The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) is reporting that Apple has introduced the 17-inch Macbook Pro. Still too big a machine for me personally, but still great as a portable workstation.
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April 24, 2006
April 13, 2006
MacBook Pro Review
November 15, 2005
What's the buzz
There are a crazy amount of iPod accessories out there, but this is the most... uh, interesting one yet. For that special someone in your life.
iBuzz—iPod Controlled Vibrator
Merry Christmas, Mom! Apparently this little device, which hooks up to the iPod and buzzes in time to your music library, is the hottest Christmas gift going. It's great for getting to sore muscles and aching bones and might even be used for a bit of extracurricular self-induced carnival time after hours, but we wouldn't condone that at all. The body is a temple.
Huge buzz for iPod gizmo [The Sun][via Gizmodo]
October 24, 2005
Anime on the iPod
More and more content for the video iPod keeps showing up. This time it's anime from Central Park Media. Their initial offering is a show called Votoms. While I don't have a video iPod it's still stuff I can watch on my computer. But people are already putting out content.
January 20, 2005
I've been a little quiet lately. Doing a bunch of reading and playing World of Warcraft. Somewhere in there Apple released the Mac Mini. I seriously want one. I've got an old B&W G3 it would replace just perfectly. I'd probably want the $599 one though. I kind of wish they offered a higher end one with the SuperDrive that wasn't a custom build though.
One thing I've found is that this has many numerous people I know who had been trying to avoid getting a mac finally take the plunge. Bout time Apple made a move like this. Btw, if you're getting one, bump the memory up to at least 512MB if not a full gig. You'll be happy you did.
December 05, 2004
Ramblings of a Cultist
(Okay, before I get into this post I'll admit that I'm a Mac user. I've been a sysadmin for over a decade and have had to maintain all variety of machines and OSes (From Suns to PCs to Macs). Up until the release of Mac OS X I honestly wouldn't have considered getting a Mac, but now that I have one I am immensely happy with it. So my response to this is both as a sysadmin and as a Mac owner. Okay, on with the post.)
Rich Brooks over at the Herald Tribune wrote a column about a FL school system's decision to switch from Macs to PCs running Windows a week or so ago. At the time I read it and just kind of shrugged it off. He's now written a second article talking about all the mails he got from the people in the Mac cult. So I thought I'd chime in (that's what blogs are for, right?).
As I read it, his original argument boiled down to this statement:
But with PCs locking in 97 percent of the market, deciding what kind of computers to use in a school system is a no-brainer. [Rich Brookes]
On the surface I agree that it looks to be a no-brainer. But I think there are more issues to look at than that. First off, the cost of this project is $7 million. I'm assuming that's just the price of the hardware (though he doesn't say). You've also got to figure that if your existing support staff don't understand PCs they'll either have to be retrained or replaced. You need all new versions of software. There may be various educational apps that have been in use that don't exist on the PC, which means more spent on finding alternatives. I also believe that support costs for Windows are higher than OS X. I don't have any data,this is based purely on the amount of times I've had to spend dealing with issues on each OS. And the number of sleepless nights each has given me.
My biggest gripe with the first article is that he has no idea as to what the capabilities of the Mac are. He's heard they don't require as much maintenance, and that they are better for graphics and video. But he doesn't know for sure.
Needless to say, the Mac community went nuts over this article. Prompting Mr. Brooks to write a followup column: Revenge of the Mac user cult (and why they missed the point).
Woe unto anyone who publicly questions the efficacy of Macintosh computers.
You will be set upon by the cult of Mac users. They will call you names. They will tell your boss that you should be fired. They will write long letters and e-mails detailing the history of home computers. [Rich Brooks]
Now I'll be the first to admit that Mac users tend to be very zealous about their computers. I'll even admit to a bit of it myself. I think they've done a great job breathing life back into the Macintosh line in the past few years. I'm someone who always hated having to give into the graphics people and go mac for them. But, I do agree that a lot of Mac users sometimes go a bit too far with their comments.
While I don't excuse that kind of behavior I can understand it. I can work with any operating system. Most do at least one or two things better than other operating systems. The problem I run into is that people refuse to even consider Macs most of the time. They don't even want to think about trying it. So I think a lot of Mac users get annoyed when Macs are just dismissed without a second thought.
I do think it would make for an interesting article if Mr. Brooks were to try out a Mac for a month and report back. I can't say that there won't be issues. I'm just as critical of OS X's problems as I am with Windows. But I would like to think he'd be pleasantly suprised by the Mac.
Oh, and floppy drives are dead. With those little USB drives being so cheap these days I can easily see the floppy drive becoming nonstandard on the PC within a year or so.
