Hardware v1.0


One of the things I’ve discovered working on the OZÉ project, is that creating hardware is a lot like creating software. It sounds counter-intuitive, but there really are many, many similarities.

I’m not going to elaborate, except to point out one of the consequences of this fact.

It is risky to buy the first version of a consumer-electronics product. Just like software, it’ll be bug-ridden, and users won’t have had a chance to be bitten by the bugs and report them back to the vendor.

There are exceptions. The iPhone is pretty flawless as a version one hardware product.

My first-generation iMac G5 on the other hand…

I bought it over 3 years ago, and it is still a capable, and in many ways spectacular computer.

I still use it for all of my surfing, music-making and designing (and use my Intel MacBook for translating using crappy but mandatory Windows apps running on Parallels Desktop).

However, over these years, my iMac has suffered quite a few hardware failures.

Over time, I’ve had to replace the motherboard, the hard drive and the optical drive.

I did it all myself. Apple sent me the parts, and I sent the defective ones back. I love the way the original iMac was conceived as a self-service machine (none of the subsequent models allowed this unfortunately).

Last week, the video card starting acting wonky (see illustration above). Apple kindly extended my warranty, which had just lapsed, but on the condition that I bring it into the shop for repair.

So I am now iMac-less for the next 10 days or so… My desk feels so empty…

My MacBook is also the first generation model. I urgently needed an Intel Mac for my translation work (no way I was going to buy a PC) so I broke my own rule. It took three tries to get one that wasn’t fatally flawed. It nevertheless eventually fell victim to a documented problem that was fixed in later iterations of the machine (the hand-rest area gets badly discolored. Apple will replace the part for free, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet).

So I’m done buying 1st generation hardware.

But I do intend to get a new iMac in the not too distant future. And wouldn’t you know it, Apple introduced gorgeous, tantalizing new, redesigned iMacs this year. But thankfully, a second-generation of this new version was just introduced, so hopefully, Apple will have ironed-out some of the version 1 bugs.

Just to be clear, though, despite these painful incidents, despite the bugs, my overall experience with these machines has been excellent. I love my 1st gen Macs and Mac OS X, and I wouldn’t exchange them for all the Dells and Windows in the world.

14. May 2008 by sknob
Destination: Geekiness | Leave a comment

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