Today is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Apple Mac, so Happy Birthday Mac.
My first Mac was in 2002, and it was a Titanium G4 PowerBook. I was Director of the Western Colleges Consortium in Avon, and one of the partner colleges was not happy about the support they were getting in using the shared VLE and online learning content on their Macs they used. They were using G4 PowerMacs, so in order to support them better I decided to order the “cheapest” G4 Mac I could and that was the Titanium G4 PowerBook.
I remember thinking that if I was going to really understand the needs of the users of these strange devices I had better use it as my main device for a few weeks.
Within a week, it had become my main computer and I soon upgraded it with an Airport 802.11b wireless card so it was more useful. I remember how much I liked the fact that you shut the lid, and when you opened it, it came back on almost immediately.
It was a dual boot machine running OS 9 and OS X 10.1 Puma. It had a 500MHz G4 chip, a 10GB hard disk drive, 128MB of RAM and a DVD Drive.
It was a very different experience to the Windows 2000 PCs I was use to, and the user interface was in many ways a combination of “easy” and “challenging”. It took me a few months to work out how to drag and drop.
It lasted a few years and was eventually replaced with an Aluminium G4 Powerbook a few years later.
Since then I have had and used many Macs, including the G5 PowerMac which was an amazing computer, very powerful, various incarnations of the iMac, most recently a 27” model. With the move to Intel, I used a range of MacBooks, I really liked the MacBook Pro Retina and I am currently typing this article on an 11” MacBook Air.
On my old G4 PowerBook, changing the battery was a piece of cake. Shut the lid, wait until the light glowed, then remove the flat battery and replace it with a fully charged battery, lift the lid and back to work…
With the MacBook Pro you can’t do this… in theory it is suppose to suspend the computer and save the current state if you remove and replace the battery in the same way as I use to with the G4 Powerbook. However from my experience it is very much a 50/50 chance that what will actually happen is that replacing the battery will result in needing to boot the MacBook Pro. Of course this means that any unsaved work is not saved.
The problem is that (as far as I am aware) there is not a way to set the state of suspension manually, you have to let the computer do it.
As a result I do like the hibernation mode that you find on Windows laptops, very easy to replace the battery then, though it can take an age to resume from hibernation.
I am feeling that my G4 PowerBook is somewhat on the slow side.
Now it could be that I have been using way too many Intel Macs recently and as a result, the G4 is not slow, just slow compared to them!
Or it could be the wealth of Web 2.0 services out there and Ajax is playing havoc with my browsers and memory. If I surf simple sites such as the BBC News, then no real problems; problems arise if I use Jaiku, Twitter or WordPress (ie this blog).
The thing is it doesn’t really matter which browser I use either, whether it be Flock or Firefox or Safari.
I think I am getting spoiled, now the question is, if I upgrade the PowerBook to Leopard 10.5, will that make any difference, make it worse or make it better.
Though it is nice to have fast computers, sometimes now and again you need to use an older model.
However I am finding more and more that my old G4 PowerBook just can’t cope with the new modern internet.
I already know that it isn’ capable of playing HD video like the Apple trailers, but I am also having issues with Flash video as in the BBC iPlayer and video clips on Amazon.
Now I and you both know that video is not the only reason to use the web (though I guess there are a few YouTube addicts out there who may think differently) I do find it frustrating when I am browsing the web and there is a video clip and I can’t watch it as my computer is too old.