Recycled Computing

Everybody Get Skinny!

- 2012.07.03

Apple's always trying to make its devices thinner, but lately the hue and cry has been over Americans being too fat. Study after study reveals that, as a culture, we need to lose weight. Even Oprah. Apparently the First Lady has noticed as well, and frankly, we need to stay out of that mishegoss.

I have been listening too. Especially to my doctor, who started treating my diabetes about four years ago. I lost 30 pounds almost immediately and then plateaued. Normal, said the doc. Recently I took off another 15 pounds and weigh less now than I did in college (38 years ago). I think I might do another 20, but that might take a real fight and some time. My point is that losing weight takes time and effort.

Our PowerBooks and MacBooks have been on diets as well. And boy, are they thin. Apple has been saying that the technology its used in the MacBook Air would coming to its MacBook Pro line, and it has arrived! The new top-end MacBook Pro is thin and slim and has a Retina Display that is lust worthy. It also raises the bar on those new "thinbooks" that PC makers have been marketing.

15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
The 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display is only 0.71" (18mm) thick and weighs just 4.46 lb. (2.02 kg).

Once again, I must put on my curmudgeon hat and raise a cautionary note. The technology that is required to make super-thin computers demands fewer and fewer user upgradable parts. I know this may not matter to those have resigned themselves to buying a new laptop every few years, but that's why I am a curmudgeon.

The fact that fellow scribe Charles Moore almost had to retire his pair of Pismos from production work (see End of the Road in Sight for OS X Tiger and My Pismo PowerBooks and Pismos Back from the Brink for a While Longer) has been a definitive sign that it's time to reassess the future of my Pismo. It's been months since I fired up mine, and the truth is, 12 years is more than enough to expect out of a laptop computer. I'm glad that I got to use one for the many years I did. We are not going to see a similar laptop to the Pismo in the future.

Pismo PowerBook
The Pismo PowerBook is 1.7" (43mm) thick and weighs a substantial 6.1 lb. (2.8 kg).

Back to a Power Mac?

But these facts have got me thinking. If I want to own a computer I can upgrade in the future, I may have to buy a Power Mac. This would mean that I would have to abandon MacBooks and rely on an iPad for my portable computer needs. Yes, I would still have to replace the iPads (hell, I have to replace my iPad right now, as it won't run iOS 6), but that's cheaper than buying a new laptop every few years.

A Power Mac would allow memory upgrades (RAM and ROM), graphic card upgrades, connectivity upgrades, and even processor upgrades (not possible with G5 Power Macs). Armed with those options, I would hope I could weather the software storms that blow across the Apple landscape.

Change happens, and sometimes you can prepare for it. It's sad that I will have to stop using MacBooks, but I don't feel comfortable shelling out for a new one every few years. LEM

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