PC-Mac rivalry makes for crowded USA bobsled

Bobsled pilot Steven Holcomb is as big into Windows as teammate Steve Mesler is into Mac. Somehow, though, their allegiances haven't derailed the world champions.

WHISTLER, B.C.--They may be on the same world championship four-man bobsled team, but Steven Holcomb and Steve Mesler are decidedly different when it comes to that all important question: Mac or PC?

While his pilot might be a big PC nerd, bobsled pusher Steve Mesler says he is most definitely a Mac guy. Ina Fried/CNET

A computer science major and admitted computer nerd , Holcomb is decidedly in the PC camp, even eschewing the iPod in favor of a Creative Zen player. Mesler, a pusher on Holcomb's sled, is just as passionate about the Mac.

"I'm on the creative side," Mesler said in an interview. "He's on the technical side."

That said, the pairing pays off, as the two split the duties of updating their bobsled team Web site. "I do the graphics and send them to [Holcomb]," Mesler said.

Mesler said he still gets a lot of grief from Holcomb over his penchant for Apple gear.

"If there's a tiny little thing that will glitch on my MacBook, he's all over it," Mesler said. "If anything ever goes wrong on my Mac, no matter how small, Holkey's all over it. He loves that little rivalry."

He also gets some grief for another tech choice--his AOL e-mail account. At the same time, he is active on Twitter and usually a sucker for whatever Apple's latest gadget is. That said, he's not so sure about the iPad.

"I feel like I either want something small like an iPhone or something like a laptop," he said. "I don't need something in the middle."

On one tech front, the two agree. Both carry BlackBerry phones among their many tech gadgets. The tech isn't all for fun. Holcomb says he uses video games as part of his bobsled training.

Mesler is also using technology in another way: As part of an outreach program, he has to connect with students at 10 different schools, ranging from elementary schools to one college. He's been doing video messages and even doing a Q and A from within the Olympic Village using Skype--and his MacBook of course.

He says it's kind of like the 2010 way to have pen pals. He said he knows the power of meeting an Olympian and hopes that he can have an impact in the students' lives. Ideally, he'd like to pick up a sponsor to go meet with each of the 10 classes in person.

In a video interview I filmed a few days ago, Mesler talked about the PC vs. Mac issue, his work with the students, as well as the tragic death of Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvili.

Training has started for the bobsled, with the two-man competition slated to start on Saturday and the four-man scheduled for February 26 to 27. We'll be following the techies on their quest for the gold.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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