Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?

dellMeanwhile in the real world Dell owners walk around with their laptop-bags with beads of sweat on their forehead. Packed with a heavy load of a overstuffed bag on one shoulder and a fire extinguisher on the other, their own mortality is very apparent to them As they leave for bed the laptop is stored outside, on an inflatable mattress in the middle of the swimming pool, if only to comfort its endangered owner that no indoor fireworks will go off inside the house thanx to of the Nr 1 hardware supplier DELL.  It might sound funny, but just imagine having one of these baby’s in the house. Ok, on a statistical scale the rate of failure / explosion of a dell laptop battery is remote at best .. but still ! Would you sleep at night ?So yesterday when I read an article about Apple recalling 1.5 million (hello !) laptop batteries in the US, I was not really worried. Nothing to affect little old me here in downtown Belgium. Although I am an owner of one 12 inch Ibook (confiscated for personal use 6 months ago by my wife) I didn’t think much of it. But just to be on the safe side I surfed over to the Belgian Apple Site where indeed there was a link to the battery recall program. (you had to go under SUPPORT and hire a private detective to find the link, but none the less it was there). So i popped the battery from my wifes Ibook and law and behold the type number AND serial matched those of the ones that where franticly recalled to Silicon Valley. Imagine my surprise that 1.5 YEARS after selling me my Ibook, Apple suddenly comes to the conclusion that .. ‘oh yes .. there is a little issue of a Fire Hazard’ And if I would not have been an avid listener to Slashdot Review I would not have even found out about it.

 

ibook

 

FIRE in Babylon.

I mean : We are talking fire here people. We are talking Laptops that lie on the couch , are crammed in bags, lie in cars, or sleep UNDERNEATH my bed after a late night chat session. And the error here is not that the mouse cursor might go astray at any given time .. NO ! The flaming thing can BURN ! Its downright incredible that Apple only finds this out ONE POINT FIVE  years after purchase AND does not yell “BEWARE ! FIRE ! “ on its homepage instead of hiding the recall program in some dark corner of the white website.

Laptop self-combustion risk… Nice .. very Nice.

Sure enough I entered the serial and got a nice little email that I will receive a NEW battery in four to six weeks. I was advised to remove the battery from the Ibook and work on main power until the new bugger comes. WHAT ? NOW i need to work without the battery ? For the last year and I have I have been a “human-with-laptop-self-combustion-risk” and NOW you tell me ? Djeez ! Now I Know the thing got HOT ( I made my wife use it on this little table whenever she wanted to set it straight down on the couch) but in my minds eye I see all the nights where the Ibook slept so near to flammable goods that my fire insurance policy is now stored off site in an Iglo !So BAAAD Apple for finding this out SO late and notifying its customers in a rather poor way. I’ll keep you posted on the whole story .. If my macbook does not decide to cremate itself while on my lap.

If you want more information about the Ibook and Macbook Pro issue go HERE and HERE. 

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Skype videochat for mac. The future is here.

A long time in the making. 

Its been a long time coming , or has it been a long time overdue : Its finally here. The first cross platform VIOP & Videochat application to span the bridge between Mac and Windows users. The switchers holy grail so to speak. The missing link between the two communities.
For those of us who parted the land of the Windows users and boldly buy a Mac, ( either because we did not have the pubes to rebel and buy a harley , or just to score with the chicks) we fairly quickly felt ourselves in isolation of the instant messaging world. Sure , OSX comes with mighty fine chat-tools like for example Ichat .. So that mighty fine Isight web-cam on yours could do some good .. but .. there is no one ON i-chat now is there.

Meanwhile in the Windows world.

skypeMeanwhile in the Windows world people are chatting and nudging and webcamming (and sometimes even stripping) their happy days away with the one big happy family on MSN Messenger. Ok, I was happy to finally get rid of those bouncing smilies, pink backgrounds, screaming avatars and vibrating chat windows .. but this was lonely. Sure there are some good msn clones out there , but none of them support web-camming between YOU and the rest of the world. Sure , there is Mercury ( hellishly slow , weighs a ton, eats memory like Oprah and does not work if you are behind a router) . So there I was , Shiny Isight and no one to wave at. THank heavens to Skype for putting out the great app they make and for bringing us webcam support. I had played with it before : the PC to PC webcam session between two Skype users is faster then watching tv ! If I ever thought the MSN webcam protocol was the pinnacle of streaming video compression : Skype to Skype makes it look like a snail on ice. So as soon as the beta came out I just had to get my hands on it.

