Oct 30 2004
At BBC News: a Delta flight attendant got fired
over her
blog
. “To blog or not to blog?” A new question facing employees &
employers.

Click here to read more …

Oct 30 2004
It’s been hard to keep this quiet! Yes, it’s official, I have a new
Mac!

As a pretty avid G4 Cube owner it might be sacrilege, but
honestly, since the Dual 1 GHz PowerMac G4 came out (which has been quite a
while) I’ve been wanting to upgrade to a faster PM. Many times I was torn
between choosing a Cube upgrade or saving for a new PM. I favored the slower
quiet Cube over a “windtunnel DP G4″ which I didn’t think was are good value.
Enter the G5. Pretty sweet, but I didn’t want a first
production model. In the mean time the G5 has shown it’s merits and features
two
liquid cooled G5s
running at 2.5GHz *. The fact that our credit card
offered double airmiles on “electronics & gizmos” meant it was time.

Last Saturday I called the nearby Apple Store
(only 3 hours away) at opening time and, lucky me, they had one in stock. I
actually was pretty nervous about picking it up. There’s no double checking
against DOA or defects before checkout. My faith was in quality control! A 20″
monitor & multifunction printer were added to the bill and after a long
drive we finally got home.

We
didn’t really do the entire unpacking thing, but C caught a few snaps.

Yes, it’s got a HEMI, err. I mean DUAL G5 CPUs!

Introducing
“Liquid ICE”:

Heavy duty Aluminum case with 4 cooling zones:

Zone fans & a giant radiator for the liquid cooled dual G5 processors!
Plus: not a single cable visible inside the machine!

And,
this is now my desktop on a 20″ Alu Cinema widescreen display :)

Needless
to say, I AM pretty psyched. I haven’t pushed the pedal to the metal yet, but in
day to day operations, it’s pretty spiffy (Xbench score 217). Well, it better be
for this amount of money! I am hoping OS X 10.4
Tiger
will bring some 64 bit benefits, as I think there’s a little
headroom for improvement. 64bit code should be quicker than 32 bit code on a 64
bit machine, no? Launching iTunes with the visualizer was a bit of a downer,
seeing both CPUs run at 60+%? I thought it would run it with just 50% on one
CPU. At least the graphics were stunningly detailed & quick. All the rest
has been a breeze so far.

Noise? “Liquid ICE” has been very quiet.
There’s a brief spin up of the fans when you boot up. (along with a whir from
the superdrive). Ditto when both processors have been running a bit more
intensely. When I start processing some video they’ll likely kick into gear.
Right now it’s more a romantic vrrrm vrrrm like when you throttle a car engine,
which to me gives an indication of the horsepower under the hood ;)

Any downsides or criticism? (Beyond price) I know I’m repeating
myself on the mouse issue, but it’s really time Apple gets their act together
critter wise. It’s the new millennium. This thing should be wireless and have
two buttons + scroll wheel and come with any Mac sold today. Period. I dislike
the white keyboard & mouse with the Alu display & case, but it has
become less noticable. Standard memory for the top of the line model should be
beefed up to 1GB standard (instead of 512MB). In the same line I give credit to
Apple, as with several apps open simultaneously, I still haven’t used more than
342MB of RAM.

I’m not sure what hard drive is in here, but it scores
really low on Xbench. I also found it surprising that the 160GB (which is 148GB
after formatting) already has 8GB of data on it? How much space can OS X, the
iApps
& Office 2004 take? 2GB?

Other than
that, this is one sweet machine! :) BIG smile!

PS: Bring on Tiger
already!

* Had Apple released / announced the dual 3 GHz past
summer, as they had planned, that’s what my purchase would have been, but if you
follow Apple news, you know IBM is having production problems above 2GHz. So,
Dual 2.5 GHz it is.

Click here to read more …

Oct 26 2004

I’ve
said it in the past, catching fury from iPod lovers, that the iPod had to go
color and have the ability to display photos & movies before I’d get one.
Some said it would never happen. Never say never. Apple just announced the
iPod
Photo
. Steve said it’s fantastic on CNN HN, and a 60GB Photo iPod with
2″ color display really might just be that. The 40GB model is priced at $499 and
the 60GB at $599. They are shipping in 1-2 weeks.

Now we just need a
Quicktime player to play MPG & MOV files :) Or is iPod Video over the
top?

Edit: Hold your horses. According to MacCentral the screen resolution is 220×176
pixels. Which, in my book is very low and in fact too low to be good, as that’s
only 38720 pixels total. If I’m not mistaken my PowerShot A70 has about 65000
pixels and recent digital cameras show over one megapixel on screen. I guess the
emphasis is on previewing the image while you display them via cable on TV, but
a bit better resolution (like 320×240 or 76800 pixels) would have been nice.
This also delays the Video iPod ’till the HDphoto iPod is among us ;)

PS: iTunes 4.7 – required for image transfer to the iPod Photo -
allows you to find duplicate files in your library. Finally!

Click here to read more …

Oct 24 2004
We went – I guess I really should say I went, but we made the purchase
together – shopping yesterday, and we brought a state of the art piece of
technology home.

Any thoughts on what it may be? Any guesses?

Clues: requires power (duh) – somewhat limited availability right
now – for day to day use (if you like using it) – lowers your cash
reserve

Questions welcome.

I guess I should come up with
photo perhaps, but maybe that would be too revealing?

Click here to read more …

Oct 20 2004
Apple released an updated iBook line yesterday, with built-in airport
extreme across the board. The fastest model now sports a 1.33GHz G4 CPU, 60GB
HDD and SuperDrive with 14″ display for $1499. The lower end is the 12″ iBook
with a 1.2 GHz G4, 30GB HDD and Combo Drive for $999.

