After a nasty virus virtually wiped out my compact travel computer, I decided to take a look at the Mac product line. Many of you, I imagine, have developed a love-hate relationship with the Windows operating system (whose Vista version apparently confounds our corporate Web mail server) and applications that accompany it (why, oh why, do we need such a thing as “docX”?).

The virus was my own fault. I had let my anti-virus software expire on my portable computer, which I predominately used to peruse Web sites, check e-mail and write on the road. I rarely downloaded any files other than my own Word files, but somehow this virus took over my box—fast. It kept the technicians at Office Depot busy for several days before they could restore the machine. Luckily, I kept little of value on it. But still. You’ve just got to wonder what motivates people who write these viruses. Think what they could do if they put that energy to positive use. But I digress.

I’d seen all the coverage of Steven Jobs’ death, and have been amazed by the crowds that often gather in the Apple store on nearby Michigan Avenue here in Chicago. So I checked out their home page, and noticed an ultra-light portable, called the MacBook Air. Being a devoted Chicagoan, it reminded me of Michael Jordan, so I decided to check it out. The Apple rep I got on the phone (who, believe it or not, in this era of help desk outsourcing to overseas locales, actually resides in the United States, down in keeping-it-weird Austin, Texas) talked to me in plain English, with clarity and sincerity, steering me away from features I did not need. He assured me I didn’t need to worry about viruses with the Mac—a contention backed up widely. He brought to mind a phone rep I got one time who spoke so fast, and with so much jargon, I could barely understand him.
I wound up ordering the MacBook Air. So far, it’s one of the nicest computing experiences I’ve ever had. I am astounded at how light it is (under three pounds), and the set-up has been a breeze. And it has all these nice touches, like a backlit keyboard so you can type in the dark and not have to contend with screen glare from outside lighting. Even the user guide is written in this type of laid-back prose that you don’t usually encounter with computer manuals. Of course, the user interface is very different from the PC, and will take some getting used to—especially the touch-pad driven navigation. The machine has multiple icons designed to launch all these hip programs—most of which I’ll probably never use. And while I’ve never needed lots of bells and whistles other than word processing, e-mail, and Web access on the computer front, it is fun to take a photo from your laptop (this is my first Web cam) and zap it right off to your loved one.
In sum, I am beginning to appreciate the fervor of the Mac devotees. Can an iPhone be far behind?

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