Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My 7 Year Old PowerBook G4 Computer

April marks seven years that I have owned my nice little laptop. In April 2004 I bought it as a graduation/college gift to myself. It was a good investment. For about $1,600 I have managed to get 84 months of use out of it, minus a few months I was away from electricity in the mountains. That comes to less than $20 a month. Considering that this little machine helped get me two engineering degrees including a master's degree, I think it did alright.

Seven Years Strong! (...and vainly checking my website stats)
The world has accelerated in that time so that programs are larger and my 768 megabytes of RAM is no longer able to speed through applications. The 1.33 gigahertz single core processor is quite slow and a 1x DVD burner leaves something to be desired. The little 12.1 inch screen reminds my back every so often that leaning over a tiny screen is not ideal.
Seven years and hardly any scratches!
I have gone through two hard drives as I toted my computer around campus in sleep mode. A mistake that I will never make again, fortunately we have flash memory available with no moving parts so we can bounce and twist without damaging new computers. I've taken this thing with me everywhere. In the fall of 2007 the battery kind of gave up and I have been limited to about 10 minutes since then, which is usually enough to find an outlet.

A year ago I was planning on getting rid of it, selling it to a friend. However, as I near it's end, I am having some trouble thinking about letting it totally go. I still have the box. I mean such a large portion of my life has been spent behind this thing. It is strange to think of not being able to open it and find a file of mine from four years ago that suddenly seems important. There is also the matter of computer software that I have that might not be transferable, thanks to engineering school.

Now that I am gainfully employed I am saving a little bit of money from each paycheck so that in four to six months I will be able to afford a new computer. I have already decided on the Macbook Air. Although, the processor is too slow now to last another seven years I am hoping that in the next few months they will come out with a refresh, which is likely considering that Intel recently released a new 17 watt sandy-bridge processor.

Seven years! When I say it like that I am astonished that I have been out of high school that long. High school was so influential on my personality. As I think about the future I think, where will I be when I am close to turning 32? Will I live that long? I must say, the last seven years have been amazing! If the next seven increase in excitement, as I feel they will, I can only dream of how well they will go.

One piece of advice for everyone, there is a reason I am using a seven year old computer and most people are not. I bought high quality with the goal of this computer lasting at least five years. Generally speaking, when you go with quality, you only have to shop once. That might apply to other aspects of life as well... Anyway, I am big on quality. I like things that last because I am unfortunately hard on most of my stuff. Plus, much of the energy cost of a computer is in the initial construction so a computer that lasts longer is more energy efficient and less damaging to the environment.

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