(Normally, this blog publishes non-political posts on the weekends. But we all need a break from this endless election, don't we? Besides, the big Donald Trump revelation turns out to be crap.)
Even if I had the money, I wouldn't buy the new ultra-thin iMac, cool as it looks. No, if I had the dough to upgrade, I'd put together the video editing system of my dreams -- and the whole thing probably wouldn't cost much more than a grand.
One thing's for sure: That dream system would have an optical drive, something the new iMac lacks. Alas, the designers of many new systems sneer at those old DVDs or CDs. Those shiny silver disks, once considered the Jungian archetype of high-tech hipness, are now viewed as close kin to 8-track tapes. They're ancient. Useless.
Or are they?
The DVD remains the best storage medium for a class of data that doesn't yet have an agreed-upon nomenclature. I call it "maybe-data" -- stuff you may or may not want to use at some point in the future. Even if you're 90% sure you'll never again want to see that maybe-data, that 10% of doubt keeps you from consigning the stuff to cyber-history.
Being a Photoshop artist, most of my work files fall into the maybe-data category. A project may go through twenty or thirty iterations before reaching the final stage. That can add up to a whole bunch of gigs, just to reach a final 70mb PSD file.
I don't want all of that stuff on my hard drives -- but at the same time, I feel queasy about tossing it all into the Recycle bin.
You probably have a lot of maybe-data clogging up your system right now. Raw video files from your camcorder. Back-up copies of your family photo album or your music. How about that rare old BBC documentary you downloaded from YouTube? You can't be sure that it'll stay on YouTube forever...
The cheapest, most reliable place to dump your maybe-data is the trusty old DVD. If you shop carefully, you can pick up a spindle of 50 DVDs for ten or twelve bucks. That comes to...what, maybe 225 gigabytes of storage. For ten or twelve bucks. You can't pick up a 200 gig hard drive for that kind of money.
True, a spindle of DVDs takes up a certain amount of physical space. But so what? You can put three of 'em in a shoebox and store that box under your bed. Problem solved.
How long will your maybe-data last? If you don't mistreat the disks, quite a few years.
I'm turning into a bit of a Luddite when it comes to computer tech: Much-ballyhooed improvements don't impress me as much as they impress others.
Impoverished as I am, I own an iPad, given to me as partial payment for a project. It's a great deal of fun, and very useful when traveling. But it's not a real computer. It's a book-reading device and a games machine, with more-or-less functional internet capability. That's all very cool, but don't tell me that this thing is a computer.
The new Microsoft Surface seems intriguing, but only in its pricey Pro variant. Windows RT doesn't seem like anything I'd want to wrestle with.
No, to me a real computer is a tower. A tower with big fans and proper airflow and at least 8 GB of Ram and four or five or more hard drives of various sizes. And two monitors.
A real computer is something I put together myself.
And until someone comes up with a better way to store maybe-data, it'll have an internal optical drive.