New Hybrid Apple

Near­ly a month ago I received my new iMac. I got the 20″ with a 750GB HD, 2.14GHz Core Duo and 1 GB of RAM. I ordered it after Octo­ber 26th, so it shipped with Leop­ard. My inten­tion in get­ting an Intel-based Mac was so that I could avoid all of the cruft that now accom­pa­nies PC pur­chas­es and still run Win­dows XP and there­fore all my old com­put­er games; Star­craft, ho! No need to run an emu­la­tion, to wor­ry about the inevitable bog­ging down of Win­dows installs, and native on-the-fly installs using Boot Camp. Easy. Well, not real­ly.

There is a com­mon error when using Boot­Camp where the Win­dows install doesn’t rec­og­nize any of the par­ti­tions cre­at­ed, so I quit the install which cor­rupts the par­ti­tion map and gives the iMac a white screen on restart. I took it in to the Apple store for the first time and found out that it was bork­ing at the boot selec­tor, which is a seri­ous prob­lem.

After get­ting the dri­ve wiped, I tried again; this time accept­ing the incor­rect par­ti­tion and try­ing to install Win­dows. This time it worked well enough, installing Win­dows at least, but XP thought the dri­ve only had 130GB on it, and it destroyed the Leop­ard install. Since I couldn’t boot from the Tiger disk and run Disk Util­i­ty from it, I had to go back to the Apple store, where the same guy wiped my dri­ve again. This time when I got home and rein­stalled Tiger and Leop­ard, I wiped and repar­ti­tioned my exter­nal dri­ve and installed Leop­ard on it. This way if I borked things again I’d be able to wipe the HD on my own. Good thing I did this, because I wiped the dri­ve 4 more times before I got every­thing work­ing.

My XP vol­ume-licensed disk was Ser­vice Pack 1, so I had to get my hands on an XP SP 2 vol­ume license disk before I got Boot­Camp to behave itself. This took a bit of time in itself, as the disk I was using kept throw­ing a Man­i­fest Parse Error at me. Even­tu­al­ly I got both XP Pro and Leop­ard installed on the same machine and could start installing soft­ware. Just about every­thing worked, but Leop­ard has some sim­i­lar prob­lems as Vista when installing old­er soft­ware.

Apple sent me Tiger install disks and the Leop­ard upgrade disk. Installing Leop­ard offers the option to com­plete­ly erase Tiger and install Leop­ard clean­ly. The prob­lem with doing this is that iLife is only on the Tiger disk and won’t be installed if you do an Erase and Install using the Leop­ard upgrade. The Air­port Express Base Sta­tion soft­ware disk can’t run on Leop­ard either, and Leop­ard doesn’t sup­port any Java run­time envi­ron­ments or devel­op­ment soft­ware, which has the Java devel­op­er com­mu­ni­ty up in arms.

On the plus side, my Mighty Mouse sup­ports right click­ing in XP, and oth­er nice dri­ver access is avail­able for disk eject and vol­ume con­trol from with­in Win­dows, and all of my periph­er­als installed clean­ly and seam­less­ly on the OS X side.

I bought an extreme­ly dis­count­ed paired kit of Mushkin 2GB RAM and installed them on my own. Took about five min­utes, worked like a charm, and saved me $700 if I had pur­chased it through the Apple Store.

I also picked up Halo 2 for Vista using my Best Buy Reward Zone cer­tifi­cates and using a sim­ple hack found online, got it up and run­ning on XP. This basi­cal­ly proved that Microsoft mar­ket­ed and released it as Vista-only in order to encour­age more peo­ple to upgrade to Vista. It runs on Direct X 9 just fine, even though my iMac comes with Direct X 10. The only goofy part is that Halo 2 doesn’t like my third-par­ty com­put­er con­troller, which meant I had to buy a Microsoft xBox 360 con­troller in order to play the game, which I pur­chased with the gift card that I got from Neigh­bor­hood Con­nec­tions. Of course, the pro­pri­etary Microsoft con­troller [after scroung­ing around for the cor­rect dri­ver to install, since the web­site list­ed in the xBox con­troller man­u­al was non-exis­tent] worked like a charm. You also can’t play Halo 2 mul­ti­play­er online via a stan­dard serv­er set­up like every oth­er mul­ti­play­er on the mar­ket. You have to sub­scribe to Live. Screw you and your pro­pri­etary strong-arm­ing, Microsoft.

Now the only prob­lem I have is that file-shar­ing between the oper­at­ing sys­tems is lim­it­ed because you can only do it native­ly if Win­dows is installed on a FAT32 which lim­its the size of the par­ti­tion to 32GB, and my Win­dows par­ti­tion is already full! If I can find a third-par­ty piece of soft­ware that will enable me to share files between OS X and an NTFS par­ti­tion, I’ll wipe and rein­stall Win­dows with all my games, with Visu­al Stu­dio 2005 and be good to go, com­plete­ly, final­ly.

The Price is Wrong, Bitch

I used to watch The Price is Right all the time with my grand­par­ents. It came on and still comes on at 11am, right when they’d eat lunch. Plinko was my favorite game, of course; my least favorite: Blank Check. Today in the Can­teen at work The Price is Right was on with Drew Carey and slight­ly mod­i­fied pro­duc­tion val­ues. Barker’s Beau­ties are long gone, replaced by even more pla­s­ticky-look­ing vapidi­ties; same old crap­py mer­chan­dise though.

The main epiphany that I had is the genius of the show itself. It gets peo­ple to watch a full hour of com­mer­cials in the guise of a game show. The Price is Right is the epit­o­me of Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ism and con­sumerism. That it took a major change of cast to final­ly clue me into this fact is indica­tive of just how entrenched in that sys­tem I am. Yikes.

It might be a bit unfair to make the state­ment apply sole­ly to Amer­i­ca, as The Price is Right is inter­na­tion­al­ly pan­dem­ic. Amer­i­ca has always been good at export­ing cul­ture and enter­tain­ment.