Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Lack of computer

My computer is in the shop.  It has some random reboot situation, which is either from a bad motherboard or bad memory, and because it’s still under warranty and it has aftermarket memory, they want to prove that it’s the memory’s fault, although I’m pretty sure it’s the motherboard.  This is the first generation to have the NVIDIA GPU and discrete graphics, and I think it’s a lemon generation, because others have complained about a dud GPU.  But it could be the RAM, who knows.  EIther I’ll get a new motherboard for free, or they will say the RAM is bad and I’ll pay $50 to get it replaced.  The problem is not having the machine until then.

(And yeah, all you PC people can start with your HA HA MACS SUXXOR stuff.  But if this was a PC, purchased in 2010, it would have died about two years ago, and the warranty would have been long gone, and instead of getting help from an actual human at a store a mile from my house, I would have had to either fedex my computer to rural China and wait six months for an answer, or possibly bring it to a store that also sells refrigerators, junk food, and Beyonce CDs, and explain to a person who can’t read what happened.  There are only three steps in PC troubleshooting:  Reboot, Reinstall Everything, and Throw It Out And Buy A New One.  The fact that this machine has lasted three years is amazing – a three-year-old PC is a doorstop at this point.)

Anyway, I am now working off of my 2007 Macbook, which is plugged into the same monitor and keyboard and mouse, giving me the partial illusion that I’m on the same machine, but it’s a few versions back on the OS, only has a fraction of the speed and memory, and is missing a bunch of stuff like my entire music and photo libraries, my mail, and all of my documents.  I did install Scrivener here, so I can write, and I have copies of my latest books and projects, so that’s good.  And I have all of my homework and whatnot for my class, so I can do that.  But it is unusual to not have the bulk of my files around, even if I do have them over on an external drive just in case.

All of this does have me thinking about buying a new machine, though.  I wanted to limp along this MacBook for another year or two before shopping for a new machine, but I’m now wondering when the best point is to upgrade.  The rumor is that the middle of summer will be the next cycle for the MacBook Pro, and that they’ll be all-retina.  If I had to buy a Mac now, I would probably buy a non-retina, just because I don’t need to spend the money for a nicer display if I spend 80% of my time docked.  I’ve also thought about buying a MacBook Air and a Mini, using the Mini as a home server sort of thing, and the Air as a “terminal” and portable machine.  I don’t know exactly how this would work, or if there would be any advantage.  I would probably spend two hours a day moving files back and forth between the two.

Okay, I need to see how Scrivener does on a vintage six-year-old machine…