Tag Archives: PC

Dear Ubuntu

Dear Ubuntu,

it’s nice to see you again, it’s been a while. I think the last time we saw each other was when you were only seven. Now you’re eleven, you’ve grown!

You’ve changed a little, but I’m not sure I like everthing about you.

You’ve changed your taskbar, to look a bit more like your cousin Win7’s, which is a nice touch, I think. But why do you want to hide it all the time – be proud of it. Why do I have to argue with you for an hour before you accept that I like seeing it. It’s even worse than your cousin MacOS, and I’ve always disliked how unwilling she was to change for people.

It also seems that while you’re looking really fit and mobile, you’ve become more sedentary – on our first hike you completely exhausted the battery in two hours! (And I did warn you.) Your cousin Win7 was able to pace himself much better, we used to go for near on four hours. And before we even left you kept on complaining about missing the comfort of a full mouse, and refused to use the trackpad and emulate the three buttons. You never used to be like this in the past, you were such an avid hiker back then.

I would also have thought that by now you would have learned to do some of the more grown-up things: managing photos and music is something you’ll really need to learn. And if you continue like you did in the last week, I’ll be worried about your future career. Many workplaces use Exchange, and you don’t seem to want to make an effort with it. Your Evolution is way too slow and buggy. You have that Thunderbird party trick to make up for it (it’s fast), but your trick was only version three, and why did I have to teach you version five?

Thank you for helping me write this, though, Ubuntu. You really are very good at browsing the internet and dealing with file transfers. Without you the recovery of my hosting debacle would have taken even longer (but I’m not done yet, anyway).

fixing the Dell Precision M65

Last Wednesday my (almost) four year old laptop (Dell Precision M65) broke.

I was in the middle of typing an email when the scree just turned black, and it wouldn’t react to anything. I figured it had crashed and just powered it off, and then on again. But it didn’t come back on. The Power and WiFi light came up, and the NumLock light as well, but that was it. No fan (although it rarely comes on right at boot), and more worrying: no hard disk spin-up.

I got worried and turned it off again. Unplugged AC power, took out the battery and hard drives, and tried again. Nothing. Read more »

thoughts a month after switching to a Mac

A month or so ago I switched to a Mac at work. The four year old Dell Precision got replaced with a beautiful 21 inch iMac. I still have the Dell 24 inch screen connected as secondary display, as I will discuss below.

I have found a few things have improved with switching to a Mac, but I also found that there are some niggling issues that sometimes make me want to get my PC back.

Let’s talk about some of the annoyances first. They’re all things I will eventually get used to, and they probably just stand out because I have been using Windows 7 for such a long time at home.
I have the impression that MacOS isn’t really made for multiple screens (although I think that Macs were first in supporting multiple monitors). The Menu bar and dock always have to be on the same, primary screen. This means that If I have a program open on the secondary screen, I am required to travel all the way over to the other screen and use the menu bar, and then travel back to the app. I reckon my mouse clocks twice as much distance as it did in Windows, because there every window has it’s own menu bar (no RSI yet…).
I also miss being able to quickly resize windows to preset spots using Winsplit Revolution (on XP) or the built in function in Win7. Is there something like this in MacOS that I haven’t discovered yet? And I miss UltraMon. I really like Expose though, who ever wanted to switch tasks another way?

Another small complaint is Entourage. Actually, this is my main complaint. My workplace is an Exchange user and so I pretty much have to use Entourage to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, it seems to be a lot slower to me. It feels a bit like using Outlook 97, to be honest. Emails only get downloaded every few minutes, and while it downloads my mail everything else in Entourage gets less responsive. The entire Entourage UI, while very similar to Outlook, somehow feels less efficient, requiring more clicks and getting less stuff on the same amount of screen.

I also can’t save Office documents directly to hidden network shares. I have to save them locally and copy them using finder.

There are great things that make me happy about having switched to a Mac, though:
I really like Expose. this is such a quick way to switch tasks that I can’t believe I ever survived in XP. I also very much like VMWare Fusion. It’s such a nice, snappy VM, and the whole Unity thing is just neat. It was annoying though that the vital hardware is not the same as in VMWare Server. The XP VM had a major fit when I moved it over and I had to reactivate it (via telephone, because XP activation didn’t like the authenticated http proxy).
The screen on the iMac is just brilliant. I can see why people pay thousands of dollars for Apple Cinema displays. If I was a designer I would probably appreciate it even more.

I have not needed to restart the iMac once since I got it on my desk with the standard image provided by our IT team. Neat. (Actually, I restarted once: we had a power outage last week)
Important for me, some of the really trivial things are faster on the Mac: opening files, waking up, connecting to disconnected network drives. This may seem trivial, but it does make a difference. If only the finder had wider columns. I can’t read any of my file names.

the iMac is a great improvement over the XP PC I had before. No surprise there. But I don’t think it’s better than my PC with Windows 7 at home. Both the iMac and the PC are about the same in price, totalling at just under AU$ 2000 each, so I think I should have gone for a PC to fit in with the corporate systems, and with a Mac to have fun.

PS: I don’t want this to be a Mac-vs-PC post. I realise that that’s how it reads, but I think that both are just fine for me to do what I need to do.
I grew up using Windows 3.1 onwards and probably conditioned that way. But I just need to learn some of the tricks and I’ll reach my goal: where the platform really doesn’t matter.

MSS2 broken again

our Shared Storage 2 is broken again. We only got it replaced in May and it’s been less than a year since the initial purchase. So much for “secure, reliable RAID 1 storeage”.

Considering jsut binning it and getting a ReadyNAS…