Wednesday
Aug102011

« Mad Macs—Kelli »

Ten years ago today I got my first computer. It still sits in the other room that is known as Kelli's office. She uses it to this day, or maybe I should say, she tries to. When I got my second G4 in 2004, I set her free on the first one. She used that for a year and a half before she got a G3 iBook laptop that was her main axe up till early last year. The letters were worn off some keys. She was killing the second battery. Finally, it died and was clearly nothing to repair. I set her up with the first G4 again. Last summer, just week after I got my current iMac, the second G4 crapped out at once. We were left with the oldest and the newest models. Damn. I collected my hard drives (that would work in either G4) and left the newer one to sit for months before deciding to can it for good.

The old G4 was something I could have gotten rid of some years ago were it not for it being equipped with a Zip drive. That feature made it possible to complete a multi-step transfer project Kelli once set out to do, with the goal to get her ancient word processor files onto a floppy that could be put into a beater old PC that in turn would cough up a Zip disk that the G4 could read and finally work with in more contemporary file formats and editors.

We had that elaborate rig put together for a week or two in 2006 when she had time away from school, internships, and all the other professional prep she's done since then. She got about half of it done and we still have all those machines (but cut back a monitor or two since) sitting around somewhere. I usually rib her some, but over the years, it has seemed absurd to be lugging all the extra stuff around when all we really need today is a laptop and an iMac.

Months ago, the old G4 DVD drive stopped accepting disks, which also meant that I would not be using the Techtool diagnostic disk to defrag it, or to do other maintenance. I started on with the ultimatim that the G4 had to be retired. Time for new shit. New shit. The income was not right at the time, but now we're on the verge of getting that taken care of and we've been looking at some pretty nice Macbook Pros that would be insanely good compared to the hand me down and used stuff she's always used. Her time has come to have something that can perform for her.

I guess I got my money's worth from it. It was something like $2400 when I bought it as the best of the line at the time (867 Mhz), and $600 more for the nice LaCie CRT monitor I got originally. But now it's a boat anchor. The OS was maxed out with Panther, 10.3.9, which I think was the update from sometime in 2006! The browsers have decayed so much that Gmail shut her out essentially.  YouTube videos could barely play. Only Safari v1.x and Camino 2 would work anymore, and barely so as the web technology marched on past. Facebook was half broken, not allowing comments. Other eseential programs work of course, like Microsoft Office, but compared to the iMac, they are agonizingly slow. Kelli has to part time it over on this iMac for printing, disk burning, social media chatter, and dealing with Gmail now that they cut things off at the more modern browsers that can handle HTML5 and such.

The ultimatim was narrowed down to August 10. I kept dropping the hints. August 10 is just a couple months away. A couple weeks away. A week away. Tomorrow. Today. Ten years is long enough! Part of it is good natured ribbing, but really, the longer this goes on, the less I can do anything to protect her data. Good thing I do have it backed up to a hard drive, but we're on the twine, chewing gum, and duct tape program here! Tonight we did take a look and priced the Macbook Pro, a refurb like my second G4 and this iMac, and she's on the verge of this. Her new discipline is to get out of consumer debt and so this purchase is a huge thing to do out of income alone. But now she's finally working as a professional and the long deferred expenses are at least able to be looked at. (After this, the car will demand a solution considering how much she drives.) 

I still don't think a new machine will help get the old word processor job done though...

I might have to address the role of the computer in these ten years in another entry.

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