Thursday, July 8, 2004

My new computer

Here's a short history of my computer ownership:
When I was a child, my parents bought the first family computer, a Texas Instruments TI 99/4A. I used BASIC to write simple arcade games using sprites. I played more games than I wrote, though.
We had a TRS-80 in there, too.
The first real computer we owned was a Lobo... I want to say MAX-80? It ran the CP/M operating system. I used it to write utilities in C, which amazes me now. Utilities to do things like convert stats from the Iron Crown Middle Earth supplements they were putting out at the time to D&D stats. I also thought a lot about writing adventure games in C and Pascal. I was in Junior High at the time.
Then we got a Macintosh, pretty much as soon as they were introduced. And I've never gone back. Unfortunately, I suppose, I've also never recovered the C and Pascal I once knew...
When I went to college, I took an older Mac Plus with me. I used it almost all the way through seminary. It wasn't until my last year of seminary that I bought my first PowerBook—also pretty much as soon as they were introduced. It was a PowerBook 160. A couple of years later, I bought a 165c and we became a two-computer family. Every Saturday night, there we'd be, each writing a sermon on a PowerBook... 
A few years later, I bought a Power Mac G3 (as soon as they were introduced). This was when I was doing a lot of multimedia work and I could justify getting a more powerful desktop computer. 
Over the next couple of years, several computers worked their way into our lives. We acquired an old PowerBook Duo 2300 for my wife to use for school. When the keyboard on that died, the friend who sold us the PowerBook gave us an even older PB 160 as a consolation. 
Then a couple years ago we bought an iBook, ostensibly as my wife's computer (again, for schoolwork). That was a big lie; it became the primary family computer while the G3 gathered dust. Then about a year ago I put a lot of time and a fair amount of money into upgrading the old G3—lots of RAM, a bigger hard drive, a working CD-ROM drive, much of it from eBay—and made it my primary computer again. It ran the then-current latest version of Mac OS X (10.2.8) just fine, if a little slowly. And that was just great... until Apple released 10.3 and didn't support it on old desktop G3s. I managed to get by for a good while, but the other day I finally gave in and bought myself a new PowerBook G4. In contrast to certain other D&D designers who shall remain nameless, who bring their showy 17" screens to every meeting, I have a tiny 12" model, and it's the previous-generation (09/03) model, but it's great. It's got Panther (10.3), it's super speedy, it's really compact, and it makes me happy once again to be sitting on the comfy chair in the living room working, rather than at a cramped and crowded desk in the study. 
I think of it as my novel computer. And the reason for that is that I was seriously considering an iMac or even a desktop G5 as my next computer, until my wife pointed out that every time I talk about writing my novel, I describe being away from a desk—sitting in a cafĂ© or on a lounge chair on the deck or something. That's my mental model of what a novelist is, and that swung my decision in favor of the PowerBook.
So yeah, I'm writing a novel. I don't know how much I should say about it, but I feel safe saying that I'm in the enviable position of already having a contract for my first novel, before I've written it. That's the good life.
Now all I have to do is write the 90,000 words. But I get to do it on my new computer, sitting in the comfy living room chair or in Tully's or out on the deck...
And come Saturday night, I wouldn't be surprised to see the two of us in the living room, she with her iBook and me with my PowerBook—not writing sermons, perhaps, but merrily clicking away. Living la vida dorka, for sure...
It's a good life.

No comments: