The Classics

Our black-and-white cat Scout inspects the box of the new 15 inch Apple Powerbook

In May of 2004 my new laptop arrived, a 15″ Apple Powerbook. It was a big step for me in two ways, I was not only switching full-time to the Mac but also to a laptop. Previously I had a smaller Apple laptop for the train and a Dell desktop for photo work, but my delight with a 12″ Apple Powerbook purchased months prior convinced me to go full-time with the bigger laptop. It was a good decision, that laptop remains one of my all-time favorites and I used it daily for years. All these years later and my current laptop is but a refinement of that classic design.

I’ve stayed a laptop-only user pretty much since then (I do have a Mac mini I use as a file server), but each time I’ve replaced a computer I’ve debated if I should go back to a split setup. I’m going through that again as it’s time to replace my aging laptop, although I’m leaning towards getting another 15″ one. The only reason I’d even consider a desktop is that lovely display on the iMac, but I’d have to go back to working at a desk at times instead of doing all my work on the couch covered in cats.

Speaking of cats, the lovely little creature who came out to inspect the new box was my beloved Scout, she and Templeton always liked to inspect new boxes.

The Master At Work

Our cat Templeton appears to be working on my laptop

All three of our current cats are spot stealers but nobody can hold a candle to Templeton, master of the art. On this night he was recuperating from surgery so I was in the guest room with him and when I stepped out for a moment, not long enough to bother putting his cone back on, I came back to find him sitting at my laptop.

The Guest Room

Our cat Templeton rests on my Powerbook

Looking at this picture from 2006 of Templeton recuperating in our guest room reminds me of the role the room has played in the lives of several of our cats. He spent a little time here in isolation from our cat Scout until he recovered from surgery to remove a sewing needle in his stomach. Two years later after he died, we adopted Sam and Emma and they spent time here before we were ready to introduce them to Scout. Now little Trixie is in the room after we adopted her in January, we’re just beginning her introductions to the rest of the family. Boo never spent time here after we adopted him as it was July and we don’t have air conditioning and this room gets rather hot during the summer.

The picture above I was surprised to see I had never put online before, the pictures below have been but I’ve recently re-edited them. Templeton was amazing and completely changed my thinking about cats, all the cats that have followed owe a debt of gratitude to this charming and occasionally mischievous little fellow in a handsome gray tuxedo coat. The pictures aren’t posed, I had been editing pictures on my Powerbook and got up for a moment and Templeton did what he always did — he stole my spot.

Our cat Templeton rests on my Powerbook

Our cat Templeton rests on my Powerbook

The Unexpected Upgrade

15" MacBook Pro Retina

You’ve by now noticed that updates here slowed dramatically this year, and while there are many reasons for that, one major reason was rather prosaic: my laptop kept dying.

For many years I’ve been a laptop-only user, and while I did add a desktop late last year, I still use my laptop for nearly everything. Unfortunately it developed intermittent failures which were hard to diagnose and it became frustrating enough that I used the laptop less and less as the year wore on. On its latest visit to Apple a couple of weeks ago they started to check it in for repairs, but then looked at its repair history and wondered if I’d mind if they gave me a new one instead.

Would I mind?

I was a little puzzled until I realized they wanted to replace it with a new new one, as in the laptops that were announced just a few weeks earlier. Apple had discontinued the regular MacBook Pro like mine so they wanted to give me the newest Retina model. It doesn’t have some features my old one had, but I didn’t need them, so they custom ordered one for me and it came in late last week.

I loved that old laptop and would have preferred that it had never developed problems in the first place, but given that it did, the timing worked out well. It’s hard to believe that laptops have progressed so far in less than three years.

It’s noticeably thinner, and more importantly, lighter. Faster, yet quieter. With a much better display, and much faster storage. And yet also with much better battery life.

It’s delightful.

Supercomputer

2012 Mac mini

Many of the tasks on my big list involved finishing up the remodeling of my office that started about a year ago, including getting a better photo processing solution. I’ve been getting further and further behind in editing my pictures, which decreases my desire to go out and take new ones. I had four options and gave them each a lot of consideration but in the end settled on Apple’s adorable Mac mini. I’ve had a soft spot for them ever since the first model was introduced but never had a use for one until now.

Aperture runs much better on the mini than my laptop, which was a bit of a shock as the mini is made out of similar laptop parts. There are several big differences, the first the amount of RAM (the mini has 16 GB, twice that of the laptop). The second is the storage, the mini has Apple’s new Fusion drive that seamlessly combines an SSD and hard drive, the laptop a traditional hard drive. Regardless of the reason, I love the results.

I took advantage of the new USB 3.0 ports to get a faster card reader from Lexar, it downloaded my images so quickly that at first I thought something had gone wrong.

My biggest criticism is I wish it was slightly larger so it could house the bigger 3 TB Fusion drive that the iMac gets, letting me eliminate the hassle and clutter of my external drives. All-in-all though the mini has been a delight, greatly exceeding my expectations.

Love & Loss

Our cat Templeton in front of my 15 inch Powerbook

After the long writeup about workflow in the previous post, one more thought about tools. This is a picture of Templeton with the 15″ Powerbook I referenced in that post, my favorite computer of all time until my current MacBook Pro.

The picture was taken in January 2006 while Templeton was recuperating from surgery to remove the sewing needle he swallowed right before we left on Christmas vacation. He had to be kept from running and jumping, and isolated from Scout, so one of us stayed with him in the guest room while the other stayed with Scout. He had to wear a plastic cone to keep him from pulling out his stitches, but we gave him supervised time with it off so he could relax and clean his fur away from the incision.

I left the room for a brief moment and came back to find him sitting at my laptop, paws on the trackpad as though he was settled in for work. What he had really done was an old Templeton standby, though.

He had stolen my spot.

Templeton and my 15″ Powerbook. I loved them both. I miss one. Important as they are, tools are just tools.