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Article: Reflections on Tech “Journalism”

by on March 16, 2007

I’ll admit it…I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on dialup for the last week, have no mobile phone service, and have been going through my iTunes Library and finding things from years ago that I haven’t listened to in months. Besides that, my current setup is roughly the same as it was 2 years ago (obviously there have been a few upgrades, such as more RAM, more drives, Tiger, a better iPod (that is also getting a tad dated), and different wallpaper), and that made me think about other things than the usual “let’s talk about the state of Apple” or “what about x feature about x product?” things that we run here.

The first step was to go all the way back to the first thing I had written…“Why I Use a Mac”, an article on Low End Mac. Basically, the article was your run-of-the-mill computer-timeline piece. It’s rather funny because the collection of old Apples still sits at my parents’ house (a few hours away from me), although some haven’t been fired up in years. It’s weird how even an old iMac G3 isn’t all that exciting to me for projects or other tasks. Of course, that was six years ago, and things like the iPod, iPhone, Mac mini, Apple TV, or anything Intel didn’t exist.

Why does this matter? Well, it seems to me that the older Macs are becoming more obscure as time goes on. Back in 1999 or even 2001, it was still possible to expect certain things to run on a Mac SE and even there were plenty of areas that provided support. A mere 6 years later, nothing. You’ll be sitting there and say “duh, everything gets older and more obsolete…do you want support for your //e?” No. I mean, that machines made 6 years after the SE, the early Power Macs, Quadras, and similar models are just as obscure. Heck, these days, anything beige is out on its own.

I’m curious what caused this shift. Is it because OS X is so radically different that it has become its own platform (especially now with Classic gone from Intel Macs)? Most likely, yes. There’s Windows and Mac OS X. I know this might anger some, but Linux has yet to actually do anything except for cool little embedded uses or being a repurposed underpinning for other OSes. After those three, you have the Amigas, Apple IIs, older Macs, CP/M, and any other generic ’80s operating system. I’m going to declare it right now…one big reason Apple dropped “Computer” from their name in January is that they are not the same company they were pre-2002-ish.

2007…kinda amazing that ten years ago we were all excited about G3 processors and OS 8 (I still have the issues of Macworld even…back when it was thick and had lots of commentary). In that time, things have changed a lot, almost entirely for the better (I do think that the idea of a budget notebook, a tiny subnotebook, and a power notebook needs to be recreated today), and although Apple’s product lineup has been at a standstill, many of us still like to write about these sort of things on the web.

I think that despite the fact that almost everything has changed, many of us who have been here through the bad times and the good see the same camaraderie, uniqueness, and maybe a bit of arrogance that has been around for years. The web has taught us to change, and even if how we convey our cheesy “fanboyism” is not the same as it was ten years ago, things have gotten better. The community is different, and sites like ours have to offer new things, too. Here’s to evolving!

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