Do you remember being young? Ok, forget the fact that you still want to believe that 30-50 is young. I mean, REALLY young… the first 10 years of your life. Everything was based on age and it seemed that there were SO many things to do just 1 year away.
Here’s the list I can think of.
“When you’re ____, you look forward to ____.”
9 … 10 (double digits)
10 … 13 (being a teenager)
13 … 16 (learning to drive)
17 … 18 (being able to vote – and registering for the draft if you’re male, because it’s ok for you to die for your country, but don’t have the maturity to drink quite yet)
19 … 20 (no longer being a teenager – which by then is WAY ripe)
20 … 21 (being able to buy alcohol)
21 … 22 (actually being OLDER than 21)
22 … 25 (quarter century, can now be a US Representative)
25 … 29 (don’t quite want to be 30 yet)
29 … 30 (ok, now it’s time to be an “adult”, can now be a US Senator)
30 … 35 (halfway to the current estimated average human lifespan, can now be President)
35 … 40 (now it’s just a fight against time)
40 … 50 (the big “5-0”)
50 … 55 (something to be said about being as old as the speed limit – 70s/80s version)
55 … 60 (getting ready to retire?)
60 … 65 (1990s+ speedlimit issue again)
65 … 70 (if you’re still healthy, you’re pretty happy, I would hope)
70 … 80 (trying to outlast your children? Naah… just want to see another generation of your progeny)
80 … 100 (ok, at this point, you’re just trying to stay alive to meet Willard Scott)
So, in 3 days, guess which one is me. Yep… and I think I want to run for President!
Oh, and don’t think I haven’t thought about staying alive forever.
I’m lucky that I have the type of career that lends itself to consulting. I’m also lucky enough to have a full-time gig that allows me to consult on the side (with some constraints). And I’m lucky enough that I have some folks that seek out my assistance on a pretty regular basis.
I say that I’m lucky because without the added income, I wouldn’t be able to pay for many of my entertainment habits. Things like traveling, scuba diving, music/concerts, my guilty pleasure (PSP)… oh, and definitely not be able to afford a new computer.
Now, I’m not wasteful and I’m not always on the bleeding edge (as much as I would like to be). My existing laptop is a 5-year old Mac PowerBook G4, the so-called “TiBook.” It’s served me very well, aged well, traveled well… and has even survived hard drive replacement surgery about 8 months ago. But to be fair, that’s a long time for a laptop (any laptop, for that matter).
I tend to be pretty good at making use of my computers. My first one was given to me as a gift in 1990 upon HS graduation. An IBM PS/2 Model 50Z (yep, that’s it on the left). The thing was a real clunker about 6 months after it was purchased, it was outdated at the time of purchase as a result of IBM’s own change in computer architecture (similar to the difference between having a leaded and unleaded automobile). But I made it last for three years.
I convinced my father to buy me a Compaq 850. A mini-tower (early in mini-tower designs), the Compaq seemed to scream compared to the IBM. I had the machine for about 2 years – when my love affair with Apple began.
But I had never owned one. But I was working for the Valpo School District setting up hundreds of machines the summer before law school started and I simply fell head-over-heels with the intuitive user interface, the elegant design (keeping in mind that we’re still talk about machines made in 1994) and the overall ease of use.
That year, Apple released the PowerBook 520c. From an industrial design perspective, many feel that the 520 was incredible. I was in love as soon as I got my hands on a school-owned one to set-up for the Superintendent. I didn’t want to give it back. But at $2500, they weren’t cheap and I didn’t have that kind of cash.
A little begging and a written agreement later, a great friend agreed to loan me the money to buy it (thanks, Katherine A.). Man was I happy. A graphite body with a 9″ color TFT (I believe) screen, two battery bays (which could be “exchanged” for other things), and a host of ports (SCSI, AppleTalk, Ethernet – which was relatively new at the time, serial, modem)… wow, I felt like I was the king!
Throughout law school, I plugged away on my 520. My classmates thought it was a joke, but I was able to do everything they were (perhaps with a little more effort). Even Lexis and Westlaw had Mac versions. As law school came to an end, the new WallStreet edition PowerBooks were out – HUGE (back then) screens at 12.1″ and 14″, sleek black designs with a large white apple etched in the lid… lust set in again, 3.5 (almost 4) years after I brought the 520 into my home.
Begging and pleading weren’t necessary this time. I was about to start a job in 1998 which was going to require me to have a more powerful machine. The entire office was Mac-based, so it was easy to justify. I managed to use the machine through two full operating system upgrades (starting with System 8 then on to 9). I almost replaced it a few times along the way when Apple would release minor updates to the design.
First they made it thinner and more lightweight. They also “bronzed” the keyboard, which looked really cool. They added more memory, better processors, larger harddrives. Everything told me to buy one, but as had happened so many times in the past, I simply didn’t have the cash.
In response, I added memory to my WallStreet. I bought a new battery or two (as it, like the 520, had two battery bays located under the keyboard – one of which would also accommodate an optical drive). I had started with the CD-ROM drive addon… and eventually got the DVD drive (and PCMCIA video processing card) instead. I maxed it out so to speak, but was devastated to learn that I wouldn’t be able to install OSX on it when released by Apple… it just didn’t have the power to run it well.
