I found the Typepad platform nearly eight years ago in late November 2004. My first post was entitled, My Welcome to Windows, and was done on November 23, 2004. After leaving Apple in July of 2004, I wanted to get outside the reality distortion zone and taste the world of Windows. Being the adventurous type, I decided to get Linux up and running at the same time.
Eight years later I'm still writing about technology and giving Apple advice like my recent post, Apple Finally Loses Its Mantra. The post seemed to be the natural result of a weekend where I figured out that things no longer just work on my Mac.
During my nearly twenty years at Apple, I loved techical challenges even after I became a manager in 1993. System engineers loved to work for me because I usually understood what they were saying, and I tried my best to give them all the tools they needed to do their jobs. My team was the only one that I ever heard of in Apple that had its own internal web site. I built the website and used it to keep all of us accountable and informed.
Learning another operating system and using Windows XP was not that difficult, but I did have some adventures. The challenges of Windows gave me some very good perspective to launch into a battle with a local technology writer in December 2004 when he provided some inaccurate information about the Mac. My article, The Computer Battle, was reasonable advice for computer shoppers at the time.
Over the years I have written over 1,400 posts on View from the Mountain and more than another 1,000 on other sites that I maintain. Several of the posts have offered advice on buying computers like that early post. Some have poked fun at computers and politics. I have often written about why I continue to use the Mac and about some of the challenges that I have conquered.
A few have even been a glimpse of my own thinking as I tried to decide which computer to buy. This post, The Apple Value Proposition, was written in February of 2006 when I was vice president of sales and marketing for Webmail.us before Rackspace bought them up.
I finally got most things working for my Mac in that career, but when I headed off to the coast of North Carolina and decided to sell real estate for a while, using a Mac became much more difficult though I remained very optimistic for much of the first year. The MacBook that I bought in the summer of 2006 was a constant companion that first year in real estate.
By the fall of 2007, I made the decision to buy another Windows laptop since I had given my Dell laptop to my daughter as she finished her business degree. By the spring of 2008, I was calling Vista a quagmire. Still I hung with it for over two years, and surprisingly saw a great deal of improvement.
As January 2010 rolled around, my wife needed a new computer. I was ready to replace her ancient 12" Aluminum Powerbook with a new Mac laptop. However, I was determined that she not get a processor that was already out of date when it shipped. Finally I got really frustrated with Apple delaying the introduction of systems with the new Intel processors. I took advantage of a really good deal at Staples. I got my wife an I5 HP laptop and myself an I7 HP laptop. The total cost of the two Windows 7 machines was under $1,500. They turned out to be great machines from the start and even a year later I was still pleased with them.
In the fall of 2010, I had a project that required a Mac so I ended up buying an I5 iMac. I was a little irritated with Apple from the start because I had to get the 27" screen to get the I5. The I5 iMac has turned out to be one of my least favorite Macs. It suffered from "Slow Snow Leopard" and has never been a quick booting machine. The iMac has lost the ability to boot from its internal drive and is now running from an external Firewire 800 drive. I haven't built up the energy to pull the LCD to replace the drive. Every time I think of it, I want to strangle the Apple engineer who agreed to no drive access door on the back of the iMac.
As my MacBook got older and older, I kept waiting for Apple to come out with a price competitive laptop. It didn't happen so as the white MacBook was dying a slow death in the spring of 2012, I bought a new Lenovo I7 laptop. My HP laptop is now a backup machine, but it is not nearly as nice as the Lenovo. The 15" Lenovo even with 8 gigs of RAM, the I7 processor, and a copy of Microsoft Office was less money than the least expensive Mac laptop.
As I write this, my 2004 Dual G5 which I bought in the winter of 2004 is still functional though the browser versions are mostly out of date and unsupported. The Dell that I bought in the fall of 2004 is still happily running Linux. I have moved over to Ubuntu and find it a delight compared to the early Linux versions. We no longer have a functioning Mac laptop in the family for the first time in many years.
Unfortunately every time I look at Mac laptops the math just doesn't work for me. I have watched as I have been priced out of both laptops and towers in the Apple world. I'll likely spend around $1,200 in total for a new laptop and a new tower this fall. I want something lighter than my Lenovo to carry on a trip when I need something more than my Kindle Fire. I also need to replace my aging Dual G5.
I wouldn't mind stretching a little and spending a few hundred dollars more if I could get a Mac besides the mini and a laptop besides the MacBook Air. The $999 version of the MacBook Air doesn't even have a SD slot. Unfortunately it would cost me at least $1,800 or 50% over my budget to get the lowest end Macs that fit my relatively modest needs. And one of the them would have to be a Mac Mini. Based on my recent experience, paying more when I am not necessarily getting more reliable hardware doesn't make a lot of sense even though I still love Macs. Unfortunately I also am not overly enthralled with Mac OS X Mountain Lion and iCloud is worth exactly what I pay for it.
Sadly, I have to admit the Mac has gone from being the computer for the rest of us to the computer for the well-heeled among us.
My most recent advice on buying computers and technology can be found at this post, Technology Still Needs Humans. It won't be long and it will be time to update that article. I wonder what will be my next technology adventure- Windows 8? I am hoping that it is not a disaster as some are suggesting.
I am hoping that my Mac experience will improve, but it is hard to get excited about Apple stuff when you keep battling problems. I have now reinstalled iPhoto three times on my iMac.