Robert,

If you do go with a Mac, I found the best prices to be buying refurbished, direct from Apple, or through a dealer on the web such as expercom.com and smalldog.com. The refurbished units are virtually new, and include the same 1 year warranty as new ones, for hundreds less. You can find them on the Apple Store page -- click on "Special Deals". They may have some of the current models, and/or they may be older models. The older models are somewhat cheaper still, and may be more than adequate for your needs. The G4 powerbooks are a beautiful design. I find the iBooks, which are all white, to be less attractive, but have also heard as Jeremy mentioned, that they are more rugged. I don't know if that is true or not. Polycarbonate is pretty tough stuff though.

David