General Rant Archives

May 14, 2006

Have A Coaster... on me!

This weekend I decided to start backing up to DVD a lot of my junk on my external drives with my new MacBook Pro which is finally pretty much set up to be my main production machine. Problem is that I've been getting verification errors on what seems like 4 out of 5 burns. The disc will burn fine but the verification process almost always fails. It doesn't seem to be media related as i've been using TDK media for a whie with good results.

At first I thought it was Toast 7.0.2 but when I tried to burn media using MacOSX it had the same type of verification error. I don't think the drive is defective as it can read and it sometimes burns disks that pass verifcation just fine. However there are strange messages in the system.log file that make me think this is OSX related. I posted the problem on Apple's forums and it seems there are a few others who are having the same problem.

I went back to burning stuff on my Powerbook 12" and I have yet to make a coaster after 5 successful burns. Poor MBP! What a bad rap you're getting with the whining, mooing, heat issues and now maybe even potential problems burning media!

UPDATE: I got to work today and removed the 3rd party RAM just to be sure that it wasn't a factor in the bad verified burns I was having last night. Burned 2 full 4gig DVD's without a hitch. I then put the RAM back in and burned 3 more DVD's full of stuff with no problems at all. The only difference between yesterday and today is the DVD brand: Memorex. I've been using TDK DVD-R with no problems for the last 2 years so perhaps the drive in my MBP doesn't like TDK for some reason? How odd....

May 16, 2006

R.I.P. Powerbook


With the introduction of the MacBook, Apple Computer Inc. removed the last of the PowerBooks from their site. My favorite: the PowerBook 12" model.

I've owned PowerBooks since they came out back in 1991 with the Sony manufactured PowerBook 100. I've owned a PB 160, 180, 145, 2400 (still one of my favorites), BlackBird, Lombard, Titanium and Aluminum 15" and 2 different 12" ones. With such a long lineage of great machines, I only see good things for the new kids in town.

So long PowerBook... we'll miss you.

Angry MacBook Pro Owners

Hopping around the net, I've been reading about how a few MacBook Pro owners are upset that Apple's new MacBook is so close in spec to their MacBook Pro. Angry owners proclaim theres no difference between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro aside from the graphics card and price. Many feel ripped off and claim they paid too much for something they could have gotten cheaper with the same performance. Still there are other MacBook Pro owners that are scheming to return their 2.0 GHz version in attempts to get the newer one with 2.16 GHz.

Well to be honest I don't feel ripped off in the slightest. I knew what I was getting into when I bought the MacBook Pro as I've been buying Apple products for years. I absolutely knew they would come out with the MacBook eventually to replace the iBooks and that they would fall relatively close in performance to the MacBook Pro. Steve Jobs even stated that this year would see the entire Mac line move to Intel. It was probably the biggest story of 2005 so I'm not sure how anyone could have missed that.

The MacBook Pro has the Pro moniker for a reason. It was designed with the working pro in mind. Graphics professionals will lean towards the MacBook Pro rather than the MacBook simply because the Pro version has a separate graphics card, as well as Express Card slot and a larger screen. The seperate graphics RAM is important simply because it leaves more actual RAM for other things. The MacBook has integrated video that will tap into the systems main RAM and hence leave less for everything else. Will it affect performance remains to be seen. The screen real estate alone is worth the extra price when you're doing graphics layout or video editing on the road and 23" monitor is no where to be found.

As for the other issue of people griping because Apple quietly upped the specs of the MacBook Pro, well that happens all the time too. Expect Apple to do this. OFTEN. They even did this when the MacBook Pro first came out! In my opinion the extra .16 GHz is negligible and I have my doubts whether or not it would make any significant difference. Perhaps just bragging rights that I have the fastest, latest greatest CoreDuo MacBook Pro out but nothing more... and that will change in a few months anyway.

Those of you griping about it... don't feel too bad. You could have bought an iBook G4 2 weeks ago only to see the MacBook come out. Get used to it. This is Apple. This is the tech industry and things constantly change.

May 17, 2006

All Hail the DIGG Effect!

Wow! I didn't think that the story I sent to DIGG would make it to the front page but wow! It did! Digg effect didn't kill the server but my bandwidth is what really put things to a stop! Everything seems to be back to normal now that its not on the front page anymore...

