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Why I don’t love my computer any more

I loved my KayPro II.

I loved it not only because it was my first computer, although that helped. I loved it because it taught me so much; I learned about computing, and not just about a particular operating environment. I loved it because within a year I could teach myself to write assembler programs for rescuing crashed WordStar documents and manage files. I loved it because I could carefully follow directions to double the clock speed by actually soldering jumpers on the motherboard. I loved it because even I could read its schematic.

I don’t love my current PC. It’s a big honking machine and I like how it works: 3.2mh processor, 0.75T of storage, two screens, etc. But I’d ditch it tomorrow for a bigger, faster machine. My emotional attachment is zero.

As DRM locks down my machine so that it becomes more like a TV, I’m going to feel more alienated from it.

Many Mac owners feel attached to their machines for a variety of reasons: Its elegance, its Unix hackability (in the good sense), its not-Windows-ness. Of course, we’ll see how much Apple’s love of DRM weakens that good feeling over time.

I do not expect to love a computer again. I would be happy to be surprised.

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7 Responses to “Why I don’t love my computer any more”

  1. Funny you should write about this today. I was just thinking this morning that I am loving my computer again in a way I haven’t since the early 1990s when I was a NeXT fanatic. Of course, I am using NeXTStep again (in the form of Mac OS X). Maybe you should give Apple a try and see if you are happily surprised… One thing that is different for me is that I have started programming again – and web programming so my “computer” isn’t just the machine in front of me but also the Apache/PHP server I am banging on — that engagement in creating the environment is something that, for me, creates a strong sense of attachment. Maybe when you used that old kaypro, you were programming? Maybe that made it feel different?

  2. I did try Mac again, as I do every 5 years or so. I had a PowerBook for three months, starting around November. There was lots to like, of course, but I didn’t fall in love with it. I ended up giving it to our daughter to replace her ThinkPad because the TP came back from college every semester so infected with viruses that I’d have to nuke the disk; my daughter needs a Mac more than I do.

  3. I love my Dell Latitude 410. Yes, I do. I love it so much I decorated it with butterflies and posted a picture to Flickr. I loved my X300, but I love this machine even more. This coming from a woman who bought the first love of her life at a BX in Germany in 1986. I remember debates about Enable versus Wordstar. I remember being the only XT clone fanatic in a room full of Amiga freaks.

    I know some people are crazy about their Macs, but this laptop is the right size, feel, and resolution for my true love. I tuck it in a capacious purse I call my old-lady bag, snuggled inside a hand-made sleeve, and it goes everywhere with me.

    But I don’t love my desktop. It’s a behemoth and it can go to alt.computers.die.die.die…

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  7. Sometimes my computer just makes me sleepy. Maybe someone could show me how to get carried away with it, on a pink cloud.

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