Follow Island in the Net on


My 2013 iMac is showing its age. The Intel-based desktop does not support Monterey, the latest version of macOS (version 12). Neither did it support Big Sur, the previous version of macOS (version 11). I have encountered some software on the Mac App Store that won’t install because macOS X (Catalina) is not supported.

While I can still use and get updates for all my existing software and Apple has been diligent in providing security updates and bug fixes for macOS Catalina, I know it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a problem. So what am I waiting for? I am waiting for Apple. I will share a little bit of my personal computing history.

My first Mac was a 2005 Mac mini with an IBM PowerPC G4 based CPU running OS X Tiger. It cost me $500. I loved it. I soon had the Mac mini running all the software (mostly open-source) I needed. Soon after Apple switched to Intel™, I bought a MacBook (2006). But after a few years, tired of the MacBook. I felt that laptop CPUs, GPUs, displays, keyboards and trackpads were too much of a compromise, and I seldom needed "computing on the go". In 2009 I bought a 20" iMac for my kids. It came with Apple Magic Keyboard and Apple Magic Mouse. I bought my current 2013 iMac ($3200) to upgrade to the 27" display.

The iMac has been my prefered Mac ever since. The iMac offers faster CPUs and GPUs and bigger hard drives, and of course, that gorgeous large display.

Last year, Apple switched over to using their in-house developed ARM-based CPUs and GPUs. They are based on similar ones used in the iPhone and iPad. They are faster and more capable than anything Intel™ offers. I want to upgrade to take advantage of all that power. Apple’s ARM-based iMac’s have a 24" display, have set high-performance benchmarks and come in a variety of colours. But I want a 27" display and 16GB of memory. I am anxiously waiting for an announcement of a 27" version, maybe with an even faster CPU and 32GB of memory.

But what if they do not announce anything this year? How long do I wait? There are other options, but what if I decide on that option and then Apple announce new 27" iMacs?

My daughter, Shaan, bought a new ARM-based Mac mini ($600) to replace her deceased 2017 MacBook ($1100). Apple wanted nearly $450 to replace the mainboard of the barely five-year-old MacBook. Last year Shaan bought a pre-owned 27" display. We did some math, and I convinced her that the Mac mini was a smarter replacement for her MacBook.

While the Mac mini is powerful, Apple does not offer an ARM-based Mac mini configuration with more than 16GB of memory. I want 32GB. That’s what I have now, and that’s what I want from now on. But the Mac mini can be attached to any display, including the 30" display I bought last year to use with the company laptop.

So my options are:
1. Buy a 24" M1 iMac
2. Buy an M1 Mac mini and connect to a 30" display.
3. Wait.

I’m not too fond of any of the options.

The first two days with my iPad

My iPad arrived just after noon on April 30th. I worked from home that day, ears keenly tuned to the sound of my doorbell chime. From my window seat, I saw the FedEx truck pull up to my driveway. Before the delivery person had time to ring the doorbell, I ran to open the front door. Bhavna took a photo as I eagerly opened the box.

I took the iPad out of the box and marvelled at its sleek futuristic appearance. I turned it on and was instantly seduced by the attractive user interface. I immediately plugged it into my Mac mini and launched iTunes. I have already downloaded some iPad apps and am waiting to be installed. I also configured the iPad to sync my television shows, podcasts, favourite playlists, and Google Contacts. I knew that my kids would be with me while attending a physics symposium and party to honour my retiring college physics professor on Saturday, so I loaded on a copy of Harry Potter and A Night at the Museum.

My iPad arrived shortly after noon on April 30th. I saw the FedEx truck pull up and run to the front door. I had the door open before the delivery man could ring the doorbell.

Being a news junkie, I launched my favourite newsreader for the Mac ( and now also iPad ) - NetNewsWire. Reading blog postings via NetNewsWire is a killer app experience for me. I can quickly find a story that interests me, read an excerpt, and pull up the whole article with a quick tap of the headline. Another quick tip, and I can post a quick link to Twitter.

Harry {Potter, Netflix
About to watch Harry Potter on the iPad.

My kids, friends, and family entertained themselves with the iPad all Friday night. I recharged the iPad overnight and spent most of Saturday morning reading the NPR and BBC apps news. My kids got bored listening during the symposia (we physics majors can be über geeky ), so I let them use the iPad. I think the iPad was in use for about 12 hours before the battery quit.

NetNewsWire for iPad
NetNewsWire for iPad

Sunday morning, I decided to research some iPad accessories, most of all, screen cleaner. The iPad screen gets dirty very quickly. I also shopped around for a protective cover, a carrying case, and the iPad camera connection kit. I also wanted a stand for my desk to make watching television shows and movies more accessible. Google helped me find something a lot more interesting. Inspired by a photo on Flickr, I borrowed my son's Lego and built my stand. I think it's fantastic.

Shaan and I built an iPad stand using his LEGO. —Sony DSC-W55 @ (6.3 mm, 0.025 sec at f/2.8, ISO200), ©

Did you get an iPad? Which one? How are you using it? Please drop a note in the comments and let me know.

Posted via WordPress for the iPad

Welcoming "MackieMac" to our family

CUPERTINO, CA - AUGUST 7: People check out the...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

With the addition of a 20" iMac for the kids (and an Ikea Vika Amon desk to display it), we are now wholly a Windows-free house. This development was an important goal for me. I am an anal-retentive obsessive-compulsive type who likes everything "just so." It isn't good. I buy all my clothes from the same retailer/brand: shirts, undershirts, pants, underpants, undershirts, shoes, coats. My last three cars were all made by Honda. My TV, DVD player, stereo, and alarm clock are all made by Sony.

What started as new found love for a Mac mini and an iPod shuffle in 2005 wound up being an obsession to do everything the Apple way. We are a family of four; I have an iPod Touch (and maybe an iPhone this summer), my wife has a Red iPod Nano, my son has an iPod nano, and my daughter has the original shuffle (she's the youngest). An Apple Time Capsule, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express provide regular backups, ubiquitous wireless access, and music streaming around the house.

Where my kids used to argue over who crashed the Dell, now they argue who spent more time with "MackieMac." Parental Controls was one of the first features I enabled. My kids are addicted to Pokemon, Webkinz, American Girl crack. They get to spend one hour each day; 3 hours on the weekend. Enough to keep them out of the Disney clinic for recovering screen addicts. Being kids, their favourite application is Photo Booth. This fact might be worse than letting them catch another Chimchar. They have also relieved me of the Bluetooth Mighty Mouse I used on my MacBook.

duct taped dell
Dell Inspiron 2600 - Circa 2001

My wife is enjoying computing life without duct tape. She was previously addicted to the iTunes Bollywood edition, but the lack of Windows crashes now allows her to up her habit slightly. Hits by Lata and A.R Rahman are helping fill the 120GB hard drive on her new White MacBook. She has also upgraded to scolding me via iChat Video.

G4 Mac mini

Meanwhile, the Mac mini that started the obsession serves the most critical role; as a media server and repository for all our family photos and videos. Mac mini has been upgraded from Tiger to Leopard; from iLife 06 to iLife 09; from 512MB of RAM to 1 GB. He's the one that paved the path for the others to follow. Apple turned a $500 customer into a lifelong addict.