In late 2001, just as I felt I couldn’t stand it any longer (since Apple had released the new TiBook design about a year earlier), I decided to take out an AppleLoan to buy myself one. The WallStreet was fading fast. Software was coming out for OSX instead of OS9 and I started feeling left behind far too much.
I selected a 500MHz TiBook with 512M of RAM and a 30GB harddrive. After a few hiccups with Apple, I eventually wound up with a 667MHz machine – and after spending a few more bucks, upped the RAM to a full Gig. Holy cow did this thing ROCK! It was beautiful, slippery almost. The apple on the lid even lit up (and was correctly oriented this time, as opposed to the logo on the WallStreet that was upside down when the lid was open and viewed from the back).
I vividly remember having to go to the UPS dropoff location to pick it up (as they wouldn’t leave it at my house). I was so pissed – I could’ve had it a day earlier… but now I was going to get it on my way to an appointment. I grabbed it at the UPS location, immediately drove to BestBuy to get the additional RAM – and did a RAM swap in the front seat of my car! [Note: DO NOT DO THIS yourself. It was stupid of me to do – you can short out the memory via static buildup… I was just impatient and I knew better, but couldn’t control myself. Don’t be me.]
God I love that computer. But like it’s predecessors, it’s getting a bit long in the tooth and starting to show its age. The harddrive has just been the latest in a long list of things to be swapped, patched or replaced. It’s needed new hinges, and on more than one occasion, I use Tina’s clear nail polish to prevent more paint from wearing off from where my wrists rub the plastic repeatedly in front of the keyboard.
And oh, the lust. It began about a year ago. 17″ screens on laptops! Can you believe it? Virtually double what I first had. Glossy displays that look almost fluid, combined with 2.4GHz Core2Duo processors (more than 8x faster than the TiBook).
I want one. I’ve wanted one for so long that Tina’s virtually immune to my sighs. But she let on that if I had money that wasn’t otherwise allocated to paying our budgeted bills (ie: from book sales, speaking or consulting engagements), I could save up and get a new computer. We even created a separate bank account to manage the “computer fund.”
As you might imagine, every spare penny has been going into that account. As of a month ago, I was ready to buy. But now I can’t.
See, Apple has a history of how they release machines. And in late May, early June, they released a “speed bump” to the current design (now called the MacBook Pro). Which indicates an interim patch until new designs are most likely expected to come out in January. If I were to buy a computer today and see a new design, or even faster ANYTHING in January, I’d cry – but only have myself to blame.
So I’m waiting. As patiently as I can.
Until then, if you see me with my TiBook (whose fan whines loudly when the processor is being overtaxed by all that I do on it), give it a small loving pat. It knows that the end is near, and I think it’s crying. A little bit of me is, too. As it has for each of the hard-working Apples that have supported me.
In this special crossover edition of Randomnocity with the Licensinghandbook Blog, take 10 minutes out of your busy day to watch the following “Fair(y) Use Tale” by Eric Faden. If you’ve ever wondered about copyright law and the fair use exception, there aren’t many better ways to learn:
I monitor/read about 100 blogs. Many are either technology or law-related – and these days, entire blogs consist of posting links to other posts on other interesting blogs. Of course, RSS has made this almost too easy – firing up one application that systematically checks them all for new posts. And, as one would expect, there are several posts that I see on a regular basis that “make” the rounds of a particular type of blog (for example, the Apple iPhone announcements are always seen on a dozen or more blogs, after each individual whisper from Cupertino).
I figured that most, if not all, would include some form of April Fool’s joke. Us geeks tend to like creative humor. A silly comment, a made up something-or-other.
What I didn’t guess is that several of them would report Google’s AF joke as a post on their own site. At least 6 have now commented on TiSP. Why?
Another 2 have commented on Crunchgear. Again, why? Do you think that we only read your blog to the exclusion of all of the others? Were RSS not available, I suppose that might happen. But really.
To Google and Crunchgear, good show. To the others – well, um, ah….
I’ve had some really funky dreams recently. I don’t normally remember them in detail more than 30 minutes or so after I wake up… but I do remember that they were weird.
Hanging out with Tina the other day, I mentioned these dreams, and that I had a fairly odd dream-restriction. I can only dream about things that I’ve actually done in real life – with one exception (sometimes I dream that I can fly).
So, before I went skydiving, I never dreamed about skydiving… but once I finally tossed myself out of a perfectly good airplane, I was able (and did once) to have a dream where I skydove(?). Or, when I was a kid, I realized that I never would have dreams about things like being able to drive… or be older… I was restricted to my actual experience in life.
Generally speaking, I consider myself fairly creative, so I don’t think it’s a lack of an ability to imagine something I’ve never done. And, as I said, I’ve dreamed about flying (though it’s more like an ability to swim in the air, using my hands to “push” the atmosphere around me).
Anyone else similarly limited?
Wayyyyy too cool.