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Heresy April 28, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Microsoft, Notebooks, Operating System, The Big Experiment.

Far below us, the rims of ice edging Hell’s lakes of fire are hardening and getting thicker. The flames will dim and the damned’s breath will fog. Fur coats will be in short supply. Sometime soon, Satan will finally slip on the thick snow on his morning rounds of the cooling sulphur pits and break his neck.

Why? This rabid Mac fanboy, this former two-year Chairman of the Philippine Macintosh Users Group, this current owner of four Macs and four iPods and a Newton, this early adopter of numerous Apple first-iterations, this Bill Gates heckler, this Mac-A-Doodle blogger …is using Windows XP on an IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad T43.

Wait, there’s a backstory. In the magazine company where I’ve been working for close to two years, I have not had a computer to use. Until yesterday. I have refused the desktop Windows boxes they’ve been trying to assign me all these months, holding out vainly for an office-issued Mac. No joy; only the Art Department boys get the tricked-out Intel iMacs, and the F.A. guy is the one gets the shiny new Mac Pro.

So I’ve been using my Powerbook since, bringing it to work everyday and generally beating the heck out of the poor thing. Been feeling a little down looking at the wear and tear it’s been going through and having nothing to blame but my own stubbornness and recalcitrance. Well, the past few months I’ve been softening up and thinking about succumbing to the inevitable. What the hey, I thought, a lot of my comrades with new Macs are regularly double-booting into the Twilight Zone anyway. But somehow I couldn’t bring myself to going through with it.

Until yesterday, when they bribed me with the Thinkpad.

It’s not a big chunky beige box with a cheap monitor and plasticky mouse and keyboard. It’s sleek, jet-black and fancy with three magic letters on it that anyone, even Mac fanboys, would respect: IBM. And it’s a notebook that’ll let me work anywhere and won’t take up valuable real estate in my tiny office. Hmmm.

It’s a nice machine, despite what my gut instincts scream out. The ThinkPad T43 has been an Editor’s Choice of PC Magazine (the Philippine Edition of which I used to edit), and is considered one of the emerging classic business machines with surprising longevity. Trim, compact, stuffed to the gills with frills. From a little lamp at the top of the screen to light the keyboard in dark work areas to a biometric fingerprint reader on the deck. From dedicated keys for flipping between webpages, a rocker switch for scrolling up and down, a hard-wired blue key for model-specific support called “Access IBM”, that red little eraser-nubbin in the middle of the keyboard, to great battery life – it’s even got a surprising snappiness to it.

But still.

Anyways I’m taking the plunge and using the ThinkPad as my work machine starting today, and give my Albook a well-deserved break. I will also take this opportunity to do the big thing: live with the enemy, and see how it really is. We Mac heads scoff and mock (it’s fun, right?), but we do it from a safe and sanitary distance. In this age of detente and convergence in the OS world, I’ll see for myself how it really is, and I’ll chronicle the experience slowly, in bits and pieces, over the coming months in Mac-A-Doodle.

I got the ThinkPad up and running tonight, downloading shareware and configuring the thing, tweaking the settings, getting the wifi to run, putting up firewalls and running anti-virus software and ad-and-spyware blockers, and rebooting countless times and getting confused and mixed up – but still becoming pleasantly surprised a couple of times despite myself. I’d forgotten how fun this mess could be. Already I have a bunch of stuff I’m itching to say, but we’ll save it for the next entry in this series, which I’ll call The Big Experiment.

All I can say now is, I composed this post entirely on the newly set-up ThinkPad, and it ain’t so bad.

But we’ll see, won’t we?


1. talkintech - May 1, 2007

Hah! Now you’ll feel my “pain” — using Windows for “business” and Mac for “personal stuff”. Just make sure not to carry over your Mac habits over to your Windows *and* don’t forget your anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-adware, anti-trojans and all the other “anti’s” Windows needs to run with minimal problems. 🙂

Good luck!

2. reverseengineer - May 1, 2007

They sure are a lot, aren’t they? And the incessant updates and upgrades and what not. Even IBM/Lenovo itself kept me busy most of the night updating the Thinkpad stuff. And the constant rebooting! Grrr…

3. talkintech - May 4, 2007

Well, there IS a solution to that conundrum… configure it to dual-boot with Ubuntu Feisty Fawn! Now if you have to do office stuff, do it in the problematic Windos partition… if you want to something really productive, fire up Ubuntu!

4. reverseengineer - May 4, 2007

Well, the Feisty Fawn DVD is just waiting in my desk drawer, Berns. I’d install it, but doing it on a Thinkpad is a little complicated because not all of the hardwired features will work, and the Rescue & Recovery/ Install partition on the hard drive might get wiped out and I wouldn’t be able to roll back easily. But it is certainly tempting. Maybe someday when I get up the nerve.

5. The Big Experiment Part 1: Reboot Ad Nauseam « Mac-A-Doodle - May 5, 2007

[…] Thinkpad T43 with Windows XP Professional as his office laptop. *shudder*. (The original post is here, if you’re at all […]

6. Paul - June 25, 2007

I’m a recent Mac user myself, starting with an iMac then to a MacBook scant weeks later, though I wouldn’t call myself a convert just yet, because as much as I am amazed at how friendly a Mac can be, it could still be improved. For example, a better keyboard for the MacBook is in order, something that IBM Thinkpads excel at.

Mobile connectivity is another. I still haven’t found a driver that will let me use my old Nokia 6630 with my MacBook as a wireless 3G modem.

That’s why I’m hanging on to my old IBM X31.

7. The Big Experiment Part 4: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Conclusion) « Mac-A-Doodle - June 29, 2007

[…] Introduction: Heresy […]

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