Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blogging is Hard, New Computers Are Easier

The title of this post is actually misleading. Blogging is easy. I can write almost as easily as I can breath, but having the energy to blog in three places and divide my time and attention among other new pursuits (*cough*Facebook*cough*) has made it difficult to do what I used to do with my personal blog. That's not an excuse as I don't actually feel obliged to blog, but I do this for myself as well as for others who are interested. This is supposed to be me catching random threads from my life, holding them up and scrutinizing them and then immortalizing them in my blog posts so that I can look back on them when I'm even older and more addled and see who I was. Well, they'll be around provided Blogger doesn't knuckle under the weight of a millions of inane thoughts being stored for posterity in its digital coffers.

The last several days have been particularly busy because Apple finally released a new model Mac Mini (after 14 months, thank you so very much Apple for your attention to the machine that launched thousands of PC switchers). Since my old Mini is a month or so shy of its fourth birthday and my husband has been chomping at the bit to get a new media PC hooked up to our television, we bought one as soon as possible.

For those who don't live in Japan, I'll say that you have few options when it comes to pricing on Apple products. I've heard that this is much the same in the United States. We had the choice of paying 89,800 yen ($912) for the high end model at either the Apple Store or paying the same price at any of a number of electronics shops. Note that the same model costs $799 in the United States so we're forking over $113 more for the privilege of buying it in Japan. That's not quite enough of a difference to have someone buy it in the U.S. and airmail it over, but it's enough to make me feel ripped off.

Since the price was the same everywhere, we bought it at Yodobashi Camera because they give you "points" for purchases. That means we got about $45 worth of store credit for buying it from them whereas we'd get nothing but the smug satisfaction of walking out of an Apple Store with an Apple Store shopping bag if we bought it there. We used the money for the exciting purchase of rechargeable batteries. Still, free batteries (and a little more credit leftover) is better than an Apple Store shopping bag, though there may be some fanatical types out there who may feel otherwise (I'm looking at you, Joseph).

For the first day or so, I had to use my old keyboard and the new and old Minis look exactly the same so it didn't feel very new except for the increased speed and less yellowed-looking white top. I haven't had much of a chance to take advantage of the speed though since I've spent the two days since getting it loaded with software and fighting with getting Windows installed on a dual boot. I gave up on that eventually, but am reconsidering now, though I will say the issue was not related to my lack of ability to do it as I've done it before on my husband's MacBook. When a spiffy flat aluminum keyboard arrived from Amazon, it finally started to seem like a real new computer.

I'll confess to growing pains with Safari and a crash when trying to update the system to use the newest version of Safari. I'm thinking Firefox is looking like an old friend that I'm not quite willing to abandon at this point, but I want to give Safari 4 a shot once I can install the security update that is necessary to install the beta. Right now, it's driving me crazy that opening a link from Google Reader opens in a new window instead of a new tab despite my setting preferences to open links in tabs. Why won't you listen to me Safari? Are you punishing me for ignoring you and using Firefox for all these years?

At any rate, buying the Mini has set us off on a bit of a spending spree. Part of the reason is simply necessity, but perhaps once the purse strings have been loosened, it's easy to keep dipping in for more. It's not really a big deal for us though since we have no debt and aren't going into debt for new purchases, but it does feel like wild abandon when we buy both a new computer and an iPod stereo dock (to be delivered today) in close proximity to one another. I'm sure the strange sense of being a slave to materialism will pass after a year or so of frugality. ;-)

(Note: And to Joseph, who raved about the new Apple keyboards months ago and has been carrying one around the office like a precious child for quite some time, you were right about how good it is. It is a superior keyboard.)


Helen said...

Ooh, a new computer. Enjoy!

(Not sure if you want to know this but your BIL doesn't like Safari 4 either. Feel free to delete this part.!!)

Orchid64 said...

Thanks. :-)

I don't mind your mentioning that the BIL doesn't like it either, though I'm surprised he'd admit it with his big stock investment in Apple. Usually, he's quite the cheerleader. ;-)

Joseph said...

Congratulations on your purchase. May it being a new glow to your home and your soul. May it light up your lives with it's whiteness, and bring music to your eyes through its little speaker.

...but how you could pass off the chance of being seen walking out of the Apple Store with an Apple back i just don't know. And for the sake of $45 of batteries. Ah, i weep.

(although actually, I;m really glad you mentioned this as I had completely forgotten about store points, and so will now probably get our next mac at Yodobashi or Bic!

Glad you like the keyboard too!)

1tess said...

The Apple bags are pretty cool. The one I got when I bought my laptop last fall wore out. At Christmas, I went with my daughter to buy her an iPod touch and mentioned to the salesman how much I liked those bags. He gave me 4 or 5 of the nice big ones! I suppose he wouldn't have done that if I'd not spent some money, but still…

'badmoodguy' is mike said...

I hope the new Mini works out great for you. Once I heard about Apple refreshing it (about darn time) I thought of you instantly! :) I'm still on the fence whether I want to splurge on one or not...

Orchid64 said...

Joseph: Actually we only spent a little less than half of the credit on batteries. ;-) You'll be pleased to know that we have only bought Apple products in our last three major electronics purchases (iPod Touch, MacBook, and now a Mini). The iPod stereo dock came yesterday and it's very good quality (it's a Maxell Vraison and sounds and looks like a real stereo, albeit a small one). I'm still always going to have an eMachine around for gaming (and Tito will probably always have a cheap laptop PC - but we're back on the road to all primary Macs.

Tess: My closet still has some Apple-themed knicknacks in it. I used to love all of that stuff with the Apple logo, so I can see the appeal of the bags, but I think you can see where I'd rather have the free stuff from Yodobashi. ;-)

Mike: Hi, and I'm sorry I didn't respond to your last few e-mails. I really appreciated that you were keeping me in mind and I meant to get back to you but then life sort of whisked me away! I hope you're doing well!

Thanks to everyone for the comments!

Joseph said...

"we're back on the road to all primary Macs"

Glad to hear you're back on the straight and narrow after your foray into the land of the Other.


Girl Japan said...

Congrats on your Appple, do you have the flat keyboard, I LOVE IT, keeps all the pesky crumbs out while I nibble on this an that at the pc! lol

I don't have a mini but have desktops and laptops, gosh now you have me thinking about the HD for backup and mac TV..goodness.

Kelly said...

Oh you're on facebook? Is that under the same name...?

Orchid64 said...

It's under my real name, which I can't recall if you know it or not. I can't remember if I ever managed to e-mail you or not (or if I lost track of your address as I'm prone to do!). Feel free to drop me a line at orchidsixtyfour (at) and I'll tell you my real name if you'd like to be one of my friends! If you e-mail me first, I will have your address in my mail program and can't misplace it!