That’s the good thing about the Dark Side. Eventually, your eyes adjust.

That’s my favorite line from the incomparable James Lileks, appropriately enough referring to brand loyalty.

If you’ve noticed that blogging has been slow these past weeks, it’s been because a number of trips, client visits, etc., but the main reason has been an ongoing grind of computer trouble. I have a high-end Windows machine from one of the big American brands. It was bought a year ago because my prior machine, a super-crappy XP laptop from one of the other big American brands had finally given up. The new machine purchase was ill-timed as I had to get a Vista machine.

Short version, it sucks. Vista is, was and will be terrible. But the machine itself was not much either. Fit and finish were poor (screen was scratched and scuffed out of the box) and like all Windows machines, the thing was crammed with bloatware. Despite its specs, it was slow from the start.

Three weeks ago, Windows download a bunch of updates and all hell broke loose. The Blackberry also updated its software at the same time, which caused another slew of problems. Worst of all, Outlook, which is the only Microsoft product I prefer to use, stopped working reliably. I tried Thunderbird but found it a poor substitute (I love Firefox though). After four (4) different IT folks took a look, after upgrading to Windows 7, after reinstalling Outlook twice, I gave up. My Macbook Pro arrives today. After 20+ years as a Windows user, I am switching (back) to Mac.

Note to Steve Ballmer – when your “productivity software” is this unreliable, it is no longer productive for me to use it.

It will be an adjustment, I am sure and there will be plenty of cussing no doubt. But I had the opportunity to play around with one the IT professional’s Macbook and his iPhone 4G, and both blew me away. I have bitched before about how little I like my Blackberry Storm 2, how unimpressed I am with my current carrier and now I am plotting my move (back) to AT&T so I can get a phone that was designed from the ground up to interface with my computer. When the only office you have is two devices you can hold in your hands, you just can’t afford this kind of garbage.

Why do I include this in a blog about doing business in China? Because both my current laptop and the new Macbook were made by the same company – Foxconn – and yet the fit and finish are night and day.

I have the feeling the company who’s name is on the current Windows laptop just goes to Foxconn and asks what’s new that they can slap their name on and market. I know that Apple does not do that.

I have said it before and I’ll say it again now – you get the quality in China you are willing to pay for.

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