I've had various computers over the years -- a used Powerbook preceded the iBook; I used it for three years and the previous owner had used it for two. I came to California with a Compaq Presario laptop, which lasted only about three years despite little travel and only moderate use. (Little travel except for the cross-country move.)
My Mac LCIII lasted six years. The Apple IIe, my first computer, lasted eight. Again, these were used heavily, and they were reliable and much-loved machines. I've had excellent experiences with Apple products. They're beautifully designed, inside and out, and they last.
I am a Mac loyalist, but I am also a reasonable human being. Replacing the iBook with even a low-end Macbook would cost me $1300+ for machine, Applecare, tax, etc. That's not unreasonable if I keep the computer for six years, but it's a whole lot of money upfront for someone who is freelancing and facing expensive car repairs.
So I'm buying an Acer 1410 with 2 gigs of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. It's small, light, and portable, but more powerful than a netbook. Bigger screen, too -- it has an 11.6-inch screen and practically full-sized keyboard. It runs Windows 7 Home Premium, not the loathsome Vista. No optical drive, but when I need to burn a CD or DVD, I can use a flash drive to copy files temporarily to any of the other household computers, all of which are equipped with CD/DVD burners. And even with a SquareTrade warranty, it's less than half the cost of the low-end Macbook plus Applecare.
Also, it's blue. And adorable. It's had good reviews from the pros, and the Amazon user reviews are very enthusiastic. It's coming tomorrow, and I cannot wait for my lovely little 3-pound laptop to arrive, so I can start