It also
re-introduced a single processor PowerMac G5 with a 1.8GHz G5 CPU (80GB SATA HDD,
Super Drive, 256MB RAM, GeForce FX 5200) priced at $1499.

Updates
for the PowerBook line will not be seen this year, according to a MacCentral article. The question now is if they
will be introduced after the holidays? Any bets on the expo in January?

Click here to read more …

Oct 14 2004

Sharing a few fall foliage images.

Oct 14 2004
The last beautiful days of the fall season and I’m stuck inside with a
sore throat.

What started as a tickle on Sunday gradually made it to
a full blown sore throat. Time to slow down. While this is hardly the time, with
so many things to do, so be it.

Somehow, I don’t think this maximum
strength sore throat spray is quite strong enough. And, you can only use it 4
times a day?! Keeping warm, drinking lots of fluids, popping some vitamins, …
I’ve been catching up with some old paperwork and reading. I sound like a dragon
or some creature from a horror flick at times, so phone-calls are for later. At
least there’s email and online banking nowadays. Now, the sooner this virus
gets out of my head, the better.

Click here to read more …

Oct 13 2004

If
you are less in tune with news about Apple (or were stuck somewhere without
electricity and/or web access); they released the iMac G5 last
month.

It sports a 1.6 – 1.8 GHz G5 CPU along with faster bus
speeds & RAM and a 80 – 160 GB Serial ATA hard drive. The 17″ & 20″
panels as well as the graphics card (NVidia GeForce FX 5200) remain the same.
All the hardware that used to be housed in the iMac G4’s dome, moved to the back
plane of the LCD – which many (including me) thought was the only possible
option for a next generation iMac.

While I haven’t seen one in
person (CompUSA didn’t even have Alu Displays and G5 DP 2.5’s on my last visit),
I think this is a very stylish and compact home computer. It’s like a G4 Cube
with the Cube & speakers built-in the display, so I could see myself use one
for email, web, … Pick up a wireless keyboard and mouse and you practically
have no computer clutter. This is also one of the most easy to upgrade machines
ever built. Remove three screws and you can lift the back cover off to upgrade
RAM, hard drive, … A G5 CPU requires a lot of cooling, so hopefully the fans
are whisper quiet if Apple hopes for Cube owners to upgrade (who tend to be very
space conscious & adamant on quiet operation). Actual speed? A recent
MacWorld bench test puts it at 35% faster than the G4 1.25 GHz
iMac.

Unfortunately Apple is still holding onto the standard 256MB
RAM. Sure they can equip a base model with 256 RAM and a combo-drive to lower
the price point towards educational purchasers, but the mid range & top
model? For how long now is the unwritten standard 512MB RAM? OS X & iLife
require 256 MB minimum and work a lot better with 512MB RAM. Built-in wireless
(airport & bluetooth) would have been nice as well, analog to the PowerBook
line. Other than that, it looks to be a winner.


.Mac users finally saw a considerable upgrade to
their service. Timing couldn’t have been more crucial with many, if not most,
renewals due in October. Now iDisk sizes went up from 100MB to 250MB and the
email size limit is 10MB; Apple satisfied the likely #1&2 complaint that
there simply wasn’t enough space nor headroom for larger emails. The price for
1GB iDisk storage dropped to 49.95/year. You can now also use disposable email
aliases and members are offered a free year subscription to VersionTracker Plus.

“Refer a friend” still works backwards, IMO, as .Mac users still
need to email potential users to introduce them to .mac. I prefer the homepage
button and a form field when the new customer signs up, that asks if somebody
referred them.

Click here to read more …

Oct 13 2004
It was bitter cold the other day on Mount Washington, NH. We weren’t the
only ones unprepared for the arctic conditions at the summit. With temperatures
in the teens and quite a bit of wind (40+ mph), there was no time to pose or
take panoramic shots. Just snap & go.

I’ve never seen windblown ice formations like these,

and I didn’t find the water. Unless they meant the ice on the back
of the post ;)

A gallery entry with extra Mount Washington images will follow shortly.

Click here to read more …

Oct 2 2004
Since I’m adding an entry to this blog, you know I’m behind my cube
again, and that’s a good thing. Does it ever feel good to give C a big hug, pet
the cats, plop down in my office chair with a glass of wine, listening to some
music. I hurt everywhere, but I don’t really feel it. My brain overrides it with
“you got through, you survived”. I am very tired (actually exhausted, I only
slept about 4 hours a night for most of the week), but the energizer bunny keeps
going, enjoying the peace & serenity.

By all means the past 5-6
days were the most stressful & emotional week ever. Sure I’ve had some
tougher times & events in the past, even for prolonged periods, but nothing
quite like this. Driving up to your house after a hurricane and seeing a major
part of the roof surface missing, having a river of water running out of your
house over your feet when you open the front door, being unable to open the
interior door to get inside your own house, seeing things soaked head to toe,
walking on wet surfaces everywhere … stopped me in my tracks. The world quit
turning and time stood still. I couldn’t believe it. How was this possible? And
why? Why o why? My brain started to spin a million miles an hour, catching
details, trying to analyze what exactly transpired, inventorying what’s damaged
and how in the world was I going to deal with it?

It grabbed me by
the heart & throat when I called C to bring her the bad news. I couldn’t
talk really. Just cry and put out a call for help. An enormous thank you to some
of our very very dearest friends who came to the rescue as well as my neighbor
Tom who volunteered to help secure the roof. Together we got through a mountain
of work in three days. I honestly couldn’t have done it without their help. Not
physically, not mentally. I’m forever grateful and indebted to them.

To be continued …

Click here to read more …