External Electronic Brains

It’s striking what happens when you admit, out loud, that you are torn between buying a Windows laptop and a MacBook Air. Proponents of each platform come out of the woodwork at you, offering their list of reasons why the other machines suck and theirs are oh so much better. Emotions run very hot when it comes to their preferred OS. It doesn’t matter which one people prefer; if they have a strong opinion, it’s held with almost religious zeal. The emotions involved seem way out of proportion to the items we’re talking about.

I think that people are so passionate about computer operating systems because we have come to rely on our computers so much. The personal computer (and similar mobile devices) are extensions of ourselves. They store our thoughts, memories, and feelings. They hold our diaries, libraries, critical thinking and creating spaces. Computers connect us with our physically distant loved ones and allow us to create deep friendships that now take place entirely on rectangular screens the size of the letter-sized pieces of paper that we used to use for such correspondence.

If you look at computers as external electronic brains, it’s no wonder that we are so emotionally attached to our devices.

2 thoughts on “External Electronic Brains

  1. I am passionate that you should buy whichever one works best for you.

    I use Mac OSX, Windows (both 7 and 8.1), and Chrome OS on a daily basis. Not to mention Linux, iOS and occasionally Android. My biggest concern is that they have the tools I want and then that they get out of the way and let me do my work. Other than that, I want a good keyboard and a nice clear screen.

    That’s it. That’s all I want!

    • Amen to that! Your brand of advocating for the user’s needs, real-world experience with supporting several platforms on the job, and good natured plugging for your favorite OS is awesome. 🙂

      The thing that kills me are Internet commenters who respond to thoughtful reviews, weighing of choices between platforms, or pleas for help with an OS with “You should just buy X, because Y sucks!” (This happened to a college friend on FB recently when she needed help persuading iTunes to delete a song from her phone. “Just buy an Android” is an unhelpful suggestion, you know? Even if it’s true. Ah ha! Hahaha! Ugh, now I’m doing it. Gah!)