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Vista is a safer, better Windows version, but needs bigger memory>PLUGGED IN

The Baltimore Sun

I intend to purchase a new laptop soon. Several people have recommended that I get Windows XP rather than Vista because Vista still has problems. It will be used for home and business with a lot of use with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. What would you advise?

- Dick Spehalski

I disagree about sticking with XP. Vista is a safer and better version of Windows. It's sure not perfect, but that's true for XP as well.

Vista is memory-hungry. Make sure you get at least 2 gigabytes of RAM and be sure the laptop has a good video card. With those caveats, I strongly recommend Vista over XP.

But let me acknowledge again that there's enough mixed opinion to make yours a good question. And since some of the people who feel XP is the safest bet are at least as knowledgeable as me, well, take that as fair warning.

You had kind words for the Mac the other day. It's wonderful to see that, even if it was a back-handed compliment from a PC user.

- Tom King

I probably spend more time using a Mac than a PC. That's because I use one in my job at the newspaper. My first computer was a Mac, many years ago.

Here's how I feel about PCs and Macs: Neither is perfect and both are a lot better than they used to be.

I envy the passion most Apple folks feel for their computers; lots of times I feel like an agnostic in a church full of believers.

But, maybe because I've messed with computers for so long, I see both platforms as tools. And even at a convention of carpenters you seldom would see a guy getting misty-eyed over a Stanley hammer, or feeling as if a fellow using a Craftsman hammer might be a little odd.

The deal with tools is that it all boils down to what you do with them. And tools (including Macs and PCs) don't change the way I write, nor do they add a few bucks when I'm figuring my family finances.

So while I think it's cool that Mac lovers are passionate about their machines, I also think it's cool when folks are passionate about the work they do with those machines, whichever type they choose.

Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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