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All articles in Apple

My life with Apple
The first computer I ever touched was a Commodore 64. It would have been around christmas 1982 I guess. My mom had got a job with scientific publisher Samsom, now part of Reed Elsevier, as a contact for bookstores. She'd had the opportunity to take a computer class and as an incentive all those who took part could get a C64 at home to practice and play with. I think she took a minor pay hit for a few months to eventually make it ours and not have to return it.

Soon we were copying games on cassettes from her colleagues and kids in the neighbourhood, we had a flourishing illegal trade in games going on. At that time a popular childrens' scientific magazine called Kijk (it still exists) published small BASIC programs that I would laboriously copy out line by line. I was learning the basics of BASIC. With for while loops, if then statements, and of course the ever popular go to command. I never got really far with BASIC as my interests shifted to biology and I spent a lot of time on a farm in the neighbourhood (we lived at the edge of town), I was learning about cows and crops and the cycle of life.

I finished secondary education without ever touching a computer for school work, I typed up my serious papers on my parents' orange manual typewriter. When I went to the teachers' academy in 1989 to learn Biology and Chemistry the mix of computers I saw there was eclectic. One of the Chemistry teachers used C64 machines to read in and plot solution gradients or something. We had a few dozen DOS + WordPerfect machines in the library. They were a bitch to work with. In later years Windows 3.11 (I think) came out. It had graphical programs that allowed you to adorn your papers with clipart and graphical crap. Yet the best they seemed to be able to do was make butt ugly extruded faux-3D letters with added geometrical shapes filled with nauseating colours.

After I quit my studies I started doing volunteer work in cultural center EKKO, which programs bands, disco nights, film, video, dance, classes etc. It was there that I first met Macintosh computers. I didn't really know anything about them but I'd used several different types of computer with several different types of operating system so after some initial trepidation I delved into the Mac. I haven't looked back since. I started writing nonsensical short stories for the internal magazine, distribution about 100. The ease of use of a Mac made me realise computer could be intuitive and not stand in the way of the creative process. Apple's operating system made computing effortless.
Soon I applied for the position of editor of the internal mag as the previous editor wanted to quit. It was then that I truly realised what a Mac could do. I worked with Photoshop, QuarkExpress and numerous other programs, all at the same time. I would shuffle files around on the internal AppleTalk network. I would hook up scanners and optical drives and download pictures from the early internet using sites found with AltaVista. I was completely hooked on the Mac and I bugged my good friends Jurjan and Jeroen, who I met at EKKO, endlessly about Macs and what made them tick. How they could be made faster by restarting and selectively enabling or disabling certain extensions, depending on what resources you needed for a particular job.

In 1996 (I think) I got my first Mac. Both Jeroen and Jurjan had bought new machines and they had combined their old computers into one super monster. An Apple Macintosh LC 475 with FPU (floating point unit). It had a hard drive measured in Megabytes, a speed of about 25 MHz and a small 13" colour screen. I used that computer with immense pleasure for a few years until I got a job and saved up so I could afford a new computer. I bought a Umax C500, a clone, one of the reasons Apple seemed to be going under at the time.

Shortly after I bought that machine Steve Jobs came back to Apple and killed the clones. He also killed off almost the entire line of Apple's computers, radically simplifying the business. When the iMac came out I knew Apple would get on top, the things were popping up everywhere in pop-culture, from Ikea catalogs (where every third page seemed to feature some lickable semi-transparant computer to tv shows where, inevitably, good guys used macs and bad guys used wintel (it was a shock to see Mr Glass' setup in Unbreakable).

Since that time in EKKO I don't think it's ever been a question that I was a Mac man. I would never voluntarily use anything else. The ease of use of the Mac was only reinforced by working with PCs at my job. When my Umax became too old and slow for me I bought a new middle of the range PowerMac as the MacPros were then called. I gave my old clone to my mom, who used it for years to play Snood and browse the web and do her email.

When Apple introduced the iPod I didn't jump on the bandwagon immediately. I calculated how much room I would need to store my entire collection of metal, I would have to wait until such a time as when Apple came out with one that was more my size. The 3rd generation provided this with a 30Gb iPod. I also bought a 60 Gb version a few years later. I still have both of them around, they hold an extra backup of some video files created between 1998-2000 when I was doing VJ stuff with Jurjan and Jeroen, all created on Macs of course.