Download and install.
Downloaded and installed it on my Imac and rang up my friend Blue on his Windows PC (also with a built in webcam) And both audio and video worked fantastic. Ok the speed is not that good when it comes to video but the quality is awesome. Audio is crispy and when you hit the full screen button .. The future is here.
So with my Macbook on the table , isight tucked away in the lid… Talking full screen to my buddy at the other side of the globe (while doing the dishes) all I needed was a fish in a bowl, a model of the USS Stargazer and a Galaxy class starship beneath my feet.. “ Captain to engineering” .. i shout and tap the invisible communicator on my chest .. No response .. no starship .. As I look at my Skype screen and wave to my distant friend who is tapping finger to his forehead …  At least I can say THIS part of the future .. is here.  Find your Skype for mac HERE

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Feeling HOT HOT HOT !

willyIts too damn hot.
For about the 20th day in a row, maximum temperatures here in never-ever-sunny Belgium have once again risen above 33 degrees centigrade. We are having a full blown Sahara style heat-wave. Just great ! For those of you who know me : I do not like the cold. I have complained in length to the celestial thermostat to crank up the juice this winter.Yet somehow I fear that the big weatherman in the sky has yanked up the heat and broke of the knob.
And heat is a funny thing , its makes people and machines go totally insane. I’ll give you a short list of how its impacting my life these days.
1- No extensive outdoor activities. : Well : its warm outside, so an ideal time to do stuff around the house, paint a wall here and there , fix some stuff up etc. You’ll be successful at that, right up the the first hour in your endeavor. Afterwards you will probably awake in some nearby hospital suffering from the result of a sunstroke that has rendered you completely inoperable. Like some overheating AMD Duron from 2001 with a pathetically cheap fan you can actually feel your body start to get steamed up without the ability to cool off. And we all know what happens to hot cpu’s. They crash .. then they burn.

2- Speaking of CPU’s
: One of the major things that are suffering these days is technology. With hard disk spinning ever faster, Power supply’s spewing out more heat, more clock cycles and all that , your computer can really become a small source of warmth. Seriously : When I pump up my 3.2 gig machine in my small office (not the big one) it will be able to warm up this large amount of air quite significantly. Not enough to heat it , but enough to be felt. So imagines computers, servers, switches and routers MOANING under the heat these days. My Mac Mini (acting as a server) is too kind in constantly blowing its fan these days and even my macbook starts to “MOO” its cooling apparatus at points where it never used to do it. In overall : the raise of the ambient temperature by a few degrees is hell for machines.
3 – Sleep deprivation ad loss of concentration. If its too hot during the day : BAD.. If it does not cool down during the night : WORSE. I sleep extremely bad these days cause of the heat. Leaving the windows open even makes it worse, OK , you cool down the room enough so sleep BUT the outside noise of a busy city (or my Italian neighbors who  insists on yelling their goodbyes to each-other from opposite sides of the street at 3AM) do knock you out of the light sleep you have. : Result : I look hung over in the morning and feel like i’m ready for a pension plan. I can’t even remember what I was going to write about concentration.
And Finally : The Brain-fry ! Above some certain temperature the mind starts to bubble. I’ve double checked this with fellow cyber-citizens and it does appear to be a common phenomenon. At some point resolving complex processes , or troubleshooting easy problems becomes nearly impossible. As the mind swims in its on sweat , one cannot make heads or tails of the task ahead. So among IT people this results in loss of concentration ,trouble shooting skills and chasing the cute girls around the office in an effective way. I don’t even like coffee when its THIS hot ! An article I read even states that driving in a warm car has the same results as driving under influence of alcohol (loss of concentration , being more easily irritated and so on) quite amazing isn’t it !

But for some it is even worse
. Prompted by exotic temperatures they venture into worlds unknown and actually start doing tasks they have never ever preformed before in their life. As did my father in law who suddenly started OPERATING the barbecue last saturday (where as he former and foremost roll had been to complain about and afterwards consume the food) I knew when dear old willy started flipping sausages .. The heat had gotten to all of us !

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The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook.

 The Knightcast Episode 32 : My Macbook. 

