Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Verdict: The Holidays

The Holidays: do they suck rocks, or rock, sucker? Gather round as I break it down.

Christmas rocks because it's created an industry wherein midget actors can enjoy an abundance of work. Christmas sucks because my ex-girlfriend's clinical fear of midgets meant that for two months last year I had to go without sex while she cried herself to sleep every night. But the needs of the mini outweigh my need for poon, so Christmas rocks, sucker!

Boxing day rocks because it’s essentially a second, more selfish Christmas, where you can buy all the things you really wanted but never got, and for cheaper than on any other day of the year. Boxing Day sucks because despite the fact that everything is cheaper we still unanimously hold Christmas the day before Boxing Day rather than the day after. This confirms that Christians are all retarded and that Boxing Day sucks rocks!

New Year’s Eve sucks because it’s the same party that’s happening every other night of the year, yet the cost of entry quadruples while cheap sparkling wine masquerades as expensive champagne. New Year’s Eve rocks because the subsequent hangover, though dreadful, comes with one important clause: no matter how much of an arse-hole you managed to be last night, today you begin a new year with a clean slate. So let rip and be merry, because New Year’s Eve rocks, sucker!

The Verdict: Quit your griping and get with the festive spirit, because The Holidays rock, sucker!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Humpty MacBook

I dropped my MacBook on the pavement yesterday.

It was inside a courier bag with no padding, the strap on one shoulder and not over my head like it ought to have been. I was 5 seconds out the door when it slipped and smacked against the driveway.

Overwhelmed with disbelief, I quickly pulled it out of the bag and lifted the lid. The MacBook, having been asleep, awoke as if nothing had occurred. But something had definitely occurred.

A quick survey around the edges of the MacBook revealed the back left corner had taken the full brunt of the fall, having lifted the plastic casing from the edge and slightly buckling the metal casing underneath.

For your viewing pleasure.

Amazingly, as a testament to the virility of the MacBook, everything still works. Even more so, my iSight camera, which had recently become non-operational apart from its green power indicator which remained on at all times, came back to life after I powered down and back up again. I first noticed the green light was no longer on, then did a test in Photo Booth, iMovie, and even Facebook Video. Imaging is back, but the previous problem of the mic recording static remains. Still, I'd call that a pleasant surprise in light of the matter.

What's possibly less pleasant is that dropping my MacBook has likely voided my warranty. The recent e-mail I sent to Steve Jobs, which got me the personal attention of Tajai in executive relations in the matter of seeing my pre-drop list of MacBook issues resolved, may now have been all for naught. I've contact Tajai to let him know what happened, and am fully prepared for him to advise that I'm now on my own, but I'll not know for sure until I get a reply.

Meanwhile, I'm grateful for still having a functional MacBook. Furthermore, the value of padded casing has hereforto been learned in perpetuity. Please, let this be a lesson to you all.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Countdown Complete

The countdown to Leopard officially just ended. I should know, I watched the last two minutes tick away on Apple's home page. I kind of expected something to happen at zero. It didn't.

Still. Yippee!!

Apple, I love You

Cast your fanboy slurs aside, naysayers! I've a story of true love to tell, and with a happy ending to boot!

In case you weren't aware, I've been having some issues with my MacBook. Some from the start, some quite recent. The basic rundown, in order of appearance, is this:
  • Emits infamous high pitched whine unless CPU is tasked.
  • iSight microphone always records with static noise interference.
  • Piece of palm rest cracks off.
  • iSight camera breaks completely, green power indicator light remains on while computer is on.
Through it all I've loved my MacBook for its Mac user experience, namely the joys of OS X, but my patience was starting to wear thin with all these hardware issues. I began to wonder what Steve Jobs would think of all this.

So I wrote him and asked.

Two days later, or 20 minutes ago from the time I'm typing this blog entry, my phone rings and a gentleman named Tajai from Apple's executive relations here in Canada is on the other end going over the contents of my e-mail to Jobs with me and assuring me he is now personally going to see this issue through to resolution.

How do you like them Apples?

The situation is being handled thusly: Tajai understands I need my computer for work and can't afford the downtime a repair would incur, so he's willing to pay up to $300 for a rental Mac while my MacBook goes into the shop. If the issues can't be resolved via the repair attempt, the MacBook will be replaced.

One of my main concerns when writing Steve was whether my MacBook experience was common to all MacBook owners. Tajai assured me my situation is rare, which, along with his personal commitment to seeing my MacBook through all of this, was reassuring.

I was starting to fear Apple had become just another faceless corporate greed machine, having turned its ear away from its customers and towards the ka-ching sound of money bags falling from the sky. That fear has now subsided. Apple is still a company that builds relationships with its customers, as this experience only proves.

Like any great relationship that goes through a hard time and comes out the other end in tact, my love for Apple is now stronger than ever.

Apple, I love you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Leopard as a Velvet Painting

We're all excited about this week's release of Mac OS 10.5, otherwise known as Leopard. The list of features is exhaustive, and among them are some heavy hitters like Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces and the all new Finder.

Far be it from me to rain on the parade, but one thing that's bothered me ever since screen shots of the new OS started leaking out onto the web has been the sudden arrival of the colour purple. Outer space is a theme prevalent in Leopard, which is cool, I like outer space, and it works so nicely with the Time Machine UI, but why, oh why, did Apple, who normally are so good at making seemingly simple yet important decisions about colour, choose purple as the colour of the gaseous clouds in its space themes?

Purple is everyone's least favorite colour, for one. Couple that with the way it makes space images look like velvet paintings, and you've got to wonder how this choice was made, and how it slipped past all the checks, including the eyes of Steve Jobs himself.

Green would have been a much better choice. Apple implements green a lot, particularly when it comes to lights indicating power activity. Green is much more calm, mysterious, and less on the nose than purple is in space.

Now, every time I see a screen shot like this:

Which just leaked out onto the interwebs tonight, I'm reminded of unicorns, waterfalls and all the other tacky things that the colour purple swirling in the background so aptly lends itself to.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fix A Crack, Lose Your (i)Sight

A couple of weeks ago, the palm rest on my MacBook cracked.

My right wrist had dragged across the front edge of the palm rest and I felt something flick against my skin, like the sensation of an elastic band snapping. When I looked down, there was a long, slender, splintered piece of plastic raised from the edge of the casing, and underneath it, the blackness wherein the innards of my MacBook had once concealed themselves.

