Old and New Devices

Jan 19 2010

Both Old.

With the upcoming Apple announcement due in about a week, tech fans look forward to Steve Jobs and Co.'s latest beauty. Since there are already dozens of professional writers who have posted their expectations, my intention here is to go back over a gadget policy I've had since before I owned a Teac multitrack reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Even a decently maintained and upgraded Pentium 4 (wow!) or PowerBook G4 (whoa!) still works fine, with similarly aged software, for most of today's tasks. I'm writing this on an XP Dell desktop with Dreamweaver 4 (no way!) and Photoshop 5/7 (egads!), because I've already spent the money and as most of you can see my site is just text and images anyway. My latest machine, an IBM-branded X60 convertible tablet, which is nearly three years old, is the love of my device collection. Its baby "brother", a touchscreen Nintendo DS lite, looks like a cute mini-version next to it. When I received the DS as a gift a few years ago from a dear friend, it prompted me to save even faster for the the laptop I really wanted, which x60 I finally owned several months later. Yep, boring.

Who would've thought that a tablet computer would be so anticipated a week from now? For well over 10 years only people like warehouse inventory and medical personnel (and myself) used them. So, when you do buy a new gadget, buy one you'll like for years to come. That goes for anything from a television to a cell phone.

The flip side of this policy is to wait for at least the second-generation of a device before you buy. Chances are you'd get about twice the power and features for less money and the bugs will be worked out. Both my 12" PowerBook and my IBM touchscreen tablet are the very last generation of their respective lines. And though the new MacBook Pros are much more powerful than my Mac, they are certainly not more beautiful. No tablet out there as of this week can touch my 3 year-old X60, though I assume Apple's will.

(Update Jan 27 2010: Um...no. The new iPad is pretty, but I'm even more sure of what I wrote below. Unlike what I wrote above, The new Apple product cannot touch my Thinkpad for a variety of reasons.)

I'll happily wait until the second or third version of the iTablet, or whatever it will be called...

Enjoy the show.

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