The university I studied at when I finished h">

Always keep learning

Anthony Caruana
5 February, 2018
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The university I studied at when I finished high school, Monash University, has a simple message – in Latin, of course – on its crest.

Ancora imparo.

It means ‘I am still learning’ and this week was a strong reminder of that for me. I’ve started doing some freelance work for a new client, with a focus on writing about the emerging world of cryptocurrencies. It’s an intriguing area because it is very different to anything I’ve written about before. The mix of financial markets and technology, combined with the emotion surrounding these new financial instruments, makes them very challenging. On one hand, I’m happy to write about how they work and what’s happening with them in the various exchanges that have emerged. But I have to be very careful that my observations don’t stray into the area of giving advice, as I’m certainly not qualified to do that.

At the heart of my research and continuing self-education is my trusty old (well, ageing) Mac mini. It’s a late 2014 model – positively ancient in computing terms. But it still ploughs on, coping with pretty much anything I throw at it. It’s not an inexpensive computer. If I were to replace it it would actually cost close to $2800, as it has an upgraded Core i7 processor (a $320 factory option) and a 1TB SSD (which Apple provides as a $960 option, but I had done for far less as an out-of-warranty upgrade).

It’s a computer that I can see serving me for several more years. And as much as I covet a new iMac (the iMac pro, starting at close to $8000, is too rich for my blood) it’s hard to see how it will help me in my work.

And that’s part of the Mac advantage, and one that many people who have never owned a Mac are unable to understand.

With a little bit of care and the occasional upgrade, we can keep using our Macs to work and learn for many more years than the typical PC. Sure, we pay a price premium for our Macs, but those extra dollars are borne out in the long-term. Apple’s newest operating systems can run on hardware that’s several years old reasonably well, as long as you invest in extra memory upfront. That’s perhaps the biggest ‘rookie error’ I see when people buy a new Mac. They skimp on memory to save a few dollars.

This is what I’d like Apple to learn – being able to upgrade your computer with some extra memory in a couple of years’ time is important. Buying a system with 8GB today, knowing it can go to 16GB or beyond a little further down the track means we can keep our hardware running longer. The same goes for hard drives. That breeds brand loyalty and helps the environment by reducing the number of systems that end up being tossed out.

So, while I keep learning and using my Mac, I hope Apple learns a little about how we use our Macs – not just this year, but for the years ahead.

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