Then yesterday I began to think that quiet act of defiance must’ve angered the Apple hardware gods, because my PowerBook suddenly started making a loud whirring noise, crashed, and refused to successfully complete each reboot I tried. I panicked a bit, since my last back-up had, regrettably, been performed six days before — I would lose a nontrivial amount of work that had been done in the interim. What’s more, it was starting to look as if I made a mistake in not buying that iMac; if my PowerBook had truly just died, I’d need to buy a new Mac of some sort more or less immediately, but I wouldn’t see any tax benefit on my 2005 returns.
Biting my lip, I made another trek to Tekserve, this time queuing up in the support line. Amazingly, the computer booted up without a problem for the clerk; she ran some diagnostics on it and insisted that it was working flawlessly, at least so far as she could see. She gave me a blank CD-RW disc to let me back up, on the spot, the files I knew were missing from my six-day old back-up and sent me on my way.
Once home, the PowerBook booted up again without protest, and I immediately set to work backing up all my data with Shirt Pocket Software’s SuperDuper! utility. Cheeky name aside, the program could use a little bit of usability engineering and a prettier interface. But in all, it’s a fantastic utility for thorough backups, easily my favorite of such programs — I regard it as an essential tool for anyone who wants to minimize the trauma of failed Apple hardware.
Anyway, the PowerBook is functioning again today, seemingly without a hitch and without any apparent clue as to why it was suddenly making strange noises yesterday. I lost a few hours trying to troubleshoot it, but I’m happy to have learned — without penalty — that age old lesson once again: back up all your shit always.
You Will Be Assimilated
So this morning I was already feeling good about my decision to pass on that iMac G5. But I felt even better about it when I read about Steve Jobs’ not-so-surprising surprise early announcement of Intel-based Macintosh hardware, made during his keynote speech at Macworld Expo today. Included amongst the new offerings is an Intel-based iMac with the exact same features, form factor and price of its predecessor, but with twice the speed.
Now, I’m not naive enough to really believe that when Steve Jobs says a new Macintosh is twice as fast as its predecessor that he really means 100% faster. As much as my credit card started burning inside my back pocket again, I know that the prudent thing is to wait at least a few weeks. The first early adopter reports will reveal whether switching from PowerPC to Intel chips is as painless as Apple would like it to be. The answer could very well be “no,” (in which case I can pick up that older iMac G5 at a significant discount from its 31 Dec 2005 price) but they could as easily be “yes,” (in which case I can get much more longevity for my computing dollar). Either way, there’s another lesson in this: it’s good to wait.