Succumbing to Touch

I suppose it was inevitable. Combine a desire to write games with obsession with user interface design with small gadgets with gestural interfaces with needing excuse to refresh my Cocoa skills… my new distraction is a refurbished 16GB iPod Touch.

I don’t want or need an iPhone. Despite its warts, I’m happier with my smaller Symbian with its external keyboard support and really great voice recognition. However, I couldn’t resist the temptation to get my hands on the device. There was just too much great UI experience out there I wasn’t participating in! I’ve also been tempted by rumours of a forthcoming larger touch – a true Apple Tablet and want some key software at least in alpha form before it arrives, to pick up on the wave.

A note on purchasing older machines in Australia – I started out looking for an 8GB 1st gen Touch on eBay, wanting a 1st gen for compatibility and performance testing as well as cheapness. Thanks to a mate on MacGeeks, I was directed to the Apple Store – you can buy a refurb about $20 cheaper than your average eBay offering and it comes with new battery and earbuds.

Great Macs

Giving in to nostalgia and reading Best and Worst Macs on The Register, I was somewhat gratified to realise I have owned 4 out of the 5 of their best, or their near-cousins.

  •  The SE/30 was a true workhorse – I know many that ended up tucked in the back of computer rooms running servers. I had an aftermarket accelerator for mine and vaguely recall a memory expansion kit as well.
  • I owned a IIci and still have the Quadra 700 it morphed into. A fast, accessible little box. Booting it up in a blink and running Digitalk’s Smalltalk/V on it can bring tears to a modern eye at the sheer speed of a sophisticated development environment.
  • I have a Powerbook 190 tucked away somewhere, sans external power supply. It was a great little portable especially after adding the external video connector.
  • My (aluminium) Powerbook 12″ G4 is my travelling laptop. It succeeded a plastic iBook G3 which I think deserved an honorable mention for battery life and wi-fi connectivity.

I haven’t the need for a desktop Mac nowadays. My Macbook Pro 17″ sits up on an arm next to a 21″ monitor and serves very well as a development machine that I can also take outside or downstairs if I need. I’m not into games or video production to the extent that I need anything bigger and I appreciate using far less electrical power than a desktop. It’s also a lot easier to lock away when on holiday.