In the early years of the new millennium I held out on getting a mobile phone. They seemed unnecessary and clunky. I relished not being in touch all the time. When asked whether I would ever get one I joked that I might if Apple came out with one. Over the years this joke turned more and more into reality as rumours started to come out that Apple was really working on a phone. When the first iPhone came out I saw the presentation and knew that I would probably get one as soon as they were released in the Netherlands. The iPhone 3G was the first model officially available and I got my name on the waiting list on the second day. It transformed my life, not because I could give up my landline and call mobile, I have never phoned much and I hardly do so now. No, the biggest part for me was being able to browse the internet while on the go. I could travel to my parents in the train and look at my shifting position on Google maps, switching to my RSS feeds to read up on the latest on ScienceBlogs.com. I could check my email when sitting in the bus to go to a meeting. I could take notes during meetings and send them via email straight away. In short: I had bought myself a very tiny yet fully workable Apple computer, which also happened to make calls.

During the early years of 2000 I bought another new Mac. This time I bought a G4 with Mac OS X. The ability to run Apache, MySQL and PHP transformed my working life as I was suddenly able to create scripts on my home machine, test them locally and then send to a server at work. I started to learn SQL, scripting and the arcana of CHRON. I put the Terminal app as my second in line right after the Finder, where it remains to this day, even though I don't poke around in the Unix parts much anymore as my job and interests have shifted somewhat.

The last Apple machine I bought was the first generation iPad, which it seems I mostly like to use when the days get shorter. I used it hardly at all in summer but as the days shorten I find myself more on the couch with my iPad, browsing the news or checking out videos, and less on the desktop machine.

Over the years I have used many Apple products, from computers to mobile devices to printers to monitors. And they all, still, invoke this wonder: how can something this complicated and technologically advanced be so much fun to use?
Apple has generally been criticised for not giving people enough choice, not giving them enough "openness", whatever that is. What Apple realised is that choice is confusing. Taking choice away leads to quicker decisions and that, ultimately, leads to more productivity and less frustration.
Apple has always balanced on the edge of what's possible. What can we eliminate in order to make the experience more friendly? What can we do to make things easier, less confusing, more pleasing to look at and more consistent?
The iPhone's one Home button on the front is apparently a design compromise Steve Jobs had to accept. He wanted a phone with zero buttons. But he also realised that you can't always take everything away, and that products are built by a team. He challenged his teams to come up with the best, which is why I have every confidence Apple will continue to be a market leader for some time to come. Will Apple fade? Undoubtedly, nothing lasts forever. Even the greatest empires fall, they did so in ancient times and there's no reason to think they won't do so now.

But in the mean time we'll live in a world shaped by Apple's products. Even if you've never used a single Apple product, the machine you are now using is most likely beholden to Apple and Steve Jobs' vision of a simpler future, where technology is created to serve man and not the other way around.
Make no mistake, now that the singular vision of Jobs has gone from the industry we might see stagnation for years to come as competitors for the last decade have shown themselves completely (I would almost say pathologically) incapable of designing anything new or groundbreaking themselves. Here's hoping Apple still has loads of stuff on the shelf, things that might not even be feasible for the next ten years.

I am sad that Steve passed away so young, but his legacy cannot be underestimated. I wonder what future historians will make of his idiosyncratic style and the impact of this one man on an entire world at the dawn of the electronic age.

RIP Steve. May your atoms be scattered to the corners of the earth and hang around for trillions of years.

Youpi no more?
Ever since the heady days of Mac OSX 1.0 I have used a program called Youpi key that automates keystrokes. I use it to type my home address, my email address, several of the URLs I often use, passwords for sites etc. etc. at the hit of a special key combo. Saves a lot of time. In 2003 the program stopped being free but despite my not upgrading since then it continued to work, how's that for value?
Unfortunately lately it seemed to be spewing out loads of error messages in the Console because it used frameworks deprecated by Apple. These frameworks are set to disappear completely in the next OS X version so the time had come to do something.

Almost 10 years of use from a free program isn't bad so I tried out the new version, now called iKey. After the trial ended I bought the program because it's saved me about a zillion lifetimes typing already so I guess I owe the programmer a bit.

Besides typing you can also use it to execute applescripts so you can control programs in the background (like iTunes, or manipulate the system sound level) as well. You can also limit keybindings to specific applications and do lots of more stuff I don't use.

Recommended if you have a Mac. Even if you wind up using only 10% of the possibilities, like I do.

