Tonight I began going through my unsorted photos – something I’ve been putting off for 2 years. I’ve been keeping copies of them on my iPod (the base files, not converted to ipod format) and was amazed to discover that while I had maybe 7 or 800 sorted photos from 2002-2005 I’ve got a whopping 5000 sitting on my iPod. Knowing my paranoid backup habits there are a stack of duplicates in there, but best case that’s still 2500 photos. The sudden rise in photo taking happened when I picked up a couple of 1gb sticks with my new camera in 2006, where the old one only had 64mb 😉

Why did I leave it so long? XP didn’t have any good built-in photo tools, and I eventually got sick of using explorer + free image viewers. Vista does have a pretty good one, but I just never wanted to spend time on photos – and in the last week or two I think I’ve worked out why.

My desktop machine is powerful (or at least it was 3 years ago) and has a fantastic beefy case. But that’s exactly the problem – with this big noisy thing churning away in the corner I was always in the mood to make use of the power, not sit around sorting photos (It’s obviously no coincidence that I bought the machine in early 2006).

To further prove the point, I regularly go 2 or 3 days without even turning my desktop on now. It goes on, plays games, and goes off. I’ve lived with a single computer that stays on 24/7 since uni, and the silence has been a surprisingly welcome change 🙂

So as it turns out, my reason for not buying a mac had nothing to do with my needs and everything to do with perception. 20/20 hindsight being what it is, this free laptop has become more than just a convenience – it’s introduced me to a better way of life by using two computers.

My games machines have always been very close to top of the line because I multi task so much; I leave everything open while playing games so I can get back to whatever I was doing afterwards. Right now I’m pushing the limits so much that things are starting to crawl – mail, NetNewsWire, Adium, iTunes (with the chillcast playing), terminal, Safari (no windows open, just sitting in ram for quick googling) and iPhoto in the middle of importing a 3gb stash of photos from Thailand in 2006. Oh and I’ve separated my apps into 4 of Leopard’s spaces, plus I’m writing this blog post.

You can see where I’m going with this. Except for the photo tool such madness is normal for me, and then I ask windows to swap all that out while I run off and play a game. Vista handles my demands far, far better than XP did on the same hardware, and that’s one of the reasons I love it – but the games suffer as a result. Now I get all of my primary tasks in a machine that can actually sleep (my desktop case is too old to disable the noisy fans in sleep mode) and when I want to play a game I switch one USB cable, change monitor inputs and boot up the windows box.

As a result, two computers won’t really be more expensive – I no longer need a top of the line games machine because windows is doing nothing but games, and the money I save on that will get me a cheap underpowered desktop (not that the Mac Mini is really underpowered) to handle everything else.

This is the best of both worlds, and I have found the motivation to do more non-gaming activities (this week I finally watched an Anime series that I’ve had lying around for at least 2 or 3 years). I love it 😀