Upgrading the office and (unexpectedly) the computer

My Desk, Spring 2009It seems like I move my office/desk space about once every two years. Maybe that is some sort of subconscious/unconscious response to life; maybe it’s just instinct, like migration. Or maybe, more reasonably in this case at least, it’s just in response to events and the way the house was being used.

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we have this study/loft kind of space in our house where Annette had set up her desk. But because she does her work in the living room, dining room table, coffee shops, etc. (in other words, anywhere but at her desk), this really nice space was largely a place for her to store stuff. So I convinced her to let me move out of the basement (aka “the man cave”) and into the light.

Office space, or what's behind me....Since we’re between winter and spring terms around here, this seemed like a good time to make the move. I underestimated the impact of rearranging, particularly how long it would take. Moving into this space first meant moving stuff out of here into other rooms, which caused other things to move, and before you know it, I was rearranging half the house. And then there was moving about a ton of books a couple of flights of stairs, which definitely worked my gluts yesterday.

And just to throw another wrench into the works, my three year old iMac had what I would equate to a major stroke. Basically, just as I was setting it up on my new desk, the processor and video started going wacky. I am fairly confident that it was just a coincidence that this happened while moving stuff around (in hindsight, it was easy enough to remember a couple of kind of bizarre crashes and the like), but I have to wonder if that computer just did not like the sunlight in the new office. The good news is I was able to boot into target disk mode and the hard drive was/is fine; the bad news is that the diagnosis at the Apple store was that fixing the logic board/video would probably come close to $1000. So, seeing that price-point, I went ahead and bought the iMac on my new desk.

I might have been able to limp along with the old iMac because it was not completely dead. Just now, I was able to reboot it and do some software rig-a-ma-roll and get to iTunes to deauthorize that computer so I can use iTunes on this new computer. Who knows? Maybe it could have been/could still be fixed for less. But just dealing with my iTunes account was a strain on its poor rattled computer brain. Besides the wonky screen (lines, whole chunks just dropping away or getting warped, etc.), it froze completely after five minutes, forcing me to reboot it again. So while I wasn’t crazy about buying a new computer right now, I think I made the right choice.

It’s weird because I’ve had Apple computers for almost 25 years now, and while I’ve had some laptops crash and burn on me, I’ve never had a problem with a desktop unit. I’ve got two desktop computers in my office, an iMac maybe a year older than the one I just replaced and one of those “Lamp-style” iMacs that’s probably 5 or 6 years old. Both of these computers are servers and are on 24/7, and both are trucking along just fine. I’ve got a couple of G4 laptops (one of which was repaired several years ago) and both of them still work, though they are slow and clunky in comparison to what’s available nowadays. So I guess I’m going to chalk this failure up to just one of those things.

So far, I like the new desktop set-up a lot. I boosted the RAM up to 4 GB and the processor is noticeably faster. The keyboard is too little, but I think the Apple store people are going to be cool with me swapping it out for a numbered keyboard. I’m backing up with Time Machine over the wifi to a 1.5 TB drive I bought so everyone in the house can back stuff up as needed– since we already had a base station, this was a significantly cheaper option than Time Capsule– and that seems to be working well. And hey, there’s actually this non-cave-like light in the room! Go figure!

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