Essays on Technology and Culture

Requiem for a MacBook

My MacBook isn’t dead yet, but it’s on life support. Madame Psychosis, my long running, long suffering, White MacBook nothing will be put out to pasture this weekend. Its successor, an as yet unnamed June 2012 model Refurbished 15" MacBook Pro, gets picked up from the Apple Store in Grand Central on Friday. I’ll probably spend Saturday getting it fully set up to records its inaugural episode of Crush On Radio that Sunday. Meanwhile, this old thing will be shipped to Gazelle for whatever sinister purposes they have in mind. A computer that’s given me five and a half years of service has been sent up-river for the princely sum of $113.

That’ll cover a 16GB RAM upgrade.

This machine’s seen me through thick and thin. I got it when I graduated college. I’ve upgraded the RAM to 4GB, which seemed huge at the time. I covered the lid with band stickers—something I regret now. Every iOS device I’ve owned has connected with my MacBook. It sent out dozens résumés during my lost year. I’ve rebuilt, and re-rebuilt Sanspoint on it several times. Crush On Radio began on this thing, with 31 episodes recorded on it, most of which were edited on here as well.

In fact, starting Crush On Radio is when it began to show its age. Waiting an hour while Audacity munches and crunches on a ninety minute audio file to normalize, mix down, compress, and export as MP3 is proof. Plus, the backlight’s been going for some time now… I’ve had to make cutbacks to keep performance up: no running non-essential apps. Disable Dashboard. Disable Flash. Disable Java. [1] I’ve been using my iPad for anything that might be strenuous on my laptop, like streaming video. The time has come. This machine ha the weight of five and a half years of use and abuse, a small amount of road travel, and three major moves.

The new MacBook Pro will be a chance to start my computing environment over again, from scratch. I’m only going to install things when I need them, as I need them. I have 154 items in my Applications folder, many of which I’ve only ever used once or twice—if at all. This, of course, says nothing about the half a decade worth of apps I’ve installed, or the cruft that came over when I imported all the data off my iBook G4 and Mac mini back in the day. It’s taking up space. Even if my new MacBook Pro has a larger hard drive, and it does [2], if I can make it run lighter, all the better.

Still, it’s been a good run. I’ll be sad to see this old thing go. It’s for the best. Time marches on, and sometimes you finally have to make the upgrade. Good Night, Madame Psychosis, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.