As seen here:

Notice anything unusual?
How about now?

I thought I was going to be in for a debate with the local Apple repair tech when I called in to report the issue, but he quickly quieted those concerns when he explained how this is a common issue and he could have the part ordered in within a few days. Oh. Well alright then!

My MacBook went in for repair today and the technician was very kind. I explained a couple of other issues I was having, namely the infamous high pitched whine and the fact that my iSight's mic was recording a lot of static noise. Because I needed the computer back the same day, we agreed it best to come back at a later date to have these two issues looked into. Meanwhile, the repair on my case was done in a matter of hours.

The new casing is great. It fits like a glove and feels of that lovely new MacBook texture, which inevitably wipes away to smoothness with regular usage. It appears as though the entire top layer of the MacBook's open face was replaced, including the scroll pad, mouse button and keyboard. Its almost like having a new MacBook.

Almost, if not for the fact that my iSight seems to have come back busted. The green light shows the moment the power to the computer is turned on, and it remains despite not having any iSight applications running. When I do run an iSight app, like Photo Booth or iMovie HD, the camera doesn't work at all.

I'm sure this can be easily fixed, but it kind of reminds me of the old trope about the car going into the mechanic with one problem and coming back with another. Not that I'm suggesting this was intentional. It's just annoying.

Not to mention that the constant green light just makes me feel like someone, somewhere is watching me while I type.

Happy and normal. Happy and normal. Happy and normal.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Built To Spill, Lee's Palace, Toronto, July 10, 2007

Here's the set list:

In The Morning
Center Of The Universe (extended outro)
Goin' Against Your Mind
Velvet Waltz
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
Third Uncle (Brian Eno)
Car (Doug solo)
Wherever You Go
Strange (extended outro)
Made Up Dreams
Mess With Time
Carry The Zero


Broken Chairs

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Blogging from the Dashboard

Sometimes I wonder about widgets.  There seems to be one out there for everything, but do we actually need a widget for everything?  Maybe.

Widgets are best suited at performing small and simple tasks.  Most of the great widgets to one thing and they do it really well.  I have a language translator widget that translates what you type in one selected language into another selected language.  Brilliant.  Likewise, I've another that converts currencies.  There's a widget on my Dashboard that tells me the weather, another for the date, I've got a calculator widget, a dictionary widget and even a Goggle search bar widget.

Now, do I really need a Google search bar in my Dashboard?  Isn't there one of those built in to every web browser running these days?  Indeed, but perhaps you don't have your browser open and you want to run a search right now.  Dashboard springs forward, Google search bar at the ready.  Input your text and hit enter, the widget opens your browser and populates the search results.  Its not going to save you thousands on car insuarance, but it serves its purpose.

The latest addition to my Dashboard's family is Blogger, the widget.  Within a simple text field I can type up a blog, as I'm doing here, and either publish or save it as a draft.  No need to open my browser, point it to Bloger and navigate to my posting page.  It lacks any features beyong simple text input with an italics and bold option - there's no photo upload tool, for example, it doesn't insert links, and it doesn't spell check either.  For words I'm aware I don't know how to spell I've got my trusty dictionary widget, but no doubt there will be times when I'm either wrong about a spelling or simply making a typo, and a little squigly red line won't be there to bail me out.  Another drawback is it doesn't insert a scroll bar once you type your way to the bottom of the screen, the field simply grows further down the screen as you type and eventually just runs down to where you can't even see it.  Typing blind is one thing, but the buttons to publish or save are at the botton of the widget so once they're off screen there's not much more you can do.  Clicking the very fine line of a frame on either side of the text field will allow you to grab he widget and move it upwards so the top extends off the screen, but we are now officially into the "that's annoying" stage of widget usage.

As I stated earlier, the best widgets perform simple tasks.  In the case of the Blogger widget, I wouldn't turn to it for posting anything elaborate or media rich.  Its best suited to small topics, quick notes, that sort of thing.  This post, for example has already gone on far too long to have been considered convenient to write from the Dashboard, but being the inaugural (thank you dictionary widget) post from this widget I'll make an acception just this once.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I like Facebook a lot better than MySpace. Facebook lets you connect with your friends and see what they're up to easily, without having to sift through any unrelated garbage, or what I'll call social networking byproduct - the waste that often gets produced when so many people with nothing better to do start finding inane ways to waste their time and the time of everyone their connected to. Bad social sites like MySpace suffer from this since the actual social networking side of their operation is lacking, and as a result this byproduct is produced to fill the void. Since Facebook has social networking down pat, there's very little in the way of a void that needs filling. Yet more and more often on Facebook I'm seeing instances of this waste cropping up in my messages inbox, on my wall and in my news feed.

"Check it out," one of the headlines declares, "Go to my profile and take a look at my new celebrity look-alikes!" Um, no.


............| \
...\___ A BOAT_____/
....\_____________/," a popular wall post begins, "which probably makes you pretty angry." Yeah? No kidding. So how about you fuck off throwing bullshit at my wall, dumb-ass?

Let me ask, do you go running up to your friends on the street and cry out, "Hey, I'm hitting you with a boat! Please! Talk to me!?" I doubt it. Or perhaps you approach everyone you know with the latest issue of Celebrity Crap Magazine and start flicking wildly through the pages while declaring proudly the names of all the stars you barely resemble? Probably not.

Such approaches to socializing, be they off-line or on-line, are impersonal. I know its not actually important to you that I specifically see the results of your latest tryst with time wasting, but rather that someone at least does and that they acknowledge it. To achieve this you spam these results out there to everyone you know, and in the process diminish the impact of your own actions, not to mention that of Facebook as a social networking service.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying Facebook should be for serious play only, but there's silly and then there's just inane. What's happening right now on Facebook is quite nearly the MySpace equivalent of the sparkling animated GIF. If we ever get to that point, people, Facebook will be lost. Sparkling animated GIF's are truly the point of no return. They've devoured MySpace, and they'll devour you, too, if you're not careful.

Please, for the love of Facebook, just be careful.

