Friday, May 2nd 2008

Things I’ve learned so far
posted @ 7:23 am in [ Tech ]

I really need to keep an eye on the comments for this blog. A poor soul wrote a lengthy and thoughtful comment awhile back and I didn’t catch it until today. Many things catching up with me.

Including, unfortunately, my laptop.

I’m attending BarCampSD this weekend, and I feel like I’m going to a dance in a shoddy old dress my mom tried to mend with safety pins. My laptop is a very old iBook G4. It still works, sure, but the safety pins are showing.

Horde of stickers notwithstanding, opening and running applications has become very slow, almost embarrassingly so. I upgraded the memory to 1.2 GB during the first six months of ownership (and I think that’s the max I can stuff in here), but I think the processor might be getting the works down. Maybe I should lay a bit more story out.

About three years ago, I started working for DreamHost. I was more comfortable in Linux than in most environments, but I had a Windows machine at home because doing stuff like synching my Creative MP3 player, at the time, probably would have involved reading extensive documentation and lots of hackery on my part. I don’t mind doing that sort of thing at work, or perhaps if I feel like doing that sort of thing as a hobby, but I have nightmares about needing to do a quick computer operation before heading off to work only to have the entire thing explode. Three years ago, Linux was quite not as polished as it is now. So, lovely for a server environment, not so much for quick home computing.

At the time, I didn’t like the idea of Apple computers either. Back in 1997, I had done some intranet work for a big pharmaceutical company in Illinois. They were all Apple-based computers, but were rapidly moving to PC because at the time, Apple was being headed up by someone who was not Steve Jobs, and things were imploding for them rapidly. I had to work on a Mac, and I hated it. The OS was cute, but it crashed several times a day because I had the audacity to run PC applications that had been kludged to run on a Mac OS. When your tool gets in the way of getting work done that badly, it gives you a serious complex against the machine.

Fast forward many years. I get the job at DreamHost, and I boggle that so many people who I consider to be competent admins are actually using Mac OSX. Ok, I’d heard from other people in my field that things were different, that Jobs had come back and shown everyone the light. However, I had done some site testing on an old Mac during my ICANN days (I had that colorful fishbowl thing sitting on my desk), but I hadn’t been terribly impressed. Then again, I hadn’t played with it that much, my own internal prejudices got in the way.

Then, finally, my desktop Windows system at home died. For a normal person, this isn’t a disaster. For me, I recreated a scene from E.R., screaming as I tried to resuscitate the dead metal. My job includes having to do oncalls from home, constantly monitoring the health of many many machines. Without a computer, well, it’s like I’ve lost a limb.

Thankfully, one of my co-workers had bought a brand new laptop and loaned me his old one – an old silver Powerbook. However, at the time, it was probably performing at the level my iBook is at now. He loaned it to me one weekend when I needed it for oncall.

One weekend convinced me. I suddenly knew why so many people tolerated Steve Jobs being a great big asshole. The guy is a freaking genius. An evil genius, maybe, but wow. What an OS! So sleek and sexy! And I can get to a damn terminal without downloading a clunky application!

So I bought my beloved iBook – at a cost brand new that I don’t think Mac laptops will ever see again in those trendy Apple stores.

I kept telling my mom about it – the woman who a short time ago was thrilled about having installed an application by herself on a PC for the first time. Finally last year she switched, and I think she’s an even bigger fangirl than I am.

Last week, another co-worker of mine made the switch. He was very surprising because he hated Mac even more than I did three years ago. Then one day he tells me he has a new Macbook, and I went over to his office to point and laugh. As it turns out, he had been surprised by the changes too.

Ok, this post was going to be a bit of a reminisce about the times my laptop and I have spent together, but it’s turned into something else. Who am I to argue with whatever comes out of my caffeine-deprived skull at this hour of the morning?

So, the question remains – why not buy a new laptop? Right now I have the cash to just go buy whatever Macbook I want but…that money is reserved. I’ve got a pretty big party in Las Vegas in August, and I think my fiance would kill me immediately as I stepped in the door. Hm. Macbook or wedding…

2 Responses to “Things I’ve learned so far”

  1. bronwyn Says:

    Compromise and use Apple credit/payment plan? =)

  2. Terri Says:

    The current economy makes me afraid of all credit – and I have enough credit debt, thankyouverymuch!

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