Unveiling my new MacBook

I’ve had my new MacBook for nearly a week now and what I can say? I’m in love. I’ve even started liking the glossy screen, which I hated before I bought it. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the experience of getting the laptop out of the box. I know that opening the box of a new electronic gadget is usually done without much thought – I mean, who cares about the packaging? All we want is what’s inside, right? Well, apparently Apple cares. Its attention to design and form extends to the packaging. Anybody who has an iPod knows that.  The volume of packaging has been reduced in recent years but opening the box is still quite an experience. Here’s my new MacBook:




Neat package, if only my office was this neat…


New working setup. I can view my documents on the 24″ iMac while taking notes on my laptop. It’s been working great this past week!



I heart Macs

I love my 12″ Powerbook. I think it’s the best laptop Apple has ever produced. It totally converted both my husband and I into Macs and it’s been my faithful and trusty machine since 2004. Although it still works perfectly, has the latest version of Mac OS X, new memory and a new high speed 100GB hard drive, time has come to upgrade. I’m not a light user – I always have at least 10 programs running simultaneously and a score of web pages. I routinely need to run Adobe CS3 and I do web design and photography work. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, my 12″ Powerbook was starting to show its age and there were things I couldn’t do with it without an extra dose of patience.

It was then that Alan started talking about using computers as a media centre at home. Basically, the idea is to have all our music on itunes and have it connected to a stereo system that can be activated remotely (he found a nifty way of doing this using the ipod touch as a remote control). The initial idea was to get a Mac Mini but once we started pricing everything, it became clear that for a bit more we could get the new laptop I needed and use my old laptop as the multimedia centre. This idea occurred to us last weekend and after a week of researching to make sure the 12″ Powerbook would work well as a multimedia centre, we finally bit the bullet. Today I got my new Macbook.

I know people are sick of hearing Mac fans brag about their computers but I have to say something about one of my favourite features of OS X. Setting up a new Mac. All I had to do was take it out of the box, plug it in to the power supply, turn it on and it asked me if I wanted to migrate from a previous Mac. I said yes, and selected the backup drive I had used to backup my Powerbook earlier this morning. In half an hour (30 minutes!) all the software, files, accounts, EVERYTHING, I had on my Powerbook was installed in my new MacBook. Anybody who has gone through re-installing software, files and setting up internet and network connections knows how amazing that is. I’m happy.

Upgrading the OS

As many of you know, we are a Mac family. In addition, Alan and I are both computer geeks and like to have the latest version of any software we use, let alone the operating system. Of course we bought Leopard, Apple’s much-touted new upgrade to OS X, as soon as it came out some months ago. We installed it right away in our iMac and have been enjoying it there ever since. But although we bought a family license for Leopard, we didn’t install it right away on our laptops. One of the reasons is that our laptops (a 12″ and a 15″ Powerbook) both have PowerPCs chips and there was some question at first as to how well would the new operating system – optimized as it is to work well with the new Inter chip in our iMac and the latest Macs – would work on older machines. Since I rely so much on my laptop for all my academic work, I didn’t want to risk it at first. And I also had to wait until all of the software I use would catch up to Leopard.

The time has finally come. Leopard is now on version 5 4 it seems and most of its initial bugs seem to have been exterminated. So this afternoon I finally cleaned up my hard drive (deleted junk, cleaned my trash, removed software I didn’t need), made a full back up to an external firewire drive. I’m now half-way towards making a clean install of Leopard on my trusty 12″ Powerbook. The next step will be to migrate all my files and applications from the external drive. I know things should work fine, I’ve done major OS upgrades before, but I still feel like a parent whose child is having a heart transplant…

PS: did I tell you I might be converting my brother into getting his first Mac? I promised him he would not regret the jump.

Update: Yay! It’s done! Hooray to Apple for creating an operating system that allows you to do a clean install – i.e. formatting the hard drive and installing the operating system from scratch – and then allowing you to migrate everything you had in your old machine without having to re-install a single software. Even the internet settings, desktop picture, preferences, everything migrates seemlessly. That’s why there’s no going back for me.

