Certain inventions just sort of … change the landscape, say. Wheeled luggage. Automobiles. Birth-control pills. Wireless broadband connectivity. And so it was, when our old iMac came up needing a $300 repair, right on the razor’s edge of my fix it/junk it threshhold, our household did an assessment of our computing needs. No, really we just sat around for a couple weeks with our thumbs up our butts, fighting over the laptop. Then the second term started, and the fighting became more pitched — you really can’t underestimate the importance of a computer to today’s student, and with one of one and two of the other, we needed to fix things. I’ll spare you the details, the endless whirl of research, price lists and the like, and cut to the chase:
We are now a two-laptop household. I expect God to strike me dead any minute now.
The new iBook joined the household yesterday. I upgraded the PowerBook to Panther, and now they’re talking to one another, sharing a wireless printer and getting along oh-so-Mac-liciously. I changed my desktop pattern to celebrate. We are a walking Yuppie cliche, is what we are.
On the other hand, there was this revelation: Guess what the Microsoft Office suite costs if you’re a student? This is, mind you, a $400 package out there in the real world. Ready? Forty-five bucks. Downside: It comes as a raw disk in a cheap cellophane envelope. “So the molded clamshell box is what’s driving the price up?” I asked the cashier, who at least got the joke. Final Draft, the $200 screenwriting software I’ve been begging and borrowing through last term? Eighty dollars. Tuition may be going up at five percent a year, but if you have a kid in college? Go visit the next time you’re doing an upgrade, and recoup at least some of your investment.