In the latest Curmudgeon’s Corner Sam talks about:
* Thanksgiving / iMac / Movies and Books
* Star Wars / Immigration Reaction
* Iran Talks
* Bill Cosby
* Alex Interlude
Length this week – 1:39:53
I told myself recently that if I found myself starting to send out a series of tweets expressing my thoughts on some subject, I should just do a blog post instead, cause that is what it is for after all. And I recently compared my blog from today to my blog from several years ago, and I noticed that I used to actually make real blog posts all the time, and it is very rare today, and I miss that old blog. And I have time today. So here goes.
Yosemite: I’m going to be installing this later today probably. I sometimes wait a little while on updates, but I’m home, I have time, why not. I am a bit sad that my iMac (a Late 2009 27-inch) is too old for Continuity, which is one of the big new things. That feature DOES seem nice. But I’ll see how it goes without that.
New iPads: Looks nice. And I do want touch-ID. But I have a just under two year old iPad at the moment (uh, modulo replacements for breaking the screen), and I have yet to hit something that I want to do with it that it can’t do. It is working fine for me. I’m not yet at the point where I feel really anxious to upgrade.
New iMacs: My 2009 iMac definitely shows the fact that it is almost five years old. In the past I have operated on a four year replacement cycle. My iMac was “due” in 2013. It wasn’t in the cards for budget reasons. (I got a car at the end of 2012 instead.) I was really anxious and performance was bad. Since then the upgrade to Mavericks, plus moving a bunch of stuff off the primary drive to external drives has given the old thing a new lease on life. It is still quirky and sometimes frustratingly slow. There are some games Alex would like to play (I’m looking at you Trainz Simulator 2!) that just perform really badly on this old hardware. But, but, it basically does the things I actually use it for regularly. I do my podcast, I work with my photos, I work on my website stuff, I watch some streaming video, I do email, I look at twitter. Those things comprise 95%+ of what I actually use my desktop for these days. And those things still work. (Much of my “just reading stuff on the web” use has moved to the iPad.) Given this, as much as it would be awesome to upgrade, it will be hard to justify.
OK, and even though it was last month, not today, the new iPhones: Same here basically. The new iPhones are cool. We’ve updated every other generation for years. I still don’t have touch ID and I want it. But again, my current phone is basically working, and aside from being jealous on the Touch ID, there isn’t much on the new ones that makes me feel like I *must* upgrade.
There is clearly a theme here. Last time I updated my iMac and last time I updated my iPhone, similar lengths of time had passed, but I was distinctly feeling limited and frustrated by the old devices. I felt I *needed* to upgrade. At this point I don’t feel that yet. It would be *nice* to upgrade, of course. But I don’t have that feeling where I feel like I will be suffering if I don’t.
It seems like, at least for me, things are moving from an “upgrade every X years because by then your old equipment will be barely hanging on and you need to” to more like an “upgrade when it breaks” mode, with maybe a caveat in there for “or when you have some extra money and want to treat yourself”.
Is this just me and my own family’s situation and use case? Or is this widespread? Is the hardware getting to the point where it is good enough that for most people these things can last much longer than they used to? Will the phone replacement cycle start moving from two years to three? Or even more? A computer more than four years old used to feel crippled and unable to keep up with what was wanted of it. Is that less so now? Will it be reasonable to keep these old things running 5 or 6 years or more?
Of course, some of this depends on how you push your computers and what you do with them. If you were just doing simple word processing, you could still conceivably use a 1970’s or 1980’s era computer to do it. If you were satisfied to keep doing the things the way they were done back then that is. If you only ever do with a device exactly the things you did with it on the day you bought it, then you can use it that way as long as it physically doesn’t stop working. It is the new things that tax the old equipment.
Maybe I’m just not seeing the “killer app” yet that forces the upgrade from any of the older equipment. Or maybe I am seeing it, and I’m just an old curmudgeon that just doesn’t think any of it is as compelling as other folks do.
When I install Yosemite in a bit, and it turns out I’m constantly wanting the features it can’t run because my computer is too old, maybe I’ll start thinking about that. When there is a major OS release that the old device can’t support, maybe that is when the issue gets forced. Yosemite supports back to the Mid-2007 iMacs. iOS 8 supports back to the iPhone 4s and the iPad 2.
I admit, if a major new software release came out, and I just couldn’t upgrade at all, I think I’d feel like the time had come. I have some old devices lying around that aren’t up to date on the software, but none of them are primary use devices.
Anyway, budgets are tight these days. If I had tons of extra, maybe I’d upgrade regardless. But at the moment, the question is, “do I *need* to”. And as of today, for hardware anyway, the answer appears to be “No”.
I took a personal day from work for this. I have a few things I have to make sure happen on Cronus (the old computer) and I have to move some things around physically in my office before I shut everything down to start doing the big transfer of stuff from old to new. But Ouranos is here. Woo!
I fully maxed out the configurable options of course.
