Down But Not Out

Holidays, Mac Gifts, and Which 'Book to Buy Next

Dirk Pilat - 2002.12.18

A very merry pre-Christmas to you, wherever you are!

Undoubtedly you will have noticed that (at least on the northern half of this exciting globe) the days have been getting shorter, the nights longer, and every shop in your vicinity has been playing Christmas songs since late August (they have been playing those songs in New Zealand as well).

Yep, even if you are a valued member of the other world religions, you will have undoubtedly noticed that it's getting nearer Christmas, this wonderful time of the year when one half of the western world is worried about what it should buy the other half without sliding into a major credibility crisis with your spouse, partner, relatives or - even worse - your kids.

Fortunately there are Apple shops and online retailers, where you can find something for the whole family: an iKlean Apple polish kit for the wife (I know, I know), 1 GB memory for granddad, an Xserve for the super nerdy kids, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein for the granny.

But what for yourself? On what will you spend that hard earned Christmas bonus? There is, of course, that almost eternal wish for proper mobile computing that you had since you bought that abominable Pentium laptop a couple of years ago, so a nice new Apple to take away would be a great.

A couple of days ago, the best girlfriend and I were standing in front of Micro Anvika's shop window on Tottenham Court Road in London and were admiring the new iMacs when the best girlfriend ever noticed a young woman in classic university uniform (pierced lips and brows, anorak, jeans, orange scarf) standing next to us and making rather unusual noises. On closer inspection, she was admiring the iBook on display, looking like my mother when she sees George Clooney on TV, sighing, ooohing and aaahing audibly. In awe. Completely awestruck.

Actually, it sounded more like she was acutely in love with the iBook, which brings us to the actual reason I wrote this little ditty: MacSlash has an interesting little discussion on which Apple to buy if you're into mobile computing: a new iBook, a new TiBook, or wait until Apple releases something even newer?

The reasons are obvious: the iBook's G3 is struggling with OS X but seems to be more rugged (I didn't know that iBookthe paint peels of the TiBook rather quickly but was a frequent complaint), has better WiFi reception, and is less prone to hardware problems. On the other side, a TiBook is blindingly fast, has advanced graphic capabilities, PCMCIA support, and seems to handle Jaguar with considerable ease.

As you all know, I am the proud and happy owner (well, mostly) of a 500 MHz dual USB iBook, which has endured plenty of falls from high surfaces and still performs admirably. Unfortunately, it seems that newer software titles now stretches it capabilities to the limit. For instance, Black and White does not run as smoothly under Jaguar as I would have wished, and things like Return to Castle Wolfenstein seem to be far too resource hogging.

Would this change if his Steveness and his team would push the G3 further than 800 MHz, or will only a G4 in the next iBook do?

As I rely heavily on mobile computing, I will wait until the mothership releases the new line of 'Books and wait for the reviews to pour in. I would love to be the owner of a TiBook, but if my notorious clumsiness excludes me automatically from the target audience, I probably would go again for the iBook, but leaving me with nagging doubts whether Apple will exclude me in future from new OS releases that might not support G3s. I wouldn't be the first time. Sigh.

What do you think? Let me know and gimme some feedback so we can enlighten the rest of the world quickly.

For now I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful New Year, wherever you are! LEM

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