I have been hanging around I.T. and computers of one sort or another for many years, I am proud to be geek! To give you a feel for just how bad the affliction is, here is a bit of a taste.
I have owned some classics:-
Now don’t laugh, the things you can do with 16k of memory on a TRS-80 are incredible! It’s not a unique story as I have met a lot of people with the same kind of experience; learning BASIC on this style of computer, the day you upgraded from 16k to 32k (cost my parents a small fortune as I recall), drooling over magazine articles with pictures of colour monitors and using cassette tape as your primary storage medium were all part of the thrill of early 80’s home computing.
Since then I have had a go at more computers than I can even remember, and seen the Internet grow from Fidonet email and gopher system to the network that it is today, Internet to a lot of people now is Facebook, YouTube and Gmail, (thankfully), gone are the days when you had to wrestle with your 2400 baud modem for a weekend to connect long enough to send a single message.
Over the years I have been through a number of phases, there was the “Windows Bit”; it lasted a while, and went from desktop through to notebook computers. (Side note here: just for old time sack have a listen to this, I have enjoyed a lot of music that Brian Eno has been involved in creating, but he has a lot to answer for that little piece of work 🙂 )
Then there was the “Linux Era” – this lasted for some years. I was very much into it, desktops, notebooks, server at home, servers at work – I even had my whole office running LTSP (a Linux based terminal server environment) for 3 or 4 years. Computing with linux meant spending entire weekends (if you were lucky) or even weeks (not so lucky) compiling code for that video card that you bought that doesn’t have Linux support but if you struggle hard enough you may just get it to work. People I talk to tell me its a lot better these days; I will have to take their word for it, but at the time it was a chore but I and many others were up for the challenge.
Around the time Windows XP was out, I gave it another go, you get to the point where you want to use your computer as a tool and not as a great swallower of time and I was there. I was frustrated though that all had not changed, I was still spending more time than I should have tinkering with it – partly my fault as I was always looking at some new application for my computers, I remember trying to get a TV tuner card to work and I think that was around the time I snapped.
It was over the summer Christmas holidays, I had some time on my hands and on a bit of a whim I ordered a Mac Powerbook G4. My first concern was ‘can I use this thing for work?’; so I threw all the usual things at it; email, word processing, some programming tools and over the space of a few days I had assembled everything I needed to decommission my last Windows notebook.
Then I turned to play things, recording music, downloading video from a firewire video camera, digital images off a camera – I was astounded; it all just worked! – no drivers, no compiling drivers, no scouting around the net for a hack to make it work – it just did. I plugged in cameras, disks, memory sticks – you name it I plugged it in and it worked.
In the following weeks, the old box that served as a music server, plugged into the HiFi was gone, replaced with an iMac, the office was not safe, we needed to overhaul the computers there as the business at the time was growing very fast – Mac Minis – thankyou!
Within the space of 12 months I had contracted a very bad case of Mac Advocacy. If only I had a hundred dollars for each person, be it friend or family that I’ve convinced to buy a Mac, well I wouldn’t be rich – just a few hundred dollars really. The point is Macs are infectious, people see you using one, how very nice it is and they naturally just want one. If you’re a Mac fan, head over to AppleLife.tv where the “Advocacy” is taken to a whole new level.
More recently I’m enjoying the minimalist approach to computing. Gone is the management of data centre racks full of Linux servers, the 1AM text alerts that go along with that. Hosting is done in the cloud where the hardware gets someone else out of bed – I couldn’t be happier!
All the computing power you need can be carried around in one small bag, knowing you’re data is accessible where you can get online.