 

Direct link to the show : http://www.knightwise.com/podcasts/kc060606.mp3

Summary.

This week we do an in depth 'Knightcast Style' review of the 13,3 inch tinkerbell of technology called "The Macbook". Is it all that its cracked up to be ? Is it realy that great or is it all just a fab ? We dive down into the bowels of this Mac laptop and see if it can tune tech into your way of life.

Shownotes.

Intro.

Part one.

Part Two.

Part Three.

For more information visit our website : www.knightwise.com or subscribe to the knightcast in Itunes.

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Macbook where are thou ?

deliveryThere is nothing as annoying as having to wait. Wait for your girlfriend on the first date, wait for Santa Clause to come at night, wait for the person in front of you on the public restroom when you have to make a mega dump. Or .. Wait for the delivery of your Macbook. Yep, I now curse myself for not being an earlier adopter of the mean machine and waiting until last thursday to order it. Delivery would take from three to seven days the apple store said. With previous orders that mostly meant ' Three to seven days, but in two days you'll have your goodies”. Unfortunately THIS time (of all times) Three to seven days does mean .. to seven days. So as I sit behind the front door like some hungry puppy waiting for the doorbell to ring. But no Macbook yett. A lot of it has to do with this freaking bank holiday we are having. Not only does this means I have four days off (which could have been spent in utter bliss with my new macbook) it also means the transportation and courier industry is a little fucked up and .. guess what , delivery's have been delayed.

But with the use of the tracking number at the apple store and some surfing we can see where our macbook is at this very moment. Lets track the shipping shall we ?

So we take the tracking number of the apple store and hop over to the website of the courier company. There we can see a step-by-step history of where it is.

  • May 18, 2006 om 07:05 PM GMT Order placed.

    Yes indeed , After a little doubt and a lot of research I placed the order , exactly one week before that blasted bank holiday. I could have done it about a week earlier but I decided NOT to be an early adopter.

  • May 22nd 2006 05:22 Suzhou Consignment Received At Transit Point

    So at the early eastern dawn my Macbook arrived FROM the factory at my couriers pickup point. A quick Google lets me see where the town of Suzhou actually is , a tad east of Shanghai.  

  • May 23rd 2006 00:41 Suzhou Shipped From Originating Depot

    Okay, It took my little Macbook a few hours to grab a cappuccino, some croissants and be on its merry way.

  • May 26, 2006 15:50 Arnhem Hub Consignment Passed Through Transit Point

    Probably by boat or by plane (i guess by plane) it arrived at Arnhem in The Netherlands. Pretty late and with no hope of arriving at its destination here that very same day. As I was on the road myself that day I encountered what traffic must have been like for the couriers : Rainy, overcrowded highways and a lot of people on the road that had a day off. Mixing proffesional travelers with leisure travelers and bad weather = Chaos.

  • May 27 th 2006 04:49 Brussels Hub Consignment Received At Transit Point.

    Ah ! Joy to the world, my little Macbook has jumped across the border and has arrived in our nations capital of Belgium. As it is Saturday morning, the 27th of May, 9 AM : The one million dollar question is : Is TNT running errands today ? If so : My Macbook could only be minutes away, If not … its gonna be freaking MONDAY until it arrives.

I'll hope for the former but fear the latter. No matter no matter …..

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the new macbook pro.

Its here ! Its HERE ! 

I'm a calm person. Introvert, quiet, not easily impressed. Years on the edge of real and cyberspace have left me jaded and therefore not likely to be amazed or star-struck by new technology. As trends evolve and gizmos and gadgets whizz by I raise the preverbal eyebrow and sigh. BUT NOT TODAY ! 

Today i am jumping up and down with the release of the new Mac-book. Nono ! Not the i've-got-money-to-burn-so-what-the-hell macbook PRO ! (an overpriced over-pimped version of the powebook line) I'm talking about the next generation (long overdue) incarnation of the Ibook. I am NOT going to delve any judgement on the little machine until i actually have one in my hands  ( and am surely not one of those who thinks that no matter WHAT Steve Jobs thought up , has to be fantastic ) BUT I am going to run over the specs of this baby before I slam my Visa card down and BUY one.  `