ConfusaPad
You know you're using your iPad too much when you're reading the dead tree tv guide and catch yourself glancing up to the menu bar to see what the time is.

Eeek!
Serious iPad Flaw Discovered

I think I may hold off till version 2, my coffee table is already quite old and it probably wouldn't survive.

Götterdämmerung
Apparently the entire Tech world is amazed that Apple gave the OK to Opera's iPhone app.

Why they are so surprised is a mystery to me as Apple had, months ago, already approved several different browsers, for example iCab Mobile.
The assumption seemed to be that Opera would be a real contender to the throne of Safari and that Apple would never allow apps that competed directly with their own categories of built-in apps. This is silly as Apple frequently has done this in all sorts of categories like stocks, music and mail. Oh, and webbrowsing.

Sure, the app store has loads of problems but Apple's rules are nowhere near as vindictive as many tech writers, for example in The Register, assume.

Silly tech pundits.

Having said all that Walt Mossberg's review is amazing. But then Walt is the Kingmaker™.

Real artists ship
Interesting article on Apple's environmental policies in BusinessWeek.

I'm reminded of the famous story about getting Mac OS ready for the introduction of the mac: "Real artists ship".

rawr
Upgraded to Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) this weekend and so far all seems to be going smoothly, in fact the entire upgrade operation seems to be much smoother than any previous upgrade.

Only problems I encountered so far are MySQL not working (haven't had time to look into that yet, could be a very simple fix) and PHP throwing up a warning notice about timezone support. Seems like the new PHP wants you to explicitly set a default timezone when calculating stuff using the date() function. No biggy, look in /etc and find php.ini.default, open it up in your favorite editor (BBEdit work great, but sudo pico /etc/php.ini.default works as well) and look for the line that says date.timezone = .
Add your preferred timezone, like so: date.timezone = "Europe/Berlin", see the manual for supported zones/cities.

After you're done with that rename the file using sudo mv php.ini.default php.ini and restart your computer.

Guide to Surviving Windows 7
Walt Mossberg's Guide to Surviving Windows 7:


From The Rant Puppets who've been featuring a lot of Walt "I'm right and you're stupid" lately.


Safari 4, srsly?
I haven't had much time to stay up to date with Mac news lately so when reviews of the Safari 4 Beta popped up in my RSS reader I was a bit surprised. Especially as these are all a bit bemused and bewildered about the interface changes.

Luckily for you lot I am working from home today as some workmen are coming over to tear down a wall or something in order to place a new water-heater that won't kill me in my sleep.

So a perfect time to check it out.

First thing you'll notice is that when you open Safari you'll see a new welcome page that lists so called "top sites". At first I thought it would be based on what sites I frequently visit but then I noticed CNN and Apple were there too and I hardly ever visit those. Even worse: Ebay was there, which I never ever visit and isn't even in my bookmarks so I am guessing Apple went in for a bit of branding madness. Half the sites that were listed were my own though so that is good right?
Weeeeeelllllll... Maybe not, as it seems some of my most favorite sites are actually pages behind a password so instead of seeing pages from work I see a miniature screenshot of a login page, helpful? Not for me, but maybe you like login pages!
No matter, you can edit the welcome page which then displays gratuitous animations. Oooh, shiny!

Ok, so ignore that and let's get surfing. And now we run into a huge problem: design. Whoever designed the new tab bar on top of the Safari window must have been on LSD. I have done LSD in my time and I am sure this would have given me a giggle back then. As I haven't used any in 15 years though I cannot say I am impressed by this design and actually think it's about the ugliest thing Apple has ever produced in Software. Quite why Apple feels the need to mess about with a webbrowser's interface is beyond me. Perhaps some in management feel the need to be hip and cutting edge. If that is so then whoever is in charge should be taken out back and put down like a rabid dog. Perhaps it's some nutty tech that has a serious case of the Google envy, in which case his commit privileges need to be taken away asap, after which he too needs to be put down for the sake of the world, who knows what he will decide to work on next!

The bookmarks in Safari have undergone a change as well, we now have coverflow in the bookmarks window. Why is not clear to me as previews are only regenerated when you actually visit a page. I never use Coverflow for my albums in iTunes and I seriously do not need to see them in my bookmarks. I think Coverflow in iTunes is already stretching the browsing a music store analogy a bit too far but I have no clue as to why we would want this, unless the preview images are actually updated live when you flip through so you have a visual recognition that a page has changed. Alas, this is not the case.

