Decades ago, I was introduced to the world of Apple on an early generation Macintosh. Considering that I, at the time, had an 8088 machine running lowly old MS-DOS, I found a lot of the things it could do to be quite interesting. However, every program ran a little quirky in those days. It was the world of keystroke shortcuts. I finally kicked that computer to the curb in 1992, and then moved up to the mighty 386-class machine with the brand new, Apple-like Windows 3.1! I’m here to tell you today that, despite it’s simplicity, that was the best Windows OS I ever ran. I think I mention why in another post–filing simplicity.
Since 3.1, Microsoft has continued to attempt to become more Apple-like, even while Apple has moved on and on. A few years ago, Apple led the charge into the next generation of computing with the iPod, and then the iPad, computers that didn’t have a keyboard or even a mouse. Suddenly, the whole computer could fit in your hand. And you could draw right on the screen. Needless to say, I, still encumbered by a lowly dual core, underpowered, PC, was fascinated by Apple, but, underpowered though it was, my computer had a boat load of cool things that I have added to it over the last Decade. However, the writing is on the wall. I realized just how behind I am when I tried to edit HD video with my new HD camera. Not going to happen.
What I need, according to the experts, do be a real HD video editor, is an i7 Hex Core with 24 GB of ram and a couple of raided terabyte drives of incredible speed (OK, just the 7200rpm standard). And I need USB 3! Well, that’s a boat load of money, and on my wish list. But, it got me looking at what Apple might have in a similar vein. And it got me looking at iGadgets and Android thingys.
Suddenly, I started to rethink the whole computer thing again. I used to have a netbook to take on the road for my business. That turned out to be a little unreliable, since trying to keep it charged was a hastle (to the point of having the connector flake out). Also, for what I do, it’s still big and bulky and usually in the way. For awhile, a nice PDA was filling most of my needs. But, the whole support system has dried up for them with the advent of Android and iGadgets.
The other day, my lovely cousin tipped me over the top. She started talking about how she could make her iPad write if she talked, and it worked easily and almost flawlessly. This intrigued me, since I fall way behind on blogging because I don’t have time to get my thoughts down when they come to me. Sure, I have several Dictaphones and even digital gadgets, But, they are all either broken or were purchased in the stone ages of Windows 95 and don’t even work on my computer anymore. Plus, they weren’t accurate. The problem with the Dictaphone, too, is that you have to listen through and find everything, and then you still have to write it. But, with speech to text, I can just print out all the dictations and have them right there for the picking and editing.
The other thing that intrigued me, as I started looking, was the amount of language translation software available for iPod/Pad or Android. I even discovered some programs that allow all the files to be on the device, so that internet access isn’t required. So, I decided that it was time to grab one of these mobile devices. But, which one?
I know that many people told me to jump into the iPhone or Android equivalent. “They give you a free phone with the data plan!” Well, the data plans aren’t cheap. The really good phones aren’t free, either. And, I like my phone to be a phone, period. Maybe it’s old-fashioned, but I’m up to here with the phone beeping and reacting to mishit buttons and on and on. So, I plan to regress to the cheap pay-as-you-go track phone. Instead of $90 a month, I’ll be paying $30, and I won’t worry about insurance to protect me from taking out a mortgage to buy a new phone if I break it.
In the meantime, I bought an iPod 4G (finally understand that it means “4th Generation”). Yes, I know that the 5th just came out. But, the one I bought has enough memory to do what I want–store translation files and text. It has WiFi, but I don’t really want to use it to connect to the internet. I have two really big monitors on my desktop so I can surf, Skype, and UTorrent all while watching movies and having three translation programs open at once. All I need the iPod to do is fit in my pocket and be my little secretary, for which, by the way, there are several apps.
OK, I already have one really big beef about the iPod. This actually may just be that I don’t get it yet. But, it would be nice if I didn’t need WiFi to download directly to the iPod when I already have it connected to iTunes on the main computer. Cost me a little money and a lot of grief staying up the first night and downloading apps, only to find out that I couldn’t do it that way. Today, day two, I’ve learned a lot more about it and we’re starting to get along. I’m still a little put off by the inability to work with some of the apps, but it’s getting better. Over time, I will probably find ones that work much better for me.
I have a smaller beef with the iPod, too. It lacks a micro-SD slot. That’s not really a big issue, since I can just sync it to the big computer and off-load files. But, it means my iPod will never be a multimedia play for me. Once I’ve loaded all the language dictionaries, there’s only room left for work files. OK, I can probably squeeze a few songs on there, too, from my 5GB of music files and 12GB of language learning files. But, with the other tools I have on there, I really won’t need them or have time for them.
I will say this: the cost for these applications is cheap compared to their full-fledged brothers for the big machines. Yes, they don’t have nearly the flexibility. But, they function well enough for what I need when away from home. I doubt I’ll ever give up the desktop, simply because of it’s ability to be modified to do extraordinary things. And I’m sure I will have that hex-core some day. Probably, by the time I get it, it will be half the price. And it might even run on the android system, which has really breathed new life into the tired, bloated software of the PC generation. In the meantime, I have a small piece of Apple. It’s cheap enough that, when the battery dies a few years down the road, I won’t feel cheated. And I may even discover that I like Apples a lot more than I thought.