new mbp

So, this arrived:


I was looking into getting a new computer around christmas but lost my nerve and saw the available units disappear in front of my eyes. I had a gut feeling that 01-March means a refresh and I was right. What am I talking about? A refurbished machine of course. There are lots of advantages of getting a refurbished mac, because it comes with a new casing, new serial number, possibly new battery, and is inspected and covered under warranty just like a new machine. All at an approx 15% discount.

The only con is, I can’t think of one. The model I chose was a June 2017 13″ mbp with 16GB RAM and 512GB HD. There was one with 1TB HD but significantly more expensive. Do I need that much hard disk space when I can plug in an external HD anytime? Absolutely not.

The only concession I made is that this is a Core i5 machine, not i7. I suppose I can wait another 3 months to see if they have an i7 16GB RAM 512GB HD but why wait. For what I’ll be using it, the bump in processor speed isn’t significant. Plus, I’ve been using my trusty 2010 mba with 4GB RAM and I manage both photoshop and imovies on it, albeit not at the same time. The new mbp will be fine.

The current batch of mb, mba and mbp isn’t perfect, and definitely has some flaws that made me think very hard and long before committing. This is the other reason I didn’t get the top of the line model. Like what businessinsider said, I may not want to future-proof this purchase so much because a few years down the line, my perfect mbp or whatever model they have then will be introduced, and I want to have no guilt or remorse when I upgrade.


Anyway, the new mbp arrived just after lunch and I’ve been transferring everything from the mba to it. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to buy a usb-usbc cable so the transfer went over wifi at the lightning-fast speed of 5MB/s. It’s all good, because everything transferred, including passwords, settings and even the trash.

What I like: much faster, and since I’m not using an obsolete machine I can use things like the dropbox folder, whatsapp desktop, airdrop and see flash content on, gasp, firefox quantum. The keys have a good snap, and I’ve missed the keyboard backlight. I’m meh on the touchbar, so far all I’ve used it for is to adjust brightness and volume.

What I don’t like: only usb-c ports so I’ll be forced to buy adapters. I’m very disappointed at apple for this. At the corner of my desk I have 2 iphones and an ipad charging, and I can’t plug any of them to the mbp out of the box. What happened to the “It Just Works” mantra that we grew up with?

random tech news

A few tech related stuff spotted recently.


This post about old floppy disks from sixcolors wasn’t as interesting as I thought initially. Jason Snell talks about all the various floppy disks he’d had over the years, from the 5.25″ floppies he used in his Apple IIe (talk about an early adoptor!) and how he managed to image these disks and somehow get the data off them, albeit as txt files. There’s a lot of words that seem to simply go over my head, for instance when he started talking about DOS3.3, I was confused, wasn’t he using an Apple II? Anyway, the good news is he recovered files as well as records of old BBS entries. The upshot:

It turns out the journey, through old computers and transfer cables and disk images, was the true reward. Nobody needs to see the term papers they wrote in high school 30 years after the fact.

The reason this post caught my eye was the pic of all those old floppy disks. I threw out all my disks last time I moved, and now only have some cd-roms, which will go in the bin next time I have a clearout. I saw an old zip drive plus some zip disks on mm’s bookshelf one time, mainly because she hasn’t had multiple moves and she said she doesn’t even remember what they are. Strange to see them still on sale, even though they’ve evolved to being connected via usb nowadays. Hmm, I still have firewire cables.

A handy listing of keyboard shortcuts, ranked by importance. Although I don’t necessarily agree with the ranking. I don’t use cmd-z or emd-y that much, but cmd-x, -c, and -v are definitely essential. I can’t remember the last time I used the Edit menu for copy paste. I’ve been using cmd-tab a lot more, although when I first starting using it lots I would accidentally hit cmd-q, which is NOT GOOD.

Others like cmd-o for open, cmd-n for new, cmd-s for save and cmd-t for new tab are good ones to remember. One that isn’t on the list that I use all day is cmd-w to close current tab. I’m not the type of user who has dozens of tabs open, probably 4-5 at most. A new one I learned is cmd-h to hide the current window which is so much cleaner than minimising.

