Friday, June 11, 2010

Recent wins and fails in the land of broken computers.

At this moment I'm restoring my MacBook Pro from Time Machine. Again! So I have a little time to kill (3 hours and 39 minutes if Time Machine's restoration estimate is correct) before I can get back to work.

I hate my MacBook. Time Machine helps me hate it a little bit less.

So now I've booted my ancient Dell Desktop, running XP with 700MB Ram, and logged in to my Last Computer blog for the first time in 2.5 years to talk about my recent experiences in seeing how the tech world is slowly approaching Last Computerdom.

A win for the mobile phone

I recently flew to Boston. Getting off the plane I booted my mobile phone only to find that it's screen had cracked in-flight and it was now useless. The phone is a Palm Pre, on the Sprint network, and I loved it up until the point the screen cracked. The next day I went to a Boston Sprint store and almost immediately they gave me a new phone.

This new phone had none of my contacts, downloaded programs, calendars, or a years' worth of settings. But the Palm Pre backs that stuff onto the network every night. So just by entering some passwords and waiting about a half hour for things to download automatically over the slow cell network, it was as if I had my original phone back.

This was a complete Last Computer success story. Palm and Sprint done real good.

A semi-win for my Laptop

When I got back home from that Boston trip I found that my MacBook Pro, which I'd taken on the trip with me, would no longer boot. I struggled with some restoration tools to fix the problem, with no luck.

I use Time Machine, and so within about four hours the computer was restored to the state my data had been in the last time I'd run Time Machine one week earlier (my TM backup disk did not travel with me to Boston).

This was a Last Computer partial success story. Apple's computer sucked, but Time Machine made it suck a lot less, but I lost a week's worth of data and it took longer to restore than I would have liked.

State of Last Computer based on my Boston-trip data points?

The Palm experience showed what should happen. The Macintosh experience showed potential, but also showed that traditional computer makers are still not ready to make their devices a full-member of the cloud.

Maybe Google will get it right with their Chrome OS? Maybe HP will learn from the Palm Pre (which they now own) and my next HP netbook (contract or lease) will be the last one I ever need?