Sunday, August 27, 2006

iMac, reborn..., like, without all the stuff we lost 'cause of the harddrive failure. Oh well... back to square one.

As a side note, Apple have missed a trick not putting a simple handle in the top of the iMac, like days of old.

The 20" iMac is rather difficult to manhandle out of a car and into one's study. It's heavy. It's got sharp edges. It hurts your fingers after the first 50 yards. It should have a handle.

The iMac DVSE we have has a handle and it's arguably heavier and more awkward to manhandle, but at least it does have a handle. Sorry, but I couldn't get the word 'handle' into that last sentence again. Oh here goes... The iMac DVSE we have has a handle and it's arguably heavier and more awkward to manhandle, but at least it does have a handle, and Apple should get a handle on this. Heh.

BTW the mac is running fine after about 2 days of downloading to get all the apps back the way they were... now to dig out my firewire drive and do that flippin' backup!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

iMac dead...

Ok, so our new(ish) iMac G5 packed in yesterday. It was after some serious iMovie/iDVD action and we went to put it to sleep for the night and lo and behold it was locked up. A quick power cycle revealed the dreaded flashing folder/questionmark. Oh dear.

Half an hour later it was clear that the HD was not spinning up... basically a dead drive.

Now, I realise this is not entirely Apple's fault, but it is a little frustrating to have a 10 month old computer die in such a fashion. My TiVo is nearly 4 years old and runs 24/7 and it's fine. Could it be the continual sleep/start cycle the Mac was subjected to daily that killed the drive? I don't know.

You may ask, did I do any backups? Ahahahahahahah.... erm, yes, actually... but only of the main iPhoto folder... the rest is gone. Most of my iTunes downloads are replicated on the iBook... yeah, most... and all the video footage is still on the original tapes, so that at least can be recovered.

As a long time computer user I'm kind of resigned to the fact that the machines aren't as reliable as we'd like. Yes, backup often, but where 100's of GBs are concerned, that becomes impractical unless you're prepared to fork out for a tape drive or many hours and many DVD's (or a backup HD for that matter).

Anyway, lesson (if there was one) learnt.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Taking the strain...

Thanks to Islamic jihad and the fact that easyJet have cancelled all London to Glasgow flights, I'm traveling by train today. Actually, I'm rather enjoying it. Not having to submit my traveling gadgets to airline baggage handlers is something of a relief. And because I always travel with a portable game system and my lappy (and a PDA and an iPod) I'm not short of stuff to do. Quite liberating actually.

We're on the final leg of the 5 hour journey, Carlisle to Glasgow - I have 1 hour 20 mins left of battery on the iBook, so felt it was time to break it out and do some serious blog work. Five hours might seem a lot, but it's really not much more than the total door-to-door time on the plane, plus there is much more to occupy your time with so it's a win-win situation as far as I can see.

The sad thing is that from now on, in the UK, the stringent security requirements will mean no gadgets on any domestic flights. In reality this isn't a problem, because there is only a window of about 30 minutes where one can actually use a gadget mid-flight. That half-hour can equally be spent digesting the Times, or submitting to that newspaper's fiendish Soduku. and if I was being honest, I'd say that I rarely break out the Nintendo or iPod just for that trip.

So the future of air travel (from the UK at least) looks bleak. I can't imagine a long haul with nothing but in-flight movies to keep my brain occupied. I genuinely feel sorry for those with children. As someone about to become a father, I sympathise.

Oh! One thing slightly gadgety I might mention is the current mode of transport. I'm on a Virgin Pendolino train. This is a train where the individual carriages (or cars) tilt when the train hits a bend. It's quite clever - you don't notice it happening unless you watch the horizon and see the thing doing the tilt. It makes the trip more comfortable and alcoholic beverages less likely to end up in your lap. Actually, alcoholic beverages don't spend long enough in the glass to get spilt, but you get the idea.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bud Lite

Sometimes, despite, ooh, minutes of research, a gadget purchase can go awry. Particularly if your gut instinct is to buy as soon as you clap eyes on the product in question.

So it came to pass a few weeks ago, that I parted with good money and purchased a new pair of earbuds.
Now, I realise than those in the know (ie those who have either a) puchased the same items, or b) have tried their mates, or c) just know better than to trust a few online reviews let alone comments on a forum) will no doubt guffaw as soon as I mention the offending items.

Yes folks, I bought a pair of Koss Sparkplugs.

I was attracted by the 'sound insulating' design, the prospect of deep bass and they're made by Koss, whose Portapro headphones seem to get good reviews.

The sound insulation on these earbuds is achieved by the use of soft foam; the idea being that you squish the foam down, then shove it in your lug hole letting the foam expand in your ear canal and thus providing that sound insulation.

As a concept, this is fine by me - I regularly wear foam earplugs to mask ambient noise in hotel rooms so the notion of earbuds made of the same material was quite appealing.

Of course, a foam earplug has almost no weight to it, whereas the Sparkplug has the weight of the earbud, plus the cord, both conspiring to yank the bud out of your ear at the slightest provocation.

Ok, so once you've spent the best part of 5 minutes trying to get the earbuds to actually stay in, what do they sound like?

Imagine for a moment, dear reader, you are part of the Mafia, and you did wrong. You did wrong so badly that the Don, well, he's really pissed off. No horse head in the bed for you, sonny, No. Not even concrete overshoes and a visit to the Thames is good enough. Instead of your feet, they put your head in the cement and go read a book while it sets. After that, they then locate a motorway flyover under construction. They put your now block shaped head into the foundation and pour the remainder of the support. Weeks later, after the concrete has cured, the road has opened and thousands of cars, trucks, buses etc rumble over your support, you begin to appreciate how the Koss Sparkplugs actually sound.

Muddy doesn't begin to describe it. They sound awful. Oh yes the bass is there all right. To the exclusion of every other type of sound. Treble? It's on a Club 18-30 holiday. Midrange? Gone potholing. Yup, bass came round and invited his relatives. They turned the bass up to 11 on this one. Strange, because customer reviews on Amazon swing from 'Too much Bass' to 'OK' to 'To much treble'... eh, wot? Just put the spliff down, find a decent sound source and listen again. They're crap. End of.

I feel cleansed. I breathe easy. But lo! The Apple Store (Regent St.) are stocking a new range of earbuds by Sennheiser! They can't be worse than the Koss Crapplugs can they? Can they?? More soon!