Retiring the iMac

I took advantage of the quiet day today (I was giving a “day off” for Father’s Day) in order to do some stuff around the house. One of the things I’d been wanting to do for some time now is retire my iMac. With the iPad, the new home sharing technology, and a fix for the trackpad issue on my MacBook, it finally seemed possible.

I first got the iMac back in April 2004. It was the first Apple device I ever purchased. (I purchased an iPod shortly thereafter.) Up until 2004, I was a Windows guy. But I did Windows constantly at work and I was reaching a burnout point. I wanted something at home that wouldn’t remind me of the software I used at work. And so I ordered an iMac and it served me well for more than 7 years.

In fact, it still works, more or less. The SuperDrive doesn’t work, and it seems slower than my other machines and devices. So why retire it?

  1. Less clutter. My desk seems much more spacious without the iMac sitting on it.
  2. Less power consumption. The iMac acted as a server machine and was on constantly, and I’m sure that adds up to a fair amount of power consumption, especially for a machine that isn’t used for much.
  3. My MacBook works just as well a a server. With my iPad, I no longer need to take my MacBook with me. So it has become essentially a replacement for my server. Since all of our media is stored an a 1 TB external disk, transferring the libraries over was a synch.

There were two concerns I had with the MacBook that I needed to overcome and I overcame them today:

  1. The trackpad had become worse than useless. It seemed to become super-sensitive to the point where it was randomly selecting text and deleting it when I was typing and tried to move the cursor, or highlight text. I overcame this concern by pairing the BlueTooth mouse I used with the old iMac with the MacBook. No problems since pairing and the mouse works great.
  2. I wanted to make sure that our central media library was accessible from all our devices. I needed to tweak some settings, but thanks to Home Sharing, we can access the media wirelessly from all our devices (2 MacBooks and my iPad) and all seems well.

I ran into some difficulty getting the shared library to show up on the iPad, but it seems like a restart of the MacBook and iPad, plus a stop/start of the home sharing took care of that problem.

I use iDrive for backups. The big external drive was backed up as a volume on the iMac. That volume has moved the MacBook now, and iDrive will see that as a new volume when the backup runs tonight. But once the backup is complete, I can remove the iMac backups completely and be all squared away. (By the way, I pay $125/year for 500 GB of backup space and automatic, nightly backups to the cloud from all of my devices, including my WordPress blog, and it is well worth it. Easily the most convenient and easy-to-use backup system I’ve ever come across.)

The iMac is now sitting downstairs on the built-in desk in the family room, and I’m trying to decide what to do with it: donate it or find some other application here that it can be repurposed to.

I’m not quite used to the way my desk looks, with just the MacBook, as opposed to the MacBook and iMac. But I imagine I’ll grow used to it pretty quickly.