The grind of the 21st century throws up obstacles at every turn. Nikolaus Oliver is on hand with advice to guide you through. A misfortune befell me not long ago. My office computer died and I was given a new one. Like its predecessor, it was a PC. That was all right. I was used to PCs and their funny little Windows ways. I didn't exactly like it, but I thought I knew how to cope. My new PC, however, was a horse of a different colour.
Thanks to the Vista operating system, this was not so much a laptop as a slavering beast seemingly bent on my professional destruction. The legion of bugs, quirks and simple operations made needlessly Kafkaesque by Bill Gates and his crew meant that just booting the thing up could take 40 minutes. The IT support people were rumoured to be hiring a hit man just to stop me pestering them. So, when I decided that I'd like a new computer at home, I knew that I'd be buying a Mac. I've had it with Bill. Thanks to Vista, I've crossed over to the other side.
Truly, it is one of the great divides in world, like good versus evil, day versus night, up versus down. Mac people and PC people are quite different. Mac people like to think they're a bit rebellious (just a tiny bit, not risking-their-jobs rebellious or anything). PC people toe the line; they are company men, they know PCs make sense because they are so much cheaper. The aesthetically tuned Mac person will readily spend Dh600 on a silk tie or scarf by Satya Paul, because it is unbearably stylish and makes life beautiful. The PC man, by contrast, will be in short sleeves and a Homer Simpson tie. A clip-on one.
Granted, Mac people can be smug, convinced that they are hipper, cooler and morally superior to their rivals. This attitude traces back to the Mac's Californian, counter-culture, Grateful Dead origins. PC people, for their part, hail from an ideological Idaho, where everything is flat, featureless and paid for in full. Finally, Mac people's complacency is not unconnected with the fact they have invested in technology that is made properly, that works properly, is easy to use and not under constant attack from viruses and hackers. And those are attributes that even Bill Gates's closest friends can't argue with.