I’m back

Or more precisely, my computer’s back from the repair people. Yay.

A couple of observations about that: Time Machine (Apple’s automatic backup software) is just brilliant. Having your computer die by inches is so much less stressful when you know you can rescue everything. And actually it works even better than I realised: my computer came back with Leopard installed on its new blank hard drive, because for licensing reasons they can only install the version of the OS that the machine shipped with. But you just pop it the Snow Leopard install disc, select ‘Restore from Time Machine backup’, and a couple of hours later everything is back to just the way it was before. I had to re-enter a few software license codes for some reason, but that’s no great hardship.

It also means that I’ve been using the iPhone as my main computer. And it is almost comical how much powerful it is than the first computer I owned; it has something like 50 times the RAM and 200 times the storage capacity. Although the iPhone’s screen does only have half as many pixels as my original 13″ monitor.

But power isn’t everything, and if I needed to write a long essay, I would still prefer to use that old IIcx, with its keyboard and its slightly larger screen. Which is the main reason I haven’t blogged much since the computer started dying: it is just so much more like work when you have to type on the phone’s virtual keyboard, and you can only see a few lines of text.

Even the things which the phone is better suited to, like checking email, using the internet, reading RSS feeds — browsing, basically; stuff that doesn’t require much typing — they are so much nicer on a proper computer. It’s partially the screen size, but also the sheer speed and responsiveness. It is a joy.

» The image is ‘Macintosh IIcx Owner’s Guide, Page 38’, © Jeff Jackson and used under a CC by-nd licence. Though having said that, surely it must be © Apple Inc.? Anyway. It seemed appropriate.

2 Comments

  1. 17 January 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    This past summer, for the first time in four hard-drive crashes over my lifetime, I lost nothing, thanks to Time Machine. I’ve used it also on about four occasions to recover important stuff I had either deleted or mangled.

    I noticed no let-up in your Tweeting, which I guess an iPhone would excel at!

  2. Harry
    17 January 2010 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Yes, Twitter is the one thing which almost feels more natural on the phone than it does on the computer. 140 characters is about right. Even that, though, the moment you want to read a link someone has posted, you’re back with the limitations of the small screen and so on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the iPhone and think it’s a work of genius, but with all the chatter about devices converging and smartphones turning into general computing devices, it’s a reminder of how fundamentally limited it is.

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