The MacBook Pro is a nice machine - a 15-inch Mid 2012 Non-Retina - and the hardware is rather nice. I built the machine as a budget games system, something I could run emulated console games and some Windows exclusive titles on, and unfortunately it's the process of installing Windows that has proven extremely difficult. The computer itself is otherwise fine, but without Windows installed it otherwise serves no purpose, at least until I find an alternative use for it.
That would certainly be part of it, and I enjoyed technology a lot more around a decade or so ago, mainly because what was on offer then aligned with my own interests a lot more. I loved hacking around hardware and software to make computers do cool stuff, where watching the machine do something interesting was the end goal.
Computers have matured since then, security has become a major concern, features are thinned out in favour of ease of use, but the complexity has increased. While computers were often considered frustrating beasts in the 1980s and 1990s, someone knowledgeable enough could still navigate the maze and make it work. With modern technology it's now almost a random draw as to whether something will work. Something that worked before doesn't work a second time, or a common task fails for no apparent reason. One such example being my when notes disappeared from my iPhone without warning, removed from iCloud, and Apple support were unable to assist outside of the common "restart and pray" remedies. They reappeared a week later, as though nothing had ever happened. I disabled iCloud entirely after that.
Technology overall is incredible and I can appreciate the kind of conveniences and capabilities we now have that didn't exist before, but it also seems that the more technology becomes ingrained in our lives and culture, the more headaches and expenses we should come to expect when it doesn't work as expected. There's a point of diminishing returns where the modern conveniences of the "Internet of Things" don't counter the security concerns, vulnerabilities, bugs, connection issues and never ending software updates.
This is essentially where I'm now at. Time to take a step back, shelve the computer for a while, put away the internet-connected salt shaker (Yay, double entendre!) and see if it could actually be beneficial to disconnect ones self - at least for a while.
A little experiment. Last Sunday I backed up my data, erased my MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and shelved them. The only computers left in my workspace were my '86 IBM XT running DOS and my 27" iMac as a backup. Whenever I needed to access the internet, I had an iPad 2 running iOS 9.3.5.
The entire week, the iMac 27" wasn't powered on once, so count that one out. The IBM XT was a bit of fun, technology in its simplest form, and always a pleasure to play around with, but even it saw almost no use. Everything else was done on the iPad. Not the fastest little device, but enough to check the mail, read the news and watch some videos. No iCloud syncing, handoff or continuity, everything done on the local device.
Without a doubt the most relaxing week of technology use I've had in years. So effortless! But still connected enough to get things done. Sometimes the iPad would run out of memory or slow down, but a little patience and creative application management goes a long way.
I've since restored my MacBook Air, to manage the data and tasks that need a little more horsepower, but I'll continue to simplify, even on the MacBook where I could do away with at least half the applications and data I currently have.
Chances are I'll re-run the experiment from time to time whenever I need a break.