Tagged: powerbook

Don’t be cheap

Lesson of the week:

Don't skim on cheap CD-R when good ones are just a few cents more.

The time I saved (tens of hours) trying to install Ubuntu on my PowerBook using good CD-R verses cheap ones are thousands (if not millions) times the difference in cost (a dollar or so).

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Dallas Summit

Right now I am sitting at the Newark Airport waiting for my flight to Dallas to arrive, blogging offline. Every year, Thomson brings technology people from all of their organisations together to Texas to exchange ideas, compare experience, and most important of all, do some networking. So for the next two days, I will be spending time with people I hardly know but hugely important to my career, talking shop and mixing business buzz words with technology TLA (Three Letter Acronym).

When my company was acquired by Thomson back in March, we almost missed the opportunity to be part of this technology summit since the deadline for registration had already passed. But after a few well placed calls to high level development management, invitations were extended to my boss and me. It would be a big loss for us if we were to miss this summit due to its annual nature. And my boss and I believe we can bring a lot to the Thomson organisation with our Agile practice and .Net development experience (Thomson has only recently started on both, whereas we have been doing them for over 3 years now). Conversely, Thomson’s extensive knowledge in business analysis, software development process, and functional testing with FIT (Functional Integration Testing) would be very useful for our own project.

One decision I had to made this morning is whether I should bring my PC laptop or my PowerBook with me. Bringing the PC laptop means I can work on ecto or any work related programming while I am in Dallas but would I actually have the time or the inclination? With the PowerBook, at least I can blog with ease using all the tools that I love but I’ll have to be careful about letting Thomson people know about the Mac. If only it is a Macbook Pro so I can at least say I am trying out the new Microsoft development tool, Silverlight, on the Mac. And I can always dual-boot into XP on the Macbook Pro if I have to. Flimsy excuse, I know, but it is better than nothing. But I can’t really justify the cost of a new laptop, even a used one from eBay due to my lack of travelling, business or personal. So my trusty G4 800MHz PowerBook has to last for a little longer.

Oh, one last thing. Our official Thomson titles have been announced yesterday. Almost everyone keep their titles apart from me. I got ‘demoted’ from Senior Manager of Development to Lead Software Engineer. No change in pay which is good. How do I feel about the ‘demotion’? I think it is a good thing. Senior Manager implies a degree of managerial tasks that I perform when in reality there is nothing for me to manage unless my boss is out of office for extended period of time. So the new title reflects much more in line with my daily responsibility which can only be a good thing. Hey, they can call me a janitor as long as they keep paying me the same!

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Apple TV and why I want one

I causally mentioned to my friend at work who is also an Apple user that I may get the Apple TV when it is finally out. His reaction was, "What? Why would you want to watch video blow up?"

I explained to him that I want to watch my video podcasts on the TV instead of in front of my computer, despite the fact I have a very nice 24" LCD monitor. My friend just rephrased his question and wanted to know why I would want to watch low resolutions video on my 46" HDTV.

Then I realised that he thought all the video podcasts on iTunes are sized for the video iPod. He did not know some video podcasts are in hi-def, such as MacBreak which is in glorious 1080p. Others such as Diggnation and Merlin Show are in decent quality 480p which should scale OK on the big screen. But the most important of all are the TV shows that we've bought from iTunes: Smith, NOVA, etc. which we would not watch unless it is easy to put onto the big TV.

Yes, there are cheaper ways to get video from our macs to the TV but Apple TV takes the hassle out of the whole equation. Do I really want to figure out how to stream video from my Mac Pro to my PowerBook (probably using VLC), then onto the TV using S-Video (i.e. no HD)? How would I control the playback? Certainly not through a remote control and an onscreen display that Apple TV would provide. Do all these worth $299? To me definitely, probably not for most of you geeks out there. But then, I just want to watch video from my computer on my HDTV, not doing my annual geek certification exam.

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I know I need new computer when…

  • Web browsers (Firefox or Safari) run slow when iTunes is playing.
  • I can type faster than the browser can display sometimes (think back to the 14.4kbps modem era).
  • iPhoto takes forever to load, to save changes of photos, or to exports to Flickr.
  • Video podcast in 320×240 resolution drops frames when played. Don't even think about HD or H.264 encoded video.
  • And most important of all, eiron has a faster computer than either of mine!

Having said all that, my G4 800MHz Titanium PowerBook has been with me for over 4 years. And forcing it to drive my new Dell LCD monitor @ 1900×1200 resolutions doesn't help the speed matter either.

Now, should I prolong the suffering and wait till after Christmas to see if there is any bargains or price drop? Or I can just pick up one of those speedy Mac Pro from the SoHo Apple Store this coming Black Friday, especially with the 10% discount?

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QotD: All My Computers

How many computers do you have in your house? 
Submitted by Foomper.

Ok, let me count… I have two (a 15" Titanium PowerBook and a 15" Compaq laptop). Leah has three! (20" Intel iMac, 12" Aluminium PowerBook, and a 12" iBook) Ok, the iBook was kind of crippled so it doesn't count. The LCD screen's back light doesn't work any more after a liquid spillage caused by the other occupant of the apartment (e.g. not me).

I know having 5 computers in the apartment is a little on the excessive side but some of them will be 'liberated' soon.

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