The two keyboard shortcuts for screenshot is great too: cmd-shift-3 for whole screen and cmd-shift-4 to select the area to screenshot.

Another one they don’t list that is extremely important to excel users is cmd-shift-arrow to select the whole column or row. Imagine having a spreadsheet of 500 rows of data and wanting to select it all, dragging the cursor all the way is not effective.

And finally, at long last apple is revamping the ibooks app, and it’ll simply be called books. There’s been no update for ages and ages, new features apparently:

include a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read and a redesigned digital book store

plus a tab for audiobooks.


Good news, and provides some competition for kindle. eBook sales through amazon has gone from 74% market share in 2015 to 83% in 2017. Apple will really need to up their game though, because there’s a lot to catch up both in terms of competing against kindle readers and the selection in the app store. I sometimes check out books in the itunes store and the selection is pretty dismal. It shouldn’t be hard for them to get more ebooks, since their focus is selling iphones and ipads rather than content so they can well afford to have ebooks selling at lower prices than at amazon.

I think I’m the rare reader who’s resisted buying kindle books and stubbornly keeping to epub all these years. I hope the updated app is better and they don’t over-engineer it. My wishlist is pretty simple, I’d like to have folders to organise my ebooks rather than just one flat library. And the ability to sort books in a series in the right order will be awesome.

new router


One of the errands last week was to go to the internet company and ask about better wifi. The long and short of it is, we have a new router. It’s supposed to give us better range. The technician moved it to the living room and I’m able to get 2 bars wifi in my room. It also means there’s wifi in the living and dining rooms.

Unfortunately he disconnected the cable for the tv and I don’t have a LAN cable long enough. The whole setup is now back on my desk so we can watch tv. I’ll have to go get a longer cable then start again with everything outside.

Our building is old and the infrastructure simply isn’t there to get better internet. The cables from the street are limited and there are no spare outlets to use the home wiring system. The 8Mbps speed is the max we can get; speedtest pings give me 6Mbps. We can’t even opt for HD channels because it’ll take up too much bandwidth. Sigh.

which big tech to drop first


NYT asked which of the 5 tech giants would we drop.

If an evil monarch forced you to choose, in what order would you give up these inescapable giants of tech?

My choices are in a different order than a typical American, I suppose. Here’s my order, with explanations:

  1. amazon — I order from amazon once a year, when I go to the US. I’m not a prime member, I don’t read using a kindle, I have no intention of getting an echo and I don’t use any of the services owned by amazon like goodreads, audible, zappos. So it’s a no-brainer to drop amazon first
  2. microsoft — the NYT warns that dropping microsoft means no windows and I’m like, I don’t care. Not having ms office is a pain but there are alternatives. I skype with Carleen almost weekly, but we can switch to another service
  3. facebook — not because of facebook itself but because of whatsapp and, to a certain extent, instagram. Whatsapp is how almost everyone in my RL communicate with each other, so we’ll have to switch to something like line–and have to educate mum
  4. alphabet — obviously losing google, google maps and gmail is a big deal so I’ll try to keep google products as long as I can, the alternatives aren’t up to scratch
  5. apple — on my desk within easy reach: mba, ipad, 2 iphones. It’s not just the hardware, it’s ibooks, which is how I read

Poor yahoo, not in the cool 5 club. Which is a saviour in this exercise, because it means I still have yahoo mail and flickr.

iphone screen crack


Normal office day. Project almost finished so I told B I’ll be in next week and then off for the rest of the month.

Ran a couple of errands before lunch. On the way to the post office I tripped on one step, fell and my iphone fell face first on the pavement. It had no chance. Argh!! So many cracks! It was barely held together by the screen protector. Luckily it seemed to be working fine. Was able to get a same day appointment at the genius bar. It’ll cost an arm and a leg to replace the screen.

This is when I’m super glad I have 2 iphones. Swapped the sim card into the spare one and I’m good to go. Couldn’t get LINE connected so switched to Whatsapp. Strange that Whatsapp is linked to the phone and the spare number rather than my regular number. I didn’t want to lose the data so I told all 4 people I normally communicated with (mum, sis, gis, mm) to use the spare number.

