m i a o w


A tale of two macbooks

In the end, after having a macbook for about four months, I have decided to persevere. Mostly because everything looks so much more aesthetically pleasing, and also because I feel like I haven’t even remotely taken advantage of all the cool stuff lurking under the bonnet. I want to be apple script savvy, for god’s sake.

I was still unprepared to pay over $200AU for 1GB RAM, but meanwhile I was going insane from the slowness, the incessant seconds given to the interior musing of the macbook. Yeah – I had a lot of space clagged up with movies and music, but I still had about 13GB free – which was how big my ThinkPad hard drive was [sob] in its entirety. A few years back 512MB was gutsy. Now? It is pain.

And I couldn’t just buy 1GB – noooo, for the full wonder of duo core, it’s recommended that you have the same amount of RAM in both slots i.e. ‘duo’. I was getting stuck in cyber glue if I tried to run Word, Entourage, Firefox and Excel at the same time. And forget about running Bits on Wheels with more than one other program, or it was Welcome to Slugsville. Population? Me.

It took a month or two of musing, and lots of time spent noodling around at ebay.com looking to see the minimum I could pay to buy a macbook with better specs. I also spent too much time on ebay.com.au trying to figure out how much I could probably get for my little bottom-of-the-range-but-very-cute macbook. I emailed numerous US ebay sellers about how much postage to Melbourne, Australia would cost, and was cynically unsurprised at the wild variations.

I finally found a couple of different sellers with whom I thought I could get a good deal. And I had also established that I could probably get between $1300 and $1400 for the one I already had. After wasting even more time and missing out on a few good deals I gave myself a kick up the butt and decided that the next time a particular seller had the right laptop, I was going to do the deed.

Not last week but the week before, I bought my second macbook. (I’ve decided to get into the nitty gritty of this whole experiment, mostly so I can remember it later – so I’m going to have to be impolite and mention the amounts of moola that were involved. I had paid $1300AU for my original macbook.) I’d signed up for alerts to tell me when the seller put a new secondhand laptop up on ebay. So this is what I got:

Intel Macbook
2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
4MB shared L2 cache
1GB (two 512MB SO-DIMMs)
60GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard disk drive
6x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Cost: $1100US/$1440AU
Postage: $70US/$90AU

So I got it for $1540AU, including postage. And as it was being posted, someone helpfully reminded me about one VERY important angle that I had managed to completely neglect. Import duty. As my laptop was in transit I visited that site and almost coughed up my own lung in self flagellating horror – because my purchase was over $1000 I was going to be up for $325 in import duty.

I couldn’t tell M of the debacle. I was about to have to pay what it would have cost me if I had decided on the unadventurous path of merely just upgrading my RAM. I whimpered to everyone in my vicinity, including the computer guy who came into work. He said he knew someone who was after a macbook, and also thought he’d be interested in buying my dead ThinkPad for parts. “Whatever”, I said, miserably.

I got home on Thursday night and there was the package. It had taken all of about four days to arrive. I looked at M. He didn’t look like someone who had just had to fork over $325 in order to extract a secondhand laptop from the post office. I tiptoed over and read the postage label. And floated on bubble of gratitude. The seller had ticked ‘Gift’. And had thus rendered me tax free. I know that this is not legal. I also know that I don’t care. As I had been saved from having the whole exercise becoming redundant, I confided to M what might have been. Eeek.

A few days later, the computer guy asked whether I would take $1400 for my old macbook and ThinkPad. I said I had been hoping for a bit more, but was unwilling to push my luck. I do the handover on Tuesday. He gets a very good deal, and I have paid $140AU for a 2Ghz macbook (compared to a 1.8Ghz), a SuperDrive (compared to a non-DVD burning combodrive) and 2x512MB (compared to 2x256MB). My new macbook is a bit more battleworn with a lot of scratches on the outside casing, but it’s the inside zippiness that is my concern – and it’s SO much better.

The fact that my new macbook also came with the full Macromedia, Microsoft Office, WorldBook 2006 and Adobe CS2 (to name a few) didn’t hurt either. However, I will now be much more careful about the import duty angle…!!


Spendthrift…and glad.


Save space on yer macbook

1 Comment

  1. I bought one on the weekend. It’s really pretty. The logic board on my old ibook was starting to resist my fire geekery.

    Mine I bought new from Myer using my dad’s salary sacrificing thing which I understand nowt of. All I know is it’s cost me exactly half of the $2099.

    Now to refer to your earlier posting to make a slipcase for my backpack out of a $5 yoga mat.

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