GUI of the Future: Reflection of the Past

First, quickly: Every OS (operating system), like Mac OS X or Windows XP or Vista has a graphical user interface, or GUI (lovingly pronounced "gooey"). The GUI is basically all the stuff you interact with in the operating system, like folders, icons, windows, buttons, menus, even applications. Most of what you know about your computer exists on the GUI level, and that's the way it was intended. The GUI is just a shell for the guts of all that's really going on inside your computer, which is incredibly complicated stuff, which is why you need the GUI to dependably and easily interact with it, to get it to do things like play movies, burn CD's, send e-mails, write blogs, etc. Some GUI's are arguably better than others, and there are often trade-offs between functionality and appearance when designing a GUI (though I think OS X has a pretty impressive handle on both). As technology and our understanding of it improves, however, this trade-off diminishes and we come closer and closer to having pure functionality co-existing harmoniously with alluring appearance in an OS, the way it truly ought to.

While our OS should be smart and fast at doing all the tasks we require of it, its appearance should tell us things, not only about our computer, but about ourselves. What I would like to see as a feature in a future OS would be "aging". I'd like every unique aspect of the OS, every individual application's screen, every menu, button, folder, wallpaper, all of it to age based on use. Applications we use a lot, buttons we press a lot, would all show signs of aging sooner than ones used less often. The edges of windows could start to chip and crack and peel, buttons could wear down, smudge, fade, or even fall off. Folders could tear, wallpapers could scratch and peel and even fall on a slant. Just like objects in the real world, our GUI objects could all show wear and tear. This would give us some sort of feedback on our usage habits, which would be interesting to see in such a real world fashion. Of course, if we really started to dislike the look of all these signs of aging, would could initiate repairs, bring elements back to their original condition, keep on top of it all and have things looking nice and cared for part of or even all of the time, if such were our inclination.

I can do this for the exterior of my computer, and this care or lack thereof is in part a reflection of who I am, so why shouldn't the rest of my computer be the same?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Buying a Used Bicycle: Help Wanted

Despite the lion-like way in which March is going out, I do believe that Spring is upon us. Spring is a time when certain urges are known to take hold, and I am feeling one of those particular urges quite strongly at the moment. That's right: I want to ride a bicycle.

I've found a local used bike for sale, and the price looks right, but I'm none too sure I know enough to make any judgments on its quality or style or suitability towards me, so perhaps you can help. Here's a picture:

From what I can tell, its a Dyno. The bike is described as being in good condition, 26" tires, summer usage, the back tire is a little bigger because the original tire was blown out and replaced, it has grip shift gears, shocks on the front forks and under the seat, gel seat and U-lock included. Originally $350, he's now asking $125.

In terms of size, he is 6'6" while I'm 5'9", though he says that shouldn't be a problem since he hunched over and the seat can still be adjusted. I'd be trying it out for size, anyway. I'd just like to know if anyone knows enough to say whether this is a decent deal at all. I'd like to be able to ride back and forth across town in it for work to avoid the bus and get in shape.

Advice welcome!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Apple TV + DVD = Hack-o-Rama

Its not even been a week, and Apple TV has already had the crap hacked out of it. People really seem to have taken a shining to Apple's latest big-kid's toy, and it got me to thinking, maybe I've been a tad hard on the little guy. Especially since my one main conflict with the entire Apple TV ecosystem, its inability to incorporate DVD's into the mix, has already been resolved. The solution is no more legal than it is simple and straightforward, but Mike Curtis lays it all out at his very own Apple TV Hacker blog with lots of detailed description and screen shot goodness to guide you through the procedure.

As Curtis refers to it, both in his blog and in the comments (of which there are many) below his DVD hack entry, what he frequently does with his Apple TV is the technological equivalent of doodling. With that in mind, unless you're willing to crack a few pencils, shade outside the lines and crumple up the odd scrap of paper with yours, so to speak, then perhaps you'd best leave this one alone. Did I mention already that its illegal? Interestingly enough, if you read to the end of the entry, Curtis mentions this as well, at least with respect to the popular "Rent, Rip, Return" craze that's sweeping the nation.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Pogue Weighs In, Way Off

I won't spend too much time on this, but I have to follow up on my previous post here after David Pogue's review of the Apple TV produced this little gem of an insight right at the start:

"In the technology world, conventional wisdom says that we’ll soon be saying R.I.P. for the DVD. Internet downloads are the future, baby. No driving, no postpaid envelopes. Any movie, any TV show, any time."

Indeed, anyone with an Apple TV wishing to rent a movie or watch an episode of TV will be kneeling at the altar of the internet download at the iTunes store, but that's hardly the makings of a true eulogy for the DVD. Even still, a movie on iTunes isn't going for rental prices, but rather is more inline with DVD purchase prices. So remind me again why you'd pay the same price for something that's locked into your home network, has no additional content and perpetually teeters on the brink of accidental deletion? Oh right, because the Apple TV demands it.

If people were going to replace their DVD's with purchased internet downloads of movies, they would have done something similar already with CD's and music from the iTunes store. While I'm sure some people have done just that, they're a very rare breed; I know of but one, and his passion is for drawing comics, not exactly a reflection of the Western zeitgeist. Its a shame, because if DVD's were easily and legally rip-able the way CD's are, I think the Apple TV would indeed become the iPod of the home entertainment world (just, you know, without the always breaking within the first year part).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Amazingly Incompatible Apple TV

Apple TV is shipping, and suddenly the latest Apple product that no one really seemed to care about is all anyone can talk about, or blog about anyway. Case in point, here I go. I was perfectly willing to leave Apple TV well enough alone, it never quite looked like anything I'd be interested in but I didn't see anything inherently wrong with it, either, until now.

There are comparisons that can be made to the iPod with Apple TV, in particular with its integration with iTunes. Supposedly, its this tight integration that is going to make yet another tag team knockout in the digital entertainment arena, this time in our living rooms as opposed to, well, wherever the heck we go with our iPods. In terms of music, Apple TV will indeed do just this. It will replace our ear buds with whatever sweet little (nay, large) bass pumping, 'nad dropping sound system we have set up in our homes and get our complete music library, from all of our iTunes purchased DRM'd sing-alongs to our ripped collection of CD's, flowing readily through. That's all fine and dandy, but what about TV? This is, after all, Apple TV we're discussing, right?

Lets assume TV means anything you'd normally watch on your screen; primarily TV shows and movies (the whole photos-on-your-TV thing never really seemed to take off, did it?). Sure, Apple is ramping up the content drive on its iTunes store, so you can buy TV shows and movies which will stream to your HD screen via Apple TV. Similar to what many cable services are now offering; with iTunes and Apple TV you'll have your very own on demand service running, watching what you want, when you want, and that's all you'll ever pay for in terms of content. Apple TV owners, you can kiss your cable bill goodbye. That's swell, for casual viewing, anyway.