Thanks to everyone who came to look and hope you stop by again!

May 26, 2006

SpeedIt: Vapor Ware Hoax?

There's speculation that the folks at InCrew have been duping everyone about their SpeedIt V0.5 speed stepping application which supposedly fixes heat and whining issues in Apple's MacBook Pro. Originally set for release 2 weeks ago but held back by it's creator because of issues with releasing the application under GPL, SpeedIt has been promised to be released many times since. Instead, interested users have only seen screenshots of the highly anticipated application and that they could sign up for notification via email of the release date.

Apparently many were told via a private email this week that today, Friday, May 26 would be the release day for this application. Currently there has been no word from InCrew about when the highly anticipated software would be posted.

InCrew's forum
has had it share of nay sayers and doubters but today may be the breaking point for some. A forum user named zigzag fired off the opening salvo:
"I've been following the SpeedIt drama out of interest and I'm sorry to say that my conclusion is that I don't believe InCrew even has a working version that is able to control the noise/heat issues. They are using this and the current version of SpeedIt to attract attention from the wishful-thinking Mac users and to get exposure to their company (that I have never even heard of)."

A few others followed zigzag's lead and we're sure more will follow if the SpeedIt app does not appear on InCrews website soon.

What does MacNewsBlog make of all of this? Well, we never like to jump to conclusions but will recall a certain software company based in Rome a number of years back that duped the whole Macintosh community into thinking they had a running replacement for the MacOS which name escapes us at the time (we're getting old!). During the days of MacOS9, everyone was looking for something with protected memory and true multi-tasking and supposedly this group of small developers had the solution. Well they kept promising a test demo download of the software but it never materialized. Weeks and months went by and people began screaming for this vaporware but nothing ever appeared.

We're not saying that InCrew is doing the same thing, but the lesson we've learned from the afformentioneed situation was to expect nothing when nothing has ever been relased. WHEN and IF SpeedStep is ever released we'll have something to talk about. Until then, theres no need to mope and whine on the forums nor is there a need to demand something that may or may not be coming. Shouting doesn't necessarily make anything come faster. Perhaps InCrew will come through today and release SpeedIt but don't hold your breath for it to happen... okay? Just sit back, and enjoy the weekend!

May 30, 2006

Slow News Time

Well it seems to be a slow news time for now. I guess with all the excitement of the past weeks... MacBook Pro 17", MacBook, Apple's NY store you can't really ask for more? Currently other sites are reporting about customers being trapped in the elevator of Apple's NY Store and the fact that they lost in court to bloggers. I'll start working on the final installment of Setting up Movable Type for Tiger and some other cool stuff. Stay tuned!

September 26, 2006

Getting GD installed on OSX is a PAIN!

So theres this new Captcha plugin for Movable Type 3.3 but you need to install GD and a few other PERL modules (Authen::Captcha and GD) before you can use it. Should be an easy task but it's really not!

Before I started I did my usual "googling" for information on doing the install before I actually did it. I found a few things, but they seemed rather lengthy so I threw caution to the wind and went along my merry way attempting to install it all using CPAN. NO CAN DO. Things failed left and right when attempting to install.

I went back to google and found this helpful page:
Compiling GD on Mac OSX

Pretty good instructions and they are all step by step although, because I am on an Intel Mac Pro there were a few things I did differently.

For instance, to configure libpng, instead of following his advice to use the makefile.darwin script (which didn't work anyway) I chose to just run ./configure and let the Makefile figure things out on its own.

Also you'll want to do the following commands for installing GD after running ./configure:

rm ./libtool
ln -s `which glibtool` ./libtool.

then do make and make install.

Figuring it all out so that it compiled nicely took the longest! After GD was installed, installing the perl modules was pretty simple. Thank God there was documentation out there for doing this install. If not I'd have given up (and I actually was about to give up because of the constant error messages).

Sadly I couldn't get Captcha to work because the plugin stored the images in the CGI directory. The author of the plugin claims he's working on a fix though!

October 24, 2006

Officially Obsolete!

Well it had to happen sooner or later right?

My still shiny and not so new MacBook Pro is now obsolete since Apple today released the new MacBook Pro's with Core2Duo processors, Firewire 800 and Dual layer drives! Gah!

Am I bitter? Not in the least! I rarely have buyers remorse when getting an Apple product... the only time I've maybe felt this was buying the iPod+Photo and then a month later seeing the iPod + Video come out. My MacBook Pro still does it's job and its fast enough for me right now. I sure could use the additional 1 gig of memory that the new ones are capable of though! While Dual Layer is nice, the media is still too expensive for my pocketbook especially since I have about 2-3 spools of DVD-R lying around the house.

Congratualtions on catching up with the competition and finally getting out a Core2duo notebook Apple! I'm hoping for an ultraportable soon....

December 5, 2006

iPhone Rumors - Again...

It seems a few days ago that Kevin Rose, founder of Digg "confirmed" the existence of the iPhone and even gave out some of the features it will have.

As usual, before getting your hopes up, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Imagine your dream phone with a Mac OS.... then realize... that this is the closest you'll get to an "iPhone" until it's released.

Not saying that Kevin Rose is full of it... I'm sure Apple's got that iPhone waiting in the wings. I'm more along the lines of "I'll believe it when I see it" since there have been so many wrong "confirmations" before.

December 11, 2006

Broken Firewire Ports on 24" iMac

Well this weekened had me troubleshooting our brand new 24" iMac because the Firewire 400 port would not boot a FW drive that previously worked. Not only that but it seems like the drive itself has a crashed partition.

I did every trick in the book to reset those firewire ports to no avail. Zap PRAM, NVRAM, reset PMU, unplug the machine for 8 hours and come back to it and still... dead.

A call to Apple Care took us through some procedures but in the end, got us a case number and an appointment to see an Apple Genius at the Apple Store. The genius deemed it dead and has ordered us a new logic board. Luckily we were able to take the iMac monster home with us until the parts come in since it still worked fine... just no firewire.

Continue reading "Broken Firewire Ports on 24" iMac" »

January 1, 2007

Happy New Year / MacWorld predictions

Happy New Year to all!

I hope you all had a safe and Happy New Year! Mac World is almost here now that 2006 has faded and 2007 has brought us January. What are your predictions for MacWorld 2007 annoucements? Here are my "guesses"

For Sure:
- iLife / iWork 07 - new features and possibly a spreadsheet. Let's also kill off Apple Works while we're at it... please?
- Leopard release date - this will be probably the biggest chunk of the event. With all the leaks about whats coming in OSX, it will really be the thing to kick Vista in the pants.
- iTV and accessories will ship
- New iSights and Cinema Display refresh
- iTunes / Movies announcements

- New line of MacMini's with Core2Duo
- 8 core Apple Pro
- New iPod / possible iPhone
- slim pro version laptop

I seriously have my doubt about the Hopefully stuff but a guy can dream right?

What are your predictions?

January 8, 2007

MacWorld anticipation

Well the big day is tomorrow folks! I for one am glad that there hasn't been any product info leaks yet. I like being surprised when Steve does his keynote! The feeling of anticipation is in the air, and hopefully Apple won't disappoint tomorrow. I'm hoping for an application or hardware that will boggle my mind and take things to a whole new level.

Be it a iPhone or something totally different... MacWorld's keynote looks to be pretty awesome!

January 9, 2007

What was and what wasn't

Well MacWorld keynote is over and I must say I am blown away by the iPhone and all that will come from it. I am bummed that it will come out in June but I'm sure this will give Apple time to fine tune the phone.

What's interesting is what WASN'T talked about today: namely OSX Leopard and the new iLife Suite. The question isn't why didn't Steve talk about it the question is when will he talk about it. I think he willingly omitted anything about leopard simply because it was a day for iPhone and everything else would just get lost.

What we need to know is: HOW is OSX running on this phone? Is it a scaled down version? Is it a totally new build? Theres gotta be something to this because this type of miniaturization doesn't come easily and to get that much battery life makes me wonder... perhaps the OS is embedded in a chip? What the heck is the processor in this thing? How fast is it?

