Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a weekly column about the future of technology, multimedia, and digital entertainment:

"All right! Listen up, maggot! Welcome to Fort Dragg. I am your Commanding Microsoft Office-er Sgt. Pepper! How do you like that for trademark infringement, Apple Corps? I bet you came here today because you wanted to serve your computer company by beta testing Boot Camp? Well, let me tell you something. It ain't gonna be easy, you puke!

"Over the next 50 minutes, I will become your father, your mother, your Apple Specialist, your third-tier tech support person, and your best friend! Your heart may belong to Apple but your butt belongs to me! Your precious vendor won't support other operating systems, so you better be quicker than a FireWire 800 port, because if you ain't, you just may blow your disk up with your laser mouse.

"You come here as a sack of rotting apples unfit to touch a scroll ball! But I will tear down your hard drive into partitions until you cry. You will feel the burn like a driver CD. You will break like compatibility with classic Mac applications. Your identity will be so far gone that Spotlight won't be able to find it. Remember, there is no Windows ME in 'team.' If you can reset your system clock, you will leave with a time-killing, dual-booting, PC game-running machine! Do you hear me!?"

"Sir! Yes, sir!"

"You look me straight in the iSight when you talk to me. Is that understood, maggot, or do I have to create a Keynote presentation for you?"

"No, sir! Cinema-quality effects that animate text, graphics and slides are not necessary, sir!"

"Louder, maggot! Whattsa matter? You install the volume limiter on your iPod?"

"SIR! NO, SIR!"

"Now, you're gonna have to understand a few things before you engage the enemy. The enemy will do anything it can to kill your morale. It will show its flag whenever you try to boot it. The enemy is not beyond using viral agents. The enemy will not shy from spying on your personal information. The enemy is not human. It cannot understand us, at least not without software such as Mediafour's MacDrive. And the strongest among us have been known to cower with a three-finger salute when confronted with its fearsome Blue Screen of Death. War is Dell.

"You there, hiding in front of the glass!"

"Yes, sir?"

"You are uninstalling a program and the enemy offers to remove DLLs that are no longer needed! Do you agree to it?"

"Sure, sir. I don't see why not."

"Well, look who stepped out from behind the Genius Bar! You stupid maggot! You're as slow as Photoshop under Rosetta; I've seen Automator scripts smarter than you! You never trust the enemy! Now drop and give me 20 right-clicks!"

"But, sir, my MacBook Pro has no right mouse button!"

"40 right clicks! If I wanted to look at something full of hot air, I'd have bought me a G5! Now DROP before I use this iPod HiFi to knock you into the middle of the Macworld 2007 keynote!

"All right, now! I want this group to disappear like application windows in Exposé. March through the steps needed to install XP on your Mac. March! And I want to hear that marching song as you do it! Mac OS Ten-Hut!"

"PC vendors had their say!
Vista missed the holiday!
I don't know but I've been told
Leopard's master will reach gold!
XP is what we will tame!
Virtual PC is so lame!
Sound off! Menu bar!
Sound off! Taskbar!
1-2-3-4. We are... Dual Corps!"


Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group and a contributing editor for LAPTOP. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. Feedback is welcome at fliptheswitch@gmail.com.

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Switched On: Boot Camp - The Miffing Manual