Monday, January 29, 2007

Macintosh Review, 1st Post

I will spend the next year reviewing the Macintosh experience from a PC User's viewpoint. I used a Mac last in 1990/91 and even then not from a user's perspective. I was setting it up to run ad clips at a TV studio. Before and since then I have only used the various versions of DOS, DOS/Windows, and Windows on desktops and laptops. I started with an 8088 IBM PC in 1984/5 and am now on an IBM T60 with 1GB RAM and Windows XP. I'll go into the details of why I am doing this review in a later post.

I unpacked a MacBook Pro this evening (15" version) and got it up and running in an hour (more than average complexity wireless security + wanted to install Firefox and Google browser sync) and am now writing this post from it. I like the way it feels on my lap. Not to heavy but stable. Nice keyboard.

I'll leave it at that for now. In the next post I'll talk about my experience up to now - which basically includes the install. Remember I'm not a Mac user so some of my comments may appear a little daft to those of you who are (or who are smarter than me).

By the way, this is more about OS X then about the hardware platform although I will make some comments on it. I will be writing about usability, stability, support, interoperability, productivity and any other ity's I can think of.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Remind Me

Talking about trying new things, I saw this video referenced on a blog (can't remember which now) and ended up buying the music through iTunes.

Although I am not much one for music videos - don't like them and watch maybe 5 minutes of TV a week - this one from Royksopp really caught my eye. It's one of the most creative I have ever seen.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Try new things. It will keep you young...and make you rich

As someone approaching middle age, I have been developing a very firm conviction on the importance of trying new things. For me this includes things like learning how to dive, cooking Thai and other interesting cuisine, learning to drive standard and possibly, next year, taking up downhill skiing (haven't tried it yet) so we can go as a family. In the past few years I have also been buying new music and not just music from the eighties, like an album from Shiny Toy Guns. Even more exciting then these is our new Cappuccino machine (try new things, buy new things).

Why? We need new experiences to keep us young in terms of flexibility of thought. I have nothing against and in fact actually like aging. What I would guard against is an aging of mind - not being able to think in new ways. It's also why I read a lot.

Now, apparently, trying new things is also good for your wallet according to a behavioural economist...first time I've heard of that discipline. I still haven't quite figured out how to calculate the ROI of our Cappuccino maker.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

PS3 to beat Wii and XBOX 360 in market share

From an article on playfuls:

One research estimate indicate that "The Sony PlayStation 3 is expected to win the console war in the long term with an install base of around 75 million globally by 2010. The console is not expected to dominate as much as its predecessor, the PS2, due to late launch issues in the PAL region and the early lead of Microsofts Xbox 360."

"Boston-based research firm Yankee Group reported that the game-console war will have found a winner by 2011 and that is PlayStation 3. Xbox 360 will come second and Nintendo Wii third.

The respected market research firm predicted that by 2011, which means 5 years from now, PlayStation 3 will have more than 30 million units sold, Xbox 360 will closely follow with 27 million units and Nintendo will trail the other two giants with its Wii console, with only 11 million units."

Although I know little about Research Markets I do know the Yankee Group. They are heavily used by technology journalists and larger corporations. Their forecast should therefore be impartial as too much is riding on their reputation. Here's an article that further quotes their research.

I'm hoping to get a PS3 for my boys in early 2008...actually they'll be paying for it. I'll be paying for the peripherals like wirless Bluetooth headphones and a 1080p HDTV...

For movie lovers like myself, HDTV coupled with an HD DVD player like the PS3 makes a lot of sense. You get an HD player built into a game console which the kids can use at a cost lower than a standalone player. Conventional wisdom says to wait a year after the PS3's initial release. As was the case with the PS2, when it's first released the technology is too new and game developers are unfamiliar with it. It will take until the second generation of games before they come even close to exploiting the technology. This is especially true of the Cell processor.

Boot Camp - so what?

This post is really, really late...better late then never. I started it in's been fermenting since then.

I have given a lot of thought to Apple's Boot Camp. It allows owners of newer Macintosh computers (with Intel processors) to install Windows XP or the newer Windows Vista on their Macs. This lets them run Apple's OSX for a Mac "look and feel" with access to Mac software or Microsoft Windows with access to a greater number of Windows programs.

This doesn't at first seem significant as why would Mac owners, who tend to be anti-Microsoft, want to install Windows? The reason is simple. Many Mac owners run Windows at work. Being able to use the home computer for both will be a bonus for them.

However I don't think this is the main audience. They've learned to live without Windows on Mac for many years. However, there are two other classes of users. Those that want to buy Mac but haven't due to one or two programs that don't come installed and those that may buy a Mac because it's cheaper then competing manufacturer's computers.

The first of this second group doesn't require much explanation - they can now buy a Mac and use Windows software they need for work or personal use that is not available for the Mac. The second does but is explained easily. Mac laptops are known for their ergonomic and aesthetic design. An equivalent Windows laptop in terms of quality and design would be Lenovo's Thinkpad T60. So lets compare the Macbook Pro and the T60 to see which comes out on top:

(BTW, what's up with blogger and tables? Scroll down to see the table in this post.)

Lenovo Thinkpad T60, Model

Apple MacBook Pro

Processor: 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

Screen: 15.4” WXGA (1400x1050)

Memory: 2GB

Hard Drive: 120GB


Graphics Card: ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 128MB

Processor: 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

Screen: 1440 x 900 pixels

Memory: 2GB

Hard Drive: 120GB

CD: 6x double-layer SuperDrive (CD/DVD RW)

Graphics Card: ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics with 256MB SDRAM

$2,278 USD

$2,499 USD

The price is essentially the same if you consider the cost of the upgraded video card, which just happens to be perfect for Vista. One caveat though, you need to shell out a few hundred dollars for either XP or Vista. Even with the slight cost increase it may push users like myself to try using OSX when I wouldn't have if that's all I could run on it. It will definitely mean my next home computer purchase will be a Mac.

The other piece. OSX is equivalent to Windows Vista Ultimate, an operating system you'll have to shell out $3,99 USD for.