• April 4, 2007

I’m not quite sure how to set this up. 

I’m a system administrator / network administrator / database administrator.  I fix problems with computers - usually on Microsoft’s Windows. 

Yeah, I’ve been around a lot of years.  I started on the Commodore PET back in - oh my - 1978.  ACK!  That’s almost 30 years on computers.  Mr. Reil took me to the high school where he taught and showed me these really cool things he set up, taught me pretty much all the programming I know today (grin) and started me off on this wild adventure of fun and frivolity I call a life of hell. 

Along the way, I’ve had my fingers on the CoCo, the Trash can, the Vic-20 (“Wait,” says Mr. Reil, “The C-64 is coming real soon now and it’s a lot better!”), the Commodore-64, the Apple II+, IIc and the IIgs (I was late to the AppleII), enough of those horrid little PC’s and clones to want to stay away from them, eventually the ‘286, ‘386, ‘486 (still have and loved my AMD 5x86-133), and on up the line.

Today I’ve got my Toshiba laptop (broken and tethered permanently to a monitor), my Ubuntu box - a much beloved overclocked Athlon 1.2) and my way long-in-the-tooth-but-still-occasionally-used PIII-450 I spent $3000 on back in 1998.

Long and the short, I’ve got a lot of experience.

I remember the days when we used to ooh and ahh over the latest and greatest.  Yes, the days of eagerly anticipating the Voodoo 3, the most perfect video card that could ever be created.  How we longed for the days we could afford that kind of amazement!  (Yup, I’m looking at you, Ralph.)  We poured over the notion for hours, debating the merits of the latest and greatest and what really wasn’t so hot.

Then we got into this professionally or semi-professionally and it all went off the rails.  (Yup, I’m looking at you, Ralph.  ;-)  Hardware just wasn’t cool to tinker with anymore, it was the pain in the butt to fix.  We didn’t care that the new printer was 3.8 times faster than the old one, we cared that it took 3.8 fewer minutes to configure.  “New” has become crap, stability is what matters.

Yeah, okay.  The code monkey over there thinks that he cares that his Core Duo outperforms his Pentium IV by 16 percent.    Oh, yeah, I’m so sure it cuts your compile time down by all that much.  Put a sock in it, Little Coder Boy.  If you didn’t write such bloated code we’d all get by just fine with our 10 year old machines.  CPU cycles are cheap - MY ASS.  Someone has to manage all the crap you foist on us.  That’s where the overhead lies now.

All you guys stuck in “latest and greatest” mode are chasing your tails.  Spending a premium for a thin slice of performance so you can brag like you’re driving an Italian sports car and your toupee doesn’t show.  Get a life, loser.

There.  You have the setup.

I want a Mac.  I want a MacBook.  Actually, I want a MacBook Pro.  I thought I wanted a MacBook Pro 15” - I wasn’t sure if I wanted a 2.16 or a 2.33 GHz processor.  I was wrong.  I want the MacBook Pro 17”.  I want the power, I want that beautiful 17” screen, I want Parallels, I want 2 Gigs of RAM, and I want the fastest bloody hard drive I can get in that - supposedly a 120 GB 7200 RPM drive.  I’ll happily give up size for speed.  I want it fast, I want it gorgeous, and I want it as soon as I can get my hands on it.

Mr. Bug has been a turncoat^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hswitcher for a while.  He’s convinced me that I really ought to be looking at a Mac for my next system.  Yeah, sure, I’ve seen the Macs.  I know about it.  Based on BSD.  Yeah yeah.  No viruses.  Sure sure.   Integrated and ‘just works’.  Blah blah.

I stopped by Westworld Computers today to take a serious look again.  The last time I looked at a Mac it didn’t go all that well.  What I saw today simply amazed me.

I have a couple really good reasons for looking at a Mac.  Reason 1, I fix computers for a living.  I make house calls, I like to take my laptop with all my tools and have it when I work on a client’s system.  I take a Mac, I plug it into their network and just do what I have to do.  I don’t worry about viruses or trojans, I just get my job done.

Reason 2, I work on Windows all day long.  Frankly, I’m getting sick of it.  I’ll still stay up to date on the Windows world, but although it’s a nice enough place to visit, I don’t want to live there.

Reason 3, Gnucash.  I like simplicity and double-entry in my accounting software.  Gnucash is my single killer app that I need to live my life.  My consideration changed considerably when I discovered that Gnucash ran on a Mac.  It might not be the flashiest or the easiest thing to use, but I love it and need it and that makes my decision so much easier.

Reason 4, I primarily work full screen on the task I’m focusing on.  That doesn’t mean I don’t want to change quickly should my train of thought change.  The Mac put the window I wanted in front of me and left it there.  Nothing popping up in front of me.  No nag screens grabbing my attention.  THE app I wanted to look at on my screen.  Simple.  Easy.  Should I want to find another window, Exposé to the rescue.  It was amazingly easy to use for me, and powerful enough I want it now.  It matches the way ***I ***do my work.

Reason 5, and this has more to do with the guys at Westworld rather than the Mac, I ran into a couple fellows that understood whom they were talking to.  Ryan grokked that I was a tinkerer and knew my way around a system or two.  He threw up examples that I could relate to.  When I asked about file system, he opened a terminal and ran me through the BSD internals.  He talked about the bash shell and all that was available to me.  Nathan listened when I had a newbie question and kicked me in the right direction when I needed prompting.  They both left me alone in front of this amazing machine to let me enjoy touching the raw eroticism of an aluminum shell.  Okay, maybe that’s too personal.

Unlike the Reality Distortion Field, criticisms did fly.  I hate the one-button touch pad.  Give me two as an option, damn you!  Don’t give me this, “You can plug in any mouse you want.“  I can’t always plug in any mouse I want, what I want is a right-mouse button on the damned touch pad.  They brought up some of the quirkiness of the GUI that I’ll have to get used to.  Like just what the hell those red, yellow and green buttons actually do, anyways..  (Answer, not always what you’d think they do.)

All in all, I find myself wrapped in technolust for a Macintosh computer.  Precisely what has come over me?

Bottom line, it means I go into debt a bit, but I get what I want.

So with that in mind, I throw it out to you, dear reader.  Some questions:
1)  Wait for Leopard or get what I want now?
2)  We haven’t had a hardware upgrade for a while, it seems.  Drop the hammer or wait for a few months - presumably when Leopard arrives.
3)  I’m sold on a MacBook 17” with Parallels and Super-Duper! for backups.  I have ZERO interest in Microsoft Office - OEM or otherwise.  What else need I consider for software?
4)  What else do I need to consider for accessories?
5)  What about a PDA to sync with a Mac?  I have a Palm m125 I sync with my Linux box right now.  I’ll upgrade if I find something that works nicely with a Mac.  I’ll happily stick with my Palm if I have to hold out for a Blackberry or something.  (I’ll consider a Blackberry, but not for a year or two when I’m ready to jump to a new phone.)
6)  What am I failing to consider here?  What’s the gotcha behind the decision that I haven’t spotted yet?

Have at it…  The line begins to call me an idjit…  HERE: