MacBook Bore

March 4, 2008

A big part of me wishes I could be cool and minimal enough to be able to own a MacBook Air. It would impress all my friend and I’d feel better about myself. However, when I really think about it, I can’t, so I ordered a MacBook Pro instead, which I should get sometime next week.

Here’s what I use my PowerBook for when at home:

– Support Email
– Testing on different versions of Mac OS X
– NetNewsWire
– Watch DVDs and videos, listening to podcasts

And while travelling I use it for all the above, plus:

– Photo editing
– Video import and editing
– Software development – (i.e. bug fixing, etc)

On the Air, the following things would be difficult or impossible:

– Testing on different versions of Mac OS X
– Watch DVDs and videos, listening to podcasts
– Video import and editing

Yes, I could get a USB disk for the OS X testing (and I am keeping the PowerBook for PowerPC testing) or do it on the iMac and I could get the optional superdrive for the DVDs (wouldn’t you need this work OS updates too?), but I would be totally fucked on the video importing and editing, firstly without Firewire and even if I did have a USB-capable camera not with such a tiny HD (and only one USB port).


So, the irony is that the ultralight portable is decent enough when I’m at home, but kinda limiting when on the road. Oddly enough, my desktop Mac suffers the same problem. Of course, I don’t travel much but when I do, those are the things I really want to do with it.

And besides, I actually want the laptop to do all the fun stuff – photos, videos, etc, with the iMac just as a workhorse but the tiny hard disk affects all of that. I know because the PowerBook’s HD is the same size and bursting at the seams with a very limited selection of stuff on it.

Of course, if I was some computer bimbo like Miss Chick, I’d be happy to plug my USB camera into my MacBook Air to download photos of dogs-on-the-beach and forgo the DVDs for a damn good book.

But I’m not. I’m a demanding user, and that is exactly what the MBP is for. Or is it? Well, ahem, you can do all the above on a MacBook too, at half the price. That was an even tougher decision, made easier by a multi-touch trackpad (one day I’ll end up developing something for that), 20% ADC discount (vs. only 10% for the MacBook – look how much you save!) and the fact that I’ll drive it into the ground every day for the next 4 years, like I did the PowerBook, so it’ll be worth the money.

If the MacBook is the cheap option and the MacBook Air is for cool people, the MacBook Pro must be for dull geeks with money to burn.

The Final Frontier

February 19, 2007

Finally, after weeks of delay I’ve received my 500GB Iomega MiniMax HD*, which looks like a Mac mini and also acts as a Firewire / USB hub.

Copying Files

This is good news because space was indeed proving to be the final frontier – now with videos and RAW images archived, I can create some more atrocities to inflict on the world.

(*Yes, it has a cool, blue light on the front).

Seeing Double

September 7, 2006

I doubled the memory in my iMac and now, finally, Aperture doesn’t get all glacial after 5 minutes. Yay!


Fun week ahead… in some ways.

Tomorrow NTL are coming to install the cable modem connection – yay! Trouble is the date is 6/6/6. Hmm.

Wednesday is Outdoor Shakespeare at Oystermouth Castle. The Scottish play. Looking forward to that!

But I have to start my tax return this week. This is usually awful (2 – 3 days) but it’s worse this year because my income passed a certain threshold and that means I have to do even more work. Ho hum.

Gym on Tuesday, gym on Thursday.

And I need to sort out my Tax Credits. The ones I shouldn’t be receiving because my income passed a certain threshold.

I have a Feeder release to do too. Just some fixes and stuff.

Plus, in between all this I need to think about The Future, although I may have managed to do enough of that today, outside, with the help of four cigarettes, two cups of tea and this revolutionary device called a notepad.

This “notepad” is about half an inch “thin”, you use an ink-filled stylus device to jot down notes on something called paper. The paper has lines but you aren’t restricted to writing along them. It supports multiple fonts, colours and styles, in-place doodles, and the most amazingly simple navigation system I have seen!!!

Basically as you write using the “pen”, the “pages” fill up. All you need to do then is flip the “page” over and write on the back of that, or on another page. It’s up to you. The “pages” are ordered chronologically and if you want to delete a page, you just tear it off the pad. Trouble is you can’t refill the notepad and one day its memory will fill up. However, as they’re only 69p, I could just buy another.

Shame it doesn’t have hierarchical folders, multiple colour-coded categories, search, auto-complete, wiki functionality, the ability to delete text (you can only strike it out), Microsoft Word import, the ability to save web pages, crop, preview and rotate images, create “smart groups”, reorder pages, hyperlinks, metadata editing, the ability to add content from within other applications or a Spotlight plug-in.

I must write to the developer immediately!

Open Heart Surgery

May 27, 2006

Open Heart Surgery

Open Heart Surgery originally uploaded by steveharris.

An update to my previous Ouch! and PowerBook Case posts.

My friend, Hanso, managed to get me a decent (and very reasonable) replacement bottom case for my PowerBook a few weeks ago. Trouble is, fitting this means taking everything out of the original bottom case and replacing it.

My friend, Ade, has all the tools for the job, so yesterday evening at 7pm we started the work. By midnight we had everything out of the old case. This morning (see pic) I made a start putting everything into the new case.

We had to take a break to get some brunch and a new tube of thermal paste (the paste I had from fixing my iMac before had expired) and by 6pm everything was done. We had spent about 7 or 8 hours on it altogether.

Nervously, I hit the power button and – Ziiing! the PowerBook started, OS X booted and absolutely everything is working: Airport, Bluetooth, the 1GB memory, ambient light sensors, just everything… I’m so delighted.

The full horror of the operation is documented in a set on Flickr.

Thanks to Hans for getting me the case, Ade for helping me fit it (doing most of the work, actually) and Claire for the, er, refreshments. A true domestic goddess (when she wants to be).

Boot Camp / Parallels

April 7, 2006

I’ve resisted posting something about Boot Camp because, frankly, I don’t give a damn. Well I do, but what can I write that hasn’t already been written?

I’ve been Windows-clean now for almost 3 years, apart from the crappy PC you use to find stuff in Borders bookstore and those temperamental touchscreen kiosks with messages on the screen saying “The file C:\whatever\something32.dll cannot be found”.

I’m more interested in this Parallels thing because it a) at least keeps Windows at second-class status by being in its own window and 2) goes along with what I wrote when the whole Intel thing was announced in the first place (last but one paragraph).

There are lots of debates going on about whether Boot Camp is a good or bad thing, but let’s face it, it was inevitable that we should have Windows running on Macs after the transition to Intel, whether or not that was endorsed by Apple.

I have no time for the sort of religious debates that seem to be going on (e.g. people screaming that they’re abandoning the platform because of this move – and going to what platform? And why??! Duh). I see it as being very good for Apple’s market share just because it will make the transition a lot less daunting for some people and that, gentle reader, has got to be good for all of us.

Update: I’m also posting this to Reinvented Blog with nicer language because it’s a borderline topic and I can’t work out which blog to post to these days. Just thought I’d mention that in case you thought it was another one of my MarsEdit blunders.

Welsh Dates in Mac OS X

April 3, 2006

OK, so there are about 3 million people in Wales, and let’s say that 60% own a computer (based on UK Internet usage stats for 2004), and let’s assume 5% of them use Macs and of these 5% only 10% actually use Welsh as a first language. That’s 9,000 people, and probably optimistic.

Well, you 9,000 people are in luck because I just noticed that Mac OS X supports dates in the Welsh language!


I only know one Welsh-speaking Mac user, so Deri, this one’s for you. Of course, you’ll be blissfully unaware as you’re galavanting around New Zealand, Australia and Japan for six months. 😀