Written: July 16, 2013

How Long Should Hardware Last?

In my small business I buy computer hardware to help me communicate with clients, do work and keep informed. Recently my Apple magic mouse died after only about three years of use.

apple magic mouse

This Apple mouse is a thing of beauty, and like most Apple hardware it’s pricey at $69.00. My short-term remedy was to swap out the dead mouse with a Logitech wireless mouse and then plan a trip to my local Apple store at Bridgeport Village.

logitech mouse

 

I’ve been using Logitech mice for decades and never had one die on me, oh well.

The amount of time required for me to buy the replacement Apple magic mouse was a business loss, and hopefully one that will not happen again. I’m thankful that my computer hardware and software enable me to run my web development business very efficiently, it’s just when something goes down I lose my productivity gains.

Current trends say that we are replacing our laptops at a slower pace now and choosing to hold onto them longer than before.

I’ve been replacing my laptop every two years for a newer model, although I still buy used laptops like the MacBook Pro to be fiscally conservative. What has your experience been with hardware reliability and upgrading?

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iMac – first impressions from a PC user

On Wednesday I purchased a pre-owned iMac 24″ from a guy in Portland on Craigslist. We met at a Starbuck’s and I asked to see the iMac powered up.

My seller was a knowledgeable Mac user and gave me an intro on the machine. Right away I noticed that the “Mighty Mouse” couldn’t track on a wooden table top.

When I tried the Mighty Mouse on the next three surfaces it failed to track properly, and it bugged me because my Logitech mouse for my HP Laptop worked on all of these surfaces.
At home the only surface that worked well was a specialized laser mouse pad that my oldest son used for gaming.
I lugged the iMac along to a photo client’s home for proofing and they just said, “Wow.”
My home has WiFi secured with WPA-2 and the iMac connected effortlessly using the password.
We also use a networked printer, the HP 6490 Deskjet.

The iMac found it quickly and I was printing without ever reading the How To manual. On the PC side it takes several minutes of manual typing to configure a network printer. My iMac told me ink levels and could run printer diagnostics however my Vista and XP machines cannot do either of these, so the iMac wins this category.
The iMac screen colors are too vivid and over-saturated. Soon I’ll discover how to get more accurate color rendering, perhaps I have to purchase a colorimeter and create a custom profile.
The 24″ screen takes some getting used to compared to my 17″ laptop screen. With a smaller screen I can glance and see everything on the screen without head motion. On the 24″ iMac I find myself moving my head from side to side, and up/down. Over long periods this is creating some fatigue.
Photoshop CS3 opens and looks different on the iMac especially the fact that there is no application background, rather it’s transparent until I open up  a document. I don’t like that look and much prefer Photoshop CS3 on the PC where it has an opaque background at invoke time.

Operation of the iMac is quiet, something that even my Vista laptop cannot approach. I like silence.
Transferring 68GB of data from my Vista machine to the iMac took over one hour even with a gigabit switch! I thought that was too slow and wanted to compare with using a USB 2.0 drive instead.
Microsoft has an application to let me remote desktop from the iMac into my Vista laptop. I’ll let you know how that works after I finish the upgrade from Vista to Windows 7.

One thing I missed immediately on the iMac is the ability to resize any window by simply grabbing it’s edge or corner. It is certainly extra work on the iMac to find the lower right-hand window corner, re-size, then move the window by the banner. The PC is much easier for sizing windows.

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