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The Great Switch

Posted by enicholas on June 20, 2006 at 6:02 AM PDT

I'm on vacation with my family right now. Vacation time is pretty hard for me to come by -- one of the dangers of being "essential" is that nobody wants to let you leave -- so this is a noteworthy event, made possible only by the fact that I agreed to bring my cell phone and work laptop, ensure the availability of Internet access at my destination, and remain reachable twenty-four hours a day. When we arrived, I got out my laptop and booted it up to check my email. It got as far as showing a blank Windows desktop and then... sat there.

Uh-oh.

I spent a while fiddling with it, but sadly when your machine won't even boot into Safe Mode and you have no other bootable disks with you, there really isn't much you can do. So here I was, stuck without a functioning computer, when having a functioning computer and Internet connection was part of my vacation deal. A whole week without being able to check email, or read my webcomics, or being able to post blog entries... a whole week without Internet access of any kind.

I don't think I can take that kind of punishment, so I did whatever any true geek would do: I used this situation as an excuse to buy a new computer. I (a long-time Windows user) had been lusting after the new MacBooks for quite a while, and my wife was well aware of this. She was also well aware that Fathers' Day was just around the corner, and, well, to make a long story short I love my wife very much and I'm typing this on my new 13" MacBook.

Obviously I'm not the first Java programmer to realize that a Mac is pretty great Java environment. When I was at JavaOne, I was shocked at the number of Mac laptops being toted around -- it seemed like every other system was a Mac. But after setting my system up, installing Eclipse, and getting to work on it, I really don't understand how I managed to put up with Windows for so many years. My Mac runs all of the software I need, Java programs run as smooth as silk, and (despite having theoretically less power) it feels faster than my most powerful Windows system. I could spend all day babbling about all of the things I love about it, but one thing is certain: I'm not going back.

Oh, and the Windows laptop? I decided to leave it on for an extended period of time, and checked on it periodically. After eight hours, there was still no change, so I went to bed. When I woke up in the morning, I saw that it had actually managed to finish booting. So after somewhere between eight and sixteen hours of sitting there, it finally got to the desktop. I realize that this is pathological -- when your computer takes more than eight hours to boot, something is clearly screwed up and I can't just say "Ha! Windows sucks!", but I sure feel like saying exactly that. I was eventually able to fix it by disabling some startup items... but hey, I got a new Mac out of the deal. Thanks for dying, work laptop!

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