Following the unrecoverable crash of Lemming’s (my iBook) hardrive and it’s replacement, I now have a 4-year old iBook G3 900MHz with t 80G hard-drive. Not bad he?
Of course this forced upgrade comes in a specially bad time when I am anticipating the second generation of the MacBook line in order to get me one of the 13’ ones but then, when is an hardware failure of this magnitude ever convenient?
Replacing the drive was especially fun (not!) and it shows the computer’s age and the prowess of Apple’s engineers that they could stuff all those components (which weren’t as miniaturized as they are now, not by a long shot) inside such a small space and still make the laptop as sturdy as it is!
Anyway, the really hard part os all if this was loosing data. Yes, I know I should backup everything important very often. I know it should be done religiously and without fail. I know. I don’t do it.
In the end I could recover most of my stuff from old backups and replication points here and there but not all of it. I made the bed, I’ll lay on it.
Especially funny was the way I recovered all my contact and calendar data. I simply synched and merged everything I had on my cell phone and my Palm. So now I have lots of duplicates and I lost some info (the Mac apps keep a lot more information that any of these devices) but I still have an (old) copy of the info on another Mac so I’ll probably be able to complement it pretty well and loose only a small portion of the data in the end.
So maybe now I’ll do something to the effect of ticking the “Buy Backup External Hard-drive” item off my to-do list…
But not all of it was bad, I lost my recent RSS subscriptions and after dropping the ones I had dropped already along the way I got to a decent number of feeds again so this purge may not have been all that bad… Plus, you can’t beat the feeling of a fresh install. Pure joy!
Technorati Tags: ibook
First came the freeze.
No warning, no previous failures, no noise, nothing that could have warned me about it. In fact, I have a small app running continuously on the background checking the disk via S.M.A.R.T. and it never said a thing.
Nevertheless… it froze. Weird. But then I was just setting up a iSight camera for the first time so the thought was pretty obvious “What, firewire crashes? USB I’m used to but firewire? Come on!”
Then came the hard reboot. Ssh’ing into the machine was impossible so it was finger on the button for a while until it powered down.
And, finally, understanding dawned. It wouldn’t boot. It would just sit there making all those clunking noises and then give up and show me the icon for “so where’s my disk then?”
Yup, for all my efforts up until now it seems that my trusty old lemming (the iBook) is in dire need of a new hard drive. The last desperate attempt will be latter today at home, but I’m not holding my breath.
That’s it, I’m upgrading my trusty old laptop. I’m getting one of these.
Now it’s only a matter of waiting endless months until I can get my hands on a model which won’t have the add-ons I wanted, but which I’ll accept anyway due to the withdrawal symptoms I’ll be showing by then.
The specs are very good and the price is well within what I expected, how could I resist? :-)
Well, this is it.
I’ve officially reached the end of the road. OK, not me exactly, but my trusty old iBook.
Yes, sad as it is, it seems that all of the apps on the new iLife ‘06 require a PowerPC G4 to work.
And my well-loved lemming is a measly PowerPC G3 900Mhz.
This is too bad as this laptop is my main workhorse for video and photo editing while I’m on the road.
At home I have the iMac with it’s glorious 20’ display and the G5 inside it, but on the road I can do everything I want with my good old iBook.
So I’ve come to a dead-end, as far as application upgrades are concerned, on my current Mac laptop.
It’s not as if I didn’t see it coming, and I do intend to upgrade my laptop when the second generation of Macintels comes around (I never liked being a paying hardware beta-tester and first-generation is always first-generation). I’ll thoroughly enjoy the speed-up, for sure, but until then iMovie ‘05, iPhoto ‘05 and Photoshop CS are good enough. Heck, the photoshop part is even overkill if I’m honest about it… :-)
Yesterday was a good day overall…
I finished reading all the important mailing lists and personal mail I had stacked for the last 3-4 weeks. Now on to catch up on the RSS feeds (read all looks deliciously appealing for the most of it).
There was, of course, the mwsf, with some good announcements, but especially the announcement of the new Macbook Pro (worst name ever, maybe?). So we’re finally going to have decent Apple laptops (and no I don’t count your Dell laptop running OSX an Apple laptop, OK?)… Now to wait for a 12’ version and we’ll see…
And best of all (it’s just so easy to make me a happy boy…) this morning I had a new firmware update for my iPod which got the smart playlists working again (self-updating, that is). Yay!
Oh and I finally got a few minutes to launch and try out a few features of Adobe’s Lightroom. Man, it rocks! Mind you, I haven’t tried Apple’s Aperture yet, but however good it might be, Lightroom is looking pretty much like the best thing to have come by since sliced bread as far as my digital photography workflow is concerned. You can tell it is still a Beta but already I’d use it everyday without a second thought… If it only ran on my G3 laptop… Yeah, I know, I’ll really have to upgrade. Just not this year, this is a bad baad year for that. <sigh>
Just got my iBook back from the shop today.
