Memories of computers past

We were talking about technology, discussing Apple and Microsoft and Windows and OS X, printers and other things. We talked about how computers age. I checked and realized I bougt my first Mac - my 12 inch Powerbook - in 2003. It is more than ten years old, and I still keep it close at hand. I have not used it regularly in quite a while. But even "quite a while" in this case is "since I got my iPad".

That was in 2010.

Since we were talking about aging computers, I fetched it from the shelf. The Macbook air has not been kind to the percieved size of the Powerbook. Next to the Air, it looks thick and frightfully riddled with seams, screws and edges. Not having been used for a while, the battery was of course flat, but with power connected it booted just fine. The clock battery is flat since a few years back, too, but network time fixes that quickly. And once the battery is charged, it actually has a surprising amount of juice left in it. I am writing this very text on it, cordless, on the couch. As if it was 2005 or so again. Everything is just where I left it, and once it got to chew on the hard drive and install two surprise software updates things flow pretty decently (although I should perhaps have left it on 10.4 for even better performance). Booking face and writing text works as nicely as ever, and the keyboard feels nice, rounded and familiar under my fingertips. Even the whirring of the spinning drive - chugging away on all the data added to my Dropbox since the last time it was awake - feels kind of good. The 4:3 screen aspect is fun too - it feels so tall!

Really, I think the thing I miss most obviously from a newer computer - aside from a touch of extra speed - is multi-touch gestures on the touch pad, swiping to scroll of course being the major one.

Perhaps if I cleaned out my box a bit it would be smoother and faster to get back in touch on a rarely used device …

I will probably put it back on the shelf soon and not use it again in a long time, but I still like this computer a great deal. I just wish there was a nice use for it.