I had to buy a new PC.
Although I’m primarily a Mac person, I also write about Windows. (This was a good thing a few years back when the future of the Mac was in question.) In fact, nearly half my books are either Windows only or cross-platform.
While other writers claim that they can write Windows books while running Windows emulation software on their Mac, I think they’re nuts if they do. PCs aren’t terribly expensive and it isn’t as if you have to buy a new one every year. The Dell Dimension desktop computer I used while working on the WordPress book is at least four years old now. It runs Windows XP and all the current versions of the software I write about — Excel, Word, and Quicken. It also does a fine job with the few Windows-only software packages I actually use, like the software to update my handheld Garmin GPS, the software to update the Garmin GPS in my helicopter, and…uh, I guess that’s it. My Mac really does just about everything I need it to do.
But now I’m gearing up to write about the upcoming version of Microsoft Office. I have at least two titles to update, possibly four. It depends on sales and what the powers-that-be at Peachpit decide.
One thing’s for sure, though: they want the book written about software running on Vista. And my old Dell desktop would roll over and drop dead if I got a Vista beta anywhere near it.
It’s unfortunate. I was hoping to get away with another cheap computer. But because of the processor, memory, and graphics memory demands, I had to buy a “hearty” computer. One that’s above midrange.
And I’d already decided that all of my new test mules — which is what this computer really is — would be laptops. Why? So I could take them on the road and not be tied to my office when I’m working on a book.
Besides, laptops take up less room, usually make less noise, and are easier to keep clean.
I settled on a Dell Latitude D820 laptop, partially loaded. Extra RAM, the faster processor, the better graphics processor, the better monitor. Wireless networking and Bluetooth built in. DVD player/CD writer. Heck, I don’t remember what else it has. It’s way more loaded than I wanted it to be, but I needed it like that. And I paid for it — believe me.
But with luck, I’ll get it to last me five years.
It arrived today and is sitting in a box on a chair by the door. I haven’t decided if I’m going to take it home and fiddle with it over the weekend. I have a Grand Canyon helicopter charter tomorrow and we’re hoping to go up to Howard Mesa to work on the electrical system on Sunday. That doesn’t leave much time for Windows brand frustration.
But maybe I’ll take it home anyway, just so Mike can look at it. He’s a Windows guy and might actually enjoy playing with it.
Now if only Cliff would get those contracts together for me so I can pay for this darn thing.
Dell, laptop, Vista, Windows