I Think I Am John Hodgman – Part III

Buying a new computer, continued from Part I & II

Having experienced shoppingFAIL at the way-too-cool Apple Store, I whine to several of my Mac geek friends. It’s kind of surprising how many Mac geeks there are here in Microsoftland.

I’m to go to the Mac Store, not the Apple store. The Mac store is locally owned and not quite so snooty. They won’t ignore me.

It’s true, they didn’t; somebody took me to a computer to play with almost as soon as I walked in. “If you could come back in ten or fifteen minutes,” sez I, “probably I’ll have decided.” I’d done some research, after all, and the main thing was to decide if the mechanics of the machine meshed with my needs in a computer. My Mac friends have pretty much persuaded me that I should try one of these machines for a change.

He said fine, and vanished, and I started to try out the MacBook Pro.

And it took me to an advertisement, and froze.

In what universe do Macs freeze?

I tried to get it unfrozen. I tried to get out of the advertisement.

No go.

I did notice that everything I did was being mirrored on a ginormous flatscreen monitor off my starboard bow. This was fair to middling embarrassing since essentially I couldn’t get it to do anything.

Maybe I really am John Hodgman: I’m thinking I’m not anywhere near cool enough to own a Mac.

Finally I threw up my hands and went to another station. I have to admit I’m entranced with the Mac Air, though I know perfectly well that I need something more robust.

It’s just so darn cute. I’ve had good luck with the “cute” philosophy of computer buying, beginning with the Osborne I — if somebody took the time and thought to make a piece of electronic equipment cute, it’s always worth looking at, and often worth buying.

Still, I have secondary computers, which the Air would have to be. I have the new phone, which — I realized after I bought it — has more memory and more disk space than every computer I’ve had up until the current one… combined. (And I’ve had a bunch of computers.) I have a Netbook. Even the PC laptop is behaving much better since I started threatening it with replacement. (Magical thinking at its best…)

So, alas, the Air isn’t quite suitable.

I wander back to the frozen machine, feeling rather guilty about having left it in a state that prevents everybody else from playing with it as well. I look around for the guy who was supposed to come back in ten or fifteen minutes, twenty minutes ago, but he’s vanished. Finally somebody else comes over and unfreezes the machine. And explains that somebody set it up that way on purpose so you’d see the ad, and you can get out of it easily because of the dual monitor buzzz bizzz freeblegarb dlorix.

Right. I’m a writer, not a CGI geek or an artist. I don’t know from either dual minotaurs or freeblegarb dlorix.

The guy heads off to wait on a customer way cooler than me. I slink out and go home.

The measure of my noncoolness is that while I had no idea who Mac is in the PC/Mac commercials (Justin Long, somebody had to tell me), I knew perfectly well that the dorky PC guy is John Hodgman.

Continued Next Week…


Superluminal, by Vonda N. McIntyre. The eBook.Books make great gifts, and Christmas is coming. eBooks make great last-minute gifts because they arrive automagically when you buy them.

Superluminal is now available at Book View Cafe. You may read it in serial form, one chapter per week, or you may buy the ebook (available in a number of formats) for $4.99.

For a limited time, if you buy the hardcover from Basement Full of Books, I’ll also give you a free copy of the ebook in the format (within reason) of your choice.

Dreamsnake is also available in serial form or as an ebook.

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I Think I Am John Hodgman – Part III — 2 Comments

  1. My sister got some kind of sleeve for her Air, not quite neutronium, but quite robust and only marginally thicker than the wisp of a computer it holds — she carries this everywhere, sets it on and around a variety of activity zones, and reports that her anxiety over fragility was more one of impression than actuality.

    This, of course, constitutes a single anecdote. I’ve got a three-point-five year old MacBook that i took in to an Apple Store (i had a Genius Bar appointment, made online, which seems to be the best way to get acknowledged if over 25), and with nary a hesitation they swapped out my keyboard — essentially, the whole upper surface of my lower half, when i’d come in to ask about a swelling battery (which they also replaced). All post-warranty, all done at no charge. All i can add is — they’ve got me as a return customer soon for sure.