I’ve  not enjoyed drop-dead gorgeous weather this Labor Day weekend; why I embarked on setting up my new Thinkpad laptop and  its configuration of Windows Vista will forever remain a mystery to me. Better off I would have been preparing for an IRS audit; there exists a sorry state of affair among  Windows OS,  3rd party hardware, and 3rd party software. The three are like Jews, Arabs and Indians trying to get along. They don’t, by and large. But such is the nature of the personal computer business.


Setting up this Thinkpad has cost me about 12 hours, time spent, downloading Windows updates, Lenovo updates, new printer drivers, more Lenovo updates, and Microsoft Office updates; activation and registration of much more software. And the irony is that from time I turned on the computer until being ready to type my first letter was 5 minutes, tops. That honeymoon did not last ; the lag between the time the computer is setup by Lenovo until it reaches the consumer,  means many updates are needed. From the minute your computer connects to the Internet, look out, because in rolls a tidal wave of updates, all trying to out do the other and most all requiring “restart your computer.”   So I watched the dreaded blue screen of death appear shortly after the first boot-up. “System halted for memory parody, er, parity.” Killed the computer like I would have a hurt animal, but in this case, CPR meant hitting the power button to see if it would spring back to life. It did and more downloads of updates came steaming downstream.


I’ve long since lost the joy of setting up a new computer, having been at this since the mid-‘80s. The fun of exploring new and improved software is largely gone.  The experience is more a yawn or occasional, well, that’s better or, okay that’s neat, but there’s no passion, except reserved for hurling expletives at Windows and Lenovo. And, of course, there’s almost always an, “oh, s*&t” moment. I had several.


Miraculously, I did not (thus far) have to call tech support, so the computer is healing itself and the various patches, updates, and new drivers seem to co-exist in peace, so far. The hard drive was already 13% fragmented  by day two. God knows if there are bad registry entries or any corrupted files  what with at least a dozen restarts, some of them with errors.


I do have two Apple computers and I dearly love them. I keep a PC to remain in the loop and relevant to most of other computer users. I think the day draws closer when Apple will be “fully integrated” into the realm of the PC. It’s very close to that state of being now, as one is able to install Windows software on Intel-based Apples. But, sadly, I hope this does not happen, since Apple, long ago, figured out a better way—production of both software and hardware nicely and tightly integrated under one roof, under one brand, in magnificently designed computers. This has made all the difference.


Gee, IBM once tried this (oops, fumbled the software away to Bill Gates); maybe with its well-engineered Thinkpad (oops, sold it to the Chinese), it would do well to try again, and  then PC’s and Mac’s would more fairly compete. Oh, heck, just call 1-800-Apple(full disclosure: fake no.)