Blogging since 1998. By David Wertheimer

Month: August 2011

List of Apple devices I have owned, used and loved since 1981

Aw, what the heck. Today is a nostalgic one thanks to Steve Jobs. Everyone I read keeps posting about how they’ve used so many Apple devices over the years. So I took stock.

Apple ][e (loved)–I didn’t have my own, I just used Mike Han’s a lot. Circa 1983.

Apple //c (owned)–the ][e was off the market by the time my parents bought me my own computer.

Apple Macintosh (loved)–again, I didn’t have my own, I was forced to go over to Felix Sheng’s and Howard Slatkin’s houses and be jealous of theirs. Howard’s dad had the original Talking Moose app, which I fondly recall to this day.

Apple Personal Modem 300/1200 (owned)–this is the gadget that really changed how I view the world. I fell in love with online communication back in late 1987.

Macintosh LC (owned)–my first Mac. Kind of a piece of crap, particularly after I installed AutoDoubler to find hard drive space and my processor slowed to a crawl.

Macintosh SE/30 (loved)–I inherited this when I took over my college newspaper. It’s probably my all-time favorite computer, even though it was three years old when I used it. I had on it Eudora, Microsoft Word 5.1a, and a Klondike solitaire app, and it was just about perfect.

Macintosh Performa 636CD (owned)–the Mac I got after I wiped the LC hard drive and sold the machine. It was fine.

Power Macintosh (used and owned)–I had Power Macs at two different jobs in the 1990s and early 2000s, and purchased one for myself in 1998 after I moved to New York and needed a decent machine at home for freelancing. I forget the model number, but I was very happy with my personal Power Mac, which I upgraded several times over the years. I used Power Macs in vintage (pre-PowerPC) mode as well as with G3 and G4 chips. Soldiering on through Apple’s darkest years, loyally, hopefully.

PowerBook G3 (loved)–my close second on the favorites list. Gorgeous, powerful, transportable, rugged. The Economist got me one for my international travels and it went around the world with me with aplomb. To this day part of me wishes they’d bring back an evolved version of this laptop design, with its soft-touch matte black exterior.

iMac (loved)–I was still plugging away on my hotrodded Power Mac when the iMac blew onto the scene. I didn’t buy one, but everyone else did, including my my mom. Bondi Blue everywhere. (Mom is on her third iMac now.)

iBook (used)–when I met my wife, she had the Bondi Blue Tangerine Orange Mac laptop. Cute and durable.

iPod (owned)–the original model, 2001. My parents thought I was nuts buying a $399 gadget that no one had ever heard of. (I still have it, and it still works, although the battery is shot.)

iPod mini, 3G, nano, Classic, Shuffle (owned)–I believe my household has had 10 iPods through the years. Five of them are currently in use in one way or another. We never did get an iPod Touch, though.

PowerBook G4 (owned)–purchased when the iBook and PowerBook G3 both fell apart. Served us well for years.

iPhone (owned)–bought the original model the first weekend. Rock star.

MacBook (owned)–our current machine is another gem. Fast, useful, attractive, everything an Apple product always is. I have a nearly identical MacBook Pro at work.

iPhone 3G (used)–Amy got this one, I didn’t.

iPhone 3GS (owned)–and now we both have this guy, awaiting the 5, whenever it comes out.

iPad (owned)–we didn’t buy one, then Amy got one, then we didn’t use it for awhile. We have since discovered that it is our three-year-old son’s favorite toy. (I still don’t use it for much. Maybe the iPad 2 will change that.)

The only company in my life with a similar longevity is Nike, whose shoes I’ve been wearing since first grade. Quite a run for a technology company. Godspeed, Apple.

