I know that I promised to talk about my experiences making a student documentary called “Golden Grillz & Satan Likes Puppies” but something tragic has happened. My computer died yesterday.
It’s not like I have never lost a computer before. In fact, I am on my third home PC because my seven year-old eMachine finally died and went to wherever dead PCs go. Some say the scrapheap but I like to think that it has been released from its earthly bonds and is sitting in a field much like the Windows XP Desktop wallpaper. You know the one. Green fields and a lovely blue sky…
Anyway, PCs come and PCs go. Sure, we lost quite a bit of family stuff including all of my daughter’s digital pics and her iTunes library. Fortunately she still had most of the pics on her SD card and I was able to reload her iTunes from her iPod. Not as easy as it sounds. You have to sort of trick the computer into thinking that the iPod is an external hard drive and make it show the hidden files and then start loading things by hand.
But, as frustrating as it was, it was just another dead PC. I got a new one several days later. Another eMachines, this time with Vista. Microsoft Vista is not as bad as all the critics want you to believe. What is bad, as far as I can figure, is that it’s not Windows XP. And we hate change. I am no computer engineer and I am not a hard core gamer so my computer gets used pretty much like every other computer. For e-mail, the occasional casual game and some multi-media stuff like online video and some music. And for that, Vista is just fine. But I digress.
The computer that died was my school issued Apple iBook G4. It was a 14 inch laptop with a 1GHz G4 processor, somewhere around 640 MB of RAM. It was loaded with everything I needed to get through the day. Microsoft Office, Keynote, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Remote Desktop, Mac OS-X Leopard and some other stuff like video clips that I show every class. It was the first Mac I ever got my hands on and it was the start of something big.
My iBook allowed me to use a real live professional non-linear editing program. Before that, most of my editing was done tape-to-tape. It introduced me to Photoshop and it was love at first sight. So much of what my class is and so much of what we do is on that poor dead computer. I knew it was starting to die so I started to make back-ups of the important stuff like the iTunes library and most of my Photoshop files and a good chunk of my Microsoft Office documents and I have a mobile lab of eight newer and faster iBooks and I can use one for my very own, but it’s not the same. I really do miss my old iBook. Eight years is a pretty good lifespan for a laptop. Especially one that has been everywhere I have been.
It could be the hard drive or it could be the software or it could be the logic board. I don’t know and probably never will. School systems don’t like to spend money. So the little iBook that could will go into a pile of broken equipment that I keep in the storage closet. But before it went in there I cleaned it. I have no idea why but I used lint-free tissue, some alcohol and Q-Tips and removed all of the smudges, scuffs and dings and other badges of honor before I put it on a shelf.
I’ll put in a request for a replacement, maybe a Macbook Pro or an iMac. The requisition will be logged in, misplaced, found, sent back for clarification, resubmitted, lost again, re-resubmitted and then I will be told that it is “Up for Bid.” At that point, eight months to a year after the initial request, no one will remember ever having been asked if I can have a new classroom computer.