Going Back Downstairs


Okay, imagine you go to this huge party over at this big house. As soon as your arrive you can tell it's just one of those parties. There's people everywhere - packed in the living room, out by the pool, clustered in the kitchen, everywhere. And mostly it's just pure chaos - there are people drinking and running around like crazy, others are trying to have a conversation but it's so loud they can barely hear themselves. Others are playing card games, some are watching sports on TV. There's just a ton going on.

And you're thinking, "Man, I'm not really in the mood for this tonight," so you look around for a quiet corner where you can relax for a bit. You know if you hang around downstairs for too long, you're going to get a drink spilled on you, and you noticed that quite a few people are sneezing so you're bound to catch whatever flu or virus is being passed around, and really, everything is just so disorganized and chaotic.

So you go upstairs.

You walk down a hallway and find a big guest room where like 5% of the people at the party have gone off to relax a bit. It's quiet up here. There's a guy playing guitar softly in the corner, the lights are dim, there's good wine being passed around, people are having quiet conversations and everyone it seems is dressed in black. It's the same party, but it's got a whole different vibe. You sit down and join in and it feels good - you get a sense that you're special, not like the rabble downstairs. Maybe there's not as much food up here, the whole pace is a lot slower and you're missing out what's going on downstairs (maybe you've got some other friends that are there), but there's a lot to be said for a nice calm room where you don't have to deal with much.

Still with me?

Okay, so there's the people who like this sort of thing. They really want to be away from everyone else. Maybe they really want to be in a quieter environment, or maybe they're just "those" people who look at what the crowd is doing and immediately look for somewhere else to go. Others wonder what the hell those people are doing upstairs anyways. They're missing the party! The chaos is just part of it. There may be more noise in general, but there's a lot more people to talk to, more things to do, and if something happens, you'll generally be there to see it first. The people that want that sort of thing want to be downstairs where the action is. There are others who may wander upstairs for a bit, enjoy the pace, but after a short while really miss what's going on downstairs, so they get up and go back down.

That's me. I've gone back downstairs. (In case you haven't gotten it yet, this is an analogy for switching back to Windows.)

Yep, a few days ago I went down to MicroCenter and bought myself an HP Pavilion Windows XP Media Center computer and brought it home to replace my Mac mini. And when I get back to work this week, I'm going to request a new Windows computer to replace my PowerBook. I tried living in the Mac world for the past year (I got my mini last January) but I just can't deal with not being able to be on the bleeding edge anymore. As my list of new Windows software that I wanted to use grew longer and my frustration with the Macs lack of power and speed as well as the exorbitant hardware prices grew more intense, I decided that I couldn't deal with it any longer and made the big decision to swap back.

Yes, I know that his Steveness is going to announce something insanely great in just a few days, but I don't care. Even though Apple is switching to Intel processors, I decided it still isn't the right platform for me. First, Apple hardware is more expensive (I can't believe the power of the Windows machine I got for $850), and secondly the Mac OS will still always be mostly an afterthought in the tech world. This is really the main issue. I always want to play with the latest and greatest tech, and that stuff almost always comes second to the Apple platform. Secondly, as someone in the software and services industry, I need to really understand how 95% of my customers work on a daily basis. Even just using Macs for the past year, I've found myself farther and farther away from the mainstream and that's a very bad thing. Does this or that mobile phone or consumer electronics device work well with people's Windows computers? I need to know.

Also, hey, I have to admit I'm more comfortable on a Windows platform still. Having used the Windows 95 interface since late 1994, we're going on well past a decade of familiarity of how things work. And I know how to fix problems when they arise, etc. There are still many, many things I loathe about Windows and Microsoft, but there's only so many battles you can fight. Microsoft isn't going away anytime soon, and neither is Windows. Just remember: "msconfig", Cygwin, and McAfee are your friends.

Okay, look for some new posts soon as I play with a bunch of backlogged software, and especially the Media Center stuff (all that "casual games" junk I was writing as if it was a revelation a month ago? Yeah, it's already in there. Check out DISCover Games as an example) and how it integrates with my soon-to-be-sold XBox 360 (God this frigin' thing is loud. I can't stand it.)

Hey, anyone want to buy a pimped-out Mac Mini with a bunch of mac peripherals?


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