It is worth reiterating here that Safari 4 is still in beta so who knows what can change but in all honestly I do not like the new Safari, no I do not. But then I gave up on Safari a while ago and am using iCab (yes, I paid for a browser, how nutty am I?) which is based on Safari's rendering engine Webkit. Which has far superior bookmarking technology, has inbuilt filtering of ads and scripts and whatnot. It also looks and acts like a normal browser.

A webbrowser is, to me, a purely functional application. It is not meant to distract, it is not meant to hinder you and it is not meant to have design features that make you wonder whether you're having flashbacks. Keep it simple, make it highly functional, bury the really advanced features and either skip or make the gratuitous features a choice! Apple has failed in this.

Whatever is going on at Apple since they ditched the old Human Interface Guidelines and felt themselves to be above that has to stop in my mind, I do not want to go into the dark world that is Windows interface design where every app can more or less at random decide to throw faeces at you and force you to learn arcane magics to tame windows, menubars and commands gone feral. I like the Mac OS because software looks and behaves in a uniform way. Apple is, once again, going down a dangerous path of splitting the elegance of its design and it scares me to think of where this will lead. What is next for a "makeover"? The Finder? The single menubar on top that all Mac apps share?

Right, it's 9 o'clock, time to get some real work done...

Azerty is teh suck
Hehe, macuser has a funny article on some production flaws in the new macbook laptops. This reminded me of the student that came to my office a few weeks ago who wanted to get his Macbook on our wireless internet. Problem was he had a laptop with an azerty layout. You cannot believe how tremendously annoying it is to type on one of these things if you've never done that before.

While I cannot type blind at all, in fact I type with 2, 3 or even sometimes with 4 fingers, subconsciously I have a pretty good idea where keys are. More so than I realized and this was extremely disconcerting. Typing things I use fifteen times a day, such as my password, took ages as I had suddenly had to find every single key!

I could probably live with a keyboard with no visible B key as long as the B was where I supposed it would be, but I won't ever see the beauty of azerty after so many years of qwerty.

APOD desktop app
One of the things I'm most proud of to have ever developed is my Astronomy Picture of the Day download scripts.

Even though I created the scripts for this back in 2003 I still get occasional mail about this. Today someone called Trevor Sayre mailed me he was inspired to create an actual application to do the same thing.
You can download the app here: http://bluetain.com/downloads/FetchAPOD.dmg

Although I haven't seen the code for the app I can confirm that it works on my Mac and that it doesn't appear to contact anything else than the Astronomy Picture of the Day pages. If all this scripting stuff and editing CRON files is a bit over your head you might want to give this a try. You will need a Mac, the app appears to be a Universal Binary so it will probably work on older G4 and G5 based machines.

Here's Trevor's mail:
I saw your APOD to Desktop Perl script plus Applescript set and decided to make an app to do the same. I even mashed together a nice little icon for the app. You can, of course, set the app to run at start-up if one wanted to have the background set to most recent with any reboot. As well, you can just have it lying around or on the dock and run it to have the background updated. Thank you for the inspiration and I hope you like it! Feel free to post it on your site if you'd like.

I am aware that since my scripts were written there have been a number of apps that do the same thing on sites like MacUpdate. I haven't tried those but then the developers never contacted me.

I'll keep using my own scripts as they've been running perfectly every day for 5 years straight but it's cool there are options.

Update: Trevor mailed me that he'd be happy to release a slightly different package so you can see the applescript that does the real work: http://bluetain.com/downloads/FetchAPOD.zip

It's pretty elegant I must say and a lot less hassle than my perl + osascript combo. The picture is downloaded to the ~/Pictures folder, to prevent flooding the system it's named the same every day.
I also misspelled his last name which is unforgivable but which I have corrected above.

Library on iPhone, pt. 2
As I mentioned in a comment to my previous post I did some more work on my iPhone library webapp.
I got widescreenview to work quite nicely, though there's still some minor bugs to sort out.

I also did work on the movies section (renamed to Films) so there's links to detailed records.

Here's some new screenshots.

movies with link to details searching in films film details

widescreen view of books


Now I have to go through the book database so all authornames are consistent. I kinda made a mess of that over the years. I started out with using Lastname, Initials but sometimes I switched to Lastname, First Names or even Firstname Lastname.
This is annoying me no end now I see all books at the same time (my FileMaker Pro database only showed 1 book at a time).
Sorting this out will take a while I guess but when it's finished it will look loads better.