The New Macbook 

I admit, I have been waiting for this new laptop by Apple. When the Macbook pro line came out I knew I was in over my budget and that one of those shiny things where not likely to appear on my lap anytime soon. ( And i sure as hell was not going to be Steve's personal 2000 + euro personal beta tester.) So i waited and waited for what was going to come. Since I bought my first Ibook some year and a half ago I have been pleased with it beyond belief. I love the little bugger. The best 1200 euros ever spent on a laptop. And now its successor comes along. Lets all take a moment and drool together shall we ? Widescreen 13,3 inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. 1,83-GHz Intel Core Duo 512 MB Ram (i'm personally opting for 1 gigabyte if money permits me to.)  A 60-GB serial ATA hard drive on  5400 rpm (Bummer ,this should have been a 7200 rpm disk) A Combo drive (dvd-rom, cd-rw) Isight built into the display (owwwkey) Front row with apple remote.Now this looks pretty amazing for a laptop with a price-tag UNDER 1300 euros. you can also go for the 2 gigahertz version OR the BLACK 2 gigahertz version. The 2 gigahertz version is about 200 euros more expensive and to be quite honest , I don't think thats worth the money. The BLACK version is 200 euros extra (but you get a 80 gig hard drive).  Now the first reaction Nyana gave to this was : "black ? What do you mean .. black ?" A Black Mac ?  Well she was right. The black Ipod had made me frown , cause to be frank , the white Ibook I have is babe-magnet numero uno when you use it in a café. 'ooh look its white , its cute etc'.  I'm not an Apple snob but .. black ? no thank you. But black or white at first sight this baby looks like a tough nut to crack for same priced competitors. From personal experience I can tell that laptops around the 1000 euro price-point by for example Acer or Siemens have much poorer quality of design layout compared to even my "old" kevlar-coated (yes-yes) Ibook. Its like comparing a throw away tin foil barbecue to  a concrete super deluxe backyard super-stove.

 

macbook

 

One thing to rule them all.

 But time for the cherry on the pie when we look one step beyond the designed specs and see what loops we can let this baby jump through in the future. If we take BOOT-CAMP into account that lets us run Windows XP on this machine AND we look at the Linux versions that are compatible with the macintells we come to the next conclusion.  This is the sole and single sub 1500 euro computer laptop that will run the three biggest operating systems on the planet.

Needless to say .. as soon as I get my hands on one.. An elaborate review will follow. 

 

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MAC OS X – Learning the OS X Ropes

MAC OS X – Learning the OS X Ropes. Posted by Sebastian Prooth 

A small lesson from a beginner MAC user on how to optimise your MAC OS X system! 

A few days ago I told you about buying the iBook G4 and some of the problems with the airport extreme wireless system. Yesterday, I found myself reconfiguring the iBook as I felt like it was running way too slow!

found the program activity monitor (click picture on the left), for those of us still using PC's that would be the TaskManager, it showed all the different attributes of programmes taking up system resources such as CPU, System Memory, Disk Activity, Disk Usage, and Network Traffic. I was checking the programmes that were running and I discovered to my horror that the Dashboard widgets actually take up absolutely huge amounts of system memory and resources even if your dashboard is not being displayed at the time! If your dashboard looks like, this, this article applies to you.

I did some hunting around on Google and I came across several people who were talking about ways to optimise the speed of OS X Tiger. The obvious such as turning off animations and turning off the minimise “genie” effect, freeing up Hard Drive space, and the not so obvious such as removing the dashboard from active running and taking all the widgets out. Once I removed the widgets I freed up over 150 meg of system memory and instead of 100 meg free ram at idle the iBook now has 339 Meg free.

I continued to explore the settings of OS X and as new MAC user I was pleased when I found I could change the system colours such as the highlight colour, which is now a brilliant orange, and the menus to a lovely chromy grey. There are also settings that you can alter the “warmness” of the display so that colours appear more true, or to more suit your personal preference of how you like to see the colours. Just because it is an accessibility function doesn't mean you have to be disabled <!–[if !vml]–>Spotlight<!–[endif]–> to use it.

One last thing I want to talk a little about its the Spotlight feature (picture click picture on the right), spotlight allows you to search for things on the MAC from options and settings in the OS to actual files hanging around on the disk. It was really helpful yesterday to find PC only files and remove them as they are superfluous. The spotlight worked perfectly for this!

As a result of actually reading and exploring my new iBook I now understand more fully how it does and doesn't work and can use it more effectively as a tool for business which is its sole purpose in life.

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