Thing with the spare iphone is that the battery behaves strangely. I was at 80% battery when it buzzed once and the screen went blank. Had to plug in the external battery and the red low battery icon came up. After a few minutes it started up again and was back to 80% battery. It doesn’t matter. It’s a spare phone and I have an external battery.

Logged into pokemon go on the spare phone and went to the park where there was an omanyte nest. Got enough to evolve, a good end to a day that could have been horrible.

printer needs new cartridge


Been using the printer more recently, lots of documents to photocopy and print.

Time to change the black cartridge. I bought some that isn’t HP branded, the colour ink ones work fine but the new black one–the printer refuses to use it. I tried cleaning the printer head but nope.

It’s either one of two known issues. Certain HP printers tend to suddenly stop printing black. But it’s more likely due to the chip: HP doing all they can to make people use their own cartridge.

When I replaced the non-branded one with the HP branded one, hey presto! Works again. Now I have a non-working but full ink cartridge, if only I can move the ink from one to the other.

The combined cost of getting one set of replacement cartridges is about the same price as a new printer. This is what printer manufacturers rely on, isn’t. It’s a known closed garden tactic.

external hard disk

All of a sudden the mba stopped recognising the external hard disk. The connection had been loose for a while: I had to fiddle with the cable but I thought I’d be all right for a while.

I took it to the computer repair shop. The lady there was very efficient, she took one look and gave it to one of the technicians to test. If it’s just the power supply / casing, then they will change it for me. If the hard disk itself is corrupted, then it’s a lot more expensive to recover data. Overall more expensive than I thought. Changing the casing is local $500 (USD65), data recovery starts at local $2000 (USD250). And recovery isn’t guaranteed.

The hard disk itself didn’t sound like it’s corrupted so at the back of my mind, it needs a new power supply. Confirmed by the technician, who took it out of the casing and was able to read it on one of their macs.

Now the question was, do I pay for a new casing or abandon the drive? Is the data inside very important? Arguable. With one exception, original files are easily accessed elsewhere:

  • personal documents, letters: backup from mba
  • photos: mba and flickr
  • writing & design: that’s the bulk of the most important stuff, already in mba and backed up in dropbox, google docs and flashdrive
  • ebook purchases: mba, dropbox and obviously ipad
  • website: worst case scenario can restore from ISP, they take backups every 12 or 24hrs
  • travel notes and expenses: backup from mba, recent notes in evernote

The only files that aren’t in the mba and not backed up anywhere else are itunes files. I have over 10,000 songs, plus some videos and podcasts. I’m not worried about videos and podcasts, it’s the music that is the issue. Like most early ipod owners the music library was initially built by ripping CDs. I have about 90% of those CDs but can’t imagine ripping them again, especially since I’ll either have to use the old mbp or buy an external DVD drive. Later music were from limewire (hangs head) then amazon or legitimate free sites like noisetrade.

Anyway, tl;dr: too much effort to rebuild music library. So I opted to pay for the casing.


I went and got another external hard disk immediately afterwards. The ironic thing is, a new 1TB drive cost 20% less than a new casing for the old drive. Spent a few hours copying files back and forth. Now I have a backup and a backup of the backup.

I May Need To Upgrade Soon


I bought the mba in 2010, just before I left Chicago. By the time I fully switched over, the previous mbp was 4 years old. So the mba is 5 years old and I use it nearly every day. The apps are getting long in the tooth now, people send me xlsx, docx, pptx and I have to use openoffice to convert before I can use my office 2003. I use photoshop cs2, and other old software. I’m still on snow leopard.

Recently I’ve noticed it to be struggling in some tasks. Firefox gobbles huge amount of memory and the fan goes crazy. If I have to temporarily reinstall flash for whatever reasons the fan goes supercrazy. Things came to a head over the weekend when I had to run a webex meeting. It’s another service, not webex, but similar. I simply could not get the meeting controls to work, it kept teling me I had to pick an application to open the controls, then it crashes. Digging through the help documentation, I found out that the minimum requirement is 10.7, although to use all functionalities I need 10.8 or newer.

