Monday, December 10, 2012

I've been using this old iMac for more than 10 years now, and I won't upgrade until the industry gets their s**t together

Using This iMac for 10 Years Now, Won't Upgrade Till Industry Gets Their S**t Together

In computer years, this computer is insanely old, but I still have a lot of affection for it. This 2002 OS 10.2 iMac is the computer on which I made the transition from film to digital photography (the photo onscreen and the photo of the computer were both taken what seems a lifetime ago with my 2mp Dimage X). It's the computer on which I taught myself Photoshop (thanks, Google, and all the thousands of users who posted helpful tips and tutorials online, you're what the Web is all about).

As an Internet machine, it's severely crippled. Yes, I can connect, search, do Gmail and upload photos to Flickr -- but I can't upgrade the OS, can't upgrade the Firefox browser, and it long since stopped running Flash thanks to Adobe's upgrades. Who cares?  I use a $250 Samsung Chromebook for the Internet and most of my writing. It resembles a Macbook Air in style and maybe 80% of the functionality at one-quarter the cost. Other devices live in our household -- my iPhone, T's iPad and her much newer big screen iMac. But this is what I use to process photos.

It runs Photoshop 7 -- also old, but it does the job. Sure, the setup is a bit pokey -- but, hey, so am I. Besides, I just don't regularly do the sort of volume for which a more efficient workflow would be a problem. I like to take my time and meditate on photos as I process them anyhow.

For the last couple of years, it's been a personal challenge to see if I could baby the iMac along until it hit the 10-year mark, after which I figured I would upgrade. But I passed that mark last month, and guess what? After spending a lot of time researching alternatives, I realized there's no need to upgrade just yet. The computer is running fine, everything is totally backed up and if it died I could replace it in a day.

I realized that this is a terrible time to buy a computer, whether desktop or full-function laptop. It's just going to be obsolete in no time. How we use computers is changing; the desktop and mobile worlds are clearly converging. And I want the best of both worlds in one machine. Why upgrade until I can get what I want?

I love T's iPad, but I don't want two other machines besides my iPhone -- I want one, basically a tablet with a detachable keyboard, wireless big screen monitor, capability to run desktop software like Photoshop as well as tablet apps, along with the ability to play well with a printer. Is that too much to ask? I don't think so. I understand Windows 8 has taken major steps in this direction, but I haven't been a Microsoft fanboy for a long time and don't propose to start now.

What it boils down to is that I'm not going to buy anything major until I can get what I really want.

Until Apple -- or maybe Google -- comes up with something along these lines, I'm just going to hunker down with my "lampshade" iMac and ignore their new product offerings (other than the Chromebook). I don't need a new tablet, I don't need a new laptop, I don't need a new desktop computer. I especially don't need new dumbed-down devices to help me consume even more media. I'm looking for a single, low-maintenance machine that runs the best apps from both the mobile and the desktop worlds. And I'm prepared to wait. Are you listening, Apple?

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