Sunday, March 23, 2008

Big Money Weekend

I am writing my first blog post on my new computer! Yes, I went for it, and I'm thrilled. I decided to get a MacBook-- the 2.4ghz, 250GB hard drive model, upgraded to 4GB of RAM. I was tempted by the pretty MacBookPro, but since I don't really need a 15" screen or super duper video graphics capabilities, I thought the regular MacBook would do the job, for a lot less money. Upgrading the RAM seemed like a good investment, since I plan to use this computer for as many years as I possibly can, and who knows how much memory future operating systems and programs might need.
While writing this post, I discovered one complication with my new set-up-- in addition to my new laptop, I got an AirPort base station so I could go wireless. (The $99 AirPort is now connected to my stereo so I can play music from my computer through the speakers, so it's already paid for itself by making a new CD player totally unnecessary. My old CD player broke during my move.) But the problem is that I have one of those power strips where the main outlet controls several other outlets-- I can save a few bucks by making sure my modem doesn't draw power while my computer is turned off. But that means that if I unplug my laptop to take it into the other room, as I just did, the main outlet powers off and so do the modem and the AirPort, since I can't fit them both into the outlets that are independent of the main outlet-- so suddenly, no more internet! Guess I'll have to rejigger that setup and figure out some other way to conserve electricity while still having wireless internet when I want it! (The answer turned out to be some little extender cables I'd bought at Radio Shack ages ago and never actually used-- they're about 6 inches long and are perfect for when you need to plug bulky AC adapters in right next to each other. I'll just move them into the non-switched outlets whenever I want to be online while not sitting at my desk.)

More details on my computer shopping experience: I planned my purchase around a weekend visit to a friend in Connecticut-- their sales tax is only 6% compared to NY's 8.25%. I also got a lucky break on the cost of the extra RAM-- normally Apple charges $400 for this upgrade, but for some reason, the Apple store I went to did it for only $300! All in, my new computer set-up cost me just over $2,000. When I think that I paid about that much for my first computer, a Macintosh PowerBook 165c with 4MB of RAM (yes MB not GB), it's just mind boggling. I also have to say that I was absolutely amazed at how easy it was to switch from my old iBook to this computer: I connected them with a Firewire cable, clicked "OK" a couple times, and several minutes later, all my documents and programs were on the new computer, all set up exactly as they were on the old one. Everything just instantly worked! I'm sorry if I'm sounding like a Mac commercial, but they really do know how to make things fabulously easy.

Of course, the trip to the Apple store involved a trip to a mall. And we all know that malls are dangerous, don't we! It took an hour and a half for them to install the RAM on my computer, and during that time, I managed to buy two t-shirts, a short-sleeved blouse, and a pair of hiking shoes, as well as some cute outfits for my niece and nephew. (Macy's, Ann Taylor, The Walking Company, and H&M!) Total additional spending for the day: $187. Oh well-- I can now feel like I've given myself enough of a treat with my bonus, and the rest is staying in the bank where it belongs!


Anonymous said...


I bought my current iMac in 2000, and while it's pretty slow, it's still going strong, and I've never had a lick of trouble with it. You'll probably be able to use your new baby for a long time -- $2000 doesn't sound too bad spread over, let's say, 6 years.

Anonymous said...


I love my iBook and wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm sure you'll enjoy yours for a long time.

Anonymous said...

"...normally Apple charges $400 for this upgrade, but for some reason, the Apple store I went to did it for only $300"

Still not exactly a good deal given memory prices.

Adding memory is not all hard to do. Normally you're better off buying the memory elsewhere and D.I.Y.

And it doesn't even void your warrantee, as it's meant to be user upgradable.

Apple does charge the larger rate because they don't want to get into too much customization on orders that ship from the factory. Having the in store techs do it is less of a hassle, which would explain the lesser rate.

Noel Larson said...

Given what I have gone through with this computer crash and reinstall, that setup seems like a dream!

Anonymous said...

By the way, the new Real Simple magazine points out that laptops use a lot less energy than desktop computers, so your choice will help keep your electric bill down!

Debbie said...

It seems like every PF blogger is buying a MacBook lately! How crazy. I know I need to join the trend soon, as my iBook is getting a little slow and cranky...I'm jealous!