Why We Need Son of Pismo

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

There has been a lot of talk about the Son of Pismo, and the idea of such a machine really excites me.

I’m a run-of-the-mill Mac-savvy kid who’s going away to college next year, and I don’t have US$2700 to justify spending on the lowest model of one of new PowerBook G4’s – they look like museum pieces to me. I look at them and say, “Wow, how beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, and with all that power!” but I could never justify owning one.


There has been a lot of talk about the Son of Pismo, and the idea of such a machine really excites me.

I’m a run-of-the-mill Mac-savvy kid who’s going away to college next year, and I don’t have US$2700 to justify spending on the lowest model of one of new PowerBook G4’s – they look like museum pieces to me. I look at them and say, “Wow, how beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, and with all that power!” but I could never justify owning one.

The G4 has its flaws, it looks flimsy, I’m afraid I’m going to break it if I push too hard on the keyboard or knock it around a little. It also has one fixed drive, which is not capable of writing to any media. Thanks, but I’m not lugging a 3-pound CD-RW even if they give it to me free. Or for that matter, a ZIP drive, which is what I use for nearly all my removable needs. Add to that again that the lowest model is still US$2700, and it’s still about the same speed overall as the 500 MHz Pismo.

I’ve been using an old semi-upgraded Wallstreet II/233 for about two years now, and it has certainly been worth every penny I’ve put into it. I’ve always dreamed of getting a newer model, and now that I’m leaving for college I finally have both the money and the justification to do so. All this in time for Apple to bore out the middle section of their product line leaving nothing in the US$1800-$2600 price range which is exactly where I would be putting my money. That US$800 block is only the single most common price of computers, period. That leaves a little to be desired, I think.

The iBook is nice, I’ll give you that, but again, the flaws are easy to see. First off, where would you put a docking station for that thing? What would be the point of that, anyway? Second, there is no room for expansion. Sure, you can add the AirPort card, but that’s it. And the screen, now that pisses me off. 12-inches. I think we have an old PowerBook 1400 laying around somewhere ? didn’t that have a 12-inch screen? What the heck was Apple thinking?! And no external monitor-out, just mirroring — I might have considered it if I could “dock” it to an external monitor when I am in my dorm at a higher resolution, in fact that would have been just perfect. A powerful little sub-notebook that when docked serves as a desktop and when you need to go, it is small and easy to move around. See what I’m getting at here?

The old models, especially Pismo and Lombard but Wallstreet as well are sleek, simple, and belie their weight and size. Yes, I know the Wallstreet is something like 1.8 inches thick but it doesn’t look or feel anything like the clunky square PC laptop my Dad uses. Those feel like you’re actually carrying a brick around. They fit well in my lap, are really well designed in ergonomic terms, and are plain old fun.

Son of Pismo would give us everything us normal (read crazy) people want. A nice size screen, 14-inches, good for portable use and not small enough to cause eye strain. Removable drive bays: Apple perfected this long ago, PCs have always had trouble. With a G3, when you need the zip drive, instead of the CD, you pop it in. Easy, done. No set-up, no shut-down, no lag time. I’d still be happy with a fixed combo Drive, even if. PC Card expansion. Good size hard drives, definitely, the works. Price range : US$1800-2500, right where I want to be.

So you see, I can’t be that crazy. I’m just a Mac user who wants to be portable next year, and I’m not willing to trade that portability for power. I want to be … in the middle. I want expansion, options. I don’t want to be stuck with something I can’t upgrade in two years when it’s not so fast anymore — therefore wasting all the money I’ve spent. This is the justification for this model. Without it, I may be forced to defect to the PC, and boy, I don’t want to do that.

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