Sunday, April 08, 2007

My new toy

Although I use Windows for much of my computing activities, I'm still a Mac person at heart, and my primary personal computer will always be an Apple. Such is the case with my newest machine:

This iMac replaces the venerable G4, which has served me well over the past seven-and-a-half years (I was still living in Lewisville when I purchased it in the fall of 1999; it really seems like eons ago). I made upgrades to it from time to time to keep it from becoming totally obsolete: adding more memory, upgrading the system to OS X, even replacing the processor. Over the past few months, however, the G4 had become increasingly unstable. Screen freezes and kernel panics began to occur with increasing frequency, and none of the fixes I tried - running the disk repair utility, making more space on the hard drive, booting the computer in safe mode, testing the memory - seemed to make any difference. It got to the point were the computer crashed so frequently that it was all but unusable; my only remaining option was to erase the hard drive and re-install the system software.

But why even bother? I could erase and re-install (and then spend the next several hours re-configuring the machine, re-installing application software, downloading all the necessary patches and upgrades, etc.), and maybe that would fix the problem and maybe I could squeeze another year or two out of the venerable yet increasingly obsolete G4 before I finally had to break down and get a new machine. Why not just go ahead and get a new computer now? The time had simply come.

I was originally thinking about an iBook, but eventually I decided that I wanted something with a bigger display. So I settled on the 20" iMac and made the purchase.

And I'm glad I did. The 2.16 Ghz Core Duo processor is speedy and smooth. The fact that the entire computer is built into the display means less clutter underneath my desk. The faster processor as well as the larger hard drive will make it possible for me to do video and music editing on this machine that I couldn't do on the G4. Programs that used to overwhelm the G4, such as SimCity 4 or Google Earth, run just fine on this iMac. Apple's switch to Intel processors means that I'll be able to run Windows software on this machine, should I ever need to do so (and right now, I really don't; between my Dell work laptop, Lori's HP laptop, and even the old Compaq that Danny left here when he moved to DC, I already have plenty of opportunities to use Windows applications). And I really like the 20" display. All in all, this new iMac perfectly fits my computing needs, and should continue to do so for the next several years.

I don't know if this machine will last me as long as the venerable G4 did; one of the drawbacks to the iMac is that the only user-upgradable component is the memory (the only other thing I don't like about the iMac is the tiny, difficult-to-control four-way trackball on the mouse; I guess I'll get used to it sooner or later). However, it's nice to finally feel that my personal computer is "up to date" with the rest of the world.

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