Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Is it a sin to love a computer?

My Macintosh G4 is dead. I'm sad about that.

It's not loss of data -- I'm probably going to be able to recover even the small amount that wasn't backed up. I haven't used it as my main computer for some time now. But it has been a part of my life since 2000, and made my life easier in a thousand ways.

Before I go on, I'm going to say a word about the other side, just to set something straight -- I really don't have a problem with those who love Windows. I say this because I've noticed that when we who are Mac users start talking about loving an Apple computer, we get profiled as maniacal worshippers who will not admit that there is anything to like about the competition -- seriously, there's this assumption that we're all rabid. Not so. I've used both systems, I like Macs better, but I don't feel the need to make a religion out of it.

The late G4 was one of a long succession of Macs in our home. I bought my first Apple computer when I was a graduate student -- an Apple IIe. I had used an Apple II and an Apple II+ owned by other family members, but this one was my own. It was a major investment for me on my student budget, but I loved it and made constant use of it. After I met Tim, our roommate's new Mac caught our attention. Eventually, we bought an SE/30 -- Goodnight, Irene, my first novel, was written on it. I loved my first laptop -- a Powerbook 100. We bought a Performa from a young computer salesman who is now a computer genius. Other Macs in the house have included a Mac Mini, a G5, a titanium Powerbook, and a Macbook. Although Tim talked me out of owning a Newton, we both have iPhones.

I loved the G4, though. For one thing, it was the only computer in the house that still ran OS9 (I refused to upgrade it from the last of OSX versions that would run Classic, and all the software that didn't make the transition. I do wish Aspyr would create a version of MahJong Parlor -- the real game, not that POS solitaire -- that would run on OSX.) There is software on it that runs peripheral devices, and those may need to be replaced now, too.

The guy at the Apple store (where I dragged the carcass in desperation) diagnosed the problem as the power supply, but said Apple doesn't stock repair parts for computers more than five years old. He also told me that hanging on to OS9 is "like living in a condemn house." This from the company that condemned it. For some of us, the historic has its value. But okay, I understand what he meant, and after all, I did move forward. We are using new Macs and Leopard in the house. I just liked the old Mac and all it offered before its power supply bit the dust.

And not just because of the OS. Many pages of novels and short stories were written on it. I communicated with many of my friends and fans using that computer. Any number of projects and organizations were aided by the work I did on it. When I think of the time spent sitting before it and its (at the time of purchase) futuristic two-ton monitor, I feel as if I'm saying goodbye to an old friend.

If I can't find a way to bring it back from the dead, it will be recycled. We'll have more room -- that monitor is a real space hog.

It is, ultimately, an object.

I tell myself that, and to just move on.

But the truth is, I loved it, and I already miss it.


Anonymous said...

It's no sin to love a Mac. As a non-fanatic Mac user (like you I've used Windows machines, and just prefer Macs) I understand. And I understand completely about the games part -- a not so minor annoyance for some of the games that have no updated versions.

I do have a possibility. You might check your area for Apple Certified Repair companies. The guys at the Apple store won't tell you about them, but they are out there. I've never gone to an Apple store at all, but prefer to use the guy who is Apple certified in this area (I'm near Washington DC).

Oh -- I found your blog through the FoL mailing list -- wanted to look at the picture of the sky you mentioned in your post to the list. Tough times for you folk in the area. Glad your house is not in jeopardy.

Jan Burke said...

Thanks, Pat. At the moment, I have a friend who is looking through a "Mac graveyard" for a power supply. If that doesn't work out, I will definitely try an APple Certified Repair company.

Always good to hear from someone on FoL!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Jan Burke said...

Thanks, Barbara!