12 Jan 2006

all things mac (book pro or not)

the internet is alight with commentary from everyone about the new mac book pro. i think best critique comes from this dude at unsanity who actually has played with the mac book pro. i tend to believe someone who has actually put their mitts on the damn laptop than all these armchair pundits around the place.

before i read his article, i also noticed that the increased power supply wattage. also, this morning it has been noted that my powerbook for the last two years was called "mcbook". i guess thats why i don't have such a horrible reaction that everyone is having with mac book pro.

oh yeah, what is this flip4mac thing to replace windows media player? firstly, the quicktime component to play wmv's on quicktime is still buggy, it crashes quicktime on close. and secondly, wmp still is associated with wmv's on my mac. i guess their installer didn't do a good enough job, but luckily i do have finderpop for all my quick opening files needs:


finally, i think penny-arcade has the best take on the internet about the whole mac moving to intel reaction should be:


you must read their news bit as well just to see how jolted their world is now that price is the only barrier to owning a mac.

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11 Jan 2006

switched to orange for my gsm lovin'

well, my phone contract ended last september but i was too lazy to go switch contracts or get a new phone. after the grueling/annoying process of getting a Port Authorisation Code (PAC) that allows you to take your number from your existing carrier and move it to another, i'm now on Orange Pay As You Go (PAYG).

switched to orange because of three reasons.

1. they're orange! it's one of my favourite colours!

2. they give you 300 free text and 1MB free GPRS traffic per month if you top up £10 or more (enough for me to dabble around) and i know this is nothing compared to what you get on 3G or what, but its a start. they also seem to have the internet thingy more sorted out that vodafone. they even have this TalkNow app that runs on symbian phones that is a push to talk thingy. can't wait to try it out to see what it does, maybe it'll just blow all my call credits away or something, i dunno. (update: i just looked, it says its free for the first three months if you're a new user -- yep, thats me! -- pretty interesting :)

3. orange wednesdays! how can you not like that? save £3-£5 pounds per visit to the cinema!

one extra benefit was that the sim cost me 50p (incl. shipping) but orange gives you 300 text messages, £1 call credit and 1MB GPRS traffic for the first month. bonus! oh yeah, that means i have two non-activated vodafone uk prepaid sims i got for free. anyone want it?

PS. my old phone number still hasn't been transferred properly. i'll have to see if it is sorted out tomorrow. if you need me, you'll have to use email.

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10 Jan 2006

macbook pro!

by the time you've read this, you probably already know about the new apple powerbook that steve jobs announced today at macworld.


regarding rumours

first off, kevin rose (of digg.com fame) called it spot on with insider information. although beating jobs by only 12 hours isn't quite the scoop. but interesting is all the people who called it wrong. everyone talking about the new ibook widescreen and apple plasma display to new mac mini. nothing.

macbook pro
i've been anticipating a new powerbook for ages. although i don't have the money for one just yet (i think i'll have to try get some side jobs to earn the £1429 for the lower end version or £1779 for the higher end.) damn the specs are very attractive. it seems like apple is there as one of the first, if not the first, to come out with a shipping product with the new intel pentium 5 (hahaha .. ok, core duo.) someone want to sponsor me for a new macbook pro so i can make my album art widget a universal binary? ;) i think i tried it once and it failed miserably, but i'll try it again soon.

macbook pro name
macbook pro sounds like a dumb name. kinda like the mighty mouse or the ipod shuffle. but, i suppose it only has three syllables versus "powerbook core duo" or "powerbook intel." but a name is a name. just that i'll still call it powerbook just like we still it ipod video.

macbook pro battery life

i've been searching high and low on the apple website about battery life. the older 15" and 17" had 5.5 hours battery life, but here, macbook pro doesn't actually say. they say there's more performance per watt on the new macbook pro compared to the powerbook g4, but i can't find it. what is the battery life?

