The Right Tool for the Job

One thing that I keep talking about here is using the right tool for the job. Using a hammer, not a screwdriver, to drive a nail comes readily to mind. And it has me thinking.

Am I using the right tool for the jobs I need to do? More specifically, am I using the right computer?

For the bulk of the work I do (HTML/CSS/PHP coding, light graphics work, photo organization, porn) I could use any computer.

But more and more I’m also doing A/V editing which requires more storage and more speed. 2 things that I don’t get from my current Mac. Converting video is slow. Importing video into iMovie is slow. Exporting video out of iMovie is very slow. Burning the video to DVD is extraordinarily slow. For example.

  • Convert 60 minute of anything to DV takes 90 minutes
  • Exporting 60 minutes of video takes as much as 135 minutes
  • Burning 60 minutes of video to DVD takes 120 minutes

And this doesn’t count the audio. For me to make a 45 minute show ready for download after editing usually takes about 30 minutes.

For me to fix this, it’s obvious that I will have to upgrade my current computer. Except I can’t, you know, because it’s a Mac. I’ve already got 2GB of RAM (the max amount for my MacBook), I’ve upgraded to a 120GB hard drive (should be 500GB) and I’m stuck with onboard video.

The next logical step would for me to cruise over to the Apple store and dream about a computer that I will never be able to afford like a new Mac Book Pro or iMac. Nice machines to be sure, but is a 15″ laptop really worth over $2500? Is a computer with a 20″ display worth almost $2,000? Would either of these machines yield improvements over what I’m seeing now? Noticeable improvements that would justify the purchase price? I don’t think so.

Maybe it’s time to switch.

So I fired up to start looking for a desktop. A very quick search finds a machine that has a faster processor than the iMac, more memory, larger hard drive and better video. Plus a 22″ _adjustable_ display. How much? about $500 *less* than an iMac. I would call that substantial. And this would be a machine that would edit video faster, render audio faster, do pretty much everything faster than the Mac I have now.

The only downside is Windows. I don’t like looking at Windows. I don’t like seeing my work in Windows. I don’t like having to fiddle and mess around with my computer in Windows. And I hate IE.

Too poor to own a proper mac, too spoiled by OSX to switch back. There must be something I’m missing.

Right, the Apple fanboy. I hate you Apple Fan Boy. I didn’t think it was possible to be worse than MINI Owners, but you have done it! Not you among us of course, since you know better. It’s the rest of you. It’s the Macbreak Weekly crowd. It’s the folks that continually type Windoze or Winblows or some other less-than clever derivative of Windows. I didn’t like you when I switched in the first place. But I, like many of you, was blinded by the White.

But, as it turns out, I never should have switched in the first place. Unless I find a good reason (or win the lotto), I’ll be putting my MacBook up for sale and getting a Dell first chance I get.

Gotta use the right tool for the job.

By Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.


  1. I hear you. A few months ago when I had a huge film transfer order to do I had two macbooks and my PC encoding around the clock. The PC was half the price of the macbooks and could encode at least twice as fast. No matter how pretty the experience, the economical answer is quite clear.

  2. I would be perfectly happy if I could do this. In fact, that should be an option with OSX. Offer up an install-yourself-on-any-hardware-but-we-won’t-support-it verson. I’d buy that in a heartbeat.

  3. I find this very interesting, db. I am blessed with a MacBook Pro, and curse PC’s whenever I interact with them. Can’t say I’m happy to see you leave the Mac fold, but you need to do what’s best for you. Hopefully you’ll switch back soon.

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