This blog is devoted to remembrances and essays on general topics, including literature and writing. It has evolved over time, and some older posts on this site might reflect a different perspective and purpose.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

64 Megabytes? More Than Enough

             Four years ago, at about this time of year, I bought a new MacBook laptop. The economy was crumbling, people were talking about an upcoming Depression with unemployment of more than 20 percent, and I had no way of knowing, at the time, whether I’d bring in a single dollar in income in 2009.
            But I bought the laptop anyway because it was time, and because I considered it a business necessity. In late 2004, the laptop I’d bought at the end of 1998 went kaflooey, taking half my business with it. After a couple of days of tense waiting (plus a not inconsiderable expense), a computer guru was able to retrieve most of it. From then on, I’ve made a point of upgrading every four years.
            And so it was that last Friday found me at the Apple Store at Valley Fair in San Jose, purchasing a new MacBook Air. It’s not set up yet, but once it is, by the end of December, it should see me through the Obama presidency.

More Space Than You’d Ever Need

            My first laptop was a Macintosh PowerBook, bought at the end of 1993. My consulting business was in its infancy, cash flow was tight, and it was unclear if I would succeed. But I bought the laptop anyway because I could see the value of it for my business and because I’ve always believed you have to spend money to make money.
            That first PowerBook had a black and white screen, would have gagged if you’d tried to run a movie on it, never got connected to the Internet, and had 64MB of hard drive. I couldn’t imagine using all that space, and I never did. But I did do a lot of the revisions to my mystery, The McHenry Inheritance, on it, and it’s still in the garage.
            Being equipped for business hasn’t yet turned out to be a losing proposition for me. After buying the PowerBook in late 1993, I had a breakout year in 1994. Despite the fears over the economy at the end of 2008, the year 2009 turned out to be all right — not great, but far better than I had feared. Experience has shown that getting what you need for the job, even if you have to bet on unknown revenues to pay for it, is a wise move.

The Dread Before the Setup

            Working out of my house for the past four years, I’ve become even more dependent than before on my laptop. If the power goes out, I take it to Starbucks to check my email and get some work done. If we have people working at the house for the day, I take it to one of the shared office spaces in Santa Cruz and work from there.
            Right now, I’m waiting until I can figure out where to get the best deal on Microsoft Office, without which I can’t function. In years past, I would have set aside a weekend to get the computer set up (there was always a maddening glitch that took hours to sort out), and I had to be fairly certain I wouldn’t need the new or old one for work during that time.
            Now I have the luxury of an in-house computer guru, my 22-year-old son, Nick. At a mutually convenient time, I’ll hand him the old and new laptops, leave him alone for a couple of hours, and everything should be good to go after that. Technology is a beautiful thing when you have someone around who understands it.