Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The Story of Wilson

Old 15-inch Titanium PowerBook ad

When the PowerBook G4 was first released, Meredith had just finished two years studying cell biology at UC Berkeley, and essentially had earned a Master of Science. She decided to continue for her Ph. D, so for her birthday, her parents hooked her up.

Cast Away had just been released on DVD, and we were so jazzed by his 15" screen, we just watched it on the PowerBook. There's a scene in there where Tom Hanks' character calls the ball "Wilson". At one point, he reprimands Wilson, then reconciles, fixes him, adds hair, and basically animates a volleyball. I saw that the company Wilson was even marketing a version of their ball with a little blood-colored depiction of 'Wilson' on it.

Nonetheless, as we continued to rebuke and then work around Mac OS X, we've just kindof started calling "him" 'Wilson'. It's been three and a half years now.

Wilson has been with us to Japan, he's travelled across the country numerous times, he's given presentations to hundreds of people, he participated in parties from remote, and always come through in a pinch.

Personifying the machine has come in extremely helpful, contributing a number of interesting metaphors:

"Wilson needs his juice."
Translation: Needs power (cord).

"I wonder what Wilson would have to say about that?"
Translation: I Google you. I double-dog Google you.

"Wilson is a champ!"
Translation: This computer is exceptional among peers.

What cracks me up is the way Mer puts things:

"Wilson was thinking about rainbows all afternoon."
Translation: Mac spinny disc - the signal that the system is busy, or "thinking". The disc is colored in a rainbow.

"I have to teach Wilson how to run my data analysis software."
Translation: I'm pretty sure I can do anything on a Mac.

Sometimes, Wilson will 'act up', or be "bad". For a while, Wilson was suspected of being depressed, before he "jumped" off of the couch one night, according to an eye-witness. He was ok, but his bottom panel was out-dented. I was able to bend it back almost perfectly. Titanium is frickin' amazing!

But then, just after acting erratically and producing one final, full backup, his logic board crashed.

We agonized about what to do. Drop $2300 on a new G4 PowerBook, or wait for the G5 PowerBook later this year (maybe)? We decided to fix him: $330.00. For a 500 mHz 20GB CD-ROM G4 Titanium that was a gift in the first place. That's a heck of a deal!

So, 'Wilson' just got back from Apple. His Hard Drive is intact, too! That, we were not expecting. Yes, Wilson is back.

[Two months later...]

Wilson suffers from the same problem: freezing, not booting - I get one last backup after two tries - and then he fails. Apple took him back, fixed him again. Another new motherboard.

Another chapter in the Story of Wilson.

He's going into retirement. He'll watch movies with us, read recipes. He's not going away.

Today, we received Wilson Prime. A 1.5gHz 15-inch Aluminum SuperDrive machine:

New 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook

Yes, we are Macaholics.

No comments: