Friday, December 04, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas


Thanks to an org I've been working with for a number of years, I have a new computer coming.

I ask them for a piece of gear every couple of years. As obsessive KN@PPSTER readers know, I've been mulling one of those Intel HDMI sticks with Windoze (shudder) on it. I try to keep my biennial requests below $200, and I figured I could come in under that price point for the stick, a bluetooth keyboard/mouse, etc. The idea being something that could go mobile when needed, that would be a nice little backup or at least temporary replacement should one of my ChromeOS devices happen to sh*t the bed, etc., and that I could do some things on that are hard in ChromeOS, e.g. editing audio (N.B. I've owned two Chromeboxes and one Chromebook; all of them continue to hum right along; they may be limited, but they're reliable).

The work I do for this org is something I can do from any decent web browser and text editor, so it's not like I need a Cray or anything. My main rationale for asking them for anything is that I work cheaply so I figure I rack up a few brownie points, and since the work I do for them is daily, seven days a week, they have a stake in me NEVER BEING DOWN WITH COMPUTER PROBLEMS. So it works out.

Now it just so happens that they occasionally get equipment donations from supporters, that they pass those donations on to their workers, and that they probably expected me to come calling some time soon. So when I started to ask them about the cheap HDMI thingamabob, they asked me if I'd be interested in this instead. And not just the basic model, but one built out to maximum RAM and so forth initially, with all the luxury options, and with a new 500Gb SSD drive installed last year.

"MacBook Pros" by Benjamin Nagel.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
via Wikimedia Commons
Hmmm, let me think about this ... do I want them to spend $200 on a brokedick Windoze stick, or would I prefer a Mac that originally cost more than any car I have ever owned, but that they don't have to shell out cash for, and that can, even at five years old, run the newest version of Mac OS X?

Yeah, that didn't take long. Thanks, guys!

I've used a number of Macs over the years -- an original Mac, an SE/30, a IIci, a Performa, a PPC G2 or G3 laptop donated by a reader (pre-KN@PPSTER, I think, but I used it for some time), a headless G4 laptop given to me by KN@PPSTER reader Morey Straus, and finally a 2006 Mac Mini that I retired in favor of my first Chromebox in 2012. With the exception of the original Mac, which was 10 years old when I bought it at a junk shop, I've always considered them superior machines to newer Windoze equivalents that I had to use at work, or that were being used around me at home. I've become very accustomed to Linux and then ChromeOS over the years, but I'm very happy about my impending return to Mac heaven.

So, Mac users who are KN@PPSTER readers, let me bleg you for some advice in comments:

  • This machine should be able to run Yosemite, but should I upgrade that far on the OS? Or would one of the previous OS X versions be better, performance-wise?
  • Any recommendations for the best (hopefully free) audio editing software? Audacity? Garage Band? Something else?
  • Any general recommendations for programs/apps that I won't want to live without?

Thanks in advance!

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