The Cost of Being Obsolete

October 31, 2005

Over the weekend I rearranged the furniture in the apartment. The new setting requires that both primary computers (the Powerbook and the iMac) connect to the LAN wirelessly. The Powerbook has had an Airport card for some time now, but the iMac has always been hard wired.

Imagine my surprise, and then dismay, to learn that Apple no long manufactures 802.11b Airport cards. They've fully switched over to the 802.11g Airport Extreme cards. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but they changed the form factor of the cards so that the new card won't fit into the old slot.

On the Apple site an Airport Extreme card can be had for $79 with free shipping. Airport cards can't be had at all. A quick search on Google revealed that what Airport cards were available were all priced in the $120 - $140 range. I only paid $90 for the original one in the Powerbook. A visit to eBay revealed the same prices. Scarcity does impact price.

So I bought one from eBay, which should arrive this week in the mail. $132 with shipping. I'm not thrilled by the cost, but I am glad that I decided to enable the iMac now while there were still 802.11b Airport cards available. In another year or two I imagine their price will be even higher.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.