Coming back to iTunes music store for a moment, purchases made from there are usually pretty casual. Almost anyone with a real appreciation for a band will still go out and buy the CD if they want the whole album, and with TV and movies you can bet DVD sales will continue to work the same way. TV on iTunes has more of an appeal because each episode is available as its aired, while the complete package of a season won't come out on DVD for some time later, but movies are a tidy package, no staggering there. While with music you can take your purchased CD, rip its contents to your computer and then carry it around in your iPod or stream it to your Apple TV and wake up all your neighbors, TV shows and movies don't rip from DVD's... easily or legally anyway. This is the problem.

Statistically, most of the contents of a person's iPod is music they've purchased on CD that has been ripped to their computer. The iTunes store is a great accessory to the iPod, but its just that. Apple TV is essentially dependent on an accessory for its functionality. Enjoying content on an Apple TV will be like trying to dress yourself while staring at a closet full of clothes but only having access to the scarves, or perhaps more to the point the scarves you bought off the internet from that one store. All those DVD's you lovingly collected and own, and the ones you're still planning on collecting for years to come, will be incompatible with Apple TV.

Unless Steve Jobs has a yet-unveiled plan in place which will suddenly make ripping DVD's easy and legal (another finger pointing letter to be written, perhaps?), I see no real future for Apple TV. A tight integration with the iTunes store is not nearly enough to make this otherwise promising device as necessary and ubiquitous as the iPod so readily became. Which is a shame, because for some reason I still find myself really wanting one.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Real Six Months of iPhone Bugs?

A friend on Facebook has suggested my pseudo-insider information on the iPhone's toxic release may in fact be another example of Steve Jobs and his spymaster ways, as it has been speculated was the case with Asteroid. The problem with that analysis is that it would seem imprudent for Jobs to be going out on the hunt for his neighbors, particularly when the only information they would ever possess in the first place would be that which he gives them. There's nothing to gain and plenty to lose with that strategy.

Everyone, hold on to your irony hats.

The other possibility is that this is all just a sad example of the telephone game gone international. When I looked a little closer at the details here, I noticed a coincidence. The speculation is that the iPhone will launch roughly six months from the date it was announced. These six months will see the iPhone riddled with bugs, the overwhelming majority of which, one would expect, should be getting squashed as we come up to the launch date. So what gadget-geek's best friend's mom might have heard Steve say was something more like there are still six months of bugs to be worked out before we release the iPhone to the public. Tell that to someone, who tells someone else, and immediately you begin to see the breakdown.

Now if only I'd thought of that last night.

Six Months of iPhone Bugs?

MOAB made a media buzz-fizzling effort of trying to expose Apple for having a month's worth of bugs back in January of this year. In the end, no one really noticed. Its not like they didn't have a captivating product, but an infinitely more captivating product was arriving early that same month, something a lot of people had been anticipating for a long, long time (even if they didn't know it yet.) On January 9th, Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. Duh. And MOAB drifted into obscurity.

As it turns out, the iPhone, which muted the Apple bug whistle as it was being blown, may in the end sound its shrillest, loudest squeal. I have it on authority from the guy I spoke to on my last call of my last day of a near two month stint at a call center servicing Sprint PCS customers, that the iPhone is coming out beta. According to my source, a young hipster-gadget-geek with a troublesome Motorola Q, from Orange, CA, his best friend's mother is Steve Job's neighbor. Jobs, it seems, is a pretty generous guy, giving out Nanos and other Apple toys quite frequently, and when he's not dropping product, he's dropping future product knowledge. California hipster-geek claims that Jobs has admitted the iPhone will hit the market with at least six months of bugs to be worked out, and that early adopters will be Apple's unwitting testers.

For the record, this guy didn't just start blabbing all these details to me uninvited; I asked his opinion about the iPhone as we were wrapping up his call since he'd shown himself to be something of a gadget-geek and I was looking to kill the last few minutes of my shift without having to do any more work, and that's when the story came out.

I still have a hard time believing Jobs, who managed to keep the biggest tech secret in history for years before launching the iPhone to a semi-stunned, semi-salivating populous, would so readily boast that this same iPhone was to be released into the eager clutches of the dazed and drooling unfinished. Then again, the first generation MacBooks came out before the clear plastic seals could be peeled off the cooling vent and people had to figure that one out for themselves at first, so I suppose anything is possible.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Psychics Beware

If you're a psychic, you probably already know what I'm about to reveal. Then again, unless you've skimmed ahead, you'll have no clue since you're nothing but a shammer, a con artist with no other powers than that of a deeply suppressed and contained moral conscience, and James Randi more or less agrees. Randi is the driving force behind the One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge, a contest setup to allow self-proclaimed psychics the opportunity to prove themselves and their powers. Anyone who can guess the contents of Randi's box takes the grand prize. It's really that simple. So why isn't anyone winning?

Well, they weren't until Matt Blaze came along. A cryptographer and self-proclaimed quester for science, security and curiosity, Blaze rose to the challenge and in no time solved the puzzle. He was able to do this not by rubbing his temples or waving his hands about the air; he didn't gaze into a crystal ball or a mirror, mirror on the wall, but rather at this set of numbers:

5 -14

Randi had just last week posted this odd looking set of digits on his contest's website as proof of the box's contents, an encoded message describing what was inside. The idea was never to present this as a puzzle, but to use it as proof that the contents were never changed, should someone ever guess what was inside or demand that the contents be authenticated. How anyone could interpret the above set of numbers as an object would have forever been beyond me, until I read Blaze's blog. Apparently, if you're a brilliant cryptographer, its simple.

Blaze isn't claiming the prize. He never for a moment contended that his discovery of the box's contents resulted from any sort of psychic power he possessed, and he supports Randi's cause, which was why he revealed the code's weakness. The world needs more people like Matt Blaze and James Randi. Oh, and Darren Brown, too.

