Life on the Trailing Edge

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Date: Monday, April 1st, 2002, 12:00
Category: Archive


When I first set up shop in 1989 with a Macintosh computer, I needed the most powerful and expensive Mac I could get, certainly something more capable than the original 128k Macintosh I had been using since 1984. I took delivery of a Mac II and nearly $1000 worth of memory (hey, there was an embargo on against memory being “dumped” by the Japanese – which threatened US manufacturers!), followed a year or so later by the insanely expensive MacIIfx. As an Architect I needed as much power as I could afford to run complex Computer Aided Design software. CAD on a personal computer was cutting edge. That eventually changed as more demanding applications made their way to desktop computers and my computing needs became more or less trivial.

When the transition to PowerPC came, I opted for a 7100/66 (the new 80MHz model was $500 more!) at work and a discontinued Duo 2300 for home. I loved the way it powered out of the dock whenever I needed to be mobile. Eventually, I replaced my work machine with a discontinued 8600/200 and took advantage of Steve Jobs house cleaning when he returned to Apple by purchasing a PowerBook 2400/180 and a 20th Anniversary Mac when he cleared out the warehouse of unsold stock at fire-sale prices. These have been my mainstays for about four years. All were upgraded to G3 processors, Firewire and USB and life was good until I began to factor in my need to eventually migrate over to OS X.

I finally replaced my aging triad of Macs with something less out of date and a little simpler. No longer would I have a desktop at home, one at work and a separate laptop. I bought a couple of refurbs from Apple for the new year and here I am. TiBook G4 400Mhz for $1,299 and PowerMac G4 Quicksilver 733 for $1,249. Life on the trailing edge of technology is very reasonably priced. I loaded OS-X on both machines, but found that I still had to boot into OS9.2 to get my work done. Exciting as X is, I would be working in Classic most of the time just waiting for drivers as I prophesied over a year ago at go2mac. OS9 benefits from years of refinement, and I modified it to the point that I could do everything I wanted with breathtaking efficiency. 9 was very stable and rarely crashed until I got my new machines. I was thinking about migrating in the summer, but these new machines have plunged me headlong into X. More to follow.

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