Yes, I’ve bought myself a laptop. A brand new laptop, no less. Running Vista. Am I mad? Well, no more than usual, it seems. Because despite the overwhelming evidence supporting the idea that I was just jealous because two of my friends had also bought new computers recently (and my wife has a better mobile phone than I do), I have a sound and reasonable reason for needing a laptop.
I’ve not actually owned a laptop since my first year at uni, which was when I bought my very first computer – a bottom of the range Novatech notebook with a 366MHz AMD processor, 32MB RAM, Windows 95, and very little besides. It was £600 too, which on reflection wasn’t actually the bargain I thought it was at the time. Still, I got a good year of use out of it, getting it to do all sorts of things it wasn’t supposed to be capable of, like running all sorts of Windows 98 programs and running a skinning addon that made it look like Windows XP (which was very new at the time). Since then I’ve only had desktops, and most have been Macs.
This new laptop (which I’m writing this blog post on, sat in my lounge on my comfy sofa), achieves two primary uses, plus a few other smaller ones. Firstly, it replaces my old PC, a 1.2GHz tower running XP very slowly indeed, despite a recent reinstall and a very minimal set of programs. Clearly the hundreds of security updates to XP have taken their toll and made a once powerful computer into a walk through treacle. So this laptop will enable me to continue being able to test web sites in Internet Explorer (which isn’t available on the Mac). It’s second main purpose is that I can potentially take it to meetings – after all, it’s good for a web designer to be seen to have a computer!
Of course, there are other perks to having a laptop, which have already surfaced this evening. I’ve already enjoyed the luxury and novelty of being able to sit downstairs and use the computer, which is slightly more sociable than hiding away in the study. Ellie and I have also tested out the built-in webcam by Skyping my parents and having a nice half-hour video chat with them. Lots of fun! We were going to try the same with my Grandma immediately afterwards, but I don’t think she was actually in front of her computer at the time.
My next job will be to give an evaluation of Vista. Yes, I know every Tom, Dick and Harry has already done that, but I haven’t. I do of course have my own pre-conceived ideas and prejudices, especially because I’m primarily a Mac user now, but this is my first real experience of actually using Vista, so I figure it makes sense to muddy the waters with my own opinions on what it’s actually like, now that the hype has died down almost completely. But I’ll leave that for another post. Maybe the next one.