Psychics are a pet peeve of mine. I don't mind the odd parlor trick here or there for a laugh, but when ego-maniacs take advantage of people, making bold claims of contacting deceased loved ones, locating the missing, solving murders or claiming a paranormal knowledge of any matter which is of significant importance to a person or persons, feeding off their hopes and/or fears for fame or money, it is unforgivable. However, when such scum are given credence by the media, its a thing far worse. The media has a duty not to be dazzled. Then again, how else are we to be warned when our unsuspecting North Atlantic hometown is in imminent danger of being smashed by a tidal wave?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cranley's On Hold

I picked up on this little gem at work over the last week. Sprint PCS uses the Broken Social Scene song Cranley's Gonna Make It for their customer service hold music, exclusively. I've transfered a few calls in the last week or so of working on the phones at Teletech, and no matter where the call is directed, the hold music remains the same.

As cool as that is, I'm still glad I'm leaving there on Friday.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tutorial: How to Make a Left Turn While Driving

1. Drive straight, approaching your desired lane at a 90 degree angle.

2. Slow down until your left side view mirror is aligned with the entrance to the desired lane.

3. When a break in oncoming traffic allows, cut your steering wheel to the left and gently accelerate.

4. Two thirds of the way through your turn, when the nose of your vehicle is nearly aligned with the path of your lane, release your grip on the steering wheel while continuing to accelerate, allowing the tires of your car to steer themselves back into a straight forward position.

5. As your vehicle gently aligns itself with the path of your lane, return your standard grip to the steering wheel and accelerate as necessary to achieve the prescribed cruising speed for your lane.

Note: DO NOT start your turn before arriving at the entrance to your desired lane, thereby approaching at a 45 degree angle and cutting across the oncoming lane adjacent to your desired lane, as you risk a collision with vehicles in that lane!!! I mean, for crying out loud, what is wrong with people in this town?? Twice in as many minutes... come on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Back it Up There, Buddy

When it comes to computers, a lot of people sort of idly think, I don't need to bother backing up, chances are I'll never lose any of my files, that's the sort of thing that only happens to other people. If the odds are even remotely in a person's favor, then the path of least resistance is the path we'll almost all take, and in the case of personal computers that path involves doing absolutely nothing to safeguard our personal files.

The only problem is, people have the odds figured all wrong. Chances are that in your lifetime you will experience a hard drive failure, system crash, power surge, house fire, theft, a sudden case of butter fingers, whatever, which will result in the loss of your data - photos, music, e-mails, precious porn, you name it. It'll be gone. Forever. When that time comes, and it will come, you'll wish, oh how you'll wish, that you'd done something to back those files up.

So start backing up now.

I lost 5GB of photos once because I kept them in one place, on an iPod with an invisible ticking time bomb inside. When that bomb went off and the hard drive failed, my photos were gone. Two years of my life in images, gone. Was I upset? Yes. Did I learn anything? No.

Today I almost lost everything. After running an update for my Mac that somehow went wrong, my computer wouldn't boot. It would just hang on the welcome screen, unwilling to go any further. I had some stuff backed up, my screenplay, some TV shows I've downloaded, my music is mostly all stuff I own on CD, but some big things, like all my photos from my life in London, and little things, like carefully crafted playlists in iTunes, all hung in the balance.

I was lucky today. A reinstall of the operating system solved the problem, kept everything in tact like nothing had ever happened. I'm writing you from that same computer right now. But it reminded me that I'm still a total dope when it comes to holding on to the things I think are precious.

I survived the loss of those photos from my early twenties, its true, but I still wish I had them today and I'd do an awful lot to get them back. So why aren't I doing anything to keep what I still have?

As of today, I am.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ecstasy: Climate Change of the Mind?

For decades now politicians and the media have been mostly denying the existence of climate change, despite all the scientific evidence in support of the fact. Now, all of a sudden the issue seems to have gained some traction and reports are coming in from all sides that, yes, climate change is real, and yes, something needs to be done about it.

What the situation with climate change has revealed (if you hadn't already noticed) is that governments and the media are entirely capable, if not willing, to perpetuate false notions, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, to the point of manufacturing evidence in support of their mistruths. Call it propaganda, call it stubbornness, but the truth is we're not always told the truth about very important matters, and this can affect the way we make choices in our lives.

Ecstasy, or MDMA, is a drug which has received a lot of bad press from the media and politicians. It drains the fluid in your spine, it can lead to epilepsy, it can drill holes in your brain; these are all "facts" that at one point or another have been released into the public as verifiable truths about this drug of choice for clubbers and party goers alike. The only problem is these claims are neither verifiable nor true. Scientists are proving this, and the media is finally starting to latch on.

BBC Radio 4 recently did a 30 minute story on MDMA and the current studies being done on its effects, both temporary and long term, and its findings are incredibly contrary to the popular myths about this drug.

People wishing to look into some of the studies on MDMA currently being done and their findings might be interested in consulting The DEA's website (that's Drug Enjoying Americans, as opposed to the American government's Drug Enforcement Administration).

Of course anything becomes instantly more dangerous the moment it is relegated to the criminal realm. If Ecstasy poses any real danger to people, it may well be entirely due to the fact that it is illegal. Without measures in place to ensure that what people are using is in fact ecstasy and not some cheap and potentially harmful derivatives, the potential for real harm will always exist.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Feed Me

I've been a sort of half-assed, casual user of feeds for something like a year now. My Goggle home page is set up to receive feeds from some of my favorite blog and news sources, as well as a few pass-time items like word of the day and quote of the day, but the interface is clunky and limited at best. As far as browser home pages go its a knock out, but a true RSS reader, it is not.

I've just tonight made the rather simple leap to a full fledged reader, the stunningly simple and elegant Vienna RSS Reader, and the difference is everything. Now I can keep up on the latest news, technology, Mac buzz, recipe ideas, and yes even words and quotes of the day without the need to open my web browser; without even the need to go looking. Any feeds I've subscribed to arrive in my reader the moment they're available online, organized and ready for me to read/view right there on the spot. Along with the text you'd see on the web page if you were using your browser, embedded photos and even videos come through in tact and in place. I don't know why I didn't do this before.

An easy way to peg a website that uses feeds is that you'll see a little orange coloured square icon in the far right of your browser's address bar with a white little dot and two curved lines in it (looks like a little frequency pulse of some kind). That signifies the page is set up to offer a feed - any time that page updates with new content, a feed will be sent out to anyone subscribing to it with the updated content for them to view. offers an RSS feed, as indicated by the icon in the browser's addres bar. Clicking on it would give you a choice of how you'd like to subscribe.

If this icon isn't present, its unlikely a feed is available. Sites like Macsurfer's Headline News and Facebook, sadly, do not offer feed services. The former is the greatest daily culminating effort of Mac related news the internet has ever known, and the latter is a social networking site where the activities of friends are constantly offered as updates on your social home page. Both would be ideal providers of RSS feeds, but alas neither does.