So annoyed. I had to borrow mm’s mbp, albeit at 10.7 it’s only marginally newer. She was working in the uni library and wasn’t getting home till 8pm and I had to get home by 9pm. It was a rush, to meet up with her, test the mbp briefly and I had to get a taxi home. Expensive way of running that meeting.

The seeds of thought are germinating. Sooner or later all computers become obsolete. Possibly time to start thinking about replacing the mba. Another mba or the macbook. I’d love to get the mbp, it’ll be great for speed and power but too heavy. May be by next summer, see what 2016 refreshes are like.




It finally happened. The touchscreen on the iphone, or rather the left hand corner of the touchscreen, stopped working. I can’t type the letters e, s and merely touching a gives me a bunch of letters in the vicinity. Apps kept opening by themselves. The keypad doesn’t register, so at times I can’t unlock the phone. I left it overnight and it worked for about 1 minute before going haywire again.

It’s time to get a new iphone. I wasn’t planning on getting it this cycle, was hoping for another year or two. C’est la vie. I guess 4 years of constant use, being dropped multiple times and exposure to the elements are factors that led to the failure.

Debated between 6 or 6 plus. The 6 plus was too big to fit comfortably in pockets so 6 it is. I’m struck by the comparison in size between the 4 and 6.

Went to the messy computer mall to get screen protector and case. App and data transfer was easy, just restored from icloud. For some reason the camera roll didn’t transfer so I took the opportunity to clean it up by selectively restoring from dropbox. Spent 3 hours on software update though, a combination of slow internet and slow itunes.

iphone freak out


Excuse me while I have a fit. I was getting my haircut and happily exchanging stickers with mm when the iphone started acting stupid. Apps kept opening, I couldn’t bring up the keyboard and when I did, I couldn’t type. At one point, the keypad wasn’t working so I wasn’t even able to unlock the phone. I’d press one number but it either didn’t register or it’d register as 1. All in all, a complete mess.

I do not need this just a few days before the trip. I went to the phone shop and was this close to getting a new phone. The customer service person said may be it’s the screen protector. I took it off and it seemed to behave for a little bit. Will test for a couple of days.

spare day, get electronics


Our flight is 1am tomorrow, so there’s a whole day of waiting. Nothing much to do except eat up all the food in the fridge, watch tv and read. My mouse failed, the optical sensor has gone haywire. Couldn’t be bothered to find out what’s wrong, it’s easier just to get a new one. 5 years is pretty good for a mouse.

While I was at it, I got an external HD for mum because she lost her old one. I don’t know how anyone can lose a hard drive, especially since she never took it outside. Nevermind. Hard drives are so affordable now, I got her a 1TB one, I doubt she’ll ever need that much space.

And now back to waiting for time to have dinner, shower, do the laundry and leave for the airport.

us sim mobile broadband


Trying to look for a way to stay connected whilst I’m in the US, both for the cruise and for the con later. There will be voice roaming on the ship but I’m not paying $69 for 100mins internet, especially since shipboard internet is notorious for being slow. It’s mainly for when we’re ashore, driving and at Seattle and Vancouver but mostly it’s for the trip to Chicago and Portland.

I’m not worried about voice, roaming isn’t expensive, calls are short and people will only call in an emergency. It’s getting wifi while on the go. In almost any major city in the world, it should be possible to walk into a telco store and buy a iphone-ready sim and a pre-paid data plan of some sort. The one potentially problematic country, Japan which isn’t on the GSM network, proved to be no problem at all because of the widespread usage of pocket wifi.

Oh, the biggest exception to this case is the US. I’ve come to the conclusion, as several have commented, that there is no such thing as a cheap, prepaid SIM in the US. There are 2 HUGE stumbling blocks: a) half the country isn’t compatible with the rest of the world, with Verizon and Spring on the CDMA network; b) AT&T, which is on GSM and the primary network provider as far as iphones are concerned, doesn’t like prepaid plans and, like most things US, doesn’t care about non-locals.