Fake Steve

I’ve been reading the Secret Diary of Fake Steve Jobs for a while and generally get a real kick out it. I’m a Mac fan and the parody of Steve Jobs is really well done. For over a year no one knew who Fake Steve was despite the many journalists and tech analysts trying to figure out. Fake Steve Jobs became a phenomenon on the Internet until he was finally busted by a NYT journalist in August last year. The site has continued, but now we all know that the author is really Dan Lyons from Forbes magazine. Today I found this really funny talk with Dan Lyons explaining how the blog came about – the guy is REALLY funny.

Cleaning day

I love organization, I’m good in organizing things, but I’m not a very organized person. Sounds contradictory, huh? But who says I make sense? Anyways, what I mean is that although I’m good in organizing things and I have decent organizational skills, I’m TERRIBLE about keeping anything organized for very long. Alan says it’s because I grew up having maids picking up after me. He might be right. All I know is that it drives me insane. On the one hand I have very high standards when it comes to organization and cleanliness – the result of having a mother obsessed with these things and having grown up in a very spotless house – but on the other hand, I just can’t be bothered to live up to my standards since I hate doing house chores and think nothing of skipping cleaning the house in favour of going out or reading a good book. But that doesn’t mean I accept the house being a mess… so back to being stressed out…

Anyways, this post is not about spending the weekend cleaning the house. This is just a (long) preamble to saying that what holds to the place where I live also holds to the place where I spend a good chunk of my life, mainly, my computer. It’s a mess. My hard drive is full and I’m pretty sure most of it is redundant junk. Yesterday we bought a new external hard drive and the plan is to spend this afternoon following the  advice of Caitlyn Imburgo on tidying your hard drive. I’ve downloaded the AppZapper and  WhatSize applications and hopefully will have made some progress towards cleaning my computer before it’s time to go check out the Taste of the Danforth. The idea is to clean up my hard drive and then make a mirror copy to the external hard drive. We’ll see how it goes…

Internet censorship in Brazil (again)

© GlobalvoicesIt’s becoming eerily common – Brazilian authorities are once more trying to censor info on the internet. This time it’s the Brazilian Olympic Committee who is prohibiting all the athletes participating at the Pan Am Games 2007, hosted in Rio, from maintaining blogs, photo logs, and personal websites during the games. They also want to prevent any digital coverage of the games to be available online. Apparently, the BOC wants to please the television broadcasters sponsoring the event… You can read more about it here.

What’s wrong with these people??? First of all, when is the tv industry going to stop trying to compete with the internet and decide to fully embrace the technology (i.e. making their services available online)? More importantly, when will Brazilian authorities stop trying to meddle with what people choose to make available on the web and what they can access?? Unfortunately, the country is beginning to be associated with attempts to censor the web… Is this how the Brazilian Olympic Committee wants to make a case for hosting the Olympics?

We’re becoming more and more a Banana Republic…

The iPod to measure value of currencies

For some years, the price of McDonald´s Big Mac was used to gauge the value of a specific currency. Now one of Australia´s largest bank has developed a new indicator for foreign exchange based on Apple´s ubiquitous digital music player. iPod nano

One of the basic differences between the two foreign exchange indicators is that whereas Big Macs are made in a host of countries, iPods are made only in China and in theory it should cost the same anywhere – with some allowances made to import duties and volume discounts.

The first reading of the iPod index for 26 countries listed Brazil as the place where the iPod is most expensive and Canada where it is the cheapest. No surprise there. My brothers always ask me to buy electronic equipment for them when I go to Brazil for the holidays. I once went to the Brazilian Apple site and was shocked by the cost of computers. My 12″ Powerbook, which cost me about CDN $ 1,800 (roughly about BR$ 3,500-4,000) was listed at almost 10,000 brazilian reais!!! That would be almost CDN$ 5,000 at the time. For that reason alone, I leave my Powerbook at home when I go to Brazil…

If you want to know more about the iPod index, go here.