macbook pro swaps firewire 800 for isight and optical audio

at least they kept firewire 400. on the other hand, they have optical audio in and out that i'd probably never use. and that magsafe patent pending power adapter. well, how about that. i haven't had the pleasure of performing the flying powerbook trick by tripping over the power adapter, but patricia's ibook has. so i guess its a welcome addition. i just wonder if it will come loose too easily. gotta check one out at the apple store when they ship in february.

oh yeah, and they got rid of the modem. good on them.

what is expresscard/34?

firstly, 34? two bits more than 32? err, i'm confused. am i supposed to be excited.

macbook pro only 15"

they haven't eliminated the powerbook g4 line because they've only got a 15" version. i suspect that they're ahead of schedule and haven't cleared out all their older powerbook g4 stocks yet. i'm anticipating some very deep price cuts for the powerbook g4 line until they totally replace them. but who in their right mind would by a g4 now that the intel core duo is out?

i suspect there might be a new design for the 17" and/or eliminating the 12" and making that the ibook.

finally will i get one?

i definitely want one, but don't have enough money to get one. unless i want to sleep on the streets for the next couple of months. i am in the market of my 15" as i reckon my 12" is just a little too small for my needs, and i do love the widescreen.

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10 Jan 2006

google, please don't ignore macs

not that google is listening, but their crawlers certainly do. is there a way to get google to support macs better? what if we all chipped in and bought larry and sergey a powerbook? not that they have trouble with their billions of dollars to get one.


why is google video store windows only? i want to watch my pixelated NBA and CSI! i'll just have to continue to torrents for these then.

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06 Jan 2006

creative invents new term : zencast

creative has been seen screaming la-la-la-la and covering its ears while writing this site about zencast.

according to them, podcast stands for Personal On-Demand broadCAST. someone needs to update the wikipedia entry for podcasting right now!

"Podcasting" is a portmanteau that combines two words: "iPod" and "broadcasting."

... suggested [alternative] name, "blogcasting", implies content based on, or similar in format to, blogs, which is not always the case. Others include "audioblogging", "audio magazines", or "webcasting", terms that might describe other forms of media distribution, and "rsscasting," which would be difficult to pronounce.

quickly creative, edit that page quietly so no one knows, like adam curry did.

(via herro flom japan -- very good gaijin in japan personal on demand broadcaster)

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06 Jan 2006

website dedicated to uncovering bizarreness around the world

recently stumbled across neatorama via matt cutt's blog.

it is crazy, just reading the first two pages, i've just found out that:

1. that indians hold the top three guinness world records for the longest ear hair in the world. now i know what you are about to ask, how can i also grow ear hair like these sexy fellows below?

 Images 2006-01 Longest-Ear-Hair

2. there is a cloud appreciation society, who, as their name suggests, appreciate clouds. guess who's extra miserable when it rains?

3. there is a abandoned street mattress appreciation site. i can't even think of an even more absurd comment than that.

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05 Jan 2006

jon stewart to host the oscars on march 5

yeah, thats right, jon stewart to host the oscars to bring in the stoned and 5-15 demographic. that's a pretty big endorsement. i'm disappointed that it wasn't stephen colbert.

even in accepting this invitation, jon stewart this has to crack a joke:

"As a performer, I'm truly honored to be hosting the show," Stewart said. "Although, as an avid watcher of the Oscars, I can't help but be a little disappointed with the choice. It appears to be another sad attempt to smoke out Billy Crystal."

and later on in the article, they mention Chris Rock as "Rock". it got me confused with THE ROCK.

Producers of the telecast have made strenuous efforts in recent years to lure back younger viewers to Hollywood's biggest night. Rock, last year's host, introduced an edgy, provocative tone to the show and drew a mixed reception.

 Productimages Wwe010-Rock-Store

that is scary!

