Tag Archives: apple

New Shiny! Welcome, Hermione!

This is is somewhat of a follow-on to my previous post about the farewell of my old MacBook. Read that too, if you want.

Yeah, that Hermione. As in Hermione Granger? As in Hermoine Jean Granger, one of the very best witches in the Harry Potter series? Who is played by the stunning Emma Watson in real life? Yeah, the one and the same.

I’ve blogged about this before, but any geek worth their salt has changed the hostname for the computers. Those geeks that really know what they’re doing even have themes for their names, and it just so happens that I have Harry Potter-related names for all my computers (I don’t think you can change the hostname on an Xbox 360, otherwise I totally would). Say what you want about the Harry Potter theme, just don’t go downplaying the impact it has had on my generation; so much so that (my potentially very naive self thinks) it’s really quite comparable to even Pokemon in terms of global impact and how much money has been spent on associated merchandise…

Anyway, sectumsempra was the old name of my old white MacBook, named after the seemingly-harmless spell in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that turned out to be not-so-harmless. In the most tangential of ways the real sectumsempra has a similar story to my old white MacBook, but that’s for another time. Severus (yes, that Severus, as in Severus Snape) is the name of my ultra-powerful gaming rig. i7 930, EVGA X58, GTX 480, Vertex 2 SSD, 6TB of internal storage. Like I said, pretty powerful stuff. It’s hooked up to a Dell U2711 for the most part, except when it needs to pull LAN duty when it gets the pixels of a tiny 20″ to push.

Previous computers me or my family have owned have taken on such names as Fawkes (after the phoenix), Protego (the spell), and Sonorous (also the spell). They all have stories behind their names, but that’s definitely for another time.

Which brings us to Hermione.

Continue Reading →

For the life between buildings – some notes on the iPad

It’s a device for cities.

It’s not that it couldn’t be used in rural environments of course; just that it wouldn’t be. The general lack of third spaces in such places means that a phone and a PC are sufficient. By living in cities, in other peoples’ places, a different kind of device becomes appropriate. Something light and small enough to fit in a handbag or satchel, yet powerful and productive nonetheless. In the old view of city living – say, the classic Parisian apartment – the small size of dwelling meant that the bistro downstairs at the street level of the block becomes the dining room, the bar/coffee shop becomes the living room, the shared courtyard becomes the garden, and so on. While this vision is hopelessly romantic, there are numerous urban variants on this kind of living, and these transient (yet personal) spaces are where the iPad will fit right in. (Again, exurban environments clearly have coffee shops too, but they are not part of a integrated system of living in the same way. And so different tools will suffice.)

As software becomes a service, data resides in the cloud, various forms of wireless connectivity coalesce over the city, and yet face-to-face physical connection becomes more important than ever, a device like the iPad becomes obvious. The cloud is the connective tissue between these spaces, the software provides the platform for interaction with information, the tablet is the tool, and the forum is the city.

via cityofsound: For the life between buildings – some notes on the iPad.

Magically Sparkly Unicorns

Multitasking in iOS4 is not a magical sparkle pony. It’s a magically sparkly unicorn that is close enough to a pony to reasonably allow Apple to call it a pony for the vast majority of users, when it still has a horn on it’s head.

via Reactions to “Multitasking in iOS 4 is not a magical sparkle pony” – My Playground of Thought.

Great analysis on exactly what multitasking in iOS 4 actually means for end users – no, it’s not “run multiple apps concurrently”, but it’s a damn sight better than watching your battery life tick away before your very eyes.

I’m impartial to a little bit of shiny every now and again; so sue me.

shiny gui

shiny gui2

via Sleek Interface Designs from DeviantART.

Okay, I’ll admit it – being a Mac user, I usually prefer to having things that work, even if that means sacrificing a little bit of customisability here and there. Every so often though, I like to go all out with UI customisations and tweak every setting/interface I can.

I didn’t even realise it until just now, when I saw the two pics at the beginning of this post. For some reason, they reminded me of the dark old days when I used to used  Windows ME machine with a little program called Musicmatch Jukebox, which was almost infinitely skinnable and could be made to look pretty similar to the screenshots above.

If I’m honest, it’s one of the things I miss about “the Apple experience” – the ability to customise UIs to however you want. Then again, I’m kinda glad – Apple gear (usually, haha) lets you get stuff done, without worrying about all of that kind of stuff. It’s probably one of the reasons it’s more user-friendly as well, but we wont’ go into that.

Yet, even after being a “true Mac user” for the past three years or so (PPC is so dead to me), I’m not ashamed to say I’ve relapsed once or twice. I jailbroke my iPhone 3G and installed a different font (which, interestingly, made it slightly less readable, but so much more enjoyable on the eyes), I’ve experimented with Enigma for Windows, and more recently, I’ve also considered changing the standard Mac UI scrollbars to something a little more, er, modern.

Bottom line? It’s not that I don’t like having control over how I think things should look – far and away, themes are great. However, it’s the time required to make everything “just right” that kinda puts me off – one of the main reasons I didn’t stick with Enigma was that as powerful as it was, I wasn’t really prepared to go diving into lots of customisation files for all the tweaks I needed to make, which is also one of the reasons why I haven’t tried GeekTool yet, either.

