You might remember this big flap some weeks ago when the integrity and impartiality of some American bloggers were thrown into question when Microsoft‘s public relations group, Edelman PR, gifted them with Vista-ready notebooks – which they accepted.

When it hit the fan, Microsoft and Edelman PR quickly backpedaled and said the notebooks were just for “review”, and were supposed to be returned afterwards. It may or may not have been a misunderstanding, but the damage had been done, both for Microsoft and the concerned bloggers.

I am extremely saddened to say that a similar situation occurred here in the Philippines as well.

I will not speak for anyone or implicate anyone else in this except myself. It’s been gnawing at me for weeks. I have not been able to sleep well, and cannot look at myself in the mirror.

Some weeks before the launch of Microsoft Vista, Microsoft organized a special private overnight boot camp/workshop for select IT journalists in resort city Tagaytay at the Taal Vista Lodge (Vista – get it?). I was invited, and I went.

At the event, Microsoft gifted me with a Vista-ready notebook, for me to take home and keep for myself. No strings attached, no questions asked.

I’m ashamed to say that I accepted it:

It’s wonderful. It features all four of the the Windows Vista Key Business Scenarios:

Unlike many notebooks, this one has all, and I mean all, of the hardware requirements:

It’s whisper-quiet, and never overheats. The power requirements are negligible, and it’s eminently portable. Aside from that, it features lots of storage space, and with an optional stylus it works as a special tablet with impeccable handwriting recognition:

God help me, I could not resist. I confess. I took it home. It’s still with me. And I’m not giving it back.

I’m so sorry.

BREAKING UPDATE: PWiT reader jan2x asked if you can load Linux on my Vista notebook. I tried it and it works! See here:

UPDATE 2: Bernie J. asked me to try Mac OS X. It works too! Is there no end to this notebook’s flexibility? Dear Lord! The possibilities are endless!