If you want to see the code in action you can go to my homeserver, for best results use an iPhone though Safari should work reasonably well if you make the screen small (320*480).

Library on iPhone
As I mentioned a while ago one of my thoughts when deciding to get an iPhone as whether it would be easy to get my media databases on it. It happens too often that I go out and buy a movie or a book that I already have. I looked at database solutions currently available for the iPhone but one that looked best was about 100 euros which is kinda steep for my modest needs. So I decided to build my own webapp which should be available everywhere as long as I have access to the internets.

After some snooping at the code used by iLounge.com for the iPhone interface they use I created some tables in MySQL and hacked together some code for the display and search function.

Here's some screenshots, they're in Dutch but you should be able to make out what does what even if you're not Dutch.

homescreen movies
I'm pleased to say that overall I'm quite happy with the first results. There's some stuff to do of course, movies only show the title at the moment, while my database has a lot more fields like director, year, genre, imdb url etc.
So I'll probably link the titles there to go to more detailed records.

So how hard was it to create this? Well, most of the time went into creating the interface and making it look good in normal view. The interface doesn't look too good right now in widescreen mode (which is if you switch the iPhone 90 degrees) due to the usage of stuff like
max-width: 100px;
overflow: hidden;
text-overflow: ellipsis;


books book search

I can probably tweak that a bit with the CSS though but that's for a later date.
Exporting the data from FileMaker Pro wasn't too rough, I did have some problems with charactersets, wrong date formats and newlines in certain fields but a quick run through BBEdit fixed most of that.

I will be sad to leave my FileMaker databases that have been with me since 1999 but the time has come to embrace the web and it's been a lot of fun to actually develop something for the iPhone's browser.

Technology! Whisky! Sexy!
"The ability to watch hours and hours of cat videos on Youtube is not a special power."

Huzzah, John Moltz is back with a new venture. After the success of Crazy Apple Rumors he's bringing us the podcast Technology! Whisky! Sexy!.

I don't listen to podcasts much as they require a bit too much attention while working or gaming and I like to have some peppy music while cycling, but this one is quite funny if you can spare a few minutes every week.
Hey, it's got Rush's Anthem from the Fly By Night album as a leader so you know it can't be wrong.

iMobile?
Well now, the end of the world may soon be amongst us.
Last week we learned that Apple would finally release the iPhone for Dutch consumption and I'm horribly tempted to get one. I've never had a mobile phone but the extras this thing has are more appealing to me than the actual phone thing. Ever since my trusty old G4 iBook died (I still miss you Angua!!!) I've been hobbling along to meetings writing appointments on pieces of paper and then forgetting to put them in my calendar. There's also the fact that having a webbrowser in your pocket is often darned handy. I do have a rather new iPod and that's still working perfectly so getting an iPod Touch isn't that appealing.
Also the fact that for years I've been trying to find a reliable way to carry a list of my book and DVD collection with me is not to be forgotten, to prevent silly things like buying a DVD I already own, I had this working at a time but subsequent iPod software updates had left me with the problem to rework 1000 lines of Applescript, something which I wasn't looking forward to and keep putting off. I'm thinking that one simple export from Filemaker to a MySQL database will solve all this as hacking together a minimalist webinterface would cost me about, oh, 2 minutes.
Coupled with 802.1X and Outlook integration and seamless synching with both PC at work and Mac at home the iPhone seems to be made of win. And who doesn't like shiny gadgets?

As you see I'm mostly considering the impact of having a mobile mini-computer with me. Still, this will mean that instead of being one of the last 3 people on the planet without a mobile phone, I'll be one of the sheep. Which is where the end of the world comes in.
Of course, a lot depends on the contract. I don't mind spending 200 euro for an iPhone but the real costs are in the telecom contract you're tied to. And telecoms operators are bastards and probably the first to be shot when the revolution comes to quote DNA.

Of course having a mobile thingy instantly reduces your intelligence by about 60 points and soon you'll be calling your friends when you're 2 minutes away from their house to tell 'em you're close. Which truly would be the end of the world.

