A black screen of computer death greeted me on Sunday morning, marked with the epitaph so many PC owners have inevitably been faced with: RESTART/COMPUTER MALFUNCTION/PRESS ENTER TO REBOOT. And though I desperately hit the enter key repeatedly, praying the last few months of reduced-to-zero-minutes battery life, sporadic inexplicable shutdowns, constant overheating hard drive and half glass of water accidentally spilled on the keyboard the night before were all just flukes in my Toshiba's lifespan, that the "Leading Innovation" motto that greeted me every time I restarted my machine after it died was not ironic, but had some semblance of truth.
No such luck. It died. For good.
A small part of me was happy: this computer was not great quality, purchased because I had to choose between the $300 difference that would yield shiny, beautiful Macbook or buying my textbooks. A laptop was a laptop right? WRONG. Harmon/Kardon speakers (whatever the hell those are), and a limited-edition black and gold swirled cover, were actually just masks for shoddy technology not built to last. Finally, it seemed, I could have the Mac I desired, needed, to be a tech savvy, not-pitied member of my largely Mac-centric campus.
As a journalism major, these pressures are even more intense. InDesign, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, all basic tools used in newsrooms everywhere are Apple-friendly programs, and definitely not compatible with my former hardware.
But as I walked into the Apple store, a small part of me felt like a sell out. So long I had held myself in opposition to the "simple is best" ideology symbolized by a two-dimensional white piece of fruit. It seemed fishy to me: was I going to be paying more money for a computer that functions the same, just with a sleeker aesthetic? By buying into the message heralded by blue-shirted "geniuses", was I buying into the bourgeoisie?
Despite these concerns, I bought the Macbook Pro, and tweeted my new purchase to the world. The responses were mixed but undeniably dramatic: apparently my purchase indicated I entered a new cultural sphere, betraying the Dells, Toshibas and Gateways I grew up with, motivated by the desire to fit into the "Carrie Bradshaw" writer persona. On the other end, current Mac users welcomed me with open arms, telling me I had come to the good side, that life would simply be easier with my new purchase.
So did I make the right choice? Well for one, I don't have to have my Mac plugged in 24/7, and can actually carry it around with me since it weighs less and fits in my bag. Slowly, I am adjusting to no right-clicking and no bottom navigation. For the first time, I feel like I own a laptop that has lasting value; not just an interim computer for college years.
Despite all this, my Toshiba will always have a special place in my laptop-owning history. It got me through two and a half years of college assignments and procrastinating. It introduced me to Twitter and Tumblr. It holds my hundreds of photographs and Word document to do lists. Its history tab contains Facebook friend requests from people I now live with, news events I watched unfold and even my first ever ChicagoNow blog post, back in March 2010.
Despite these memories, our time is done. Goodbye Toshiba. Hello Mac.
Do you own a Mac or PC? Do you think there is a profound difference between the two? What do you think is the better option, and why? Let us know! Comment below, or talk to us on Facebook/Twitter.