Geoffrey Long
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Now, how come I didn't think of that before?

So today Apple unveiled the new PowerBooks, and they're really pretty cool. The new top-of-the-line 15" model has the keyboard backlighting, 64MB of video RAM (which is the same amount of video RAM on the G5s), a SuperDrive, and is twice as fast as Gandalf, my PowerBook G4/667.

So I'm sitting here, thinking, yeah, that'd be nice, because then I'd have a laptop I wouldn't be bloody well ashamed to take to client meetings since all the metal is rubbing off the bloody keyboard, but what I really wanted was a machine I could leave on all the time as a sort of personal alarm clock and time manager.

Then it hit me. I'm an idiot. I'm typing on it.

See, I'm used to wearing my PowerBooks out. When I upgraded from Galileo (my PowerBook 1400) to Kerouac (my PowerBook G3), it was because Galileo was on its last legs. And I only upgraded to Gandalf here when Kerouac died. And I mean died. The thing was taking - no joke - sometimes an hour to start up, the monitor was flickering and dying... Basically, the box was hosed. When I loaded everything up onto Gandalf, I basically put poor Kerouac into a box in my closet. I'm beginning to think of my closet as a mass burial ground for old technology.

If I buy a new laptop, which would be almost $2500 cheaper than the G5 I was looking to buy (once you include all the monitors and extra stuff), this would be the first time I would really have two working laptops on my desk. I could use Gandalf as my always-on home box.

Hot cats. Hmmmm.

Disadvantages! Yes, the new laptop would be exponentially slower than the desktop (1.25 GHz G4 versus a dual 2GHz G5). Yes, the desktop would have way more hard drive space (80GB versus 250GB). Yes, yes, yes. But I'm a freelance creative consultant. I'm a traveller. I'm primarily a web designer, not a videographer (yet). Is this a better buy for me? Maybe. And would the $2200 price difference (approx. $3125 for just the laptop vs. $3825 for the G5 and $1500 in monitors) be better spent on, say, a gym membership and a bunch of Amtrak tickets? Probably.

There's yet another downside to this equation, though. Is the new PowerBook too little, too late? It's obvious that it will suffice. But when you buy a new computer, it's an investment. The new 15" PowerBook unveiled today is the very machine they should have unveiled, what? Eight months ago? A year? I don't want the computer I need now, I want the computer I'm going to need a year from now. Of course, maybe a year from now I can just buy a 3GHz G5 desktop. Hmmm.

One way or the other, I think I'm going to wait until these babies ship with Panther pre-installed. It seems ludicrous to shell out another $125 in something like a month and a half.

I dunno. Maybe I should just wait, be true to form, and keep working on Gandalf until it curls up its toes and dies. What do you guys think?


Where're you headed with all those Amtrak tickets?

Disneyworld. :)

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