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Status.

I have been a Windows user since Windows 2.0 (aka Windows/286) came out in the mid 1980s. I mean, I remember Windows back when the coolest feature was the clock. Then we upgraded and the windows could actually overlap. That was very exciting. I’ve complained about Windows through the years but have kept up with the latest incarnation of the most popular computer operating system; I have to, after all, because part of my job involves providing technical support for Windows users. I mean, I’ve dabbled in Linux in an effort to go Microsoft free and in 2004 I jumped into the world of Mac, but I’ve always had a Windows machine in my life somewhere.

Back when I jumped into the world of Mac I bought a PowerBook G4 laptop. I LOVED that computer and still do; it’s the computer that I do all my DJ gigs with. I wouldn’t part with my PowerBook ever – it’s very well built, still feels very solid and though it’s rapidly falling behind today’s technology, it still holds it’s own when I’m surfing, checking e-mail or doing the DJ gigs.

Earlier this year I purchased a MacBook Pro to replace my PowerBook for my day to day needs. The MacBook Pro looks virtually identical to my older PowerBook though inside it is considerably different and muh more advanced. While the MacBook Pro is considerably faster than my older PowerBook and looks the same, I’ve found that it doesn’t have the same solid feel that I came to enjoy with my PowerBook. It just doesn’t feel as sturdy to me. I can’t wrap my head around the computer as I have been able to with other machines, I don’t feel like it’s an extension of my technical being. I attribute some of this to Leopard (the latest version of Mac OS X) because while too boring to mention here, there are several things that I don’t like about that OS. (I liked it’s predecessor Tiger better).

Therefore, I still continue to play with Windows.

I have considered selling the MacBook Pro and using the proceeds to buy a (PRODUCT) RED Dell M1530 that is completely souped up and dressed to the nines. This would mean running the (PRODUCT) RED version of Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate. I think this is a good thing. In fact, I’m running the standalone (PRODUCT) RED version of Vista Ultimate on the PC in our back bedroom. It is performing flawlessly.

There is a certain amount of status that comes with wielding a MacBook Pro at the internet café. I don’t want to say that having a Mac automatically thrusts one into some nebulous elite status, but it does carry a certain amount of an “I’m hip” aura with it. People take notice of the illuminated Apple on the notebook cover. Some ask questions. There is a considerable segment of Mac users that are crazed lunatics about Apple, and while I have approached that threshold on a number of occasions, I’ve never drank the entire glass of kool-aid before.

On the other hand, I believe that wielding a (PRODUCT) RED Dell M1530 would also say something to the internet café crowd. While the purchase would certainly benefit others (more information on why and what (PRODUCT) RED is here), it would certainly tell folks that I care about our world. On one hand, that is considerably selfish of me as I’m advertising the fact that I contributed to the (PRODUCT) RED project, but on the other hand, I think I’d rather discuss the benefits of (PRODUCT) RED instead of touting the virtues of all things Apple to the casual observer.

I guess I would be proud because I would be contributing to making a difference.

 

To the best of my knowledge, Apple does not offer any computers involved with (PRODUCT) RED, though they do have a (PRODUCT) RED iPod.

Barter System.

In today’s faltering worldwide economy I can’t help but pay attention to what is going on financially all around me. Not only do I like to spend money these days but I also like to see how money is spent and what can be done to make the experience a little less harrowing for all involved.

We are all familiar with the good ol’ American way of purchasing a car from your friendly car dealer. You browse the car lot and look at the various offerings while a snappy dressed salesman tries not to notice you from a nearby window and then decides to take a walk. Said walk spirals in closer and closer faster than the starting line of the Boston Marathon and suddenly you have a car salesman as your best friend who is offering to recline the bucket seats in a non-suggestive manner. Once you make up your mind on which auto you’d like to purchase, you then find out that none of the numbers on the price sticker are applicable, but instead you must dicker your way down with the salesman to a good price, after he leaves his office several times to make motions and whisper sweet nothings into some manager’s ear.

I’m discovering the same thing applies to the medical arena these days. During my last physical (and I underscore the word last for various reasons) with Dr. Lance, I resisted his suggestion that I take Norvasc for my slightly high blood pressure, as Norvasc has a history of (and gave me) this cough I couldn’t shake. Dr. Lance’s ears perked up at the word “cough” and faster than you can say “Fire all phasers, Mr. Chekov” I was in for a chest x-ray. This experience cost somewhere between four and 634 American dollars.

The bill arrived a few days ago. The hospital charged $181 for two views (one smiling, one frowning). Some HMO contractual person took off $68.78 even though I don’t have an HMO. Naturally my chest is taxable so I had a NYS Assessment Surcharge of $10 added on.  My bill then came to $122.26 but that’s only if I decide not to pay it, for if I pay the bill I only have to pay $97.81. That last amount was only determined after I called Theresa at the hospital billing office (not to be judgmental but she really sounded like an Irving or Stanley). Theresa banged on the keys and made an ancient sounding teletype machine spit out paper (I could hear the ripping sound) and she came up with the magic number as long as I pay it within 16 days. I needed to put her name on the bill so we all know it was legit.

Now, factor in the fact that I have a deductible on my health insurance now and nary a scratch on any of my fenders, I don’t know why I’m only paying Theresa’s amount when I think I should be paying some other amount. And since when do we have deductible rates on health insurance? Can’t I just skip the glass coverage?

With all these numbers being flung about in just about every aspect of our lives these days it’s a small wonder that the economy is such a mess.