Saturday, March 26, 2011

An Apple a Day: My birthday iPhone - and Macs Past and Present

The Birthday Present...
Yesterday was my birthday and I got a lovely new iPhone 4! It was a pleasant surprise to discover I was entitled to an upgrade so that was my birthday wishlist fulfilled in one fell swoop. I hope I'll get years of fun and use from it - I am not normally in the frontline for the  latest gadget but I was more than prepared to make an exception in the case of the iPhone.

Hubby Jan got one last year and it really is the business, he uses it a lot for everything and on bill-pay with Vodafoneit is actually cheaper than the old price plan he had. He has a 1GB Data download limit whereas I only have 500MB for the same price plan which is a mean move on Vodafone's part. I was almost tempted to switch providers to 3Mobile who have an unlimited Data download for now but that could change in the future.

One reason I stuck with Vodafone - apart from some innate unexplained conservative nature where brand loyalty is concerned - was the unlimited free calls and texts to other Vodafone users, and the 150mins and texts to all other networks per month. That and the fact that I can use WiFi to access the internet and apps when at home or in a WiFi zone and just use the 3G data thingy when I'm out and about.

...and again
I have a thing about Macintosh products and would love a Mac computer like graphic designer son has - it is so cool and the desktop alone is lovely. I sometimes use Safari the Mac web browser -purely for aesthetic enjoyment - but it just doesn't work as well as Firefox on my PC laptop.

iPod Classic 30GB 
I have a vintage iPod Classic 30G in white, from an earlier birthday about 5 years ago. I get daily listening pleasure from it when I go for an evening walk with the dog around town. I just hope I don't frighten any locals I might encounter with my maniacal laughter at some of the wackier podcasts I subscribe to, as I find it hard to keep a straight face when listening to Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion's News from Lake Wobegon, or BBC Radio 4's comedy The  Now Show or The News Quiz, both of which are topical satirical panel programmes on current affairs. Sandi Toksvig and Hugh Dennis, Mitch Benn and Jeremy Hardy are always good for a laugh and their near-libellous commentary is hilarious. Nob Nation from 2FM on RTE is another laugh-a-minute.

Mac PowerBook (early 1990s)
Writing this just reminds me of other Macs in our life down the decades. Our first computer doesn't count as it was the trusty floppy-disk Amstrad PC 1512DD - unencumbered by a Hard Disk it had to be started up with those 5.25-inch floppies, and it was revolutionary back in 1987. It travelled from Wales to Tanzania with us, and served us well with PacMan, Brickbats, Dungeons and Dragons, and lots of preschool games and word-processing for the next few years. By the mid-90s we had B&W  Mac Classics and Power Books at work, which were amazing. I got familiar with MS Word and Excel and became a whiz touch-typist, self-taught, and a long way from the portable Remington I'd had at some stage in the 80s.

Mac LC11 (1994)
We moved to Lao PDR (Laos) in 1995 and there bought a new Mac- LC11. That had a 40 or 80MB Hard Disk, which was massive compared to the 0MB of the Amstrad. We played games like Snood and wrote letters home. We didn't have email till 1997, just before we left Laos, and we could get the Irish Times for £80 a year delivered in our email box - no pictures or formatting, just pages of text in the body of the mail - not even an attachment! How times have changed, and we couldn't have imagined back then what a revolution would take place over the next decade in communications, culminating in the Smartphone and the internet in your pocket.

Mac Performa PC (1996)
When we came  to live in Ireland in 1997 we bought another Mac - this time a Performa PC and it had a 500MB disk, a jump from our previous one. It was an all-in-one unit with the monitor over the CPU - no big boxes under the desk for Mac users - it was way ahead of the PC brigade even back then, and so it remains. This computer saw us into the dial-up internet age with every second counting in those pre-broadband days and we really had to ration our internet use or face huge phone bills. It was another four or five years before we moved to broadband, and it's hard to believe that you can now run a number of home computers from the wireless broadband.

In the Millenium year hubby had a significant birthday and got a new iMac - the hottest computer on the block. It was bright blue and shiny and see-through - and we all loved its aeshetic beauty. It had a massive 10GB hard drive and we were now downloading and storing masses of PDF files as we used it as a study hub when I was in UCC and the boys were going through secondary school and college. We always had Epson printers to go with the Macs and still have an Epson 3-in-1 which is perfect.

So, while we have succumbed to the mass appeal and affordability of the ubiquitous PC over Apple Mac in our daily lives with our Dell desktop and our Toshiba laptop, we'll always love and covet the Apple just like Eve back in the day in the Garden of Eden. And remember, an iPhone's not just for birthdays - it's for life!


Rudee said...

Seems like all the best birthdays are in March (mine was Thursday). Happy Birthday, Catherine!

I love my MacBook Pro. Everyone has given in to apple except my husband. He can't seem to part with his pc. I don't have an iphone, but I do have a BB for work and I love it for all it can do. I seldom make phone calls and email everyone. It's changed my work life significantly.

Enjoy your new toy.

Catherine said...

Thanks Rudee - and belated Happy Birthday for Thursday. Day after me - when I wrote my birthday yesterday in the post I meant to change it as I started the post Thurs. 24th - my b-day's the 23rd! Must edit it. Well I am on granny babywatch in Cork as our new grandchild will be born within the hour. A blogpost will follow -watch this space!!

Rita said...

Happy belated Birthday! Loved reading about the techy world we live it; it is outstanding. I was born before there was a television at home and look at us now!

Catherine said...

That's so true - we had no telly till I was 10 and then B&W one-channel land! It was only when I started reflecting on the computer progress over the years and decided to blog on it that I realised how it's changed and influenced our lives! Wonder where we'll go from here? Will write a follow up in 10 years!

Mimi said...

Happy Birthday Catherine!
I treated myself to an iPhone in October, and I LOVE it! Now, of course, I want an iPad!

Caroline said...

Happy Birthday Catherine. I have the new HTC-I love it!!
Next I would like a Kindle but I would still be a bookie, you can't beat the hard copy on the bookshelf.

MTeacress said...

Happy Birthday to you, Catherine! That new iPhone looks delicious. I'm a bit jealous. ;)
BTW, I love seeing your latest knitting creations.

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday. What a great pressie to get :) I bought a second hand iphone and I love it.