IMR: 1998: November: 22 — Sunday, 6:01 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

We just got in from a fundraising concert/dinner with mom at Kalani High School. Katie was tired, but after a short fussing session, she instead became positively goofy. Giggling and squeaking and squirming, getting silly in her fatigue just like her parents often do. I have no doubt her laughter will make an appearance on the official recording of the evening's program.

We've been home from the hospital for some time now. Katie was discharged on Tuesday, as expected, and we were sent home with a bottle of chilled, citrus-scented antibiotics. She got a clean bill of health, the only lingering sign of her illness being a bit of hoarseness... no doubt from one of her many needle-induced screaming fits.

The antibiotics have to be given every eight hours, without fail, including in the middle of the night. The schedule we were originally on had us rousing Katie from dreamland at 2 a.m., which frankly frustrated everyone, so with a little trimming here and there we've adjusted it to place her late-night dose at midnight. That's when I usually turn in.

Mom got a picture of her in the hospital. Although it is the first photograph we've got that clearly show her budding front teeth, the glaring presence of the IV and her entire leg bundled up in tape and gauze mean it will probably not make it into the family album.

Of course, we've seriously stepped-up her water intake, and her diaper gets changed so frequently, they're not even wet half the time. To our dismay, playful soaks in the tub are also out. We're back to sponge baths, just like we were when she first came home.

She has a follow-up appointment with Dr. Boyens tomorrow, and we'll know for sure how she's doing then. The big question is whether this infection was (another) fluke, or if she's somehow especially prone to them.

Apparently the good doctor gave the staff at Kapi`olani Medical Center a piece of his mind, upset that he hadn't been notified of Katie's hospitalization. The first he'd heard about it, in fact, was when someone called to let him know she was being discharged. I was beginning to wonder why we hadn't seen hide nor hair of the man the entire time we were holed up in the pediatrics ward.

The whole experience seems to have put Jen on some high level of maternal alert. Her intense concern and diligence in Katie's care is almost scary. Indeed, the first couple of days back at home, Jen would ask me, every hour like clockwork, "Does she feel warm to you?" Katie, in turn, seems to have regressed somewhat, and has moments when she absolutely, positively will not have anything to do with anything (including me) besides her mother.

Despite these occasional fits of dependence, though, Katie's still the same amazing baby she always was. She now occasionally insists on being put on the floor so she can crawl around, and she goes straight for anything she can use to get up on her feet. She's come to expect at least a taste of any food Jen and I prepare for ourselves (grabbing fistfuls of spaghetti noodles and rice herself when we don't hand it over quickly enough), and the number of teeth in her mouth is just a hair shy of four.

She's such a trip. In hindsight, the thing that bothers me most about the three days we spent at Kapi`olani is that they're three days I didn't get to spend simply appreciating how quickly Katie's growing up.

Another thing we very nearly missed because of Katie's illness was our first wedding anniversary. In fact, the most memorable part of Nov. 17 was bringing Katie home. Apart from hooking up with William later that night for some ice cream, there wasn't much to it.

We did manage, at least, to see a movie this past weekend. We caught "The Siege" during our regular trip up to Mililani on Saturday... a few hours before Katie developed the fever that sent us to the emergency room.

I'm glad we got to have that little outing. It's the closest thing to a date we've had in at least three months. Otherwise, obviously, subsequent events have conspired to keep me from following through on my romantic revitalization plan. Of course, we bonded quite a bit while living in Carter Dillingham 223, but I didn't think we'd have to go that far to get mushy again.

It all works out in the end, I suppose. A funny look I got from my mom tonight confirms my suspicion that there's been a substantial increase in the amount of PDA between us these last few days. We'll be back to making our friends go "eew" in no time.

In the midst of this past week's medical mayhem, another arguably major event took place. One that both William and Greg independently proclaimed a sign of the pending apocalypse. One that had Jen sighing and rolling her eyes, and left me a jumble of excited, nervous nerves.

I crossed over to the other side.

After weeks of hand wringing and rationalization, I've sold (or at least am this close to selling, as my first buyer seems to have vanished) my trusty Macintosh PowerBook. At this very moment, I'm typing away on its successor: a Sony Vaio 505F, a creature of the Intel persuasion.

For a certifiable geek like myself, such a shift is no small matter. Especially after I've established myself as the resident Mac Evangalist among my friends and coworkers. And the few people I've turned to the Temple of the One-Button Mouse will no doubt be appalled at my leaping off the ship after luring them on.

