hardware: an iBook talks

I'm an iBook G4 and I'm not too sure what my future is. I'm a loan machine and I go out and about so people can test me and write boring twaddle about what I can do. Only trouble is I've just been replaced in the model lineup by the MacBook with the new Intel CPU. And it's supposed to be something like five times faster than me. And you can get it in black. I am white and attract dust like crazy so what a black one will look like after sitting on the floor for a few hours doesn't bear thinking about. Quite frankly, why anyone needs such a thing to do their email or type up documents is beyond me. Not that I'm anxious about the future. Thankfully, anxiety isn't part of my make-up.

At my new place for testing I hear some muttering. I was to have gone to Amsterdam but I arrived a day late and didn't make it and sat around for a while doing nothing. But now we have some action. Cables are plugged in and there's a check for nearby wifi networks. There is a WEP-protected one which my operator sends passwords like "guest" and "password" to (clearly someone with little imagination) thinking that using passwords like that is an invitation. But they don't work and he can't be bothered going through the relatively easy cracking process for such networks. So an ethernet cable is attached and I'm connected to a Mac G5. Hi cousin! Actually, it wasn't quite as simple as that. There was some initial swearing before the ethernet connection actually worked but it only took a few minutes and some checks in the FM.

A little before that Aquamacs Emacs had been transferred by Bluetooth but the transfer time had been large enough to make the operator regain his rational senses and go for Ethernet. Why doesn't he have wifi on the G5? You'll have to ask him. When the connection was fixed up, Ableton Live and Desktop Manager were zipped across. Desktop Manager (and the like) are a real help on my smaller screen as you get multi-desktops which cuts the clutter and is snappier to use than pressing function keys to make windows appear or disappear under Expose. The operator (let's call him Opie -- he likes cartoon dogs) has also been breaking into song about some lovely woman he's in love with so I suppose Ableton Live has come across to make some yucky love songs ... although I'm not sure why Garageband isn't good enough. Is he a software snob?

It turns out that there will be some journeying. I'm quite small and light so it seems I'm to go out looking for networks. This apparently has become quite necessary as Opie's phone company, BT, has dug up his phone line and killed it for the second time in a year. Opie knows this because he caught the technician digging around in his junction box hole and when told that he had just killed the phone line replied that he'd better report it as a fault. Opie had a few words to say about paying rip-off English prices for keeping embeciles with attitude problems in employment.

The next swearing had to do with my apparently quite small "enter" key. He kept missing it and having to go back and fix the resulting small mess. Frankly, I think the size of my "enter" key is just right. And why does he want new lines all the time anyway? Hasn't he heard of word wrap? Maybe it has something to do with the weird editor he imported.

Opie has a browse through my 37 Gig harddisk and finds that's there's 20 Gig left to fill. My basic specs are:

  Machine Name:	iBook G4
  Machine Model:	PowerBook6,7
  CPU Type:	PowerPC G4 (1.5)
  Number Of CPUs:	1
  CPU Speed:	1.33 GHz
  L2 Cache (per CPU):	512 KB
  Memory:	512 MB
  Bus Speed:	133 MHz
  Boot ROM Version:	4.9.3f0

Not too bad, I think.

The next day I'm thrown into a pack and we set off to find some networks in central London. No problem, there are tons! When Opie last did this, it was with a Sharp Zaurus with a Buffulo wifi card and while it found some networks it was fairly underpowered plus there was also the problem of battery life in that it would only last for less than an hour.

We alternate browsing music shops and networks and then have a sit in Foyles book shop. There is one open network all around here and if there other networks, I don't seem to be picking them up. Opie is suspicious as he thinks there should be more, and thinks that the downside of having everything built-in is that it's harder to, say, customise the wifi aerial. Not that it matters as email has been dealt with and as far as utility goes we're done. Some people are never satisfied.

Ableton Live works fine on me although my small screen size and G4 processor would mean that it would bog down if Opie tried to do too many tracks at a time. Ten or so with light processing would be OK I think. Maybe more. As it happens Opie is just trying to remember how to do a certain thing and is using the comfort factor of using me on a couch instead of perched on his plain wooden chair. Time for the ergonomic chair Opie! Some people are slow to learn but it is true that I'm not exactly an ergonomic star either. All laptops have problems that way.

Now I'm about to be packed back into my carton. What next, I wonder. Sold off cheap in the back of a store? Given to some ham-fingered person who stabs at my keyboard with all the emphasis of a moron? Atoms recycled to be part of who knows what?

Just as well I don't get anxious.

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