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06 October 2009 @ 09:52 am
Tech and toys.  
All writers love their tools. In the time before netbooks, I was at a writing conference when someone pulled out one of these, and every writer in the general vicinity leaned in and went "Oooooooh.....what is that???"

For every writer that loves to write things out longhand before typing up their prose, there are probably two more that love having the latest portable gadget for writing electronically whenever, and wherever they want. Because everyone loves toys, and while there's a certain romanticism to longhand writing, especially with something like a fountain pen (I own five or six), nothing can beat the convenience and ease technology has given us. I remember getting my first typewriter. I was in middle school, and my grandmother gave it to me when she found out I was scribbling novels in spiral notebooks. I loved that clunky thing. I had to use white out if I wanted to erase a line or a word, but it was such a thrill to see typed pages of my work. I felt like a real writer!

My love of great new gadgets to write on hasn't much changed. Post-typewriter, I've used my desktop computer, a palm with fold out keyboard, and three different generations of laptops, including my current beloved Macbook.

What point does this have? Well. My husband and I bought our Macbooks at the same time two years ago. We didn't anticipate "upgrading" for at least three years (after AppleCare ran out). We loved lots of things about our new Macbooks as recent converts from Windows - the 13" size was very portable, but the keyboard was still comfortable for long writing sessions (very important!). The intuitive operating system and great software that came with it, the magnetic connection of the power cord, and long battery life (four hours! The longest our Thinkpads had ever achieved was three, and it faded fast.) The lack of virus vulnerability and spyware problems. Time machine, and how fabulously easy it was to restore everything, including the image of your desktop if anything ever did go wrong with the Macbook.

However, there was one major complaint: the white case sure collected dirt like no one's business. And the invisible shield protectors we placed on them only kind of worked - the dirt collected on them, instead, and around the edges of where they fit over the Macbook. Had we known, we would have splurged on the black version, but we didn't until too late.

But this was a purely cosmetic and minor complaint, compared to everything we loved. We started saying things like "Well, when we get new ones in a few years, we'll be sure not to get white." Pretty out of the box. Not so much later.

Fastforward two years, and the husband acquires an HD video camera for filming classes. But the iMovie (or is it iDVD?) crashes constantly when he tries to edit the video. We've spent the last month looking for a solution, and finally I called the Apple store. Turns out, the video cards in our Macbooks probably can't handle the HD video well enough. We knew we needed to upgrade the hard drive to something bigger, at a minimum, but the video card, like most laptops, is part of the package - it can't be upgraded.

However, we can trade our Macbooks in and get credit towards new ones. In reality, the only one we NEED to upgrade is Mark's. But the new 13" Macbook Pros sport some pretty awesome features:

~ 7 hour battery life, good for 1000 charges (approximately five years).
~ aluminum unibody case, VERY sturdy, and much less prone to showing dirt than the pure white body we currently have.
~ backlit keyboard! Words cannot express how awesome this feature seems to me - I could write in the dark! (Okay, so I'd probably never really need to, but you never know!)
~ larger hard drive. I've already had to delete thousands of jewelry photos from this one.
~ faster processor, obviously, but it's not like the old ones were slow.

Because the house refinance is taking care of taxes this year, the money we were saving for that would buy both Macbooks if we trade in our old ones (only $460 per trade, but our configuration sells for $7-800 new these days, and I wouldn't feel right selling mine for that with the obvious dirt issue. I mean, it's just discoloration, but it looks crappy. *sigh*)

And who can resist things like a backlit keyboard?? Seeing the pictures of that made me go "Oooooooh...!" the same way seeing that not-a-netbook did years ago. I imagine myself writing on the aluminum Macbook, and it's exciting the way that typewriter was. The reality is, I don't NEED an upgrade. I'll just be unspeakably jealous of Mark's if we upgrade his and I keep my dirty white Macbook! :D
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-peartreealley on October 6th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, I love me some portable electronic writing devices. So much. I own so many of them, too. >_> (AlphaSmart, laptops, PDA...)

The new MacBook does sound shiny. ♥ My current one is also 2 years old, but has barely been used (sad, right? I got it just a few months before I burned out) so I'm hoping that it'll last me a couple of more now that I'm writing again. I only use it for writing, so I don't need that much power.

I totally get the upgrade itch, though. I was commenting to my M at how strange it was that I'd had my newest computer (gaming) for a year and a half and hadn't the slightest desire to upgrade when I'm usually getting the itch. Instead, I bought a new battery for my PC laptop to extend its use (a dead battery was the only problem), and while my Desktop is having issues, I'm pretty sure I can fix it with a couple of hardware swaps, too.

If I'd have these issues two years ago? I'd have a new desktop and laptop already. It's a great excuse to upgrade!

Edited at 2009-10-06 05:19 pm (UTC)
Dragonsinger: Shrek wedded blissdragonsinger on October 6th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)
Dragonhubby and I didn't need an upgrade either, but we saw the iMac and said, "Oooooh..."

Yeah, I do enjoy typing my stories and the convenience computers bring, but there are times when I need to go back to the notebook to organize my thoughts.:)