A few people wrote in with comments about my article on financing an iMac for $30 per month (see "iMac Equals Three Pizzas Per Month" in TidBITS-454).
Old Macs Rock — Some people took exception to my feeling that five and a half years was too long to pay for a computer, given how out-of-date it would be by the time you finished. We strongly support using old Macs as long as they can still push the electrons around. Our SE/30, upgraded from an SE around 1990, is one of our most heavily used machines. It manages thousands of subscribers on over 20 mailing lists in Fog City’s excellent LetterRip Pro, runs Now Contact and Now Up-to-Date servers, monitors our other servers via Maxum’s PageSentry, and runs LaserWriter Bridge so we can print to our LocalTalk LaserWriter. Although we keep the Lazarus crash-detection device from Kernel Productions installed, the machine often goes weeks at a time without a hitch. My point was merely that I wouldn’t want to be still paying it off, useful as it is, given the amount that prices on newer and more powerful machines drop every year.
Prepay Without Penalty — One important detail that I missed in the fine print was the fact that Apple’s iMac financing deal has no prepayment penalty. So, if you don’t have the money for an iMac up front, you can finance it through Apple for $30 per month, but pay extra whenever you like. Those extra payments significantly reduce the total amount you’ll pay, and represent a good financial decision unless you can reliably invest your money at 15 percent or more.
Internet Service Bundled — Finally, it turns out that building Internet service into the price of a computer isn’t a new idea. Magnus Dahl <[email protected]> writes: "Here in Sweden you see two prices for the iMac and almost all other computers. One ‘normal’ price, and one lower price. The lower price applies if you at the same time sign up for a one year connection to an ISP. That connection is then paid by a monthly fixed fee and fees depending on your connected time."