Yep, the previous logic board substitution solved the problems I had but gave me a whole set of new ones.
Still I have to commend Interlog (again) for letting me keep my Mac while the new logic board was en-route (which only took 2 days this time around) and then replacing it from 18h00 one day to 9h30 the next day.
Way to go, really!
Now I just hope this board is actually fully working…
I can stop holding my breath.
One month on the nose (OK, OK, 2 days more than a month) after my iBook went to the shop with a defective motherboard (logicboard in Apple talk) I got it back. Hurra!
And I also have it’s little brother, the Mac Mini I ordered a few weeks ago.
I was notified yesterday that the Mac Mini had arrived and was waiting for me, and I decided that once I was there anyway I should ask about the iBook (after all I was informed it would take an abnormal 2-3 weeks at this time of the year, not that I believed it anyway, of course).
Well lo and behold, to my amazement they just handed it over and said they finished up assembling it last evening and were going to call me today to let me know. What perfect timing! Of course it was a good think I did ask for it, otherwise I’d have probably just arrive in the office from getting the Mac Mini only to receive a call saying I could go and collect the iBook… :-)
Since my bandwidth at home is rather limited I unpacked the Mini here at the office in order to get it all updated and synchronized. The first thing that comes to mind after these initial 30 minutes with it is (unusually, I suspect) quiet! Indeed, I want this box to replace an oldish Intel tower I have at home acting as my home server, not because of the size of it but more because of the damned noise it makes! The Mini I couldn’t even hear it in the office at lunch time. Now I know it does make some noise and it will be apparent in the silence of my home office, but the current server feels more like a plane taking off than anything else, so this will be a nice improvement to the home environment!
I’ll transfer my home sites into the little Mini, I’ll make it fetch my podcasts and vlogs all day long and I’ll probably run my bit torrent clients there. This way I can shut the iMac down when I’m not actually using it. Also having another Mac in the home network is great for playing around with the Xgrid. I don’t have much use for it right this moment, but I suspect Final Cut will make it worthwhile soon enough.
Today I was having a conversation with Vasco over lunch and we brushed on the subject of his having to free up some space on his iBook prior to going away on vacation with some friends. You see, he is the closest one to a geek on that particular group (not that he is much of a geek per-se, but you know what I mean) and he will be the only one carrying a laptop, so he just knows he will end up downloading all the photos from every digital machine every day into his computer and, as always, space is at a premium.
Now, as I said, he isn’t all that geeky and therefore he doesn’t have the multi-layered backup strategy I have with my media and all he wants is to be able to take some photos out of iPhoto, but be able to load them in and view them at a later time, while retaining names, comments, tags and so on.
At lunch I though up a way to do this which, while not overly complicated is way too much trouble and, of course, it turns out there is a better way of doing it.
What I thought about was that he could create another Library (you know you can hold down the option key while iPhoto is starting up and you can create and choose new libraries don’t you? ;) ), move the pictures he wants out of the way into that library, being careful to keep it below the available space on the selected medium of backup, and then just transfer that library onto the medium. This is probably a CD we are talking about here.
It works, it keeps all the information available but it is also over-work.
I mulled this over in my head during the afternoon and it just didn’t feel right that you had to do something like this on an Apple product. It felt weird… So I decided to investigate and, lo and behold, there is in fact a better way, which was right under my nose all this time!
You just make a album with the photos you want to take out of the computer, go to the “share” menu and select “Burn Disc”. Put in a CD (or, I assume, a DVD) and there you go. Everything is transfered into it.
When you later put the disc in your computer it automagically runs iPhoto and you get a new source alongside your albums with everything that is on the disc. Cool, huh?
The downside, of course, is that the disc has the structure that iPhoto knows about so if you want to get those files on another computer you have to dig in the directory structure and look for them, but then you have the originals untouched, the edited pictures and all the information about the photos on a (hopefully) open enough XML-based data file (have to check this one out to be sure).
I knew there had to be a better way of doing it. It was just a feeling, but there had to be “the Apple way” of doing it. And for the casual user it is, of course, way better. Nice job!
Update: Aparently I spoke too soon… It seems that this procedure doesn’t keep the tags you assigned to your images when you move them to the CD, even if you keep the tags in iPhoto. I don’t know about the descriptions or comments. I thought it kept the tags because it appeared to do so for me, but the only tag my test pictures had on them was ‘RAW’ and it seems that it is an automatic one so it doesn’t count for the test.
I don’t know if “surreal” is actually the best word to describe this, but if it’s not, then it must be very close indeed…
This evening when I turned on my iMac G5 at home up popped the Software Update window with a new update I hadn’t seen all day on my iBook.