Edit: I just read on TUAW that the phone will run OSX as well as desktop-class applications. I need to get the 8 gig version I think!
The other question to raise: will developers be able to run their own apps on this phone? Is it a new platform based off of osx? Will we be able to run our own widgets as well? I can just see it now... using any widget builder, create your own apps and load it onto your iPhone. Also I'm assuming the wifi will allow people to connect to each other for sharing and creating social networks.

Finally I think that Mac OSX Leopard is going to be so full of surprises that Jobs didn't want to sensory overload people with it all. Expect another keynote event next month sometime is what I'm predicting.

This is something that I've been waiting years for. I'll have to drop T-mobile to get it though.


Here are some upcoming predictions. No bets placed please...

- Apple will ship the iPhone ahead of schedule. IMO, they've got this thing just about wrapped up just need FCC approval and some last minute fixes, then off to production.

- iPod Nanos will sport 8 and 16 gig versions ahead of the iPhone. When iPhone is released it will actually come with 8 or 16 gig versions rather than 4 or 8 gig versions.

- Expect another Keynote event in February or the end of January to hear all about Mac OSX Leopard and iLife/iWork 06. Apple's got a lot up their sleeves.

- Expect Vista to go on sale on January 30. Apple will let them have their day... and then watch Apple tromp them with Leopard releasing the day of the next Steve Jobs keynote.

- Wide screen iPod will go on sale mid year for those that don't want a phone.

- The Beatles catalog will appear in iTunes on a very important day this year...

January 10, 2007

Microsofts New Paperweight

A early Zune adopter is quite upset but realizes why...
The article highlights my thoughts exactly!
Read more.

January 11, 2007

Apple TV - what do you think?

After reading this short article from Market Watch, I believe Apple has the right ideas and may in fact have a very good chance of making something out of this iTV... for those that don't have TIVO or dont want to subscribe to cable TV!

From Market Watch article:
"I spend $100 on cable TV, not because I want 190 channels, but because I want high-definition in two of my rooms. I only end up watching a little bit of the content," Guillaume continued. "A large part of the content I like is already available on iTunes, and assuming they'll be able to make it available in high-definition, that becomes compelling to me. If I downloaded 'The Office,' four times a month, and 'Grey's Anatomy' a couple of times a month, and a couple of movies, that's a lot less than $100."

Read complete article.

Apple iPhone Grumblings

I've been visiting a few forums here and there and reading all of the hype, grumblings and dis-information being served up... just like all good forums should.

To everyone out there grumbling that the "iPhone doesn't have 3g, or a removable battery, or the screen is too large and it will get scratched" I have this to say: take a look at Apple's history of product releases and you'll see how they work.

Apple has historically released products with "just enough" features to get you in the door. Usually the UI or design of the product is enough to get some people to want to buy it at a higher price point. The hype for the product drives sales. Sales pays for R&D and ergonomics and that lovely UI. The sales eventually lead to product upgrades and the so called "next generation" of products. This whole process is cyclical.

So for those of you who are upset because of a lack of a feature, don't worry... Apple will cater to you soon. They'll release the iPhone 1st gen and get it out to the people who really want it (just about everyone else but the grumblers) then, once people have fallen in love with their iPhones, Apple will slowly add software/firmware updates that add features, correct bugs, then before you know it... BOOM (ala Steve Jobs) the next gen iPhone is out with updated and upgraded everything. Sky's the limit but in order to get there, Apple has to sell enough of these to warrant the next generation. And if the excitement I see and hear from people about the iPhone equals sales then Apple's gonna be able to come out with new iPhones for years to come.

Watch and see.

January 17, 2007

MacWorld: Did it live up to your expectations?

Well it's been a week since Steve Jobs and Co. blew the world away with the announcement of the iPhone. Oh yeah, and there was also that thing called Apple TV in there too. So we just want to know if any of you are excited for what comes next? Were any of you disappointed by anything that WASN'T announced at the MacWorld?

We can't wait till Leopard ships. It's 2007 after all... so Leopards leap cant be too far away. We've a feeling that Leopard wants to jump in on Vistas fun.

January 24, 2007

Is a Widescreen iPod going to debut during the Super Bowl?

Is a widescreen iPod coming this way soon?

Leo Laporte is predicting so. Leo predicts that there will be a Beatles widescreen iPod that will debut during the SuperBowl. True? Who knows... We'll just have to wait and see.