Steve Jobs

I am enough of a traditionalist that I still gauge the importance of news by its placement on the front page of the printed New York Times. (I still get a copy on my doorstep every morning.) So it was not lost on me that the lead in today’s paper was Steve Jobs’ decision to step down as CEO of Apple.
CEO transitions are often news, but not front page news, much less the story that carries the day. (As of this writing the story has already become a secondary item on, making the print edition the final record of the day’s priorities.) Such is the impact and presence of the genius behind one of history’s most remarkable companies.
While the Times is my guide, I first learned of Jobs’ decision last night–on my iPhone. I could run down a list of Apple devices I’ve used in the last seven days alone but to do so would be almost too obvious. Jobs’ vision has transformed how we consider, use and appreciate technology, all for the better.
I’ve enjoyed Apple products since the days of the ][e. I look forward to many years of continued innovation and successes by the company. Today, like the rest of the world, I tip my cap to Steve, in thanks and in admiration.

I did, however, throw out my collection of spare jewel boxes

I still have roughly 500 CDs in my house. The audio kind, that is; 500 hours of music, most of it somehow not yet ripped into MP3 format, everything from the Beatles to an classical improvisation trio from Lancaster, Pa., much of it slowly being forgotten as I move inexorably away from physical music ownership.
Tonight I rekindled my project to get them digitized once and for all. A stack of CDs has migrated from my wall unit to my desk, slowly but surely making its way onto my hard drive. And I’m boggling my mind with the discs I’ve somehow never gotten onto my iPod.
How is it that I have Radiohead’s “The Bends,” and every album from “Kid A” through “In Rainbows,” in iTunes, but I never pulled in “OK Computer?” Why do I have Huevos Rancheros’ “Dig In!” on there and not Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend,” which I must have played hundreds of times in my car’s CD player in the 1990s? Actually, I only have one of my six Matthew Sweet albums on my iPod. Do I really look back that little?
Apparently so. And perhaps this is why the end of WRXP, New York’s only modern rock station, resonated so heavily with me. With the exception of two pop and a few hip-hop stations, almost every spot on the commercial radio dial in New York is stuck in the past. Sure, the past has moved up from the 1960s to the 1980s; but if I want to hear a contemporary rock song–or jazz, or metal, or country for that matter–I’m going to have to turn off the radio. I want modern, interesting, progressive music on the radio: NPR for songs. Instead, I get “Eye of the Tiger.”
So I undertake this CD-to-MP3 migration in a bit of a catch-22. I can’t move these discs out of my apartment until they’re (mostly) available on my computer, yet the vast majority of the effort is going to wind up worthless, as I go years without listening to the music I’m diligently migrating; but without doing this, I could never let go of my CDs, even as they slowly collect dust until I randomly grab one to bring into the car. (I never did replace my CD player.) Maybe I should get a Spotify Premium subscription and just move on.

Obama’s grand miss

Regular readers of this space know that Ideapad rarely touches on politics. But Drew Westen’s What Happened to Obama? in the New York Times Sunday Review is a must-read. It’s a compelling, gut-wrenching and accurate exposition on how Barack Obama failed at a terrific, and important, opportunity to shape the nation’s future.

With [Obama’s] deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics — in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time — he has broken [“the arc of history”, Obama’s paraphrasing of Dr. Martin Luther King] and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation. … The real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit.

Data points from the debt cap deal

Behind the rhetoric, some fascinating numbers coming out of Washington this week.
As part of the deal, the 2012 Congressional budget will be reduced by $22 billion. Of course, the 2012 baseline budget is $3,639 billion. Which makes the budget cuts 0.61% of the budget–perhaps less–and basically meaningless besides as a data point for stump speeches. (The article linked above suggests that the entire deal could be fiscally meaningless, although it’s politically huge.)
Tea Party representatives took a hard-line stance against taxes, but among voters, 53 percent of Tea Party members supported a combination of tax increases and spending cuts for this deal. And a whopping 66% of voters encouraged the Tea Party representatives in Congress to work toward compromise last month.
Ultimately, the pragmatic center carried the day, with 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans voting in favor of the bill, and 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans voting against. Forging middle ground is almost quaint in 2011 Washington (even if it is heavily tilted toward the Republican ideal).

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