On October 6 three years ago, I purchased my current computer, a Performa 636CD. The total cost was (US) $1811, which was very reasonable for a CPU, monitor, and software. This Macintosh continues to function efficiently, and I’m in no special hurry to replace it.
In 1994, owning a modest Performa made me a “low-end-Macintosh- user,” or LEMU. Serious Mac users had heavyweight Quadras, or the new 6100 or 7100 Power Macs, all of which were beyond my finances. I accumulated additional software and peripherals on an as-needed basis, always with an eye on the checkbook balance. In this respect, I probably am similar to many of you. My budget grudgingly accepted monthly expenditures for America Online (AOL), and then an Internet service provider (ISP). I certainly have received plenty of value from these online accounts.
Using the humble calculator desk accessory, I recently added up all my
computer-related expenditures during the past three years. The grand total is over $4,000, which averages approximately $4 per day. This dollar amount certifies me as a bona fide LEMU, don’t you think?
When I originally acquired the Performa, my e-pal, Paul Martin, advised that I would be very lucky to be using the same Mac in three years. Technological advancement is a mixed blessing for the humble computer purchaser on a limited budget.
In my case, $4 per day represents $1 – $2 per hour on an annualized basis. Notwithstanding crashes, freezes, bombs, error messages, and my never-ending learning curve, $2 per hour is an splendid price for using a Mac and participating on the Internet.
Where do I go from here? It appears that my next Mac will come from Apple instead of Motorola or Power Computing. If I were purchasing a new computer today, I would be delighted with a 6500/300, plus a third-party 17″ monitor. In reality, though, a 6400/200 and a 15″ monitor would be terrific, at half the price for this LEMU. How many years should I expect from such a system? (Editor’s Note: John wrote this update as we went to press: It appears that both the 6400/200 and 6500/200 have been discontinued by Apple, however Apple has left us with the 6500/225 at a (very tempting) reduced price of only $1599.
In the meantime, armed with ClarisWorks, Netscape, OneClick, Norton
Utilities, and a hard-drive full of share/free/payware, I’m still getting my
money’s worth from the reliable Performa. I look forward to hearing from you, and reading your personal comments and experiences. Keep in touch, friends.
Today Paul Martin reminds me that:
Thanks, Paul. I’m getting hungry. Let’s go catch some fish!
John Nemerovski (firstname.lastname@example.org)