Tag Archives: computer


MacBook Pro Retina unboxing

At the start of the year, I picked up a MacBook Pro with Retina display. Half late-graduation present, half-birthday present to myself. It’s the best Mac I’ve ever used, but then again, why wouldn’t it be?

I mean, you would think that given the innumerable and considerable technology advancements since the last time I purchased a Mac (March 2011), that any new Mac would improve upon every aspect of my previous Mac and then some. I don’t know about you, but I would definitely be questioning what the tech industry was doing if there were regressions of any kind.

Thankfully, there aren’t. I’m excited to say that the MacBook Pro with Retina display gets pretty damn close to my perfect machine. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a portable Mac. It’s powerful without being too bulky or heavy. It has great battery life without sacrificing portability, and while it may not be as upgradeable as I’d like (more on this in a bit), that’s a compromise I’m willing to accept for a machine that is otherwise everything I’ve ever wanted out of a personal computer, especially seeing as Apple offer configure-to-order options that satisfy the vast majority of customers, including your truly.

Because specs matter, my MacBook Pro comes with 16GB of RAM and 1TB of flash storage. The amount Apple charge for the 1TB flash storage upgrade borders on the extortionate, but there’s a price for everything, and that was a price I was willing to pay for some of the highest-performing flash storage around. Yes, my new MacBook Pro cost me a pretty penny, but considering this is a computer I’ll be using for hours at a time, every day for the next three to four years, I think the price was pretty reasonable. And since my Retina MacBook Pro now supports 4K displays at 60Hz, I don’t think I’ll be upgrading from this machine any time soon.

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A Little Bias

For the past few months now, I’ve been experimenting with something called bias lighting for my computer displays. All the cool kids are doing it, so I thought I would do the same.

Now it’s gotta be said that I spend what probably amounts to an unhealthy amount in time on front of LCD displays, if I’m not looking at my two LCDs on my desk, I’m staring at my iPhone on the bus, in the street, in the car, wherever.

The vast majority of my time, though, is spent in front of my displays at home: a decently-sized Dell 27-incher, and the 15-inch LCD of my MacBook Pro. They’re not the best match-up size wise, but going back to a single display when I’ve been using two for the majority of my computing life would be painful. There was a period where I went back to one due to reading something about single-displays being more productive. Needless to say, that experiment didn’t last very long — but I digress.

The theory behind bias lighting is that it’ll increase the perceived contrast of the display, as well as relieving eye-strain. It has a few other effects as well but those two are the main ones I’m really interested in, particularly as the lights in my room stay off for the most part (yes, my LCD tan is working out very well, thank you).

So I guess the question you’ve all been waiting for: how well does bias lighting work in practice?

The answer? I’m not exactly sure. Like I said, I’ve been using it for a couple of months now, and there’s definitely no discernible difference. Perhaps my piddly little 6-LED strips aren’t bright enough to have an impact on my gargantuan 27-inch display, perhaps I’m sitting too close to the monitor for them to make any kind of a difference, or perhaps I was expecting too much out of bias lighting in the first place.

Perhaps I’ll notice a difference when I turn them off for a month or so – but that’s for another time.


Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Warning: extremely long post ahead!

Yes, Severus. As in, Severus Snape. As in, Harry Potter is so cool and I’m such a geek that I’ve named all my computers after characters, and even spells from the Harry Potter universe.

The practice to name computers after a specific theme isn’t new (but why people name hard drives is a little beyond me), but some take it one step further by choosing a name not only from a specific theme, but a name from that theme that has meaning when applied to their computer.

Take my former computer Protego, for example. In Harry Potter Protego is a spell that produces some magical barrier that protects the caster from harm (to a limit). My computer Protego was somewhat like that – sure, it wasn’t some sort of magical barrier, but being an IBM xSeries sever meant it had a very decent, durable case – which earnt it the name Protego. I didn’t say the names had to be an exact match! :p

All of my past computers have had names that relate to the computers themselves, whether it be a physical characterestic or otherwise, no matter how vague the connection, they had names that related to the computer. That ended with Severus, however – try as I might, I can’t seem connect anything that I can associate with Severus Snape to my new computer. It’s just too hard!

Introduction now out of the way, it’s now time to get some background info in before we dive into the nitty-gritty. Over TWO THOUSAND words about your new computer, you say? Easy, I say – don’t worry, there will be an abundance of pics later on for those of you with an aversion to lots of words.

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Is Your Son a Computer Hacker?

Two years ago, my wife Carol and I decided that our children’s education would not be complete without some grounding in modern computers. To this end, we bought our children a brand new Compaq to learn with. […] Our son Peter was most entranced by the device, and became quite a pro at surfing the net. When Peter began to spend whole days on the machine, I became concerned, but Carol advised me to calm down, and that it was only a passing phase. I was content to bow to her experience as a mother, until our youngest daughter, Cindy, charged into the living room one night to blurt out: “Peter is a computer hacker!”

To this end, I have decided to publish the top ten signs that your son is a hacker. I advise any parents to read this list carefully and if their son matches the profile, they should take action. A smart parent will first try to reason with their son, before resorting to groundings, or even spanking. […]

via Is Your Son a Computer Hacker?.

I think the article is done with a healthy dose of satire.

I *think*.

I could be wrong.

Where To From Here?

You may have noticed that things around here are a little funky.

They have been from the start, actually – the very first post was about how Steve Jobs thinks that computers are like a bicycle for our minds, and I said that that was the direction that this blog was going to take.

From there, we meandered though the plains of “infrequent and random posts”, the introuduction of the “is/are AWESOME!” semi-meme (pronounced meem, as in meeem, Martin P and co), and then on to what we now call the “Press This” infatuation – where I cross-post a random article that I find interesting from the World Wide Web.

Yeah, that’s all good and well, but I don’t want to be yet another one of those carbon-copy bloggers that post random crap all over their blog.

So, I’ve come up with a few ideas as to where this blog is heading next:

  • Press This will still be used.
    I’ll still cross post things occasionally – things from obscure corners of the web, things from obscure websites that the people reading my blog won’t necessarily be familiar with.
  • I’ll continue to post posts with links. Lots of links.
    Live I’ve been doing, posts will lots of links will stay. They’ll somewhat replace those Press This posts that were littering the blog… Sure, pictures are nice, but sometimes you just have to share it all, you know?
  • From the Book of Face
    A new section will be introduced, where I post things from Facebook. This will contain mostly explanations of my Facebook status updates, as well as a bunch of other stuff.
  • Fun@Work, Fun@Uni
    So, Uni 2009 looms ahead. Just like the currently single-post Fun@Work, Fun@Uni will endeavour to bring you the best moments from Uni life. From the stresses of assignments, to the joys of meeting new people (/sarcasm), every “lulz moment” will be recorded for your pleasure, right here.

As for the “infrequent and random posts”, as well as the “is/are AWESOME!” posts, don’t worry – they’ll stay.

Got suggestions for what else this blog needs? Shout out in comments below, and I’ll endeavour to hear you out.

History of the Internet

via History of the Internet on Vimeo.

Contrary to what you know, the internet is NOT a series of tubes.

The Internet - A Series of Tubes

Heh – guys, this is the a large chunk of the TCE Computer Science curriculum in 8 minutes.

Well worth the watch. Watch it already!

Excellently presented, with beautiful animation, and a somewhat cool voice-over.