There are times in life when you realize time has passed you by. This does not become apparent until you reach an age where you realize your favorite music is now part of the “classics” channel on the radio. As human beings we sometimes get caught in time and don’t realize, because of the day to day grind, that things have changed or are changing before our very eyes and we somehow miss it.
I have had discussions lately about the “new” Macintosh G5. Yes, I said the new G5! Somewhere, somehow, someone missed something. In 2005, Macintosh began the shift away from the PowerPC processor to the Intel chip. You can run Windows on a Mac. I know most who visit here will know this, but I want you to know that some do not, and it is a shocking moment for these people to realize that, just like hearing Jump by Van Halen on the classics station for the first time, some important things happened as time marched on.
My purpose in this post is not to cast blame, figure out why this happens, to make fun of anyone, or to cry out to the developed world to pay closer attention. I also am not posting to start a debate over Mac versus PC or the virtues of legacy equipment. I am, however, here to say that what once was great, isn’t anymore. If you are waiting for G5’s to make it to your classroom, you are too late. Nevertheless, you are not too late for AMDs, Intel Core Duos or even Atom processors in tiny little laptops (they are called netbooks). If you want a new PowerPC processor you can get one in an Xbox 360!
Change is constant, and we can hope to get the last drop of use out of an iMac, or IBM ThinkPad. I’m all for that, and for being cost conscious, but there comes a time when the cost of maintenance and repair is not cost effective. I type this, mind you, on a PowerBook G3 Lombard from the 20th century, but I can maintain this at my own cost and not at the cost to the taxpayer. When new is cheaper, faster, and better it is best, and that is what we are looking for: what is best for students.
I know the G5 was great, shoot I had an awesome IBM AT with a 286 processor. It found its way to computer heaven just a year and a half ago! I read LowEndMac everyday, and I think my PowerBook G4 first generation 400 MHz laptop was the best ever, but I refuse to put one in the hands of today’s students. They deserve the best not what was once the best.
Some things get better with age. Cheese, Van Halen (I think so), and they say wine. Digital devices do not get better with age: they can’t. As devices get faster, smaller, more portable, and cheaper it makes sense that we move on wisely. Granted we should get all the life that we reasonably can out of digital devices and plan for the future. That is the responsible thing to do.
If anyone wants to discuss the G5 I am there for you, but we will discuss its merits in a time that has passed. As we visit hopefully we will be listening to “Where Have All the Good Times Gone?” from Van Halen’s Diver Down album, but we’ll listen to it as an mp3 on an iPod Touch.