December 03, 2004
Why Popcap.com Sucks Now
The other day #!/usr/bin/girl posted about Bejeweled 2 over at Popcap.com. Having liked the original I hopped on over and tried to play. I click on the 'Click to Play' link and the familiar Popcap game window pops up with the instructions and no game. I hit reload a few times with the same result. I closed out the window and clicked on Bookworm, then original Bejeweled to see if they worked. Both played just fine (and wasted a good bit of my time).
So I fired off an email to their customer support asking for help. This morning I got back the following response.
Which Internet Browser are you using? Zuma, Insanaquarium, Bejeweled 2, and Astropop will only work in Internet Explorer on a Windows machine because they use Active X. ActiveX is a code that defines MicrosoftÂ’s interaction between web servers, clients, add-ins and Microsoft Office applications. ActiveX is MicrosoftÂ’s answer to Java technology from Sun Microsystems.
So, if you're a Popcap fan, forget running any new games from them for the moment. They seem to have ditched any support for other browsers/oses. The thing I find more annoying is that Insanaquarium used to run just fine on OS X, so I'm not quite sure when they made the switch. Bastards.
And yes, I know IE is still the most popular browser out there (Though it sounds like those numbers are being slowly chipped away at by things like Firefox). But the other thing that irks me is that I think these games are written in Java, at least that is what their web site indicates. Anyone know for sure? Oh yes, and Popcap support? ActiveX is not M$'s answer to Java. C# maybe, but not ActiveX.
November 04, 2004
The Mouse I Want
I'd written IOGEAR around a month ago asking when the Bluetooth Mini Mouse that they announced during the summer would be out. I got a nice reply back a day or two later that explained it wouldn't be out until sometime first quarter of 2005. At the time I was kind of bummed because I really like their Mini Mouse line, but was holding out for bluetooth.
Today I just noticed on one of the blogs I read that it had been released! (I wish I could remember which blog so I could give them credit.) I plan on getting one of these as soon as I get paid next. It's a much more manageable size to carry around. Also, it comes with rechargeable batteries. A very nice touch. It's a little bit more than I was wanting to spend on a mouse, but I think I will get a lot of good use out of it.
I'll post a review if I end up getting it.
October 28, 2004
Stewart Copeland, Mac Geek
Derrick Story writes about his Favorite Stewart Copeland Story:
The next day, when we had a few moments to talk, I asked him what he thought of the laptop. Stewart was in a great mood. He said that since he didn't have any of his stuff on it, he just nosed around, and quickly discovered GarageBand. Stewart is more of a ProTools kind of guy, so he's never taken the time to check out GB.
"I saw this cool looking guitar on the dock," he said. "So I clicked on it. It seemed like about 20 minutes had passed, but it was more like a couple hours. Next thing I knew, I had some pretty sweet tracks put together. And that was without a USB keyboard (as in the musical type). I was just tapping on the computer itself." [O'reilly:Derrick Story]
Some Mac game News
Some quick Mac gaming bits from Insidemacgames.com in the last week or two. The first is the re-release of a game that I found quite cool and quite disturbing when it came out: Bad Mojo.
Originally hatched in 1996 under the gleeful gaze of publishers Pulse Entertainment, Bad Mojo tells the quirky, Kafka-esque story of mad scientist and entomologist Roger Samms, who, one morning, wakes up to find that he's been temporarily turned into... a cockroach. Players are entrusted with navigating the reborn insect back to safety along a path of discovery across the giant obstacle course that has become his own apartment building. [insidemacgames.com]
And also, sometime next month or so we should give us the release of The Fool and his Money:
Further to yesterday's news item regarding the upcoming release of his new metapuzzle, independent game developer Cliff Johnson has contacted the IMG News Staff with further news regarding his current project, the long-awaited sequel The Fool And His Money.
According to Cliff, the current projected completion date for the new title has been pushed till December of this year; December 6th, to be exact, judging by the completion countdown clock on his web page.
Despite the game's numerous delays, the game developer's rabid fan base are standing behind the solo programmer, and are offering unconditional support to his latest effort. In his email to IMG, Cliff writes:
What has been and continues to be both thrilling and heartwarming is the tremendous outpouring of love and affection for The Fool's Errand (and 3 in Three) from True Believers all over the world, confirming what I've always suspected... that folks from all walks of life enjoy the game. To borrow the retired Mac slogan, "a game for the rest of us."
This is one I've been waiting to come out for ages (here's my post on it from over a year ago). I am so psyched to see it finally coming out. The Fool's Errand is still one of my favorite games of all time.
October 13, 2004
Microsoft Calls the Kettle Black
When Microsoft opened up the MSN Music Store the other day, there was a comment about Apple and how their system is "closed". This was given as a reason that MSN is better.
