Ciao! The hunt since last October

BILL KLAUBER

I am sure you all remember the book and the movie entitled “The Hunt For Red October.”

Well, I am engaged in my own hunt which began this past October and still continues.

Normally I am an impulse buyer. See it. Want it. Buy it.

Even the recent purchase of my new automobile took only two days — one day to visit the showrooms of the four makes I was interested in and the second day to decide on the model and color, etc., and to close the deal without “leaving too much money on the table,“ as my neighbor Dennis warned me.

However, when it came to buying a new computer, it has taken me since last October and I still haven’t made up my mind.

Other than the navigation system for my car, I was fairly familiar with what the car did — or was supposed to do. I get in. I start the engine and decide on the route I will take to get to my destination and I go.

At least that was how I used to do it. Now I tell my car what my destination is and it tells me how to get there. Note I said how to get there, not where to go. I have had plenty of people tell me where to go.

Searching for a new computer has been an entirely different story.

There are laptops and desktops and notebooks. Different operating systems. Some come bundled and others unbundled. Some have megabytes or gigabytes and there is even one that comes with a bite out of it altogether.

That’s the Apple. I almost bit at that one. But then I decided the bite was too big if you’ll pardon the play on words.

And, while I am playing on words, to be honest, it was all geek to me. Just like with the car and its almost endless list of tasks which its system can accomplish.

I mentioned the Apple. My highly respected neighbor and computer expert Marsha — whose e-mail address is akin to one that any athletic coach would want — was an especial advocate for the Apple.

Because of her preference for the Apple, I decided to visit the local store. I was impressed by their offer of group classes to familiarize one with the system and further unlimited personal assistance as needed (for $99 per year).

Also offered was an introductory class prior to any purchase — a chance to take a bite out of the apple, so to speak, before making the commitment. That was for me and probably would have been for Adam, too, had he been given that choice when he first met Eve.

My wife and I arrived at 8 a.m. on a recent Monday morning and were surprised by the number of people who were waiting to get in. Once the doors were opened it was like a “Mac attack” as people scattered to different areas, most to the back where they went for the personal assistance mentioned above.

We were directed to a large rectangular table near the front around which several different Apples and other Mac models were placed as well as a group of novices like us and two individuals who brought their own Macs with which they were having trouble.

A few minutes later a very pleasant young man joined us and after being certain that we were all there for a brief introduction to the Big Mac (or the smaller model Macs which I guess could have been called sliders), he proceeded to describe the attributes and the advantages of the Apple computers. More important, in answer to a number of questions and concerns from Windows users like us, he explained the differences.

Therein lied the rub. We realized that he was talking a different language, a language that we would have been forced to learn (although someone mentioned that Apple had a version using the Windows system, but buying a Windows system at an Apple store didn‘t compute to me).

No, if we were going to bite the Apple, learning the language would be the core element.

Never especially good at languages of any kind — except maybe Pig Latin when I was a little boy — I decided that I was too ancient to embark on such an adventure. Besides, I had promised my wife that I would work on improving my almost nonexistent Italian in preparation for a trip to Italy. That would be challenging enough.

“Me no want melo,” I told her. She was impressed and agreed by saying “Si.”

With that decided, I have turned my attention back to a computer offering Windows.

Thus refined, my search will continue. Like the car, I think I will limit it to four showrooms. I wonder if they will allow me to test drive their products and if they accept trade-ins.

My goal is to end my hunt by next October.

Ciao.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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