But this decision isn't one of preference, but one of practicality. A reluctant resignation in the face of futility.

For the record, I will never stop singing the praises of the Macintosh, and I doubt Windows will ever be much of a challenge to the Mac's superiority in the creative fields. The return of Steve Jobs, the iMac and MacOS 8.5 are solid signs of an Apple recovery, and the specs for OS X has the programmers for the bloated Windows 2000 project shaking in their boots.

But the fact of the matter is, I now earn my living working with and managing a network of Windows machines. I'm working with Access and IIS and every other flavor of Microsoft bile, developing a website that runs on two dual-Pentium II servers, troubleshooting and providing technical support for a PC-based intranet. It was abundantly clear that my insistence on using my Mac to do fairly rudimentary web design, then tediously transferring each file to the network just to mount it on the site, was the epitome of inefficiency.

The fact of the matter is, the kind of work I'm expected to do can all be done moderately well on PCs. And the volume of work was turning my personal loyalties into a professional liability.

So, I adapted. I scrambled all over USENET for recommendations and tips. I read dozens of hardware and software reviews. I put together a huge spreadsheet comparing specs and prices between several different computers. And I took a cue from Greg and gave Allaire's HomeSite a spin, finding it the closest thing on the Windows side to the unrivaled coding interface of BBEdit for the Macintosh -- the one program I knew it would be hardest to live without.

One of the greatest challenges was factoring the cost of accessories. Since my scanner, Zip drive and printer were all Mac only, they all would have to be sold and replaced too.

Eventually, between two online vendors, I got the Vaio 505F, a 32MB RAM upgrade, a scanner, a printer, a Zip drive and a nifty CD-ROM drive (it has stereo speakers built in) for $2,500. To assuage my guilty Macintosh soul, the very first thing I did when I slid the Vaio out of the box was to slap a bright, 4-inch high Apple logo sticker on the lid. ("Blasphemy," my boss later hissed, to my great satisfaction.) I invested a whole day in copying over all the files from my PowerBook, making sure everything was converted or somehow accessible by Windows programs.

Then, with a heavy heart, I placed an ad for the PowerBook and accessories in the daily paper. With an asking price of $2,200 complete, I found someone the first day ready to pop right over and buy it. She was specifically looking for a Mac portable with all the trimmings included so she wouldn't have to buy them seperately. A perfect match.

Gleefully I canceled the ad and waited for the buyer, but she never showed. I called her back, and though she said she was still interested, she was no longer sure of the timetable. So I'm going to advertise it in Ka Leo and see if someone on campus wants it more. First come, first served.

Even if I get talked down to an even two grand, a net outlay of $500 for a new computer system is nothing to sneeze at. My bargain shopping alone netted me an admiring whistle in the office, where far greater geeks than I reside.

"So," William asked today, "How does it feel to be on the Dark Side?"

Honestly, it's not bad. Definitely different. But since I was already well versed in Windows (and its many bizzare bugs and quirks) from my job, I don't think I've wasted more than twenty minutes total getting up to speed. Although the programs and keystrokes are all different, I've already got this thing configured to do everything my PowerBook did.

A couple of things, I'm embarassed to say, I like better. Because Microsoft rules the PC world with an iron fist, for example, all the programs are fairly zippy and take a tenth of the time to start up than they do on a Mac. And I just discovered today that, thanks to Compact Flash media and PCMCIA slots, this machine speaks the same language as my digital camera. Instead of a 90-second-per-image download via a serial cable, I can now get to a picture by simply sticking in the card and dragging them over as if from a standard hard drive.

And you just can't beat the form factor of this machine. Heck, once I saw the "ultralites" -- a new class of portables that includes the Sony Vaio 505s, the Sharp Actius and the Toshiba Portege 3015 -- I knew I had to have one. At under an inch thick, and less than 3 pounds, it's so compact it's scary. Yet with an active-matrix screen and a 233 Mhz Pentium, it's as powerful as a good desktop machine.

Three of these things could fit in the space the PowerBook occupied. For that matter, if I pack the Vaio and the CD-ROM drive and the Zip drive, it still weighs less than the PowerBook did all by itself.

Frankly, even if full-power portables could get smaller than this, they probably won't. If things shrink any more, you wouldn't be able to type anything.


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 22 November 1998 · Last Modified: 30 November 1998