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Last week a burglar stole all my Apple products — except for my Apple TV! Ha! — while I was sleeping upstairs. If you’d have told me this was going to happen about a month ago, I’d have told you that life without my MacBook Pro, iPhone 5, and (especially!) my retina iPad would not have been worth living. Post break-in, looking hard at the $1000 deductible on my insurance policy, I’ve decided to economize, and maybe leave Apple behind, at least for some of the replacements. Maybe, post Steve Jobs, the Reality Distortion Field is slowly releasing its hold on me.

For example, I’ve already replaced my iPad ($399 $499) with a Kindle Paperwhite ($119), which I love, love, love. I’ve had an iPad of every iteration except one since the week they came out. I used to use it a lot when I was a busy entrepreneur in NYC. I used it for stuff like games and note-taking, but never for very long. I’d pick up a game, play it about 1/10th of the way through, then stop. Note-taking was something I always intended to do — I’d pull it out, attach the keyboard, type a few things, blah, then never look at the notes.

Lately all I do with it is read Kindle books, and the Paperwhite handles that task in a much more efficient and pleasant manner. The only thing that I can’t do that I might want to do is read my Comixology comics, which I still was doing from time to time (rarely) but lately I’ve been gravitating back to print (trades and hardcovers) for comics reading anyway.

Meanwhile, the Paperwhite’s reading experience is so much better than the iPad’s for prose books, I’m actually making fast progress through China Mieville’s The Scar, a massive misfire by one of my favorite authors, which I hadn’t been able to choke down for the past four months of trying to read it on my iPad. Flawed but brilliant book plus flawed reading experience made for very slow going.

The MacBook Pro is a different situation. I don’t really need a laptop anymore, since I’m not commuting or jumping across town to meetings or whatever, and I hardly ever work at coffeeshops now. So I was thinking I’d get a desktop instead, to replace the crappy one I’ve got now (more on that in a second). While I’d love to have one of those gorgeous iMacs, there’s Windows computers that I can buy for less than a road-trip or a pair of concert tickets. I don’t use Photoshop or Premiere or the Flash authoring environment anymore at all. Mostly I just use the web. I don’t even need Office: the desktop I have right now (which the dude did not steal) has been running Ubuntu Linux for over a year and a half, not because I’m a fan of Linux, or some kind of super-technical wizbang, but because the Windows installation on it was so corrupted with whatever (I think a Java vulnerability allowed for backdoors to be installed) that it took an hour and a half to boot.

Um. Which is a point about Windows computers. The iMac I bought my mom in 2007 is still running strong. Maybe I will get an iMac after all.

The only thing I need a new computer for is printing and scanning, neither of which the Ubuntu machine does (or, at least, neither of which the Ubuntu machine does with my particular printer/scanner). That’s all I was using the MacBook Pro for, there at the end. I do a lot of low-level scanning (legal documents, tax stuff), so something will have to be done about the loss of the laptop, but maybe I’ll just get a cheap Windows box, put Ubuntu on a partition for daily computing, and keep the Windows partition unused except when I absolutely need to scan or print something, so that it will be less likely to get corrupted or sickened with viruses. Maybe? Or maybe I’ll just buy a new scanner/printer that works with Ubuntu. Hey!

The printing/scanning functionality of this machine is also why I can’t really see myself getting a Chromebook, but it’s not the only reason.

But, but, but. iMacs are about $800 cheaper than the replacement cost of the MacBook Pro that was stolen, which almost covers the deductible. Hm. Decisions. I dunno yet.

The only Apple product I actually still can’t imagine living without is my iPhone 5. I’ll be replacing that, thank you very much. Right now I’m using an old iPhone 4 that I found in my kitchen drawers. It won’t do. Nor will Android. There’s no conversation to be had about this one. The only problem is that I didn’t buy the Apple replacement insurance, and I didn’t buy the AT&T replacement insurance either, so my homeowner’s insurance adjuster will have to swallow the fact that we’re going to have to buy one of these babies without a contract in order to replace it (I just got that iPhone 5 a month and a half ago when I signed a new contract!), and they’re expensive without a contract. To say the least. I spoke to him about this and he didn’t raise any objections, but we’ll see if he tries to balk.

Meanwhile, if you see a black iPad 3 (the so-called “new iPad” that they don’t sell anymore) with a white button (the screen had been replaced), a 2007 MacBook Pro with a huge dent in the side where I dropped it on the steps at SPX 2008, or an iPhone with … well, the iPhone wasn’t distinctive at all, being new … anyway. Let me know. I doubt you will. I think I know who has them but I can’t say anything about that right now. But let me know anyway.

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