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Dear Diary, story of an iBook (which was not there) and its desperate master (2/3

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The second weekend arrives without an iBook. Professional problems begin to emerge. I have four articles for a newspaper in stock, an essay of 25 folders for a quarterly, several emails in arrears. I have four mailboxes that can be consulted on the web. All four are almost full and I can't download mail anywhere. I begin to feel some discomfort.

I decide to act radically: I borrow a laptop, any one. I curse the current market that does not provide a courtesy PC for those who send their own for repair. After all, Apple is not the Mercedes of computers? Anyway, I can, colleagues give me the laptop for the weekend. It's what I'm writing about: an Acer TravelMate equipped with Pentium III (don't ask me the Mhz because I have no idea where they are) with 128 Mb of ram, 10 Gb of hard disk, and the horrible Windows ME preloaded. Basically a suicide mission.

Weekend at the lake with the sweet half, comprehensive and maternal. He understood my drama and leaves me alone in front of the PC. He prefers to tan on the terrace. I write, I connect to the internet at 16,800 baud (the fault of the line, here at the lake the broadband think it is the country orchestra with reserves and aspiring musicians too). I put inside Messenger of Microsoft, QuickTime 5 and a another couple of things to make the environment more comfortable. The famous technology of Intel SpeedStep (TM) signals me with a beep every time I extract or connect the power supply that I have removed or connected the power supply. The battery lasts almost three hours (just don't even think about having the cd-rom), as a whole the computer is not bad. Especially the almost pleasant Windows interface. Better than my bedside table.

Monday. My story turns into a Dante counterpoint of Apple's "Switch" campaign: it was I who made the switch to the world of PCs. I was able to have full-screen windows, the command bar (or whatever the name is called). comfortable than OsX, overall I can't complain. Since the days of MS-Dos they have made great strides. Except that every now and then "WinWord" (it would be Word 2000, but the system prefers to call it with the old name of the past) makes a fatal error (typically when he has just opened a document) and commits suicide. Same thing with MSIExplorer or with MSExplorer (the difference that serves to protect yourself from the antitrust).

I got into the habit of saving every 30 seconds (capital-F12). Word tries to correct me all the words it doesn't understand with strange terms that I don't want. I usually do many typos, now I start writing like a dyslexic: words other than what I thought come out. Of typos, however, not even one.

All in all I would also buy a PC, if it weren't for two hardware-related details: it sucks (apart from the keyboard, which is comfortable and – in some ways – faster). Sleep and Stand-by (the two functions that try to summarize the state of alert suspension in which I leave my iBook for weeks) do not work even a little. When I have to close the computer I always turn it off. I miss the white light and pulsating like a beacon of my iBook.

In addition, every now and then it feels like the noise of a hair dryer: the processor fan. If you happen to plug the air intake, it begins to bellow and warms in a disturbing way. I suspect it may merge. For safety, in the evening I leave it on the floor in the center of the room, away from anything that could catch fire. I wouldn't want to be charred because of an Intel processor. My physical relationship with the laptop is different from that with the iBook. From a hardware point of view, I would say that worse.

Reflection dictated by the heat, after two hours by train to return to Milan. Maybe Windows isn't all that bad. I've been using W-ME for four days, and I can work. Of course, you don't have to install anything other than four, I say four applications, if not the registry gets dirty and then the machine gets stuck in random mode while you are doing unsuspected things (like turning it on or, above all, turning it off). Rational Windows. Not nice, not useful, but rational. The windows take up all the space possible, the edges stick together, the icons are where they want, but at least always in the same position. It is also fast. Not like Os9, but certainly more than OsX. I take the mental note to consider buying a PC. I delete it. I throw away the mental note. Basically the reason is only one: sitting at a bar with the Acer on his legs to write, they all look at me as if I were a representative of brushes who fill out the expense report.

When I opened the iBook, then it was nice. I felt like Tom Hanks. People looked at me, I felt "cool". And also a little snobbish. I close my eyes and think of my little one, in a Dutch laboratory, in the midst of tulips and windmills. I reopen them and I see the Acer. I am saddened by the 95% of the market that uses PCs that you have no idea …

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