This past June I hit a milestone. I have actually owned a MacBook for 10 years and kept it functional. Sure, I had to replace the battery, upgrade the RAM and actually pay for an OSX upgrade DVD so I could put Lion for free, but considering those are the only ‘repairs’ I’ve had to make, I consider myself quite lucky.
The downside to keeping the computer going for so long, most software is no longer supported on this. When Safari started to get a little glitchy I tried to download Firefox, and the refused to even give me the link to download the browser, so I had to resort to Chrome. The instant Chrome installed a message popped up telling me this version would no longer be supported, as my current device can’t support anything more advanced than this ancient version. At least it let me install it. Twitch and WordPress let me download the desktop apps, but they were so advanced (by this computer’s standards) that it refused to initiate the install process.
Here’s a short list of everything that is wrong with the device just by looking at it:
- A. In the lower right corner where my wrist rests on beside the touchpad, you’ll see nice 2.5inch by 2mm sliver of plastic that is missing from the casing. I’m not sure where it went, but it left behind a jagged little gap that lets me see into the computer. Not sharp enough to cut me, but I worry about this device being even less water-resistant if a drink were to spill nearby.
- B. I replaced the battery about a hear and a half ago. The previous one was actually giving me warnings that it was in such bad shape it was damaging my computer. I was able to get a cheap 3rd party replacement on Amazon. Too bad they didn’t have it in black. Luckily no one will ever see the big white block that is the battery, unless they look under the computer. Still, it doesn’t hold much of a charge anymore, but at least I have enough time to power it down myself if the power were to go out.
- C. This screen is garbage. I probably should have replaced it years ago, but I figured that would cost more than the computer was worth. It’s still bright enough to work on, but the contrast is so messed up on it, you can’t even see certain fields when filling out online forms.
- D. The OS and the RAM have been upgraded to the point this computer probably won’t accept anything newer/better. Which makes me think the hard drive is likely to go next, and since iCloud won’t even support this computer, that scares me since I don’t have a regular back up.
- E. Most apps won’t install, open or update anymore. This is the driving force behind me needing to upgrade this. Not the screen, or the crack in the casing, just that I can’t count on my apps to work.
I was hoping, at the very least I’d be able to use this just for writing, but I’ve learned my lesson with that the hard way. A couple years ago I wrote a short script in Scrivener, but since the screen was crapping out on me, I wanted to edit it on my desktop. I emailed the file to myself so I could continue working on it, and once I opened the file I got a message that said the file was too old, and not compatible with the recently updated version. How do you fix this? It seems you don’t. I tried to update the file type, but it messed up the formatting and put strange characters in the middle of words. So I was left with two choices:
- Option 1: Print it out on from the lap top and — oh damn it, it won’t connect to my printer anymore.
- Option 2: Put the laptop next to the computer and try to type out everything again, word for word.
I figured I could just copy and paste everything into an email, but it lost all the formatting, so I would have had to re-write it all anyway. It was at this point that I accepted that it was an awful script anyway, and not worth the time or effort to rewrite it. It was only 15 pages long. Now, what if this was a 110 page script, 5000 word essay, or a 300 page novel? For one thing, this computer would have more than one little crack in it’s casing.
Since then, I’ve been using my iPad Air 2 for pretty much everything, but there are times when it’s nice to have an actual keyboard and computer to get things done. Especially when typing anything long than a tweet or a very short Facebook post. Autocorrect is huge pain in the ass when working on a script, and I find the spellcheck feature is missing on most iOS apps.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to just buy an iPad Pro and use that as my main device for everything, but when it comes to working on anything regarding work or finance, I’d much rather have an all in one device with a physical keyboard and a trackpad. The only downside is the current cost of MacBooks these days. Yikes! 10 years ago, if you spent $2100 on a MacBook you got something you could still upgrade. Something that would last 10 years. Now, I’m not seeing much. You’ve got to max out all the specs the minute you buy it, because everything has been soldered in, so after 3 years when the battery starts to go, you’ve basically got a very small desktop computer.
I gave the Microsoft Surface laptops a thought, but with my Xbox issues last year, I found that it took two or three calls to customer service/tech support to get anything sorted out. When I tried asking questions on Twitter, they asked me to stop by a Microsoft Store. Which would be great if one existed in Manitoba.
I considered a Chromebook, but I spent a year in University with nothing but an iPad and Google Docs to take notes, and vowed I would never do anything so stupid ever again. The idea of using a Chromebook keeps triggering that thought.
I’m already living in the Apple ecosystem, so I feel like I’m locked into buying another one of their devices. It’s just a matter of how much I’m willing to spend. Maybe one day the iPad Pros will impress me enough to go iOS only. I hear there is another Apple Keynote event on Tuesday or Wednesday. They’ll probably talk mostly just about new iPhone or Apple Watch, but I’ll hold out hope that they will debut a cheaper MacBook Air. I mean, this is the company that released the iPhone 5C. I’d buy another plastic MacBook.