The coolest thing about an RSS Reader? You could even subscribe to this blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Review: My Throat Infection

Before the antibiotics completely eradicate the divine pleasure that is my current throat infection, I'd like to offer my thoughts and observations on its presence in my life.

Its worth noting that swallowing is a function of the body most of us probably take for granted. When your father finds you at 2am in the kitchen, clad only in your underwear, having a full fledged, hyperventilating, tear- and sweat-dripping panic attack over not being able to swallow a pill, let alone the water you're gagging on or even the saliva in your mouth, the value of this function is therein forever ingrained.

3am and we're in the Emergency waiting room after checking in with a lovely bunch of nurses, all very friendly and warm. The place is empty apart from a lone figure in the back corner who appears to be there more for shelter than anything else. Eventually I'm escorted to another location where I sit and wait in the dark for a while until a doctor comes and places a tongue depressor in my mouth, shines a light, rubs my throat up and down and walks away. Sometime later, another doctor comes and asks if I've been given a prescription. Its difficult for me to speak through the swelling and the pain, but I say in a somewhat pathetically monstrous voice, I'm not sure. She leaves and comes back with a prescription, along with two pills she's placing in my hand and a cup of water. She waits. I ask, with difficulty, what these pills are. She replies, Amoxicillin. Um, ok... what do they do? They're antibiotics. Ok, thanks. I struggle through the swallow, gagging some, feeling a tad embarrassed. I sit there. Um, am I done now? Yes, you're free to go, remember to drink plenty of fluids. But I can't swallow. Plenty of fluids. Ok. As I walk away, an awkward pat finds its way onto my shoulder. Thanks.

I spend the next day holding onto walls and door nobs while kicking and clenching my way through partial sips of water that splash my esophagus, causing me to gag and spit into the nearest sink. Food is an altogether foreign concept. My visit to the hospital left me with no idea of how long it would be until this situation might change, let alone a diagnosis of what this situation might be beyond one of the nurses casual comments that it was a throat infection. I manage to stave off any further bouts of massive panic, apart from a few choice moments here and there, and by late night the antibiotics have made enough room in my throat to allow small, gentle intakes of mushy food, which by now I am more than grateful for.

Today I've graduated from impossible to difficult to now mere painful swallowing. I'm eating toast and drinking coffee and feeling altogether more human. The uncertainty and terror have passed. Its a whole new day!

In conclusion, I'm sick of doctors that suck but otherwise feeling better.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Code Name: Spinner

I'm moving forward on an idea I've been developing for something like four years now. The technology has finally become ubiquitous and cheap enough to be accessible to and producible for the masses, and my own talents and skills have developed to a level where I believe I can do it. I can't openly say much more about it for now, but I will say I've begun assembling a team and things are already coming along very nicely.

My first editing job since coming home took place a couple of weeks ago; glad to have broken the seal on that one. A short film with a tight deadline, the work was intense, though a lot of fun. Having to go straight from work at Teletech to the filmmaker's house, pulling 16+ hour days for five days straight, certainly took its toll, but the final product was well worth it, as was the new friendship that developed.

I sort of pushed my way through the doors of Studio 709 on Friday and showed those guys my stuff. Fortunately they had PAL playback capabilities, so I was able to show them some of my work from the UK as well. They seemed impressed and assured me as projects came along I'd be contacted. I'm going to keep on top of that one, though. In my experience, people rarely come looking when they know they're the ones being sought.

Its been a low key weekend, mainly due to my battling a cold and witnessing yet another 30cm of snow descend upon this town. The white, bouldery mountains in front of the house are exceeding 15 feet in height, and extend out into the middle of the road, which has now been reduced to a narrow path suitable for only a single car's cautious passage, one direction at a time.

I'm moving out of my suitcase tonight.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Not Yet Done/About to Start

Its Sunday and the film isn't finished editing, though it is coming along nicely. Going to see a play Friday night then eschewing the expense of cab fare for a stay at Peter's ate in to most of my weekend, as has work on Dan's DVD menu design (the favor more or less exchanged for use of his camera, though obviously we'd both hook each other up regardless).

Its getting late now and I start work tomorrow, in just over eight hours. As soon as I finish my tea I'm going to take Casha for a walk, then climb into bed with my book, see if I can't induce a need for sleep. I've been off the working man's chronometer for some time now. The very thought of an imminent paycheck has me feeling wired enough as it is.

I was going through my old DVD work from my days as Titling Star Designs yesterday. I'm going to call Studio 709 tomorrow and see if they need any occasional shooters or editors, see if they'd like to have a look at some of my work from back in the day as persuasion.

I'm no longer moving to Toronto.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reflections on Water

I should have done this 6 days ago, but I was so tired after the fact that I just flopped, watching Battlestar Galactica until I fell asleep in my chair. Today I was back on the project, so I thought I'd do this better late than never.

Last Thursday I shot a very short film called 90% Water, the story of a guy who doesn't know how to share who he is, exemplified in his secret collection of water samples from home, which he pulls out in a last ditch effort to stave off the end of his relationship with the girl he moved away from home to be with. Sounds complicated, but its three pages and was relatively straightforward to shoot.

Friends Dan and Melanie donated their acting talents, Becky did sound, Mark handled sound tech, and the camera, donated by Dan, was in the hands of yours truly. It had been a while since I'd shot anything with actors, and Dan and Melanie had limited experience with screen acting. We were all in it for the learning, and as such had a lot of fun in the doing.

The morning started out with some prop preparation, adding various elements to water to try and achieve different appearances, like melted snow and dirty harbor, as well as cutting up tissue paper for the wrapping of mason jars. Becky and Melanie were in full command of the tissue paper. We were ready to roll when an audio problem that took the better part of an hour to resolve suddenly emerged. Everyone kept their cool, Mark saved the day, and when we were finally set to get shooting, it all started running like clockwork.

Dan and Melanie were very easy to direct, and we got most of our shots in one take. I wanted to keep things rolling along, not just because we only had Dan for two hours of shooting, but because I was insisting on letting my instincts guide me. If I felt we got it, we moved on with no second guessing. I also wanted to trust my actors, as well as ensure I wasn't putting too much strain on them. If things were moving along it was because they were getting it done right, and they could see that in the speed with which were moving along.

