If you’ve read various editorials that Wendy or I have posted to elfquest.com, you know that Warp Graphics is, completely and coast-to-coast, a Macintosh operation. Back when the Mac debuted in 1984, the only decent page-layout, desktop publishing application was a newcomer called PageMaker, and it was only available for the Mac. Because I wanted to apply such a tool to the production of Elfquest, I bought my first Mac. Yes, the decision may have been “cart before horse” in nature, but in the years since, I have never ever looked back, or regretted that I took the road less traveled.
Until today. You see, I’m not one of those that are called “early adopters” – that class of intrepid folk who will jump upon the very newest hardware and software the moment it becomes available (sometimes even before it’s truly ready). I like to let things marinate a while, give other folks a chance to find and kill the bugs that inevitably show up. Give me three to six months, maybe even longer, to see how new products stand up over time, and then maybe I’ll spring for the new toy.
(There’s also a purely wallet-based factor in that approach; in the world of computers a new model often shows up within half a year of the previous one, and when that happens, prices on the older stuff go down. I don’t need any more CPU horsepower or application bells and whistles than necessary to get the job done…and so waiting saves mucho dinero.)
The Apple iPod has been out on the market now for over a year, but in the tradition of “if I don’t need it I ain’t buying it” I wasn’t the least bit tempted to go out and purchase one. Especially given the backlog of orders for the wee beastie’s initial release. If I wanted music, I had my portable CD player – or, as I’d more and more often found myself on long flights, my laptop, complete with CD drive and headphones.
It’s amazing how personal evolution works. For the longest time I didn’t give a hoot about this “MP3” business, whatever that was. But somewhere along the line, Apple started bundling something called “iTunes” with its new computers, and with iTunes came an entire new universe of stuff to listen to, and ways to listen to it. So I began converting CDs I had bought into MP3 format and keeping them on my laptop for those long drives and flights. (No, I don’t do the file-sharing thing. Don’t get me started on copyright issues.) Then I discovered I could do the same with audiobooks and catch up on a ton of reading that I wasn’t managing to accomplish. And all I had to carry along with me was my Powerbook…
…which weighs close to six pounds (more like ten with case and accessories) and has a battery life of about two hours. Hmm.
Hmm again. These iPod things have been out a while now, and they’ve gone through some improvements, and people are really saying good things about them, and they say I can fit about 2-3 weeks of audio on them, and the battery will go for maybe ten, twelve hours. And they’re little. Hmm.
So today I sprung for one. And spent a good chunk of what was supposed to be my work day in loading it up with a whole slew of favorite CDs – mostly Beatles. (What can I say? The music that’s all around during your most formative years is the music that stays with you forever, says I.) And then this afternoon I discovered I was all out of a certain kind of photo paper that I use to produce the fine prints of Wendy’s artwork that’s for sale on eBay in the Wolfrider Shop. So iPod and I got into the van and went flying down the Taconic Parkway en route to the closest place that sells such paper, about an hour away. And that pure, primal rock and roll was bursting out of the speakers, and I was bopping and so very into the experience of being able to listen to anything I wanted to hear in any order from a menu of literally thousands of songs available to me from this slick white gadget no larger than a deck of playing cards…
…that I missed the bleeping exit to get to the store and you know what? There is no easy way at that particular stretch of the parkway to just turn around and catch the exit going the other way. Oh no. So yours truly and iPod spent the next half hour discovering areas of Westchester County that I could have lived the rest of my life happily not knowing about. But hey, the music was prime!
Curse you, Apple. You’re making life way too much fun! (Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)