I’ve been hankering to replace Cronus for awhile. I normally would have done so last year, but we deferred it since, you know, baby. Ever since the end of January I’ve had an itchy trigger finger and have been ready to do it, but I was waiting for the all clear on the yellow screen issue on the 27″ iMacs. A week ago came what will probably be as close as I’ll get to that all clear. I delayed another week or so for no good reason, but a few hours ago I ordered what will be Ouranos. It’ll probably be here in about a week.
Cronus really hasn’t been able to keep up with everything I want to do with it in almost a year. I have felt cramped and constrained and have not done a lot of things I wanted to just because I dreaded the pain of dealing with Cronus straining to do what I wanted and sitting there twiddling my thumbs as the machine thrashed constantly with even my normal set of open applications fully consuming the available physical memory (almost all the time) and the CPU (probably three quarters of the time). This will be like finally being able to breathe again. Memory, CPU and Disk Space to spare… I hope. :-)
I had the usual dilemma in terms of what to buy. Well, it was of course going to be a Mac, that wasn’t a question. And I know in general desktops are going the way of the dodo and all, but I have access to a laptop already via work for those times where a laptop is just easier, and it is really nice to have the big screen and large hard drive and a bit more cpu and memory etc that a desktop brings. If I didn’t have access to a laptop (or in the future, perhaps, cough, an iPad) that was usable for light email and web surfing and the like, that equation would probably change entirely and I’d probably want a laptop as my primary home machine. But as it is, for my personal machine a desktop makes sense.
I perhaps could have gone the MacPro route. Unlike the iMac, it would not have been in the budget to go for a fully “maxed out” MacPro configuration. (Try it on the Apple Store… maxing out a Mac Pro… including dual 30″ Apple Cinema Displays… comes out at over $17,000 and is totally certifiably insane for home use.) So I would have needed to figure out exactly what set of options I wanted for an initial configuration, knowing I could upgrade things in the future of course… dunno. It might have been an option, but those machines just never really appealed to me as much. I like the idea of getting a high end iMac, maxing it on the various memory and hard drive options, then feeling pretty confident I’ll be OK with this machine… without dealing with upgrades of various components and the like… until I’m ready to replace it again in three or four years. So… iMac it was. (And the new iMacs, unlike older iMacs, can still be used as monitors for another computer once the computer itself is not in use… which is a nice plus that extends the useful life of the purchase.)
Anyway, the Apple Store Order Status thingy says to expect it between March 9th and March 15th. The new desk it will go on is already in place. I am more than ready.
Oh yeah, I still haven’t ordered a computer yet. I’m watching the saga of the yellowed iMac screens over at Gizmodo. I think I’ll probably be waiting until they give the all clear to push the big red button. But my trigger finger is itchy!
Yeah, of course I am going to want an iPad. It is shiny. It is new. It is cool. Does it REALLY do much more than an iPhone, or be enough of a laptop replacement to use instead of one of those? Dunno. It will be good to start hearing reports from folks once they actually have these in their hands in a couple of months. Does that middle ground actually add value? Are there a lot of situations where the iPhone isn’t enough, but you really don’t need an actual MacBook or whatnot? I suspect the answer is yes, and that for a lot of use cases, this will fit nicely in that space.
Like the iPhone, I may end up being waiting for the next generation rather than going for the first one, but this does look pretty darn nice. Brandy is pretty underwhelmed, on the “it is just a big iPhone” side of the fence. I see a lot of potential though for this though. It may not live up to all of that potential on day one, but I can definitely see a case for a device like this doing 95% (or more) of what a really large group of users need a computer for.
Dunno though, I am 100% still in the Jobs Reality Distortion Field. And I know that often wears off. I will most certainly be looking for what the reviews start looking like once real people have these in the wild and once they have been using it for a few weeks. And maybe after I’ve been able to actually play with one in an Apple Store.
But, first impressions… this looks like a really nice device, and geek lust is in play.
Oh, but this is also a green light moment for me. We delayed my regularly scheduled computer replacement from 2009 to 2010 due to the whole having a baby instead thing. As of a couple weeks ago I could have gone ahead and ordered a replacement, but I held off. Nobody expected anything today that would affect Apple’s desktop line, but I know how mad I would have been if I’d ordered something and then a week later Apple released a new version… so I waited. It was just a couple of weeks. But with this major event done, it is clear that nothing was announced that would fundamentally change my calculus for what I need to buy to replace my old computer. The iPad would not be a desktop replacement for me. I have access to a work laptop, so a personal laptop would not gain me much, and I am not feeling the Mac Pro vibe, so it will be an iMac for me. And the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide has iMacs at mid-cycle. (It has been 99 days since the last iMac update, and they have averaged about 221 days between updates.)
If I hadn’t already put off the computer replacement I’d love to wait for the NEXT update anyway, which will probably be in another three or four months, but using my old iMac is now painful and frustrating… I am constantly fighting it and swearing as it can’t keep up with what I want it to do… so there will probably be an order for a nice shiny top of the line iMac happening in my very near future… like later today near future most likely.
In the meantime though, I’ve got to go crush through some stuff I have to have done for work by tomorrow, and some more stuff that I need to have done for Friday… this morning I had to watch the baby while Brandy had a fun root canal anyway. Now that is over, and so is the Apple event, and snacks at a coffee shop served as lunch… so time to get to work.