After a short scene on the couch, the majority of the conversation takes place in a bedroom. After some productive rehearsal, I rattled off a master and two mediums, covered the entrances and exits, finished off with some closeups and cutaways, and called it a wrap. I could have kept shooting, there was still some time, but I believed I had everything I needed, everyone was feeling good, so I trusted my instinct and made the call. It was something of a high. Then came the exhaustion and my comfy, comfy chair.

The camera had to leave town so I was without a means of digitizing. Fortunately NIFCO were more than willing to help, so I went down there today with my MacBook and plugged in to their deck for a quick log and batch. It was great seeing Jean, Steve and Justin again, and they said I could come by to use the deck like that any time. I plan on doing more quick shorts like this whenever I can, so that was a great piece of news.

I was skimming through the footage as I logged, and ran out for a coffee and a haircut while it digitized, so I haven't had a chance to view it all in full detail just yet, but what I did see was looking pretty good to me. I'll be editing starting tomorrow, and plan to be done by Sunday as I finally start work Monday morning at 7am. I can't guarantee anyone will ever get to see it, we all took part to learn and may just view it ourselves as a learning tool, but I can tell you no matter how it turns out, it's already been a lot of fun.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Severe than Significant

Finding auditions when I lived in London was really tough without an agent, and finding an agent was impossible. Eventually I gave up on that and was a lot happier for having done so, but in the time I was still trying I did manage to get one audition for a film, a short in fact. It was a French short called Bed and Breakfast. I read the script and thought, really? It didn't seem to make any sense, and not in a thriller way or a hidden metaphor way but more of a pointless way. I was heading to Soho for my audition regardless, and despite knowing that they wanted me to have American citizenship (I lied when they asked and quoted the names of places from a Sufjan Stevens song to describe the area I grew up around in Michigan).

Its not necessary to tell you I didn't get the part. I'd more or less forgotten about the whole thing until tonight when I stumbled upon this interview with Ellen Feiss of 2002's Mac Switcher ad fame, a fame due mostly to the rumors that she was stoned in the ad. The interview, more than four years after the fact, focused mainly on the trials and tribulations of her Mac ad fame. She wasn't an actor before the ad and never tried to be one after, but recently she'd been in a short film in France, only taking the part after two months of convincing over the phone by the director who wanted her because the character drops mushrooms at one point and from her performance in the Mac ad he thought she could pull it off. The film is called Bed and Breakfast. My memory isn't terribly good, but something about that title twigged. Then when she said what she thinks of the film, that its "ridiculous," and "doesn't really make sense," I thought, my goodness, could this be?

A quick click on the link provided and a skim of the synopsis confirmed that this was in fact the film I'd auditioned for in London more than a year ago. An obscure, foreign, decidedly poor short film with no distribution, which I auditioned for in a place and time where I was getting no auditions whatsoever and subsequently forgot about, had suddenly come back into my field of vision all this time later. A coincidence of no significance and yet so severe.

People say the world has become a smaller place since the advent of the internet, but I can't say that I completely agree. The world was always quite large as it was, and now with the infinite ether of the internet extending out from its every electrical orifice, it has grown, and continues to grow exponentially. Should this growth have an increasing or decreasing affect on the rate or scale of coincidental occurrences in our lives?

Or, more to the matter, does it simply give us the means to prattle on about them to a greater extent when they occur?

Monday, January 15, 2007

To Forgive is (to) Divine (Wisdom)

Anne Marie Hagan has devoted her life to the notion of forgiveness. She believes that forgiveness is not necessarily something we do for the offender, but for ourselves.

She should know. On August 17, 1979 , she witnessed the ax-murder of her father in their kitchen. She was aged 19. After devoting her life to ensuring the offender never knew another day of freedom, in 1996 she met and forgave him. That act of forgiveness affected her profoundly, as she describes on her website:
Finally, after almost seventeen years, I let go of all the pain and torment that had held me captive realizing that I had been my own jailer. I accepted deep in my heart that while my life would never be the same after seeing my father murdered, it didn't have to be worse. That was a matter of choice, my choice.
Hagan's sense of forgiveness is not rooted in spirituality or dogma; it is not something she was taught but something she has learned. She speaks of it not as a rule but rather as a tool we can use when we are ready for it, when we need it. Forgiveness need not be a matter of divinity.

It is important to understand that forgiveness is not tantamount to condonation. You can accept that something has happened without accepting that it should happen. The latter demonstrates apathy while the former is a matter of empathy, perhaps the most complex human emotion we are capable of expressing. Though it may not be obvious, our ability to empathize, which essentially allows us to be someone else, is our greatest asset in enabling us to be ourselves; in enabling us to be free. Empathy is a means to forgiveness.

Forgiveness saved the life of Anne Marie Hagan.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Where Am I?

A couple of friends of mine have been using Macs for years, and for years I would poke fun at them and they would ignore me, and then I got a Mac, and now I digress.

They've been putting out an online comic strip for nearly a year now called John Smith, which details the life of the title character, an accountant with an abundantly common name, and a perhaps more and more abundantly common desire to see his name move up the ranks of it's Google search results. Implicated are the lives of his coworkers and neighbors, though to what degree we're always yearning to learn more. Oh, and its really funny. Everyone in the industry takes a hit, from Google to Apple to The Matrix. Even optical mouse manufacturers aren't safe.

I can relate to John's plight. I sometimes like to google this blog to see where it stands in the rankings. I've yet to actually find it in there - my hand gets tired after about 30 "next" clicks and my eyes start scrolling uncontrollably. I'm sure I'm out there somewhere, though. I mean, I blog, therefor I am. Right?

John Smith is published every Monday.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Whine vs. Whine

In my last post, I gave a very favorable review of my new MacBook computer. The review still stands, but an issue with my MacBook has come up that I feel is worth mentioning. Only I'm not mentioning it here first.

I've been spending a lot of quality time with my MacBook since I got it, which for the most part involves just me, the computer, and a quiet room. Under such conditions, it came to my attention a few days ago that my MacBook is producing what can only be described as a quiet yet high pitched scratchy whine. Its a persistant sound that sort of sputters out from the area of the keyboard near the MagSafe port, only stopping for brief moments when it seems either the CPU or hard drive gets called into action, like when opening up an application.

