I was in Best Buy today, looking to see if they had any cheap DVD-Rs, when a guy walked up and asked me if I knew about laptops. I said that yes, I did, but that I didn’t work for Best Buy.
To my surprise he said that he knew that, that the people who worked at Best Buy didn’t know what they were talking about, and that I looked like I might be the kind of person who did know stuff about laptops.
I ended up chatting to him for quite a while about PC laptops, features to look for, and tradeoffs between factors like price, size, speed, and battery life. I mentioned that I used Macs at home, and he said that he had an old Mac, but hadn’t been using it much recently. I told him about OS X, and he was really excited to hear that it was based on UNIX. Turned out he was keen to ditch Windows, so long as he could continue to do what he needed to do on Mac or Linux. He was also interested in web development and multimedia, so we talked for a while about what came with Mac OS X in the way of development tools and media applications.
Anyway, I told him where he could look at laptops (both Windows and Mac), told him that he really didn’t want to run XP or OS X in 128MB of RAM no matter what they said, explained the problem of not being able to buy laptops with Linux from the manufacturers, mentioned that it installed pretty well on ThinkPads, explained what he needed to get to set up a secure firewalled home network, and gave him my personal card so he could e-mail me if he had any more questions…
I sometimes wonder if I could pay the rent this way.