"iTunes has done a great job of helping to elevate the [digital music] market," said Christine Andrews, lead product manager of MSN. "We're different because Apple is a closed system. If you want Apple, you have to use the iPod. A lot of people want choice and we offer that." [macnn.com]
So let's see. My choice is use iTMS and an iPod, or buy a whole second computer in order to use the MSN Music Store. Let's be honest, they're both closed in different ways. IMHO MSN's is more closed because I can't even use it on my computer. Though I wouldn't hate Apple if they opened up access to their DRM a little bit. Given their market share I think they can afford to let people use a few other players. There is still a market for flash players that aren't that expensive.
October 06, 2004
The other week i wrote complaining about the iTunes Music Store. After going back and forth with support a few times I finally got a nice note from their technical support team saying to check back in a few weeks while they fixed the tracks I wanted. I just went and checked the store to see if they were still listed and Lard - Last Temptation of Reid isn't even listed anymore. Also, they've removed the short version of Original Sin from INXS - The Swing.
Good job so far. Now we'll wait and see if that Lard album ever comes back.
September 28, 2004
OS X mySQL tools
I have a few different tools I use for managing MySQL on my OS X server. I've always been a fan of phpMyAdmin and have also used something called CocoaMySQL. But I was recently in a situation where I didn't have those available and needed something quick. After searching around some I discovered dbSuite Admin Tools X, a very nice piece of donationware for OS X and Windows for working with your MySQL server. The big bonus it has over CocoaMySQL is that it has user management built in (something I'm sure it will have eventually). These folks will be getting a little bit of a donation from me on my next round of payments.
September 24, 2004
A Blast From The Past
Years ago when I was in college there were a few games for the Mac that were quite cool. One of them was Solarian II. It was kind of like Galaxian with really cool sounds. Thankfully, it's now been ported to OS X and it's just as frustratingly cool as it was back then. I think I may even cough up the $10 for it once I get done with the trial runs.
Now, we just need are new ports of Arashi, Crystal Quest, Shufflepuck Cafe (remember the opponent who'd get drunk as he lost?) and Airborn (Hopefully I can find links to old pages with pictures of these). Now that I think of it, there were a ton of really simple fun games for the Mac back then. I remember the little DA version of Tetris that I'd waste hours playing when I was working in the computer lab.
September 21, 2004
After not being able to talk about this for ages I can finally say NetNewsWire 2.0 rocks. Tonight Brent released the beta of NetNewsWire 2.0. I've been using betas for the past few months and he's been doing a pretty kickass job. You can check out the What's New page, read the Change Notes, or just go and Download it.
September 17, 2004
Original Sin - INXS
The other day I posted about the Apple Music Store and how I felt they were misrepresenting what they sell. While out shopping yesterday, I found a copy of the CD I wanted to buy, The Swing by INXS. So in honor of that, I'm posting the actual version of Original Sin (aac) from the CD (though other folks had also gotten it to me).
I also happened to check back at iTMS to see if the listing was still incorrect, and it was. So here's the question I have. How should Apple handle this kind of thing? Should they pull it from their site till it is fixed? Or just let people keep buying it? The first seems like the correct answer.
I think the reason this is annoying me so much is that I had a similar issue with an audiobook I bought there. In the middle of the second file it suddenly jumped a bunch of chapters ahead, and in the third file, it jumped back. So it had obviously been encoded out of order. Yet when I called customer service on it, they just credited me back, and then didn't change the version online, it was still available. It makes me wonder how much they really pay attention to problems.
Anyway, enjoy the song.
September 10, 2004
More Proof That iTunes Reads Minds
I just fired up iTunes because I wanted to listen to some music, but also wanted to hear one song in particular first. So I hit shuffle and then searched for the song. The scroll bar barely moved and I noticed that it was the second song in the shuffle. Coincidence? I think not.
September 09, 2004
A Little Bit of Forgiveness for iTMS
But only a little bit because they didn't get it all right. I have a few different bands I'll search for on iTMS every now and then to see if they've made it into the store. An old favorite, Lard, had shown up a few months ago, but it was missing the album I really wanted: The Last Temptation of Reid. On that point iTMS has done well.
On the other hand, when I go to select the album to buy. It gives me an Unknown Error and tells me to try again later. DAMN YOU APPLE FOR TEASING ME!
September 05, 2004
iTunes Music Store Inaccuracy
I was poking around in the iTunes Music Store early this morning and discovered they had The Swing by INXS. I was quite psyched since that is one of my all time favorite albums. I remember my high school roommate and I used to have it playing on shuffle play all night long many many times. I clicked to add it to my shopping cart and did some more browsing. When I was done I was just about to click on 'Buy Now' when I noticed something. The version of "Original Sin" they have as part of the album is the wrong version. The listed time for the track is 3:46. According to allmusic.com, the actual length of the track is 5:19, which sounded more like what I remembered.
The most annoying part of this is that I've had my eye out for this for ages and it feels like it is almost within my grasp. Maybe I should ask around to see if any of my friends have it.
