Wait, did you mean that you don't have Internet kiosks anymore since it's not the Middle Ages and everyone is walking around with a WiFi or WWAN laptop?
Or that you DO have Internet kiosks because you have the Internet? I am now entirely confused.
It's funny that you mention this in the context of Pittsburgh -- Richard Florida wrote a book called 'The Rise of the Creative Class' about that theory -- that having college students gives way to an educated population and a class of creative professionals, from high tech to high finance, that builds prosperity. But Florida's research started when he noticed that he was surrounded by smart, capable young students at CMU, none of whom would be there a year or two after their graduation. His book (with methodology that's easy to critique) tries to show that it's more than just colleges that you need to retain college graduates. You can dispute Florida's findings -- that you need things like bike paths to keep college grads, but his inspiration, that college students leave Pittsburgh, is generally pretty true.
Finding out how to keep college students would go a long way towards solving Pittsburgh's problems -- and kicking them in the pants when they're poor students probably isn't a good way to do that. As a side note: poor college students can frequently get almost fully funded between grants and loans -- including a fair living stipend. If they can't get such financing for the $400 tax, then that's a real burden for the already less-advantaged college studnets trying to make a future for themselves.
I've been a Mac user for 6 years now, and have loved every machine I've purchased. Having said that, I'm a certain kind of user who matches the machines that Apple sells. I want mid- to mid-high range hardware, capable of pretty extensive multitasking (which, in my experience, works better under OS X than Windows), and the ability to do graphics design and layout (I admit, this was much more hardware-constrained in 2003 than it is now). Macs are a pretty good fit for the featureset that I want, and are price-competitive with Windows boxes.
HOWEVER in the ad, Lauren wants a machine with a certain amount of raw horsepower, a keyboard she likes (which, with Apple, is either entirely true or entirely not) and a 17" screen. That could mean a wide variety of machines -- processor architectures, memory, integrated or discreet graphics -- but Apple, when you want a 17" laptop, assumes you're a higher-end user, that wants a very well engineered battery, a lot of horsepower, a fast dual-core CPU, etc. etc.
Lauren doesn't. She doesn't want a lot of those things. She just wants a computer with a 17" screen. Apple doesn't sell the machine she wants -- but because there's at least 3 or 4 PC brands at any Best Buy, she can walk in and get what she wants for a fraction of what Apple sells it for.
It's a question of mapping: the goal isn't to take an APPLE to start with then compare it to the price of a similar PC; instead, it's to take a PC you want, and asking if there EVEN IS a similar Mac -- in a lot of cases, there just won't be.
"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." -- Mark Twain