One thing that Camp NaNoWriMo is teaching me this year is that I’m done with my 5 year old laptop–and that I need something more powerful than a Chromebook as my daily driver. Pity me, since I now have to shop for a new computer.
So here’s the thing: I like Windows 7 just fine. I like my Windows-based password keeper software just fine. In fact, I have a whole bunch of programs like it set up to run from my USB stick so that I can have access to them while I’m at work regardless of whether I’m on the desk or off. (Librarians, unlike regular people, have to share computers at work. On a typical day, I might use any one of five identical business grade HP Compaq all-in-ones that are on the service desks and in my cubicle. It makes many web-based applications annoying to use because of the constant logging in and logging out.)
As a result, my default choice for an OS is Windows. The trouble is Windows 8.1. True, Windows 10 is coming out “soon,” but until then if I buy this or any other new Windows laptop, I’m going to be stuck with The Abomination of 8.1 for a few months at least.
The alternative is of course a Mac. If you know me, you know I have grumpy feelings about Apple. It’s not that I’m a lifetime Mac hater; my first laptop was a PowerBook 145b. I used to read the MacMall catalog for fun, dammit. My problems aren’t with the hardware, either. Macs are beautiful machines, and they seem to hold up pretty well. I just have issues with how controlling Apple is about everything. I used to dream of buying an iPod when they first came out. And then I installed iTunes, which would not ignore a, an, or the in the beginning of an artist’s name when sorting tracks. Alphabetizing by those words when they are at the beginning of a title is anathema to librarians, and I got so angry about it that I deleted iTunes and started using WinAmp again. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that they have censored books in the iBook store, such as a gay kiss in the graphic novel version of The Picture of Dorian Gray. I feel like they err on the side of being kid safe and Mom approved and that deeply worries me.
I know that Microsoft isn’t exactly made of unicorns crapping freedom, stars, and rainbows, but I feel like my Windows computers have always had more choices and I like to keep my options open.
But,Windows 8.1 is so horrible. Did you know that you use your mouse’s scroll wheel to move from left to right through your list of apps? THAT IS INSANE.
It comes down to this: should I buy the XPS 13 and just deal with 8.1 until 10 is released? Or do I buy the 13″ Mac Book Air? They’re basically the same computer, just slightly different specs and two different OSes.
I have no idea what the best answer for me is. Every time I think I’m close to deciding, I can’t pull the trigger either way. Nothing is perfect, but $1200 is a lot of money either way and for that kind of price, I’d like to LOVE what I’m getting.
What kind of computer do you use? If you live a cross-platform life, how do you handle things like password keepers and work-home computer compatibility?