In January 2005, I took the plunge and freed myself forever from the tyranny of needing to be physically connected to the internet via a cable. Moving from dial-up to broadband a few years before had been a pretty big step, but wireless internet meant that I was no longer going to need to shut myself away in a room at the top of the house to access the internet. Oh no. Now I was going to be able to shut myself up in any room of the house and use the computer. Obviously, I was still going to be utterly oblivious to the demands and obligations of polite conversation, but at least I could now do it in the same room as C.
A little over four years and several thousand blog posts later, things started to go wrong. My PowerBook was still working, mostly, but it had now become so hard to actually connect the battery to the mains in such a way that it would actually charge, that I would frequently find myself crouched in front of the coffee table in the living room, trying to use the computer without upsetting the delicately balanced cable, and all too frequently suffering from the battery completely discharging and the system shutting down. I hoped that this was something to do with either the battery or the cable themselves, but after trying out replacements, it was clear that something more serious was wrong. It was the logic board, and as the Apple Care warranty only lasts for three years (naturally), a repair was going to cost me more than £700.
New computer then.
The PowerBook was top of the range when we bought it, with a G4 chip, 1GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive. Pretty soon after we'd bought it, Apple moved over to Intel chips and the launched the MacBook range, but my old, obsolete PowerBook never really caused me any problems and was still working pretty well as a workhorse internet browsing machine when it started to die. The 80Gb hard drive soon proved too small to cope with my ever growing iTunes library, but it wasn't really too much drama to move all of that onto a remote drive and run it from there. In fact, the couple of weeks I've just spent using my old desktop PC have served to remind me quite how useful my laptop still was.
The initial transfer from PC to Mac had been surprisingly painless, but four years later, I was a bit worried about moving things like the control of my wireless networks and stuff. The local Apple reseller offered to do the data transfer for me, for the princely sum of £30, but then told me that if I had a firewire cable, the new mac would pretty much take me through the whole thing when I first turned it on and it really wasn't any big deal. Thankfully, he was right.... it only took about 30 minutes to move across every single piece of data from old PowerBook to new MacBook Pro. It even took the picture I used on my desktop. Wireless controls were a cinch, and in the end I spent my time waiting for the 46gb of music on my remote drive to transfer back onto my new 320gb hard drive and hoping that the sync of my iPods and iPhone would prove troublefree. They were. So now everything is much the same as it was before, except my laptop has oodles more disk space, 4 times as much RAM and plenty more processing power. And it's all new and shiny too.
Apple laptops certainly aren't cheap, but I have to say that once again the ease of setup and data transfer has been priceless and the whole thing - potentially a source of great stress - was really, really straightforward.
And what have I done with all this new processing power? Why, I spent almost all of Sunday playing Football Manager 2009, of course.
And C is away all this week too, so there may be a few late nights ahead as I rekindle my dormant addiction now I have a fast enough computer to play the damn game again.
Passes the time, eh?
2 hours ago