I’ve been using a spare MacBook from work for the last 2 years as an email machine. It came back to me from a former employee right after COVID hit, and I figured I’d flatten the drive to use it while I wasn’t in the office. I went to update it yesterday afternoon to 12.o Monterey and it wouldn’t let me get past a prompt for Jamf, an enterprise nannyware application that I don’t want my personal information sitting underneath. I could attempt to use my wheezy 15″ MacBook from 2008, but older software is getting harder and harder to support—older operating systems, browsers and email clients don’t support modern encryption, which makes things difficult on a day to day basis. For example, our twelve-year-old server in the basement, topped out at OS 10.7, can’t load and display email on Apple’s native client. So it’s looking like I’m in the market for a new laptop for the first time in a long while, something I wasn’t planning on.
Finley did a great job at school last week so I treated her to something new and interesting: we rode down the street (it was cold, y’all) to a store called Trax on Wax and went record shopping. At some point last year, Finn found a purple standalone record player at the thrift store and excitedly brought it home. She hasn’t had anything to play on it since then, and she mentioned getting some vinyl in the car ride home from karate last week. She had an idea of what she wanted to look for before going in—I made sure she listed a couple of options before we got out of the car— knowing exactly what would happen: we got in the store and she was immediately overwhelmed. I reminded her she was looking for the first Black Sabbath album (no shit) or some Beatles. I had a couple of ideas as to what I wanted so we split up and started digging. I found a good copy of Steely Dan’s Aja but she struck out on Black Sabbath, so I walked her over and showed her how to pick a good album within her budget. We chose The Early Beatles and I treated her to her first LP.
I’ve got a pair of turntables sitting in the basement: Dad’s old Scott XXX and a Technics SL-DD33, which I got from our visit to the Mildew House, along with some CCR and Elvis records. The Scott is a bargain brand unit probably sold at Sears or K-Mart back in the day, with an integrated stylus and a very basic speed adjustment. The Technics is a much higher quality unit, with a heavy slab platter, a weighted, balanced tone arm, and a direct drive motor. The stylus on the Technics is also cartridge-based, allowing for worn out needles to be replaced. The needle was trashed when I got it, so I put a replacement in my Amazon cart. In its place I hooked the Scott up to my basement receiver and played my first LP in probably 25 years. There’s a reason audiophiles use Aja as a test record: the signal from the Scott is weak and carries a strong hum; I also think the motor is going out because I could hear the speed oscillating slightly. So I’ll replace the stylus in the Technics unit and figure out which receiver to hook it up to. Then, I’ll start building a small library of classic jazz.