Friday links

I’m not sure if I’m primarily posting on the weekends because I have so little time, or because it tickles my fancy to write when most people go quiet. It’s like going into your office on the weekend, and no one else is there. You crank the tunes, and build a little smorgasbord of aromatic and crave-inducing foods, with good coffee to drink, and you don’t have to worry about sniffing noses appearing over cubicle walls, trying to hunt down the food smell. It’s a secret delight.

Anyway, it’s link Friday–where I tip the kitty off my lap and link to other folks who have been hard at work all week.

Dave Rogers has started a free Battlestar Galactic mini-series campaign. His thought is that if the mini-series were free for download, from iTunes or elsewhere, it would help create new fans. I had thought these were free to download, and was disappointed to see that this had been discontinued at the SciFi site when the series became available at iTunes. I agree, though: it would make sense to provide the mini-series for free, and then charge for the regular episodes. I already have the mini-series on my little mini-video: my iPod. Don’t tell anyone but I also r-i-p-p-e-d e-p-i-s-o-d-e-s o-f F-i-r-e-f-l-y for my iPod, too. So many tiny good looking men; so many tiny strong and capable women. This is my idea of the way the universe should run. Well, bigger.

Elaine has another fun meme, and a nice writing to accompany it.

(Whoa! Two memes! Is that like stepping on a crack, breaking your mother’s back? )

Sheila points to a family site and I agree with her: it is very charming. And an enjoyable way to spend a bit of free time. Sheila also wants to hear of other Rhode Island family history sites such as this. I’d love to hear of something comparable for Missouri–and Washington and Idaho and points beyond. I always imagined this is where the true value of this environment would arise.

I really chuckled at Melinda’s account of her eye-opening discovery about the truth of Technorati. Make sure to check out her tag.

Think of it this way, Melinda: you’ve found the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Every once in a while, you find a photo that has a perfect title. And I love photos from funky cameras.

You know, the less Stowe Boyd writes about web 2.0 company crap, the more I like his writing:

Just as it is the brightest lights that cast the darkest shadows, the strongest bonds are those linking travelers to the unmoving world, but they are loose ties, hardly felt, like the embrace of the Earth holding us, or the push of the wind at our backs as we move ahead in the night. We are defined by our circles, but for the traveler these are loose, flowing, light: not a box and a book, but instead a bedouin’s robe and a song or two, songs to be sung alone, or with others over the next rise. Travelers are never more themselves than then, sharing our innermost songs, singing the circles, telling our own tales. and then, moving on.

This has particular resonance for me now, knowing that I will be going from virtual to real nomad in a few short months. But enough about me…

The Kircher Society writes on the 13th root, Loren Webster writes on Canadian poetsMark Woods points out the Canadian Tulip Festival, and 3 Quarks points out our changing oceans. Kind of a nifty world, eh?


Apple peel

I have been thinking of getting a new computer. My two Powerbooks are struggling with the software I want to run–particularly Adobe’s Lightroom and PhotoShop CS2. The software is supposed to be run on a 1GHz CPU, and mine is only 800MHz. It does run, albeit slowly and rather frustratingly. They’re lovely applications, but Adobe sucks the life out of a computer, it really does.

I have been looking at the Macbook Pros. Yes, I have–I have been looking at the Toaster.

I’ve been following all the rumors associated with the Macbooks: the problems the whine, the airport card losing connectivity, and especially the heat. I’ve seen the photos of people with burned hands, heard about fried laps. I followed the thread at the Mac forums, where the question was asked if people were happy with their Macbooks, and many of the answers were along the lines of: I love it! The whine is only noticeable when the room is quiet! and It’s not a laptop–it’s a portable computer! Sometimes Apple fans don’t really help the company, as much as they think they do.

I had heard that many of the problems were being fixed, so I decided to visit my local Apple Store and check out the machine myself. There were three on a table; all were 2.0 GHz machines. All loaded with software like Aperature and the iLife and Microsoft Office and iWorks. I went up to one of the ‘geniuses’ and asked him, “How’s tricks? Found that heat problem in the Macbook Pro, yet?” I received the official Apple smile in return. You know the one. Think of Steve Jobs in that creepy black outfit, and he’s very, very angry. Now think of being an employee working for that. Yes, that smile.

After receiving more of the official non-word, I decided to put the three machines through their paces. I loaded up them up — Aperture, iMovie, anything that took CPU. I would then feel the case, checking for the heat. (Earning even more Apple Smiles and no few strange looks from other customers.)

I noticed that the area around the function keys wasn’t as hot as has been stated, but if I put my hand on the counter a few inches away, it felt like I was standing next to a room heater. The heat radiates from these things. Not enough to burn a hand, but enough to make me think there has to be something wrong with these beasties.

The newest conjecture is that there’s too much thermal paste smeared on the CPU chips, and that’s the cause of the problem. Supposedly cleaning this off, and putting on a thiner layer would solve the problem. Well, I’m certainly not going to buy a new computer only to have to take the machine apart and fix it on my own.

It’s frustrating because Apple just won’t address the questions or concerns. The most it did was tell the one forum that listed a thermal grease how-to message to remove a copyrighted photo or they’d sue. The company refuses to acknowledge problems directly, preferring to get by on carefully dropped rumor and subtle aside. That’s not a good foundation on which to plunk down a couple grand.

I thought then that I would look for a new Powerbook, one of the 1.67 GHz, 15-inch G4s. Though Apple doesn’t sell them, there are some still in stores. And eBay had several good condition used ones for auction, which then led to new adventures.

I actually tried two auctions, and in both cases was outbid. That’s okay: I set what I felt was a price I could afford and if I didn’t get it, no loss. However, ever since I’ve been getting these scamming “second chance” offers in the email–to the point where I won’t bid on an eBay item again. Forever.

My only other option is to buy one of the few new ones at some of the online stores, but I’ll be paying the same as I would for a Macbook Pro. True, it wouldn’t be able to heat one’s home in the winter, but it still is last year’s model–don’t you think one could get a deal?

All of this hassle and run around. I looked carefully at my 800 MHz. It has a slightly scuffed LCD, but not enough to impact on the viewing. It has 1GB in memory–enough for CS2 and Lightroom. Lightroom runs slowly, but only if I store a lot of photos in the application. If I use it to process a couple of days shootings, it works very nicely. As for CS2, you know it works; if I can’t process a dozen photos at once, maybe what I need to do is take my time with the pictures and focus on one really good photo at a time.

I don’t need a duo-core machine. Other than those folks running games, few of us need duo-core. Most of my development work can either be done on an inexpensive dual boot Linux/Windows machine, in the Unix underlying my Mac, or even my own development server.

Thanks to Apple and its relationship with the community of Mac users, I’ve learned one thing: my 800MHz is just fine for now. I have enough memory. I have enough space. I have enough power. I can’t use it to grill a cheese sandwich, but I consider this a perk.

So I saved my pennies and bought a hand-held GPS device for my walks, instead. It doesn’t grill cheese sandwiches, either.