What we do know is that the iPod is fairly long in tooth and needs an update or refresher in order to keep up with it's competitors. Brining out a widescreen iPod with touch screen may give Apple some time to work out the kinks in its UI and hardware BEFORE they ship the coveted iPhone. That would be a great way to "beta" test a product: release it as a different product first.

February 6, 2007

Steve Job's Editorial on DRM

Steve Jobs wrote an interesting piece called "Thoughts on Music", which really should be titled "Thoughts on DRM".

Jobs focuses on the future of digital music and offers 3 scenarios:
1. Everything stays the same. Online music services lock customers into different and competing DRM schemes.
2. Apple licenses FairPlay (Apples proprietary DRM) to other companies
3. The music industry decides to license music without DRM just as they are doing with CD's now.

Reality distortion field aside, Jobs offers a candid insight in laymans terms on how DRM works and how it affects all of us and how easy things could be if the record industry stopped relying on FUD.

February 12, 2007

The Truth about DRM and Piracy

John Gruber let loose today and to me, this was the best part:

""Kedrosky has clearly missed — or refuses to believe — the main point of Jobs’s argument. It’s almost impossible to see how allowing Apple to sell DRM-free music through iTunes would make piracy worse. Music piracy is already rampant. There is not a single song on iTunes that can’t be downloaded for free from a P2P network. If iTunes were to switch to DRM-free music, would it stop anyone who is already buying music from iTunes? No

People who are already buying from iTunes would continue to. People who refused to buy from iTunes because of DRM might start. And people who bootleg would continue to bootleg. This situation would be better for the music industry, not worse. The problem from the music industry’s perspective is their technically ludicrous pipe dream of devising a scheme that forces everyone to pay for every single song they play. They obsess over pirates while taking their honest customers for granted."

Read Daring Fireball: Command, Option, Control

February 16, 2007

Will Apple ever focus on the Mac again?

With all the news about the iPhone, it's copy cats, legal problems and opinions/rants about the unreleased product, I have just one question:

When will Apple focus on the Mac again? It's been a while since we've heard any exciting news about Macintosh and Apple's plans for it this year. The first quarter of 2007 is almost over and we've not had any interesting news, rumors or announcements.

Hopefully the Mac faithful can be patient. I'm positive that Apple has a lot of cool stuff in store for all of us. I'm predicting a few product upgrades / updates, especially for the MacPro and Mac Mini. And of course the long awaited Leopard will appear shortly as well... so theres a lot of cool things in store. Hopefully when they arrive they will make us forget about this Macintosh news drought.

February 23, 2007

Apple Special Event in the Works?

It's been really eerily silent on the Macintosh front. One has to wonder when Apple is going to do another special event / press event. The only headlines that Apple seems to make is who is suing them over the iPhone or that they've copied someone elses phone design.

Hopefully this will be a banner year for the MACINTOSH, but its almost the end of February and still no signs of Leopard....

July 4, 2007

Crazy People: They took apart their brand new iPhone

We've kept the iPhone reports here to a minimum, but a reader sent us this site to show us what they did to their iPhone the moment they got it.

Yes thats right, the crazy guy took it apart! Aside from just taking it apart, there was no sense in doing it unless you took a bunch of pics to show the world whats inside. So thats what he did. He didn't just take two or three photos either... her took tons of them and some very very close up so you can see whats up inside that sleek, slick iPhone case. See that photo above? Yep thats what the inside of the iPhone looks like.

See what the mad men did to their iPhone here.

July 12, 2007

Are you having Wi-Fi issues with your MacBook or MacBook Pro after updating to 10.4.10?

So I just got a brand new MacBook Pro (LED display) the other week. I had to update to Mac OS X 10.4.10 in order to sync the iPhone to it. Ever since this time the airport connection has become flaky. However, I notice that it will only drop it's connection when it's running on battery power. When it's plugged in it works flawlessly.

The Apple discussions MacBook forum is full of people with a similar problem and no real way to fix it.

So have you been having issues with wi-fi since you upgraded to 10.4.10?

July 25, 2007

Witch Hunt Over? Andy Ihnatko isn't Fake Steve Jobs

Why can't people just let Fake Steve Jobs be? People pointing their finger at veteran Mac World writer Andy Ihnatko can point it back at themselves now.

