Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thinkless Machines

I read all kinds of stuff about Apple's hardware, software, iPhones, iPods, iWhatevers. I am not really against Apple, really, but I don't own any of those things.

I know lots of people with iPods, etc., such as my daughter and most of her friends. Her husband evidently ran over one with his car recently -- I found the flattened, broken thin glass and metal thing in a compartment in his truck when I was looking for a rolling marble or something. Whatever it cost, it is worthless now.

I have many computers, including old, 1999 obsolete Thinkpad, newer medium quality Dell laptop, a higher end Alienware desktop, plus a lesser, older Dell desktop about 5 years old. I use all of them for various purposes -- sort of software quality filters. If something will still run decently on the Thinkpad (with Linux) it will run extremely good on the Alienware box (with any OS...)

But, back to the Apples. Why don't I have an Apple? Actually my first "home" computer was an Apple, although I had played with TTL circuitry and made weird little contraptions -- sort of proto-computers -- before I plopped down the $2500 bucks for an Apple IIe. Now, that was a SLOW computer.

Later on, due to my profession in software, I had access to very powerful machines -- servers, workstations, robotic systems, etc. -- and didn't really have time to screw around with gutless machines. So I needed whatever the latest greatest fastest stuff was -- usually an Intel box, but sometimes it was SGI or even an IBM system of some kind. Apple was not on the list.

I did play with a NeXT box for a while, something that was for porting software to, but it wasn't a very popular system for whatever reason, cost or lack of color or something. I thought it was OK, and certainly I liked the C and C++ programming for it. But it was just a brief project, and on to the next junk.

I have never used a Mac, especially an iMac or whatever they have, either the desktop or the laptop or the iPod or iPhone or anything else. I guess the closest I've come is having used Safari web browser for a few days, and occasionally using iTunes for playing mp3s (but not syncing to an iPod or using the iStore...)

And now that I'm getting on in years, I probably won't ever purposely buy anything from Apple. If somebody buys me one as a gift or as a work project or something, I guess I wouldn't kick it off the desk. But I'm not rushing out to empty my wallet on one anytime soon.

For one thing, for absolutely FREE, I can use a myriad instances of Linux (I know, I know -- Apple-heads look down on Linux). Yet, for all practical purposes, except for the prices of machines and the software, Linux is very similar to Apple's stuff. Not identical, no. Nor is it identical to Microsoft, nor is Linux even identical to Linux, since there are so many flavors.

But I am a machine head -- I like the fact that I can mold Linux any which way I want, or not, on a whim. I don't have Cupertino's lawyers breathing down my neck, nor the ghost of Bill Gates haunting me. I just have nice systems running in all my machines.

I also have Microsoft, of course. I have to because I'm a software guy. But I use that the way I'd use a semi-truck - to haul cargo. I use Linux the way I'd use space craft -- to do whatever the heck I feel like doing. I'm using Ubuntu Linux on my Alienware to write this, but I could just have well done it with the Thinkpad, although a bit slower.

Apple? I'm not sure I even know what to think about those things. I hardly ever think about it them at all. And I for sure will never pay actual money for one, ever again. I paid way, way to much for that Apple IIe, and it couldn't even think one bit.

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