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04 Jan 2006

apple, please make iphoto 6 faster!

i've finally had it with iphoto 5. it is slow. i have 6115 photos and 91 movies.

things that seem dead easy like slide shows are now an embarrassment. i've been trying to rate my photos taken last year so i can pick out some ones to do something interesting with them. but after rating 2 photos in the full screen slide show, it starts stuttering. this is embarrassing because this is THE app the show off how cool the mac is, and it sucks with my iphoto library.

importing photos from my camera is slow, whenever i do that, i can forget about using my mac for anything else while the photos get put into the album.

keywording is slow. anybody who has seen my iphoto would know that i'm a pedantic categorising freak. and this slow keywording (not to mention bad interface) is really getting to me. keyword assistant makes this job just bearable.

apart from slowness, the only minor issue i have with it is the inability to resize photos in place. otherwise, all the other neat features are great like folders, smart albums, open xml file format to get all your data out (which is used to generate my online photo galleries.)

before i start launching into finding an alternative, i'm going to try splitting my 6000+ photo library into smaller ones using iphoto buddy. and probably go for a much needed pruning of my library in the process to get rid of photos that i don't like.

if that fails, there aren't that many good alternatives out there. for the mac, there's adobe elements, iview media pro, shoebox.

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03 Jan 2006

weird inconsistencies with delicious api

i've been fiddling with the delicious api to write a quick python wrapper around things so i can sync my own links database with delicious. i figured that some people are more used to the delicious interface, so i could just import the data back in and regularly sync up so that it would be useful when either one of them goes down.

here's an odd thing i found while doing my own delicious module. there are three different forms of returning a status code for three different type of functions, posts_add, tags_add and bundles_set:
<result code="done" />

i hope they do something about this soon. hopefully the people at yahoo who do apis will help them fix this.

this has actually worked out quite well. i'm still not quite sure why the other delicious python modules are somewhat more complicated than mine is. maybe they seem to be covering a lot more than i want or need.

other interesting fact is that on your own delicious page, the bit where it says "and 38 people people" for your own bookmarks is not live updated. from what i can see, it only registers when your account has been changed (not just that bookmark, but your whole account.) i suppose it is just some caching hack. however, you can still get the most up to date value from the api. but just requesting that particular post and looking at the "others" attribute.

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03 Jan 2006

dlink dsl-300t firmware woes (and solution)

we've been having various performance issues with this dlink DSL-300T ADSL modem. the solution i'm currently trying out is using some semi-official (russian) firmware just to make it not slow down when we use bittorrent at home.

 Archivos 2333-683-Imagen Dsl-300T
we bought this ADSL modem back in september 2005 because this was the only modem that was reasonably priced and has ADSL in, and ethernet out. it basically bridges between the two so we run a linksys WRT54G.

apart from the trademark ugly and broken web interface that comes with most dlink products, the box has been working fine. until i started using bittorrent, once in a while, depending on what client and how it is configured, it would grind to a halt and we'd have to power cycle the damn thing to get anything more than a trickle of data out of this modem.

for a while, i've been thinking of upgrading the firmware, but unfortunately, the latest firmware on the uk dlink site is from june 2004. this wasn't a big problem really since we're not a huge p2p user, but ever since bittorrent 4.2 with their fancy trackerless support, it's been getting very bad, nearly 2 power cycles every day. so finally, i ventured out and downloaded some firmware version (V2.00B01T01.EU.20050606) from the russian dlink ftp site and installed those instead.

comments on the forums seem to support my observation that p2p software kills the modem with the old UK firmware and seems to be solved with the new unofficial russian firmware. as a bonus, it also upgrades the modem to an ADSL2+ compatible modem.

so if you have the same modem and have problems with it freezing, crashing or just slowing down after running peer to peer software like skype, kazaa or bittorrent, then you should consider flashing it.

the final annoyance is that you NEED to have a windows machine to flash it. in fact, you need to turn on "corrupted image mode" with the firmware updater, which basically just starts an embedded TFTP server that the modem would use to download the firmware. as opposed to a regular upgrade where you do it through the web interface. it took me two tries for this to stick. and if you do have problems, remember to set an ip address on your windows machine before continuing because the poor modem needs to get an ip address from somewhere!

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