Forwards: The trusty, old 4GB Core2 Quad I built in 2008 finally took a turn for the worse. The main 160GB IDE drive was giving all kinds of random read and write errors, and the heat sink simply wouldn't say on the processor. Obviously, both of these problems could be easily fixed piecemeal, but it was time for something new. Four gigabytes of RAM just isn't enough to run Chrome, Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS5, and iTunes. Thankfully a new Microcenter opened up nearby just a couple months ago. A couple days and a few hundred dollars later, I'd built a quiet Core i5 with 16GB of RAM and 120GB SSD. Amazing. I guess I can't really be that amazed with something like an iPhone 4 in my pocket. Now that's amazing.
Backwards: I've had the Leica M6 for just over a year now. It hasn't had a working battery for almost that entire time, which means I've been eyeballing the exposures for a year now. The pictures below were uploaded to flickr without any levels, brightness, or contrast adjustments in Photoshop or Lightroom. They're essentially straight out of the camera. It's a good feeling.
Perhaps the moral of the story is that you don't really need a faster computer any more than you need a "better" camera if you take your time and get it right the first time.
To everyone (anyone?) reading this, I wish you happy holidays and the best of luck in the new year.