Best of 2007

Saturday, 22 December 2007


If you click on the cov­er you can down­load the mix.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Poetry Stand

New Hybrid Apple

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

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

Thursday, 6 December 2007

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.