Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Top off your lap, sir?

January 7, 2012
The 13-inch 2011 MacBook Air

All I've ever asked is everything I've ever wanted. Does that make me a bad person?

When Competitor Group Inc. and I parted ways on the first day of the New Year I suggested that Herself should buy me a new MacBook to ramp up my mobility to full rumormongering speed for 2012.

I won’t tell you what she suggested that I do.

Some people hit the pubs or the comfort food as the wolf howls outside the door. Me, I examine the toy box and generally find it lacking a certain something. One wonders why Santa discriminates against the bad kids. There oughta be a law.

It’s not as though I’m lacking for laptops. The main machine is a 13-inch 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo MacBook circa 2006, but there are others: a 12-inch 1.5 GHz G4 “Little Al” PowerBook, a 14.1-inch 500 MHz G3 “Pismo” PowerBook and even a 12-inch 800MHz G3 iBook that smells like a pencil eraser when I boot it up because of a poor adhesive selection by someone at Apple HQ.

The problem is that they are all old, slow and heavy, like their owner. And also nearing the end of their useful lives, but let’s not go there, even metaphorically.

All still work, but frankly the G3 ‘books are way off the back — still suitable for checking mail, writing screeds and light photo/cartoon editing, but the equivalent of Nash Metropolitans when navigating the modern Infobahn. The G4 is better, but it’s 7 years old — no biggie for a car (my Forester is also a 2005 model), but senior-citizen country for a computer.

And the MacBook? It’s only a year younger and has already disappointed me once, FUBARing a hard drive after less than three years of light use. I’ve never trusted it since — and never really had to, since the lion’s share of my work for the past few years involved helping edit the website, which is tough to do on any laptop, unless you have a giant external monitor attached.

I used a 2009 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with a second monitor, a 22-inch ViewSonic. Charles Pelkey used a PC with three monitors. His office looks like the bridge of the USS Enterprise.

Having abandoned professional web editing, I no longer require that kind of visual real estate. But I’ve gotten used to the speed of the newer computer, and it’s hard to go back in time when I hit the road, something I’d like to do more of in 2012 if only to rub up against some fresh ideas for irritating people.

Let’s see here — a guy can pick up a refurbished 2011 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 MacBook Air for just over a G at the Apple Store. I wonder how much plasma I’d have to sell.

I need to lose a little weight anyway.

Apple to the core

October 6, 2011

The elder statesman among computers in the DogHaus: a 500 MHz G3 "Pismo" PowerBook, circa 2000.

Steve Jobs made my life a whole lot easier.

Back in the day, when I was still full-time at The New Mexican and free-lancing cartoons and the occasional race report to VeloNews, it was all about hard copy. I’d FedEx the ’toons and fax the stories.

It was an imperfect system. VN was supposed to return my original art, but often did not, and a whole bunch of original work got lost during an office cleanup that shall forever live in infamy.

Then I got a Mac SE, a Hayes 1200-baud modem and accounts with AOL and CompuServe. Holy Mary, Mother of God — que milagro!

Suddenly we stringers could upload copy directly to the VeloNews BBS. ’Toons and photos still had to take the long way to press, but that would change, too, with the advent of more powerful Macs, faster modems and digital scanners. That little old country lane called the Internet suddenly was the Infobahn, and shipping a 1MB ’toon was no more difficult than sending an e-mail. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the World Wide Web, but he sure made it easy to navigate.

Little Al

The 12-inch 1.5 GHz G4 PowerBook was the ultimate in MacPortability until the MacBook Air came along.

Two decades later I can look around my home office and see multiple examples of Steve Jobs’ vision come to life. I’m posting this on a 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac. On my drawing board sits an iPhone 3GS, charging. Next to the board squats a hot-rodded G4 AGP Graphics Power Mac that I use to digitize ’toons and store stuff. Behind me is a venerable G3 500 MHz “Pismo” Powerbook, one of my all-time favorite laptops.

In the living room you’ll find a 2.66 GHz Mini delivering streaming video to our TV, along with a 12-inch G4 1.5 GHz Powerbook and two MacBooks — my black 2006 Intel Core Duo and Herself’s white 2007 Intel Core Duo 2. My iPad 2 is in there, too. Herself’s is downstairs. Our iPod Touches are in the bedroom.

Last but not least, somewhere around here is a 12-inch G3 800 MHz iBook — it was my kitchen computer for a while until Herself spirited it away (she despises clutter).


My primary road machine is a first-gen' Intel MacBook — like everything else around here, it's a little long in the tooth but still gets the job done.

And you know what? They all work, every last one of them. Burglars could clean me out of everything save the Pismo and I could still earn my little bit of living with that elderly laptop. Hell, the second Mac I ever owned, a Quadra 650, still worked when I finally caved to the anti-clutter lobby and sent it off for recycling last year.

“But Patrick,” you say, “you could have done your business on Windows machines just as easily.” Maybe so, but I doubt it.

Macs were made for people like me, non-geeks who wanted to think about the work, not the tool. The Apple GUI has always been simple and intuitive, and the hardware reliable and fairly simple to work on if you decided that you just had to peek under the hood.

Plus I always found Apple’s industrial design more pleasing to the eye. Windows machines looked cheap, mass-produced and blocky, like Soviet-era apartment buildings. Apple’s devices had graceful, swooping lines, odd color schemes and that cheery “Happy Mac” that once appeared at bootup but preceded its creator in death a while back.

Maybe that’s why I have such a hard time parting with them.

But I notice there are about 15 bikes in the garage and a half-dozen Canon cameras lying around the house, and it wasn’t all that long ago that there were four Toyota trucks parked in my driveway. So maybe I’m just a hoarder.

Tour de meh

October 19, 2010
Blue skies, smiling at me. ...

Blue skies, smiling at me. ...

Oboy, oboy, oboy — the route of the 2011 Tour de France is announced today and there’s an Apple proclamation slated tomorrow. My cup runneth over.

Well, actually, not so much. I don’t give a shit about the TdF, other than as a source of income. Cav’ wins all the sprints, the Schlecks win all the climbs, the Euskaltels hit the deck, there’s no time trialing to speak of and the winner tests positive for something you never heard of. There’s your Tour.

And if Apple announces a leaner, meaner and cheaper MacBook Air, as is widely expected, well, I don’t much care about that either. The old black MacBook seems to be ticking along, and if it croaks again and I need to leave the DogHaus to do a job of work there’s always the 12-inch G4 PowerBook, the 12-inch G3 iBook, the 14.1-inch G3 PowerBook … we got more Apples than the average Washington-state orchard, is what I’m sayin’.

Meanwhile, it’s a beautiful fall morning — 30-something, with a high in the mid-60s forecast. A guy with any brains would be out riding his bike. And if he did, he might see me out there riding mine, too.