11 Oct. 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

Listen to or download MP3 version of this blogitem

The Computer Ate My Life

What have I done with my blog?  I have migrated it.  Note that it didn't itself migrate, which would confirm "migrate" as a v.i., because, even though blogs seemingly have a life of their own, they do not possess volition.  So, contra-dictionarily, but in tragic accord with current usage, I have, in the best v.t. fashion migrated the blog to my new computer.

Q:  What New Computer?
A:  My new Mac Pro.
Q:  You got an Apple computer?  After all your whining to and about Steve Jobs?
A:  Yes I did.  But not in a spasm of conversion or even remorse, as you will see.

How can you tell when it's time to get a new computer?  Simple!  As you demand more and more from the old computer, it starts slowing down.  I'm an open-window kind of guy, and it had gotten to the point that switching between windows was taking more time than I have.  Adding applications, as one tends to do, was like pouring molasses on the CPU.  Each time I clicked on something and had to wait, I would calculate whether I could commission a new computer in less time than I would spend over the next year or so waiting for this one to do its job.  Because that calculation always worked out in favor of the old computer, I would then add in the annoyance factor of being discommoded many times a day as opposed to spending days setting up the new one, itself only a single incidence of discommodance.  That calculation favored purchasing a new one.

I asked a few computer experts at work:  "I need a new Windows computer that won't waste my time."  They universally recommended a "Mac Pro."  (A small universe, to be sure.)  My protestations that I wanted to run Windows impinged on rigid cilia:  "You want a Mac Pro, it will run Windows better than a Windows machine," I quote with sufficient accuracy.  I agonized over this for many months.  I would go to the Apple site and configure my new machine, a remarkably simple process.  I would look at the price, a remarkably irritating process, and finally abandon my quest.  Until I clicked on something on the old computer and was forced to wait.  The logjam finally broke when I asked one of the gurus whether I could order the Mac with one of the smallest hard drives, and then replace it with several much larger disks instead of having the OS live on the small one.  I'm used to the unending hassle of trying to replace a Windows OS disk with a larger one, and I was told that the Apple isn't like that at all.  A good thing, too, because Apple overcharges for disks by even more than Dell and HP.

I ordered the Mac Pro and found that redisking it was almost trivial.  Apple has a program called "Boot Camp" which allows the machine to run Windows as a native application.  Yes, I considered Parallels, to the extent of actually purchasing it, but I got nervous about it for various reasons and decided I didn't really need a Mac and Linux OS running at the same time as Windows.  I may well reconsider actually using Parallels once I get my life back.

Mac Pro RIKL Review(TM)

Well, no.  A RIKL Review of the Mac Pro will take up too much time for this partially-living, alleged-human.  Now that I'm in the Mac camp, at least hardware-wise, I'll consider doing one in the future.  Meanwhile, a few observations:

I'm very used to setting up Windows machines, with the interminable OS upgrades.  Getting the latest upgrades into the Mac takes a tenth of the time, if that.  A Mac PLUS.  The rest of the setup seems to be of Windows-equivalent difficulty, or lack thereof.  One complaint:  The monitor jacks, in the rear of the machine, are labeled in the tiniest font they could find.  Steve baby!  It's on the back of the machine—you can easily make it legible without offending your sense of "style"!

And, since I mentioned Steve Jobs, let me mention the "out of the box experience."

  • The first thing you see is a small box labeled "Designed by Apple in California."  Tasteful and nice, especially, since it was probably printed in China or Taiwan or Singapore along with the manufacture of the computer.

  • The next thing you notice is how easy the Mac Pro is to remove from the box.  The large handles and carefully designed packaging are a far cry from the usual Windows-box struggle.  (The fact that the handles prevent you from actually putting anything large on top of the Mac is only a small inconvenience.  As a last resort, you can probably saw them off.)

  • The final thing, and Steve will absolutely hate hearing this, even though it isn't a whine of mine:  The computer smells!  It's not an unpleasant smell, but a very recognizable one.  After all the trouble they go to to make the Apple user experience different and exemplary, as soon as you turn on this multi-kilobuck product, the room smells like you just bought a cheap, imported $100 surround-sound receiver.  Poor Steve!

So Far So Good

So, my blog has experienced a migration, and I'm typing this on my WinMac or whatever it should be called.  I'm still in the process of getting all the stuff off the old computer and making it work as I want it to.  Not a trivial task, but one that approaches an asymptote of only minutes per day, leaving some time to blog.  See evidence of same above and below.

Follow Up December 2007

The Mac PRO still seems to be a fine piece of hardware, and it doesn't smell any more. It does have one very minor problem occasioned by Apple's propensity to "think different."  Instead of using an ON/OFF switch toyou knowturn it on and off, it seems to have a proximity button. One day I accidentally rested my foot against it and the computer shut down, taking all my open windows with it. My options were to either either move it back a few inches or remove an important toe. Call me conventional, but I decided to retain my ability to walk.

Mountains Into Molehills Dept.

Large Heap o'Mulch From 03 July Much Much Smaller Heap o'Mulch from 18 September
Either that shovel is growing... Or the mulch has found a new home.

Hello Beatle!

Maybe I'm just not observant, but I do believe this is the first time I've seen a genuine Beatles tune played on a service intended for the internet! 

Look!  The Beatles on Pandora!

NP:  "If I Fell" - The Beatles

© 2007
Richard Factor

Yesterday  |  Tomorrow