The cash stampede

I didn’t even know it had a name. I’d never seen it before my Beth’s PowerBook started having problems last month.

Apparently there is a screen of death on a Mac, the dread blue-screen equivalent: the GSOD, or grayed-out screen of death. I can’t blame you if you’ve never heard of it. It’s rarely seen in the wild, confined mostly to secret labs, under highly controlled circumstances, with experts trained in the clandestine arts of infiltration and subversion.

But sometimes it does find it’s way out. Even the experts don’t know how.

Anyway, I’ve run hardware tests and software tests. I’ve run multiple diagnostic programs. I’ve even gone where few Mac users have gone before: I did a clean reinstall of the OS.

“No you DIDN’T go there!”

Yes. Yes I did.

You know what happened the minute the install completed and it rebooted? Yep, the damn GSOD.

I think I finally know the pain, regret, anguish, and envy that come as a standard options with every copy of Windows.

I think this is a sign my beloved old 12″ PowerBook is starting to die. This presents a few problems, besides the obvious, emotional ones. One of my favorite computers of all time is slowly dying. (sniff) It means there will be one less computer in a house that’s come to depend on many. It means Beth will start asking to squeeze in on my time with the MacBook. It means I may have to learn how to share again.

Cheryl, bless her heart, saw this for what it was: disaster on the horizon. You’ll take my Mac from my cold, dead hands.

She immediately sought out options. She looked at iMacs, MacBooks, MacBook Pros… and looking over her shoulder my heart started to heal… to hop and skip with a little excitement even (with a pinch of survivor’s guilt though). Then reality set in: the financial ruin we’ve come to call our checking account. We thought about an iPad, but we decided it probably wouldn’t fill Beth’s needs for a computer to do school work. Plus, until many of the sites she visits stop using Flash (I’m not holding my breath), an iPad would likely find little use… by Beth.


by… Beth…?

That’s when inspiration struck. Neither of us could rely on an iPad alone for our computing needs. However, I find there are evenings when I don’t pick up my MacBook – sometimes not even to write (my thumbs got skillz).

When I got my first laptop, desktop computers felt bulky and constraining. Who wants to sit at a desk when you can work on the couch, or better: under your cozy blanket in bed? Not surprisingly, the same thing happened when I got my iPhone. I found I never had to go further than my pocket for a computer… and it is a computer… a computer that also happens to be a phone. The miracle I discovered with the iPhone is this: I can do 80% of what most people use a computer for (the internets, in various ways), plus a few things most people don’t (read a good book).

And here’s the kicker.

Wait for it…

I can do it all comfortably with one thumb. (Caveat: I use the remaining four fingers on the hand to cradle the phone, and my left hand lends an assist if I decide to write something). In fact, there are some things I prefer to do on my iPhone, like checking my news and blog feeds on google (with a slick app that syncs with google reader), or wandering through twitter and Facebook.

Since the iPad will talk to a bluetooth keyboard – and I just happen to have one of Apple’s shiny aluminum beauties – some of my longer writing moods could conceivably be satisfied by an iPad. The software I use to keep a journal is about to release a companion app for the iPhone, there are already apps for my WordPress blog, and iPhone apps will supposedly work on the iPad (until dedicated apps are written). So, between my iPhone and an iPad, I could go days without feeling the need to pick up my laptop.

This sharing thing could actually work.

Bless you Cheryl.


    1. I accept the title with pride, but I fear I am not worthy. I don’t even work in a tech industry. What self respecting nerd would work in social services? I fear I am a failure as a nerd.

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