Andy wrote a column in Mac World today basically telling everyone he ain't Fake Steve Jobs:

I’m not Fake Steve.

I’ll even go so far as to spray-paint that statement gold, and cover it with glitter. I say this here and now, without a single wink or ironic note: I’m not him. I had nothing to do with the blog’s creation and have never had the slightest thing to do with any of its content. True, I intentionally Michael Moored my way through the Valleywag interview (choosing my answers carefully to create precisely the impression I wanted to create without being pinned down in an out-and-out lie), but I think you can tell by this paragraph that I’m leaving myself absolutely no wiggle-room for future justifications or apologies.

For good measure, I will point out that I have specifically chosen to have this statement published on instead of my personal blog. They’re paying me for this and I told them in advance what I’d be telling you folks. So if I am indeed lying to Macworld just to kick the spotlight away from me, then man alive, in addition to committing a rather upsetting ethical transgression that will impact whatever reputation I might have built up as a journalist, and in addition to burning a bridge that has remained intact for (good Lord) more than 15 years, they can sue me for the money they paid me plus all of the ad revenue that they’d be forced to refund when word finally got out.

So there you have it. Andy's always been a favorite of mine since his day's at competitor MacUser. He's always been a funny and friendly Macaholic and we're very happy to hear from him that he's NOT the Fake Steve Jobs.

Now let's enjoy Fake Steve Jobs instead of trying to unmask him. If he's ever revealed, the magic would be lost!

September 3, 2007

Say It Ain't So: No Battlestar Galactica on iTunes?

So NBC and Apple are in a contract war over TV content on iTunes. Exactly what the real story is depends on who you believe.

Apple says that NBC is asking for exhorbitant price increases for content while NBC claims that Apple refuses to alter it's pricing.

To be honest, all I care about is the fact that the next season of Battlestar Galactica may not be available for download on iTunes! Gah! Time to by an EyeTV I guess...

Rick Rubin - Fortune Teller: The iPod will Be Obsolete

Music producer extraordinaire and head of Columbia Records, Rick Rubin declared that the iPod will be obsolete once an new music business model is in place. Rubin believes that music subscription services are the future of the Record industry.

In Rubin's future, he predicts that with a subscription type business model, we'll no longer need an iPod because our music library will follow us everywhere. From our car, to cell phone to the TV. Umm... isn't that what we already have in the iPod?

From the

You'd pay, say, $19.95 a month, and the music will come anywhere you'd like. In this new world, there will be a virtual library that will be accessible from your car, from your cellphone, from your computer, from your television. Anywhere. The iPod will be obsolete, but there would be a Walkman-like device you could plug into speakers at home. You'll say, 'Today I want to listen to ... Simon and Garfunkel,' and there they are. The service can have demos, bootlegs, concerts, whatever context the artist wants to put out. And once that model is put into place, the industry will grow 10 times the size it is now.

An interesting thought but what about folks who DON'T CARE about having all of those songs and just want some? Surely they're not going to lay down $20 bucks a month for 2 albums worth of music. Although I will say that if this subscription model comes to light, it may finally give you license to the music rather than the media. Currently, if something better than CD ever comes around, we'll be forced to REBUY all of our music to get it on this new format. With Rubin's future voodoo magic imaginatory world, perhaps we wouldn't need to do that.

At any rate, I doubt another format will come out. Music is going digital and thats the end of it. Media is only for long term storage.

October 9, 2007

Lot's of Negative Press for Apple

Lately, we've been noticing a whole lot of negative reporting regarding Apple, ever since the iPhone 1.1.1 software update. Even some of our favorite Apple, Macintosh, iPhone reporting sites have been exhibiting reporting of stories with a negative slant toward Apple. In fact by the way they write, you'd think that they were writing about Microsoft... not Apple!

Here's hoping that the Apple reporting community takes a breather and also time to reflect and get some perspective again. If your story is an opinion piece thats fine, but it'd be great if we all take off the tin-foil hat and try to be fair... Apple makes it's fair share of mistakes but it doesn't mean that Apple is out to get us. The Apple paranoia is getting out of hand.

Just our $.02. And yes this is an op-piece in case you were wondering!

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