A longstanding friend of mine in Christchurch finally let me help her choose a new Mac. She’s become the proud owner of a 21 inch iMac, soon to be linked to the world by a shiny new ADSL 2 broadband connection (since cable isn’t available in her suburb).
The iMac displaces her Performa 5400 on which she wrote her Masters thesis, and which still entertains her nieces and nephews when they visit.
I was fascinated to watch one niece eagerly look through all the desktop patterns on the new machine and then ask permission to play Madeline on the old Mac.
That game on the old machine, based on a 1939 book by Ludwig Bemelmans, kept her happily occupied for hours, along with Math Rocks.
The Performa 5400 is 14 years old — older than the 10 year old niece. It’s not exactly going strong, but it is still going, although the notorious Type 11 errors appear far too often.
The 5400 used the PowerPC 603e chip; now, of course, Macs use the Intel chip. It arrived with System 7.5.3 and my friend never upgraded any of the software. Since then we’ve seen various versions of Systems 7, 8 and 9, and then Mac OS X, with half a dozen versions from 10.0 to the current 10.6.
Until recently my friend had been surfing the web with Internet Explorer 4.5, and sending email with Claris Emailer, all through a dial-up connection.
Her employer issues her with a new (Windows) laptop every 2 years, but staff aren’t supposed to use those machines for their personal stuff.
The new iMac means that music on her iPod and photos no longer need to be a problem, and she can again have a personal email address. Her old email software had mysteriously stopped working at one point, not surprisingly. She never really used the web at home as most of it didn’t work with her ancient browser.
The new iMac came equipped with a cute little wireless keyboard and a Magic Mouse. It’s very lightweight and compact. There’s only 1 cable coming out of it: the power cord. My friend anticipates easily moving it into another room for watching DVDs.
It’s a beauty. The iMac screen is gorgeous, with vivid colours. I expect my friend will enjoy it for at least the next decade.