In fact the update is iMac G5 specific and the title is “iMag G5 Sleep Light Update”.
That intrigued me, but it was a specific iMac G5 update so of course I went on and installed it but before, as always, I read the description. And I just couldn’t believe my eyes…
The update, then, makes the sleep light on the iMac go fainter in the evening, while maintaining the usual brightness during daytime.
Yes, that’s right, I’ll repeat that: the little pulsating “I’m alive but sleeping” light will pulse as brightly as ever during the day but will be softer in the evening.
Sometimes Apple just cracks me up! It almost (but not quite) makes up for the nightmarish distribution problems they have around here. (Not quite, no, I’m about to give up on buying my Mac Mini, after almost 5 months’ wait for one with a memory upgrade. Grrr!).
So, surreal is not that far off, is it?
Phew! What a ride I’ve been on since late last week!
After struggling to get something done on Flickr-Tools late last week I’ve then had a rather full weekend. First, on saturday, there was the wedding of one of my brothers-in-law, then there was the show we put on for the end of the dance-school year (32 years old and I’m doing this kind of stuff… And I’m in the lowest half of participants, age-wise). After the show I went back to the wedding so the day was a rush. Then on sunday there was a second running of the show… Busy, busy, busy!
But I digress, the main point of this post is to talk about my experiences with desktop video editing. So anyway, I’ve been flirting with this particular media format for a while now, but never got around to doing anything tangible on the actual video front and kept myself pretty much to slide-show type stuff (for a very loose definition of slideshow that is). So following the advice of people who know their stuff (even if the advice was given for a slightly different field but hey, good practices are universal anyway) I’ve decided that this weekend’s shows were the perfect opportunity to get myself some hands-on experience in the area by means of an assignment. So I just took my parents’ miniDV camera with me to the backstage and told everyone I’d make a DVD of the whole event for them (committing to yourself is just fine, but it helps to commit to others also) ;-). Now I’ve had my father record the show itself on saturday, another person recorded the whole event (our show and all the others) on sunday and then I shot my own footage backstage.
So now I had footage of the show itself (two instances of our own show and one of the whole event), some 20 minutes of footage of our group, a few pictures taken saturday on the backstage and some other pictures taken a while ago on our last exam. Sounded good so I decided to go with that.
People who know me and/or follow this weblog know I’m a Mac user for some time so, naturally, I decided to use iLife tools for this particular job. I didn’t want to go with fancy stuff and it’s steeper learning curve so I opted for the basics —iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes and iDVD. Oh, and I also had to use Garage Band for a little sound editing. It was way overkill for what I wanted, but it was just sitting there and I had never used it, so it sounded like a good opportunity to just fire it up and see if I would be able to use it for the first time and get it over with in under 5 minutes. It’s Apple software. So I was.
The experience was a pretty good one. Even using nothing but what comes pre-installed on a new Mac I achieved some pretty amazing results (given the time, effort and talent available, of course). So following are some thoughts, notes and just general ideas about using the iLife suite to create a truly home-video style DVD. This information will eventually be ported to the wiki, but since I want to revamp it in a major way it just sits here in the weblog until I come for it.
And now, without further ado and in no particular order, some notes and thoughts on iLife ‘04-based desktop video editing:
These are some of the main points I gathered from three nights of precious little sleep but much fun editing my footage. Take everything I said above with a very large grain of salt. I usually know what I want to achieve before trying to materialize it and in this case I have no clue how to get there, so I just try to coax the software into doing what I want. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Other times I give up, let Apple take me by the hand and I’m pleasantly surprised. A few times (luckily very few of them) I just can’t do what I want and hit some twisted bug, misfeature or just a plain limitation of the software. When it is a bug or misfeature it is annoying but I can live with it. When it is a limitation, well, this programs are pretty basic stuff and the goal is for your granny to be able to use them, so it doesn’t bother me in the least. If I come to a point where I think I am able/want to take the heat I’ll step into the kitchen and get Final Cut or some-such. Until then I’m perfectly happy with my “basic consumer” stuff.
I may be adding things to the above list until I make a wiki page out of it. Or, then again, maybe not.
Two and a half months later, the replacement parts for my defective iMac finally arrived.
From what I was told when I asked about the repair, only the disk, memory and outer shell are the same. Instead of replacing just the problem part (which I am assuming is something like the video inverter) they replaced almost the whole computer —motherboard, display, CPU— the works!
The good news is that so far I haven’t spotted a single dead pixel (always good to check for those with extreme care) and the screen is now legible with the brightness set to half the scale. It was getting to the point where full brightness was too dark even at night so this is a welcome change.
