Monday, 29 September 2014

Changing the Computer Stock

My trusty six-year old 15" MacBook Pro developed Flickering Graphic Card Syndrome in September. The guys down in the basement at Mac1 Spitalfields gave me a quote of around £350 + VAT to fix it. Then you're left wondering how long it will be before the next thing fails. My first thought was, of course, "need new MacBook Pro". Yeah. At £1,300+ for a 15" screen. Retina only. The 13" non-Retina is still £899 for the base model. Faced with decisions like this, the best thing I can do is keep looking until the right answer appears from all the obvious ones.

My current stock is:

Asus EE PC 1000P netbook (about five years old) Win 7
11" Mac Air with 128GB SDD (nearly two years old) OS X Mavericks
17" Samsung desktop replacement (about five years old) Win 7
15" MacBook Pro (see above) OS X Mavericks

I've been using the Air as my walk-around computer, and the Asus as a cheap internet media centre. The real issue is that the Samsung will be next to go, and I'll need a replacement Windows workhorse. These get cheaper and better all the time, but right now...

Windows 8

Wow. Just. Wow.

Windows 8, like Vista, is proof that a building full of geniuses can still produce a camel in response to the spec for a horse. So the whole buy-a-15.6"-Wintel-machine-for-next-to-nothing option is on hold.

After a great deal of gazing at Mac Pros and other kit, I thought "Let's look at Chromebooks". Because I never have and of course you'd replace a MacBook Pro with a Chromebook. Right?

Except that most of my computing now is browsing and Evernote. Evernote runs in Chrome. If I need to use a Latex editor / compiler or maybe use Lightroom to edit stuff (this is another post) I can use the Mac Air or the Samsung. The blogs of a number of pro photographers sing the praises of recent Mac Airs using Lightroom. What I need is a computer with a decent size screen to browse, play media, and use Evernote. That's a Chromebook.

See what I mean about waiting until the right decision appears from all the obvious ones?

So the new stock looks like:

Portable: Asus C P1000P netbook (about four years old) Win 7
Serious Computing: 11" Mac Air with 128GB SDD (nearly two years old) OS X Mavericks Windows Workhorse: 17" Samsung desktop replacement (about five years old) Win 7
Normal Stuff at Home: 14" HP Chromebook

When the Air packs up, I will get whatever the entry-level MacBook Pro is: by then it will weigh nothing and have the computing power of a Cray mainframe from the early 2000's. When the Win 7 machines pack up, with luck Win 9 will be out and be something people would actually want to use.


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