The King of Dustflatworms
Well whaddayaknow. Yesterday I grumbled about an overheating graphics card. Seconds later I was enjoying my new screen and checked out MacRumor, which had a post about my exact same problem. This lead me to a post on xlr8yourmac with some lovely pictures of the air intake of the ATI X1900.
I opened up my Mac, got out the graphics card and lo and behold I too had a dustflatworm, although mine seemed bigger. I really need to get a camera so I can document all these dustanimals for you.

My card is now running smoothly and my computer hasn't frozen up, despite having played WoW on maximum settings for an hour or two.

ATI sure makes some crappy cards though if stuff like this happens so regularly if posts on xlr8yourmac are to be believed.

We need more space!
Yesterday evening my aging iiyama display died. After many years of service it went *pooof*. It had been acting oddly for some time so this wasn't too big a surprise but it did leave me with the unfortunate situation where I had to buy a new monitor. Well, I say unfortunate, but in reality it gave me the opportunity to get myself a shiny new 23" Apple Cinema display. I went to the local Apple store and checked out the displays after being reassured that we could check the display in the store for any dead pixels before I actually handed over any money I bought it. Man it's big. How big? Well the native resolution is 1920*1200. My previous monitor maxed out at 1600*1200 so the extra space is a welcome addition. 320 pixels doesn't sound like much but the below (scaled-down) screenshot shows that it's quite a lot. Here's a shot of Eudora that still thinks it's on my old iiyama 20" CRT.



I decided to get an AppleCare protection plan with it as well. I've never really been into the whole extended warranty thing but lately I've been having some problems with Apple gear (having a laptop die after 18 months sucks and I'm not 100% happy with the graphics card in my current MacPro either as it tends to overheat due to poor fancontrol in OSX 10.5) and decided it might be worth it. Time will tell if I actually need the extra 2 years of hassle-free warranty but it seemed like a good bet.

In the meantime I'll go back to being amazed at the quality of the display as it really is quite sharp and lovely looking.

Real, the laughing stock of Mac development
I think today was the first time I've started up RealPlayer since I had this Mac, and that's a little over a year.


Some time in the past few years Real quietly lost the war of terror for media player dominance. Do YOU celebrate this regularly? Because I sure as heck forget to celebrate this small victory of common sense. So let us be quiet today in remembrance of the most abhorrent program ever developed.

Apple stole the design for the MacBook Air!
Sad video of the guy that really invented the Macbook Air, only to have it stolen by Apple.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxVa4QlWsfY

Silence
I had my new MacPro delivered today and I'm in metaphorical heaven. I've copied over most of the documents, mp3s and applications and I must say the new machine is brilliant. I still have some Unixy stuff to move over but so far everything went swimmingly.

When I got home from doing some shopping and put away the keys in my desk I actually thought the machine was off because it was so quiet. The most you can hear when the machine is idle is the barest whisper, the old one was starting to sound like a wind-tunnel and the constant whine of fans trying to keep the hard-disks and video card cool was constant subconscious irritation. Even when the machine is having to do some work the most you hear is a low murmur from the hard-disk. I have no idea how this machine is cooled, perhaps it doesn't even need it because of its looks.

I haven't played with the Apple mighty mouse so far as by all accounts it's a pretty horrible piece of work so I might give that one a miss until I have some time, the new keyboard is a bit too small for my taste but my old one (a MacAlley iMedia keyboard) requires drivers for the special keys like volume up, previous/next track, pause, eject etc and there is no Intel version for that yet and OS X refuses to load kernel extensions that weren't compiled for Intel. Meh, I'll make do for now.

The video-card is amazing, I opted for the ATI Radeon X1900 XT (512MB). To stress it out i turned on all the options in World of Warcraft, all sliders to max quality and i still got about 70 fps in crowded areas. I have yet to test it in intense 80 man battles but I'm sure the card will live up to the expectations. Even if the frame-rate drops to around 30 that's still 4 times more than my old machine managed.

The form factor of the machine is absolutely divine, to add a new hard drive all you have to do is open up the side (easy as pie, just use a lever to unlock the door and lift it out), slide out a disk tray, screw in the disk (the entire tray slides out so you can do it on your desk instead of half inside the machine) and then slide the tray back in. No fiddling with cables, the disk's SATA- and power connectors will fit right into the machine.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to drool over the machine a bit more, but I'll do that in private.

New MacPros around the corner?
Prospective Mac buyers rejoice!
I have just ordered a new MacPro so this means that Apple will release brand new models very very soon now, probably the day after I get my new machine, which should be somewhere next week.

