Mucho Macs 'n stuff

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I had to go for some training at work yesterday and boy were there some technical difficulties. The training room is set up with 16 individual monitor, mouse and keyboard stations that all feed into a computer in the room. Each station receives its own access like a normal computer so everyone can follow along without have an individual computer. Great theory. The computer was running Windows Server '03 and first wouldn't let us log on. Then it wouldn't let me open Firefox (to be fair, this was probably a Firefox program). Given that the training was internet based I had to bit the bullet and use Internet Explorer. OUCH. Man was it SLOW. And I mean SLOW. Took forever to do things. The IT guy that was sitting in was able to get Firefox running on another machine and offered it to me. He said it was running at 3x the speed of IE. So to have 2 people trained they needed an IT guy to sit in just to babysit the Windows kid. How unfortunate is it that you need to waste resources like that?
In other news the media project is a no go for the moment. Stupid MyView doesn't work with OS X, AT ALL. I even tried downloading drivers for some of their other products. Didn't work. Oh well. I've been eyeing various video cards with S-Video out. We'll see what I can come up with.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Media server project....completed?

So I think my little media project is about done. Maybe... I now have the audio cables I need to hook my old G4 to my tv but I need a video card or some other way to get the picture out of the computer and onto my tv. I just picked up an old Eskape Labs My View unit that might do the trick. Supposedly this hooks into your Mac via a USB cable and miraculously spits out your display on the other end via RCA cable or S Video. huh. Great concept but we'll see if it works. Problem is I'm not sure if it will work in OS X. The guys at the computer shop said it's been sitting in their store room for 7 years so they were more than willing to let me borrow it just to see if it works. It will work in OS 9 so maybe I'll just have to boot into OS 9. At any rate it will be a great weekend project. Now I just need a Bluetooth adapter for a wireless keyboard and mouse and a wireless card for network access, and...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Deal breaker

Now I'm really unsure if I'll get Leopard, no special academic pricing! Well there is if you count $13 off retail. If you work at a university like I do that's one of the only perks! Although I did find a new feature through .mac that is appealing: follow my mac. Allows you to remote access your mac. Smoooth. That's what I've been attempting to do with my server project. Which will be done...sometime.....soon?

Leopard? yay or nay to the new tiger?

Who's ready for Leopard? To ease the nail biting anticipation Apple has released a full list of the 316 new features. See here. Honestly, I'm not too stoked about it. I don't think I need any of the new features. I might consider the upgrade next year but that's a maybe. I want to see how the release pans out, really find out if it's worth it. If I do make the upgrade it will only be on my MacBook Pro. I don't think my G4 would be too happy running it. Tiger is stretching it for the old beast, Leopard might kill it. But then I'll have the problem of 2 OS versions running on my equipment. I'm not a big fan of that idea. There will inevitably be some issue that I can't resolve that will just piss me off to no end. We'll see. Maybe I'll change my mind later but as of now, I don't have much reason to.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Late birthday gift

What do you get when you pair one of these with one of these? Sheer awesome, that's what! Who's the owner of a PowerMac G4 500mhz dual processor Gigabit Ethernet model? THIS GUY! I totally stumbled onto the deal of the century. I went over to ask my Mac repair friend about buying a 500mhz dual processor upgrade for my PowerMac G4 AGP. I found one on ebay for $66 (delivered) but I wasn't sure if it was a good deal and if it would even fit in my motherboard. After a brief discussion he said he'd get back to me. A minute later he comes and finds me with a G4 in hand. Apparently he had a personal one he wanted to sell with the dual proc., 1GB RAM, and an ATI Radeon 7000 video card. I won't even write the price because it was obscenely CHEAP but needless to say I snapped it up in a hurry! So last night I got to work setting it up. I was FINALLY able to pair the Studio Display (CRT) monitor I bought at an auction 2 years ago for $10 with a computer!! I was so stoked. The computer runs AWESOME, very fast, especially on the internet. I love it. Now the only question is, what to do with the old G4? HMMMM. What an awesome surprise for my Wednesday.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Here's a great article on why windows users are hesitant to switch. In my opinion there are two big ones that the article doesn't highlight enough, price and compatibility. First off, it's a hard sell to get someone to pay over $1k for a laptop when they get get a Windows craptop for less than $.5K. What does a person get for the extra money? Well a computer savvy person understands the higher quality components, the extra software, the usability issues, and the reliability. Although you can find a laptop for half the price it will last 1/2 as long. It's true. Average lifespan of a windows pc is 2 years. It's almost 5 for a Mac. My graphite G4 that's still in use today is a testament to that (it's from 1999). And what about compatibility? That's the clincher for many people. I can't run the programs I need on it, say the naysayers. And you know what? Many times it's true. Take my job, for example. I work in a research lab where we do lots of numbers crunching and database shit. Guess what? Our main data analysis tool, SAS, isn't available for Mac. Neither is Access, our main database organization program. So, as you can see Macs don't fit in EVERYWHERE for EVERYONE. And that's fine. Oddly enough, though, all of our EEG data collection equipment runs on Macs. Food for thought I guess. Think about, why do you use a Mac? For me it's the reliability and cool stuff you can do with them. Working on a Mac is just stress free, even fun. System restart headaches? Almost never. Even if a program crashes the OS just keeps on ticking. Another reason I love them is the freeware that's available. Tons of free stuff out there to keep you occupied. Why are you on a Mac?

Friday, October 5, 2007


Dudes, I have got me a virus. Been sick since about the time of my last post. But I'm on the mend and I think I'll pull through. But being sick has given me the opportunity to do some cool stuff since I can't get out too much. I've really been spending some time on Pages (the '06 version mind you. guy at the computer shop failed to mention the new version would be out in 2 weeks!) and I love it. The trial version I used was really sluggish and had a lot of hiccups but not so with the real version. Fun stuff. I also did some performance tests with my AGP G4 with Speed Freak. Believe it or not, it makes a measurable difference! I'll have to post more on that later. I also had some fun with old hardware parts. Ever wonder what the inside of a hard drive looks like? Let me tell you, it's pretty sweet. The actual disk surface is brilliantly reflective. Makes for a great mirror. Really cool to see the innards. I'm a huge fan of learning through disassembly.