August 31, 2004
The new Imac
I have to say that I really like the look of the new iMac.
August 20, 2004
Mac Office 2004 NitPick
I've been trying out the trial version of Office 2004 for the Mac (and should have a real copy of it on the way very soon now). I have to say Microsoft has really done some cool things here. The project manager in Entourage rocks. It's the kind of thing that would be insanely useful to my ADDness. But there are a few things about it that I have to rant about. The first is that some kind of syncing between Entourage and Apple Address Book isn't in there. I read a nice post on this over at blogs.msdn.com by Dan Crevier that explains the reasoning, but it still annoys me. Thankfully there's a nice shareware app out there that does it called Sync Entourage - Address Book by Paul Berkowitz.
My next nitpick is one that I have with a few apps on OS X. In text fields, Cocoa uses emacs control characters for navigation. ^n, ^p, ^a, etc. Even ^k/^y. It's very handy for those of us who sometimes use those out of habit. The problem with Entourage is that it doesn't use these, and in fact those commands do other things altogether. I'd love to have a preference setting to turn that on if I wanted. I just find them much easier to use than the arrow keys. From a typing standpoint it doesn't require me to move my hand to another position at all.
Once I have the full version of Office I'll write up a bit more of a review, but so far it's pretty damn slick.
August 19, 2004
More On The Cult of Mac
John Dodds of the Independent writes the first of two articles about switching from Windows to Mac. He's got some good to say, and some bad. The good:
A different issue emerged in setting up my Wi-Fi connection. (Apple calls it Airport). The absence of a confirmation message left me thinking I'd done something wrong, but all I needed was to unplug the Ethernet link: it switched over automatically. I had expected a Windows-style confirmation of success, but Apples don't prompt you when something's gone right, such as plugging in a disk or setting up a wireless router. They just silently incorporate it. That's a major difference in approach: Windows thinks it's a surprise worth telling you about when something works. Apple doesn't.
And some of the bad.
Also, when working with multiple windows it is sometimes difficult to find what you want, and the thinness of the side sliders of any window demands very accurate cursor control. I have often found myself working on the wrong documents or applications because they were already open or lying dormant on the desktop beneath.
Other annoyances include trying to get both time and date displayed, and the single-button mouse - no doubt there's an internal Apple logic, but it's still irksome. Much more annoying is the lack of a forward delete key. You can use a combination of keys, but I've still deleted the wrong text many times. Also, files downloaded from the web are all dropped into a separate folder, rather than one you specify. But these are minor quibbles. [The Independent] [via MacMerc]
I definitely agree with him on the mouse. It still kind of blows my mind that Apple doesn't use other mice. Almost everyone I know has bought a wheel mouse for their mac. I even have one that I use on my laptop when I'm at my desk. I'm curious to hear what hear what else he'll have to say in the second article.
August 04, 2004
SMC Bests Airport Express? Maybe not.
SMC has announced a new portable wireless access point a la the Airport Express. They're calling it the "EZ Connect™ g 2.4GHz 802.11g Wireless Traveler’s Kit SMCWTK-G," but we'll probably just call it the SMCWRK-G or Dance Panda Mandy, as it suits us. For what it lacks in good looks it makes up in features, as the SMCWRK-G can do everything the Airport Express can do and more (save the iTunes streaming), including act as an Ethernet bridge. It might not be attractive, but it's $30 cheaper, ringing in at just $100.
Perennial Wi-Fi smart guy Glenn Fleishmann weighs in with a little more detail at Wi-Fi Networking News.
The Airport Express is also a print server, which SMC isn't listing as a feature for this device. This looks like it is more useful if you just need wireless access when you travel. But for $30 you're losing a bit of functionality, and you need to carry around a power supply to go with it.
Posted by snooze at 01:12 PM
August 03, 2004
Airport Express and the Genius of Apple
Today while looking for a wireless mouse I picked up an Airport Express. For those of you who aren't aware of this device, it is Apple's mini base-station, music streaming, usb printer sharing, network extending device. Currently, I have it set up downstairs hooked to the stereo and had it cranked up while I sat out on the porch. Currently, any mac in the house can stream music to it from iTunes. In some ways it's not a perfect solution, since in my parent's case they'd have to go upstairs to their mac to start iTunes. But for someone with a laptop or a laptop and a desktop it just plain rocks. And I'm not the only one who is loving it.
Here's where I think Apple was smart with this device. They've made it so easy to want more than one of them. I've already got one and can easily justify two more. The second I'll use in my room as a print server/wireless client. The third will go on the third floor hooked into the home theatre setup. At around $130 each it isn't something I'll pick up right away, but once I get my laser printer I know I'll be eyeing it.
Of course, then I may want one for when I'm on the road. MacMegasite has a neat article about using the Airport Express in a hotel room.
Posted by snooze at 09:01 PM