my way to La Guardia airport to catch a flight to Nashville to attend the HITEC Advisory committee meeting. I keep going over the options in my mind:  PC or Mac? Mac or PC?   If I go with a Mac will it be able to run all of the applications that I use including CAD and some other nonstandard programs?  I know that you can run Windows® on a Mac® and some people swear by the performance. Great but I have not had a chance to test it and I need to get this resolved a.s.a.p. I have 45 minutes to make a decision what to order and time is running out. So I reach for a lifeline for advice – I call a vendor “Johnny D” who is supposedly in the know. He tells me that this is not the time to be trying out solutions. “Go with what you know,” Johnny D said. 

Great, but what about all of the negative things that I have heard about Vista®—that it’s a memory hog and does not perform well; PCs crash, get viruses and are unstable. I’m told that he has been running Vista® for quite some time and it has never crashed (and you wonder why he is in sales). “No problem – just run the 64-bit version of Vista® and it will work out great.”

I’m convinced so I give him some of the specs that I’m looking for including the fact that I want to reduce the size of the machine to a 15-inch wide-aspect screen– (A number of people are familiar with the 17-inch/10-pound brick that I was carrying around that with all of the accessories weighed about 35 pounds).

So with little time to get it ordered I ask him to locate some options and let me know what he recommends. Only 15 minutes go by and he calls back with two options, one of which includes a built-in camera and Verizon card. The features sound great so I give him a credit card and ask him to order it and have it shipped overnight to his offices so that they can begin provisioning it with software. Another 10 minutes go by and he calls back with bad news. “It’s not available in the marketplace for another 10 days,” he said.   Isn’t that just my luck. So I tell him to go with option B which is an older but still a good machine.

As soon as I hung up I was at the airport and rushing to make my flight. Once I was on the plane, I had time to reflect on what amounted to a fairly major decision that would affect how I work for the next two or three years. Given how dependant we have all become on our computers, we cannot afford to be without them for any length of time. As such, in a time of need where there isn’t much time to evaluate the various options in the marketplace we tend to gravitate to the products that we are familiar with because we know that they will more than likely get the job done. While I had heard great things about Macs when push came to shove I caved and went with something that I was familiar with and which I knew would be able to run the applications that I use.

My new laptop is great and I was fortunate enough to be able to retrieve my information from old my hard drive. While I’m very happy with my decision to purchase a PC, I wonder if next time given time to conduct some research it might not be a Mac…

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