Forbidden Desire

How could something so white feel so wrong?Man, I want to get a 24″ iMac so bad I can taste it. The problem is I don’t, strictly speaking, need one.

I’m a master at convincing myself to blow too much money on excess stuff, and my skill only increases when Apple’s involved. But I’m hitting a brick wall here.

At the moment, I’ve got a PC that’s a little over two years old, and a MacBook Pro that I got last spring. I use the laptop for about 99.9% of everything. The PC is now my ghetto machine, for work stuff that only runs in Windows, for games (and it’s already showing its age on that front), and for “private web browsing” of stuff I don’t want anybody to know I look at and don’t want in my main machine’s browser history (like this).

So really, it all comes down to the fact that I want a bigger monitor (somewhat valid), and it bugs me that I’m using a laptop as my desktop computer (totally irrational). And, I guess, I want to get more room on my desk. I could ditch the PC, and the only thing I’d be missing out on — apart from the wad of cash I spent on it a couple of years ago — is the ability to play a videogame full-screen while checking my e-mail. I suspect I’d find some way to manage.

Part of me says that as long as I’m jonesing for a computer, I should be all excited about the Mac Pro. It’d be better at running both OS X and Windows stuff (if you believe some people, it runs Vista better than it does OS X), and it’d be more expandable. Which is to say, expandable at all.

Every instinct I have says it’s a bad idea to buy a machine on which you can’t swap out video cards and hard drives, but then I’ve got to look back at my track record and the mass-market, preconfigured computer industry as a whole. These things just ain’t as upgradeable as they used to be. Apple’s most guilty of it, granted, but across the board, it seems like the planned obsolescence lifespan of computers and electronics has shrunk to just over two years.

But, much like James Bond and my car, they just won’t die, is the problem. They linger. They stay just functional enough that they’re perfectly adequate for most of what you want to do, but constantly give you reminders that they’re old. That top-of-the-line videocard you shelled out for now wheezes when it tries to display a Flash movie. That monitor that seemed more than big enough a couple of years ago, now seems cramped and confining. That 1GB of memory that at the time was so excessive you started to reminisce about how your first computer didn’t even have a quarter of that in hard drive space, now is just a minimum requirement. And sure, you could upgrade, but it’s like putting bionic parts on your high school sweetheart, when you really want to run off with the new secretary/trophy wife.

Which all leads me to realize that this thing that Apple marketing and product design does, is more insidious than I ever even suspected. There’s just something about the iMac that works on the nerve endings at the base of my spine, even though it’s irrational. Sure the Mac Pro is an overall more powerful computer, but then I’d have to buy a new monitor! (Yeah, I know that logic makes no sense, but I already said it was irrational). The iMac is a whole, complete package, like the perfect answer to a question. And that question is, “What can I waste a ton of money on this year?”

I should be safe for a few months, anyway. The rationalization that’s still firmly in place is that I only buy a new computer when the new version of the OS is available. See, that way I save over $100, instead of having to buy the OS separately. (That’s how you stick it to The Man, by spending a couple thousand bucks every OS upgrade!)

Still, don’t be surprised if around spring, you see me trying to sell a PC and a couple of flat panel monitors. (Note: readers of this blog, as always get, deep discounts).