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Computer options
skitten is using a Power Mac G3 (blue&white tower), I'm using a home-built box based around an Athlon XP 1800+ CPU. For those keeping score, that means her machine is 8 years old, and mine is around 6 years old. Both machines are old enough that the age itself is causing problems: her PRAM battery is dying/dead, which is causing boot problems, and the IDE controller on my motherboard is mostly dead, which is also causing boot problems. Both machines are well past the "sweet spot" when it comes to RAM prices as well. She is running OS X 10.3 (which limits her to Firefox 2), I'm running Ubuntu 8.04.

She complains that her machine is slow; so slow that it is a pain to have many tabs open in Firefox, YouTube doesn't work well, and forget about opening up Word whilst anything else is running. My machine, while slow, isn't that bad, and she'll jump over to my machine when she gets overly frustrated with her machine (and I'm not around). She doesn't mind Linux.

Last night, I priced out memory for her machine -- and it came to $130/GB (well, $32/256MB). The fact that the largest memory sticks Crucial sold for it were 256MB made me double-check what she had in the system: 192MB, with two memory slots free. In contrast, my machine has one 512MB memory stick, one free slot, and a second 512MB stick would cost me $23.

Here are my choices, as I see them (in order of least expensive to most expensive):

1) Don't spend any money, keep the current systems as they are until they croak (which might not be that long).
1.5) Same as 1, but get her a new $15 PRAM battery.
2) Bring her system up to 448MB and mine up to 1GB, improving the performance of both machines, for about $75 (including the PRAM battery).
3) Get myself a new box (after the taxes are paid), hand my current box down to her, and retire the G3

What do you think I should do about the computer situation?

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With the G3, more memory will make a huge difference in performance. 192 MB just plain isn't enough for 10.3; the sweet spot is around 512, at which point performance will jump dramatically. (256 MB is really the minimum; I'm surprised it'll do anything at all in 192.)

However, she'll still be limited to older versions of many software packages.

One thing to look into is instead of getting a new box, get a couple of new-ish boxes. Older Athlon and G5 systems are going very cheaply, and will be a good improvement for both of you.

I'd replace the PRAM battery since that's actually making life more difficult.

I don't know if these would help, but I have an Ultra66 IDE card modded into a FastTrak, and possibly a couple of sticks of memory that you might be able to use. I wouldn't drop money on those boxes beyond repair at this point, because you could save that for a newer box (I agree that you should look towards a new-ish machine).

I'm thinking of making it out to Utica or the Cuse next weekend (not this coming one, but the one after), or I can see about sending these out. I'd like to actually meet the both of you, yanno ;).

I've dealt with the IDE problem by dropping $20 or so into a IDE/SATA card. The boot difficulties come from the BIOS only recognizing the on-board IDE ports as boot options, and GRUB can't see the IDE ports on the card, either. I can (mostly) read from the onboard IDE ports; it is unsteady on writing, and has a tendency to lock up the system. Right now, whenever I boot, I hand-modify the grub boot string.

I'll get back to you on memory, and our schedule. Perhaps we could arrange to meet for a meal at Carousel Center or other well-known place.

I'm partial to Dinosaur myself, but I'm not sure that would work with your diets. I'm looking at being out on something like the 1st or 2nd.

pterodactyl or brontosaurus or triceratops or t-rex or... ??

Re: just to be a pita :)

I like stegosaurus, because I like my meat to be grass-fed and free range. ;)

Re: just to be a pita :)

Then Dinosaur is out... none of them were grass eaters.

As cyberjunkie has mentioned to you, I'm a vegetarian. The menu at Dino BBQ doesn't look like I can get a meal out of it.

Re: just to be a pita :)

I thought you or Karen was, but I couldn't remember for sure. Now I know ;). I'm carnivorous by default, but I'm sure we can find a mutually agreeable option.

although Dinosaur BBQ is definitely targeted mainly at unashamed carnivores, there are a few vegetarian choices. the appetizers include deviled eggs and fried green tomatoes, and for a main course you can get a grilled portabella "burger". (many years ago, squeektoy42 turned Alex on to Dinosaur in Rochester... and when Dino opened a branch in NYC, they turned me on to it. it's been too damned long since i was able to afford to go there!)

not geek enough... but

perhaps we could check outy babbage's basement?

Isn't there a Linux port for Power PC based systems like the older Macs? Tracy used my old Toshiba laptop (a Pentium 0 with MMX running slower than my handheld) for about 5 years with it running windoze 98. I suppose option 2 is the best.

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