I did some research online looking for any connections between the MacBook Core 2 Duo and noise, and I found other people were experiencing this whine and posting about it, while still other MacBook owners were checking and finding no such problem occuring in their machines. It would seem not all MacBooks have been affected, though tell that to the guy who had his MacBook replaced only to find the replacement had the same problem.

Thursday night I wrote an e-mail to the publisher of a popular blog I enjoy called Cult of Mac, regaling him with my tale of woe (and whine), and the next day he posted about the issue on his blog, a development I hadn't expected quite so soon. I was impressed.

That day I spoke to a very friendly and knowledgeable Apple Support Technician, making full use of my free 90 days of phone support, and he agreed the noise was abnormal and advised I take my MacBook in for inspection and possible repair. Meanwhile, he has flagged the issue. If it starts turning up enough it will put their engineers into gear and hopefully both ensure the problem is identified in the manufacturing process, so no more MacBooks get produced with this problem, and develop a solution for current MacBook owners still facing the issue, like a firmware update.

Some momentum is gathering, but it can't stop here. Anyone who is experiencing this whine in their MacBook Core 2 Duo should phone Apple Support immediately to ensure the problem is brought to their attention, as well as to receive advice on how best to proceed towards a solution.

Also, feel free to tell me about it in the comments field, below (which is now finally switched fully on, by the way), post about it in your own blog or favorite online forum, or inform your favorite bloggers and see if they'll take any action. A little whine can go a long way.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Review: Macbook Core 2 Duo

Considering your first Mac? A lot of people are. I've recently made the switch. Here are my thoughts after just a few days of owning my first Mac.

I was struck by its elegance and simplicity, by the way it felt and the way it opened itself up to me. Apple really understands packaging as a user experience. The Macbook comes in a slim white box with a handle protruding from the top so that you carry it like a briefcase. Inside, everything has its place, everything is revealed in a way that prolongs your enjoyment of the act of discovery. Included are a power adapter with MagSafe cable and a proprietary extension cord, software discs, user guide, apple remote and of course the Macbook itself.

The Macbook is thin and light, though it feels substantial when you hold it. The lid does not use any locking mechanism but remains firmly closed until lifted via the small nook at the front. Upon doing so, you are immediately struck by the glossy sheen of the screen - more and more notebooks are moving away from matte screens, but if you haven't spent any time with one yet the difference is certainly noteworthy. Look up and there's a tiny black square with a little dot on either side acting as built in webcam and mic. The keyboard features flat keys in a recessed bed and below is a very large track pad and single button for mouse functions. A white plastic casing with rounded corners and an Apple logo on the lid (behind the screen, glows when running) acts as enclosure, while plenty of ports and a slot loading DVD burner are there to keep your gadgets and media flowing in and out.

The MagSafe power cord slots into place with a sudden tug just as it nears the port, its tiny LED light turning amber to indicate it is charging, and I'm ready to turn my Macbook on for the first time.

Apple touts its computers as being ready to go right out of the box. After a very quick and slick Q and A with the setup wizard, OS X 10.4 Tiger was off and running, and me along with it. No discs to insert or drivers to download; any software that came with the computer is already installed, including the full iLife suite of applications. Configuring preferences in OS X is incredibly simple. There are no "Ok" and "Apply" buttons like in Windows settings dialogs, which only serve to cast doubt on whether or not you just did what you thought you did. The graphic user interface, or GUI, which is what you see when you interact with your operating system, is clean, beautiful, fun and loaded with productive little features.

Expose is a feature that quickly and intuitively allows you to see what you're doing and choose what you want to do next. Say you've got several applications open, and each application has several windows open. With a quick press of an F key or flick of the mouse to the appropriate corner of the screen you can view every single window at once, or bring forward all the windows of a particular program, or move everything off screen so you can browse the contents of your desktop. Widgets recess into the background of your computer keeping tabs on things like the local weather or your system's performance, or await to provide services like translations or conversions, and surge forth at your command to place themselves, in all their tiny gadget splendor, at your disposal. Spotlight is a built in search tool that's in every Finder window (think Explorer window in Windows) as well as always up in the menu bar in the top right corner, which keeps track of everything on your computer and intuitively brings it to you as you type in what you're looking for. If you download an application, and there are hundreds of free and very useful ones out there for the Mac, most of the time the installation process is as simple as dragging the application icon into the Application folder in the Finder - simple as that. I could go on, but I'd be gushing. Bottom line: Windows has never been this convenient or this much fun to use.

The built in webcam and mic, iSight, are lots of fun. I was video chatting with a friend in Japan the other day over Skype and it was as easy as making a phone call. The track pad is generously sized and has a great feature of acting as a scroll wheel when you use two fingers. I haven't tested the batter specifically, but I have used it from full to nearly empty a few times and it seemed to last plenty long for my liking, well over 2 hours with heavy usage. When in sleep mode the battery could seem to go on forever - I left it in sleep overnight once running on battery power and after 8 hours it had depleted maybe 5% - which would be great for long journeys where you want to use the computer periodically but not have to shut down and start up over and over again. The screen is very bright and vibrant, and can be turned down in increments to suit your brightness needs or to save battery power. The MagSafe power cord has saved me more than a few times already - it stays firmly in place yet comes loose when a sudden force pulls on it.

Overall I am very happy and very impressed with this Macbook. It runs fast, without hiccups or lags, OS X Tiger is a joy to use and the machine looks stunning.

There are, however, some caveats worth mentioning. This laptop gets very warm, sometimes even kind of hot to the touch at the bottom. Prolonged use on my lap gets uncomfortable after a while. According to Apple this is normal behavior for today's laptop computers and they recommend against actually placing it on your lap for extended periods of time. The fan occasionally gets noticeably loud, obviously in an effort to combat the excessive amounts of heat produced within the computer. As far as fan noises go its not terribly obnoxious, but in a quiet room I expect it would call attention to itself.

If you've been considering your first Mac, like so many people have been since the market dominance of the iPod and the move to Intel brought Apple to the attention of nearly everyone with a steady pulse, I can't think of a whole lot that would keep you from switching. All my files migrated seamlessly from my Thinkpad (a fine machine, passed on to my parents), most applications I used on Windows are on the Mac, with lots of great applications on the Mac I'm discovering that were never on Windows, and even Adobe is about to migrate their video applications back to Mac now that Intel's inside.

I've been elbow deep in my love for computers for around 7 years now, this being my 4th carefully considered computer in that time, and I've never enjoyed using one so much as I'm enjoying my new Macbook.