As I’ve said before – Linux is only free if your time is worthless, and that still holds true for (most) of these customisations, as well. Be content with what you have – experience has always told me there will always be a better version out there, but oh wait – did you just waste an hour trying to get it to work?


A message to the Internets regarding the iPad

Today Apple announced the iPad. Amazingly it did not fulfill every expectation that was floating out there. Most importantly, it does not fulfill every, specific desire you have and expected. The rumor machine of tech web sites promised you so much more.

Oh noes.

Let me explain it clearly and talk you off the ledge before you go and do something stupid.

Remember way back to January 2007, when the iPhone was announced? Oh Internets, you wailed and gnashed your teeth endlessly. No 3G network? No MMS? No apps on the iPhone? No replaceable battery? Oh, your complaints were endless. You were sure that the iPhone was doomed because it didn’t meet all your requirements.

And what happened? Well, Apple has sold 40 million iPhones. FORTY MILLION. They have become the largest mobile device company in the world.

So today, you moan on and on about all the features you expected and demand in the iPad. What no Verizon? No two-way camera? It’s not weightless? A full half inch thick? Only 10 hours of battery life? You make tons of predictions on the success and failure with scant details and without ever actually trying one.

via Cruft: A message to the Internets regarding the iPad.

You’ll forgive me that this is a little old – what was being said then still applies now, on the verge of the US launch of the iPad.

A totally subjective review of the Audioengine 2’s.


Just, wow.

There’s not a whole lot I can say about these – they’re nothing short of amazing, if not spectacular.

About a month ago my parents decided to re-take their ancient hi-fi system. As old as it was, the sound that came out of those Sony bookshelf speakers was something else – I’m no audiophile, but it sounded pretty darn good – well balanced, with plenty of mids. There really wasn’t anything wrong with them that I could fault.

And so stepped in my faithful Apple Pro speakers. In a former life these would have been sitting next to a Mac Cube, because as far as I know they’re the only Mac that came with the USB version of the Pro speakers. Sound quality, as you can expect, wasn’t particularly great with this set – apart from lacking volume, they also seemed a bit muddy, due in part to the lack of a dedicated tweeter, I’m sure.

Continue Reading →

“I’m kind of a BIG DEAL, alright?”

Finally, a third blue t-shirted tossrag comes to patronise me further. ‘Just leave it with us’ he says. No. Then he says oh, if it’s the HDD, we dont have them in stock. You will have to wait till next week.

I call bullshit. This is APPLE. People. APPLE.

So I ask if there is any alternative. Could I bring in a drive to be installed? No. Could I take it to another store for a faster resolution? No. Clearly the whole I AM HAVING A BABY VERY SOON part wasnt relevant here. Driving to Doncaster and back 7 times is a JOY.

via A Week At Apple — sunrisesister.

For those of you that didn’t bother to click the link and read the whole story, it goes a little like this:

Customer brings computer in to be fixed for dead graphics card (which results in logic board replacement). Not in stock, so customer waits.
Waits for quite a long time in Doncaster, noting that the seats aren’t made for pregnant women. So she stands for the 4.5 hours that she waits for. Apple are late for their appointment.
Anyway, logic board replaced, but as soon as she gets the machine home, she finds that the hard drive has died. Calls Apple, explains that she is, and I quote, “EXTREMELY PREGNANT”, and Apple aren’t helpful as they could be.
Continue debacle at Apple store, where it turns out her second appointment hasn’t been made. Manager asks for her to wait – which turns out to be an hour or so. Finally, you enter the crazy scene above, in which a guy tells her the bad news – machine needs to be left with them, hard drive not in stock, and so on.

As much as I respect the person who wrote this particular blog post, it’s stuff like this that shits me to tears – people who think that the world revolves around them, as much as it should do.

Working in retail exposes you to some fairly scary people – the loonies, the downright insane “I WANT IT DONE THIS WAY AND I WANT IT DONE NOW” people, yes, even the crazy ones. Some of these people aren’t satisfied with your work, no matter how much you try to please – nothing’s ever going to be good enough, fast enough, or cheap enough to satisfy their consumerist hunger.

Notice how many times I mentioned that she made a big deal of how she was EXTREMELY PREGNANT? That’s exactly the attitude I’m trying to get at, because to Apple, you’re just another faceless wannabe, someone that they couldn’t care less about, just another brick in the wall (apologies to Pink Floyd).

You’re pregnant. You’re elderly. Your right index finger was shot off in the war. Thanks for serving our country, reproducing, and living a good life, but if you think this entitles you to any special treatment, you’re wrong, no matter how pregnant you are, no matter how elderly, or how index finger-less.

FFS, just get over yourself already.

Lego My Apple

Lego Mac

This little guy isn’t going to let go.

Let this vinyl decal bring out your inner child. It measures 4″x7″ fits right on your Macbook. *Please note: this decal will definitely make you the coolest kid in the library.

via Lego My Apple by MacSlaps on Etsy.

Speaking of Lego, I’m considering getting something similar for my Mac.

Namely, the black version of the Snow White one available on Etsy. Hawt.