I was heavily torn between the MacPro and the 24"iMac but in the end I decided to buy the MacPro because of the upgradability. The ability to add 3 extra hard disks and upgrade the RAM even further, as well as the ability to put in a freaking awesome video card pulled me over the line. (Although the 24"screen of the iMac still makes me salivate.)

Here's the specs for those interested:
- 2x2.66 GHz dual core
- 2 Gigs of Ram
- 512MB video card
- Airport Extreme and Bluetooth card

The rest is pretty standard, I have a 120 Gig SATA drive in my current machine that I can transplant so I just went with the standard 250 Gig hard disk the machine comes with, that gives me 2 extra bays to fill later if more space is needed. By that time disks will be bigger for less money anyway.

I am not sure yet what to do with my old machine, it's been a loyal companion for 5 years now and I upgraded it with more RAM, a SATA PCI card and a 256 MB ATI video card so it's still in good shape.

It's a pity Apple didn't release new macs this week as I was kinda hoping they would but I understand Jobs not wanting anything to take the attention away from the iPhone, which leaves me a bit "meh" to be honest.

I understand phones are some newfangled invention that allow people to communicate with each other over long distances without having to resort to shouting, but the constant barrage of endless chatter has always frustrated me.
"Where are you?," "I'm on the bus," "I will be home in 3 minutes."
Who freaking cares???? In 3 minutes your partner would have found out, why is it so pressing he know about it now? Is it so he can close the pr0n site and clear the browserhistory?

I have actually witnessed 2 people in the same bus talking to each other.
"Where are you now?"
"I am on the bus."
"So am I."
"Where are you now?"
"I'm near the police station".
"Ooooh, we must be on the same bus."
Desperately looking around.
Waves and smiles.

It makes me sick.

Sorry, I think I got a bit carried away there.
Back to work, checking the Apple Store every 10 minutes to see if my payment has gone through and assembly has started.

oooo, shiny
The 24 inch iMac is the first iMac I truly, deeply desire.

Upgrade the graphics chip to 256 MB and the RAM to 2 Gig and you have a system that's just about as good as a low end desktop.

Hmmm, must restrain myself....

Podpeople
After 3 years of almost daily use my old third generation iPod - 30 Gig) has finally become almost unusable due to the fact that the battery only holds a charge of about a roundtrip to work, meaning I have to recharge it every single day or risk having to cycle 11 kilometers without music before I can recharge it at work or at home, which happens sometimes. Well, it still works perfectly ok, it's just annoying.

Needless to say that this constant recharging sucks so I finally got myself a new one and it's just arrived. A brand new 60 Gig Video iPod in fact. I have about 130 digital photo's so the only reason I chose the 60 Gig version is because it can hold all my music with room to spare for essential backups.

I could have sprung for a battery replacement kit but knowing my previous experiments in taking things apart and trying to put them back together I'll probably be left with 3 parts after the assembly and the thing won't work anymore. Besides, after three years of loyalty the old one can darn well retire.

So what are my first impressions?
Well, first of all: it no longer has FireWire and my desktop only has USB 1 so copying all my music over will take ages. Second of all is that the screen is really big. Much bigger than I anticipated. It's also much slimmer than my previous one.
Engravings are free now (it used to cost 30 euros) so I got in inscribed with The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Give yourself a pat on the back if you know what the answer is without looking it up on the web.

The packaging isn't as nice as the one my 3rd generation came in. It's nice but not up to the standards I wrote about before.

1.27 Gig of 44.14 copied. This is going to take a while.

Mindshare vs. marketshare
From the useless research department.

In my previous post I used the term "good folks at Apple".

I was looking at that and decided to compare the Google results for that as a quoted search-term against the results for "good folks at Microsoft".

It's Apple 150 vs. Microsoft 256.

She's Back...
My dear Angua has come back to me.

The good folks at Apple have replaced the hard-drive and even cleaned the keyboard and trackpad so she looks nice and virginal again.
I'm slightly annoyed over the fact that they haven't seen fit to replace the CPU with a 1,25 GHz model or the plain vanilla CD-ROM drive with a superdrive but then one can't complain can one?

Well OK, one can, but one shouldn't expect much sympathy.

Poor poor Angua
Bugger:


This is not a good year for harddisks. First I had trouble with the primary drive in my G4, now my iBooks' drive is failing.

It's now on it's way to Apple to undergo surgery, care of the good people at The Future Store.

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