Archive for July, 2010

What to do, what to do…

July 25, 2010

My PowerMac desktop computer gave up the ghost after six years of demanding use by me.  Sad, sad, sad… This puts me in an uncomfortable position of spending money, and right now, I don’t like the alternatives very much. What to do, what to do…

The PowerMac failed – this was an interesting failure!  One evening, I heard what I thought was a clattering sound from the area of the hard drives – “Ah-hah,” I thought, “a failing hard drive.” I have heard a hard drive or two in my lifetime “going south”, and this is exactly what I thought I was hearing. My hard drive in the PowerMac is mirrored, so I was reassured that everything would be quite salvageable. I also backup weekly, and I also use the Time Machine feature of MacOSX. “No Problem!” I figured I was in for some downtime, but I would be up the next day with a new drive in the drive bay to replace the bad drive. I finished up what I was doing, and shut down. I restarted from the MacOSX Install CD to diagnose my hard drives – the clattering sound persisted – even though both drives tested OK. Then, everything went “black screen”. What’s this? A wet handle under the rear of the computer?  Oh-oh – the liquid cooling system failed – I was hearing bursts of steam through a tiny hole… Rats – dead and beyond repair.

My dilemma:

  1. A new Mac Pro starts at $2500 plus an eSATA PCIe card (plus AppleCare plus tax) – OUCH! For that money, I want at least eight years of service lifetime, and I didn’t get it from my last PowerMac. It’s a lot of money and a physically large cabinet. This is the utility I want, but for a steep price I don’t think I want to pay this go-around.
  2. My PowerBook is more than ten years old, and I am really hampered by this computer if it is to be my principle machine – I can’t use it in this mode for more than a week or two without impacting my ability to do my job. I would like a 13″ MacBook Pro, but Apple has not updated the processor to the new Intel i3 chipset, yet, and it doesn’t come with a non-glare screen option. I looked closely at the 15′ MacBook Pro, too, and it is a large laptop that will also cost me $2149 with a non-glare screen (plus AppleCare plus tax) – OUCH again… The 13″ PowerBook is almost “good enough”, but it just misses the mark. And there is no good MacBook Pro solution to interface with my eSATA port multiplier disk array cabinet.
  3. The Mac mini is intriguing. The MacMini Server is even more intriguing – for $1000 (plus AppleCare plus tax) – much less than a new PowerMac Pro or MacBook Pro… I get mirrored drives with the Mini Server – I just don’t need the server software, and Apple doesn’t sell the server hardware with the client software. Worse, this product has also not been updated to the new Intel i3 chipset, yet. Finally, like the MacBooks, there is no good solution to interface with my eSATA port multiplier disk array cabinet. Again, almost “good enough”, but it just misses the mark.
  4. The iPad – no camera, yet, and no printing capability, yet. Again, almost “good enough”, but it just misses the mark.

I need something right now, and I will need a second something soon. I don’t want to collect Apple products like I am “made of money” (I’m not made of money…).

Ever see the movie “1984”?  When the newscaster is MC’ing a TV talk show early in the movie and turns directly to the camera and asks, “What would you do, Mary?” actually asking each home viewer by name to personally participate in the discussion? Remember that scene?

Well, “What would you do (John, Paul, George, Chuck (no, not Ringo – got’cha), Bob, Sheri,  Jim, Bill, Liz, etc.)?” I just don’t see an optimal or even a reasonably desirable solution. If only Apple would “think different” – like me.

My plea to Apple:

  • Finish the transition from the older Core2Duo chips with updates to the i3.
  • Put an eSATA port capable of interfacing to port multiplier cabinets on all your products.
  • Sell the mini with two hard drives and an external SuperDrive – just like the mini Server hardware configuration, but without the server – and while you are at it, toss in choices for bigger (750 GB) and faster (7200 RPM) hard drives… And don’t forget the i3 chip and the eSATA port!
  • Get on the stick and push out a 2nd generation iPad with a camera, and support printing with iOS4.

Can you please do all of this before my birthday – it’s coming right up, and it would be a spectacular present! I can limp along until my birthday with my soooo old PowerBook.