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Robot Journal

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post #751
bio: rich

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that week

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What the world needs now is a think piece about the pandemic
Music of Teens: K Tel's The Beat
#CocktailRobot: The Per Sempre
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#CocktailRobot: The Aviation
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Goodbye Windows. It was fun.

Stupid March
First, let me say this: Screw you month of March. You were a pain in the ass.

Windows World
8:26am Last year I helped my mom and my mom-in-law both buy new computers. I've always liked my IBM ThinkPad(s) and went with a decent priced and outfitted Lenovo (they make the ThinkPad now) for both of them. I had my mother's computer sent to me and I spent a few days cleaning it up of all the crap and installed anything she might need. From this whole experience I came away with a few gripes:

1. I know this doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but why do all Windows laptops seem to be so ugly? Is it necessary to have all those stickers on the machine? Why do they all seemed to have been designed by separate teams of engineers who didn't know what the other team was doing?

2. These machines came installed with Vista. Parts of me (a few of my organs) liked elements of Vista in that it seemed harder to really screw things up (you get prompted for a password for almost any change). But it was also, in my mind, pretty ugly in the same way that the exterior was - the whole 'missing a unifying theme' thing.
(My philosophy is that there is no excuse for ugly anymore. It's not 1985, it's 2009 or 2010 or whatever. Shit should be pretty.)

3. What annoyed me the most was the software that the manufacturers install on these new machines. I am not talking about the trialware crap (which is annoying) but more like the duplication of Windows applications. For example, my mom-in-law had constant issues connecting to her Wi-Fi. I didn't get to clean up her computer so when we visited over the holidays I took a look. The issue was that Lenovo had an application to connect to the Wi-Fi. Of course there is already an application built in to Windows that does that and actually does it quite well and efficiently. There was conflict between the two.
WTF? Why did the manufacturer think they needed to build software to duplicate something that Windows already did? By "duplicate" I of course mean "make a crappier and buggier version".
I can only assume they do this to keep the manufacturers brand name in front of the user as much as possible.

4. Crap-ass backup solutions. I mean, really. Why doesn't Windows come standard with a back-up utility? OK, technically they do. But, how about an idiot proof version? I'm somewhat tech savvy, and the built-in Windows back-up solution annoyed me to no end - so I can't imagine how my less than savvy relatives would handle it.
Look at Apple's TimeMachine. How long does that take to get running? I think negative three seconds.

Linux World
Did I mention that a few years ago I ran a few versions of Linux on an old laptop I had? Neat. But way too much time spent in the console.

I switched
12:04pmIn March, after I got my huge bonus from work, I strolled over to the Apple Store and bought myself a 15inch MacBook Pro.
First, they cost a lot. Ouch. But, gosh they are handsome.

What I adore about my new MBP
1. Stunningly gorgeous hardware.
2. The "Spaces" feature that allows you have multiple live desktops running. What I like even more is that you can default certain programs to open in certain spaces.
3. Expose is handy. It reminds of "Show Desktop" in Windows.
4. Parallels. I have a virtual version of Windows XP installed. It works really well.
5. TimeMachine. Brilliant. Let's hope I never have to use it.
6. The built in camera is fun.
7. The BookArc. I use my MBP in "clamshell" mode a lot as I have a fancy monitor already. BookArc is a very simple yet very well made metal stand for the laptop. It also came in one of the nicest boxes ever. Like, I saved the box to use for something else.
8. The fact that my computer is made by the same company that makes the software. Granted, this is a source of great debate, but I am going to try this path out for a while.
9. The standard software is so much better than what comes on a stock Windows machine. iCal! Mail is handsome. iMovie. I dare you try to use Windows MovieMaker - even Bill Gates has problems doing that.
iMovie is lovely and makes a pretty great final product.
10. My old Windows computer was getting a little cranky, so it's nice to have a machine that can have more than three USB devices plugged in. And plays video well. And doesn't sound like it is death throes.

What has annoyed me
1. Getting used to keyboard and the various shortcuts (not really the fault of the computer). Oh, and then flipping to Windows XP in Parallels. And then back.
2. The CD/DVD drive sounds like it is eating the disc. Apparently this is how they all work. I find this a bit disappointing as I just don't see Steve Jobs not freaking about the sound every time he puts a disc in.
3. Finding a good mouse. Right now I am using a wired (ugh) Microsoft optical mouse. My Logitech wireless one was too buggy. I like the MightyMouse, but even people who love it admit that it isn't especially comfortable.
4. The OSX version of GAIN (which normalizes volume on MP3 files) isn't nearly as good as the Windows version as the changes it makes aren't reversible.

I also bought the Airport Extreme (to the max!) mainly because it is one of the few wi-fi routers that features a USB outlet if you happen to have a printer or drive you want to use across your network. Getting the Aeroporto Extreme (to the max!) set up was brilliantly easy and frustration free. Kudos. Although I had a few moments of crankiness because I thought that the AreaPortly Extreme (to the max!) was making a very low, high-pitched squeal-y sound - but, silly me, it was just my old PC. The one that is headed to the nursing home soon.
(no, figuratively. i am not donating it to a nursing home. it would drive them crazy. with it's high-pitched squealy-ness.)

Nice. I made the conversion from PC to Mac a couple of years ago, when movers dropped my venerable PC down a flight of stairs while moving me into my last place, and I liked it.

I'd been a big PC person growing up since I liked to play video games, & all video games are written for PC and maybe translated to Mac. I was shocked at how well the Mac actually worked, though, and I will never go back.
»stu ||  4/12/2010 ||  1:18:15 AM

Things we use daily should be attractive, yes, and intuitive.

When I bought a used cinema display to go with my mbp, I picked up a wireless keyboard and magic mouse and am happy with them.
»jb ||  4/12/2010 ||  2:27:35 AM
Stu: Ouch.

Oh, other things I like quite a bit on OSX are both Google Chrome and Picasa. They both work loverly.
»:r ||  4/12/2010 ||  8:01:00 AM
I have a MAC but still want a PC laptop .... Do you offer your services to clean up new computers to everyone or is that just for family members?
»k ||  4/13/2010 ||  6:32:21 PM

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