It also felt like the boot-up was much faster, but it might just be that I am hallucinating this due to being really tired and happy that the screen is so bright and pretty…
The next few weeks will be nail-biting as I wait for the screen to become darker and darker, like when I first got the iMac… Hope it doesn’t happen!
What I didn’t have time to do was to run the full hardware test on it. I have this thing about making sure that everything is really OK and I ran the test on the previous computer, but since this is mostly a new incarnation of it I will have to run them again. Of course with the memory I have installed running the full tests will take around two hours and last time it set off the fan at full blast for the full duration of the tests. Given the hour and my being dead-tired and the noise that the fan makes, I think I’ll leave it for the weekend when I’m out running all the million errands I have to run.
Time for bed now.
The photo organization is almost done. I still have to tag and date the old photos that where digitized from negatives (some from my wedding and also a lot of them from the USA coast-to-coast road trip, just to name a few examples) and this will take a while, since I’ll have to extrapolate from other (digital) photos and some other bits and pieces of information. But this is a mere detail and the big organization is effectively done.
And this leaves me with just one other major re-organization to do: the music files.
Now this I was leaving behind because, being the meticulous kind of freak I am, I know that once I start it I will not be able to sleep well until this task is done, and done properly. And this means not only grouping albums and ordering the songs in them, but also collecting all the cover art I can from the Internet and digitizing those which I cannot find on-online. And also, of course, filling the gaps left on some albums from the less than ideal approach I’ve taken so far to archiving. I will also have to finally go through the “assorted” folder and all its little sub-folders and choose what I’ll keep, what I’ll throw away and organize what will be kept. A lot of work, then.
But this weekend I just had to start it. And that’s because I’ve apparently been a “good boy” (tm) this year and so on my birthday my wife got me an iPod Photo. So now I have all of my 10.000+ pictures in it and also about 5.000+ songs in it. But I want to have all the songs in there, and I want them well organized. That is why I couldn’t put it off any longer. A double edged-sword of a gift the iPod… ;-)
This morning I arrived in the office to my newly arrived copy of “the Zen of CSS design”.
A good omen indeed.
So then, inspired by this sign from above, I decided to finally take the plunge and I’ve ordered myself a Mac mini.
The only thing that’s really bothering me is that between the iMac and now the Mac mini and their memory upgrade needs, I’ll end up with three spare 256MB DIMMs in my hands.
As much as I love technology for it’s own sake (yes, I know it shows), I love it even more when you use it in real world situations and it just fits.
Case in point: last evening we (at our home) and another couple (at theirs) needed to talk in order to discuss some strategy and business. There where four of us on two homes, each home has an ADSL connection (from different providers, by the way) and has a NAT setup.
We had a iBook on each side and I had my USB webcam (with the required software installed) connected to the iBook.
All it took was for us to fire up iChat, start the (one way) video conf and we spent an hour just chatting as if we where all there. If the other party had a webcam it would have been better but hey… ;-)
So in effect it is voice conferencing in a totally convenient way, you just put the iBook down and talk away.
What a great technology. What a great use for it.
The roles on this relationship are, unfortunately, quite well defined. It goes like this: Europe loves Apple’s products and hates it’s policy towards Europe. Apple must surely love Europe’s money but hates having to work at it’s distribution there.
So how do we have in Portugal? Well, it’s bad. Real bad. And it’s been like that for ever. When I first bought my iBook roughly a year and a half ago I had to get it from a friend who had connections and could find me one. I couldn’t get it with optional components and had to get them separately. But even getting things like an airport card and a portuguese keyboard were quite an adventure.
Needless to say that when new models came out and people around me tried to get them it was also a painful process to watch.
After a year and a half you’d expect things to be gradually improving. After all we now have an Apple store in Europe so Apple must be trying to do the right thing… You would expect.
And maybe they are but definitely not at an acceptable rate. Not by a long shot.
After some wait, and again with a big stroke of luck, I was able to get ahold of a 20’ iMac G5 recently. I had to wait a while but in the end I got it in what passes in Portugal for a very timely fashion (read: I didn’t have to wait 7 or 8 months for it). The problem is that my iMac has a hardware defect and since there are no iMacs for sale in this country I can’t trade it for a good one. So I’m stuck waiting with a faulty computer on my hands or with no computer at all. Great choice, huh? I’ll get back to you on this when I actually start trying to deal with it, I haven’t had the heart to do it yet.
But this was for a standard hardware configuration. All the wait, all the hundreds of backorders are for standard hardware configurations. Because when you come to built to order computers you add injury to insult and have to deal with the type of thing that Rui is dealing with right now.
Ridiculous doesn’t even begin to describe Apple’s way of treating Europe in general and Portugal in particular.
So Cupertino, can we please, PLEASE! give you our money?