A bit of digging around shows that AT&T has a prepaid service called GoPhone that works out to be around $50-60 per month for 1GB data. The setup sounds very complicated and there are reports that they may refuse to sell the SIM for iphones, partly because of legacy monopoly issues and partly because they really want you to buy one of their phones.
There are AT&T powered companies like H2O, black, readysim, straighttalk that sell SIMs online, sometimes at stores like Best Buy, Walmart and supposedly can deliver to hotels. Cost is the same as official AT&T so I’m not sure what the difference is. The other GSM carrier is T-mobile, which also has a prepaid data plan costing around the same.

So $50-60 a month average. That’s steep. They are all phone oriented and not really user friendly. One other option is mobile broadband. There’s some good comparisons. After the initial cost of the hotspot, usage is generally cheaper. And several devices can be used. Seems like a lot of people use Virgin’s plan currently at $25 a month for 1.5GB. The device runs from $70 to $99.

The conclusion is, I’m still undecided. For the cruise I’ll probably just rely on whatever wifi I can catch and for the con, there’s time to research further.

#2: new ipad


Task #2 in 101 in 1001 is to get a new idevice. Originally I thought it’d be an iphone 6 or later, seeing that my iphone is 3 years old. Then my kindle stopped charging. Nothing wrong with the battery, I just wasn’t able to get the pin to connect to the jack, something inside seems to have shifted and no amount of wriggling or even turning the device upside down could get the parts to click together. It seems to be a common problem with many complaints and a repair that involves taking it apart and soldering the jack to the motherboard.

I could claim that the kindle problem is an excuse, but it isn’t really. I was always going to get an ipad mini, it was just a matter of time and which generation. I was gonna get it at Christmas but never got round to it. Now this is supposed to be an early birthday present from parents and sis. I paid for it myself, I’m sure they will reimburse me.

First order of business, make sure I have epub versions of my ebooks. I usually buy in epub format, even when I only had the kindle — I would just convert to azw in calibre. But it wasn’t as easy as just uploading the epubs into ibooks. I have to complain to publishers one of these days, there are 2 things I really hate that they do: a) what possess them to add tags to their books? If I want tags, I’ll add them myself. Plus having tags for “science fiction,” “sci-fi,” “sci fi,” “science fiction fantasy” and all the different permutations by different publishers is NOT helpful; and b) do they think I am stupid when they automatically give their books 5 stars?

The least said about the DRM on kindle books, the better. Hate. That’s why unfortunately I don’t have books by authors who are primarily only available at amazon.

The most time consuming part of setting up is to get the apps in. To stay consistent, the ipad has the same apps and the same layout as the iphone. There are a couple of apps that are iphone only, and of course there is no phone on the ipad. If there is an ipad version, I went through the trouble of downloading it.

So far, works like a dream. Reading is just as good, and it’s a lighter and thinner device so a plus. I have to start games from the beginning, which is a good thing, I like going back to level 1 on angry birds and making my way through the series.

iphone temptation

Last week we went to the apple store and got mm upgraded to the iphone 5s, from her iphone 3g. It’s really light and very sharp with the new case we found. My target upgrade is the iphone 6 or 6s, perhaps even 7 if my iphone lasts that long. The reason for waiting is I want to get an ipad mini first, and I’m not one of those recent apple converts who need to own every idevice.

That is, until I start spotting cool things and apps that are only compatible with iphone 5 or 5s.

This lightstrap cover is a new kickstarter project, and is basically a flash built into the case. A bit expensive though, and I don’t understand why the lower donation amount gives earlier access to the product.


Like many people this Christmas, I’m on the hunt for an activity tracker, and was thinking of getting either a fitbit or a fuelband. The fitbits and newest fuelband sync through bluetooth, which requires iphone 4s, sigh. And the nike+ moves app, which doesn’t even need a band, needs the iphone 5s’ M7 processor.

Argh! May be I’ll just go to the sports store and get an old fashioned pedometer for the time being and stop thinking about iphone 5s stuff.

nano day 4 | new printer


3549 words | 16409 words total

Most of the afternoon was spent looking for and buying a printer. After speaking with the salesperson and getting information about how much ink cartridges cost, eventually I got an HP 5520 over an HP Envy 4500. Seems that over time the running costs are lower, we’ll see. Around US$110, but with credit card points and a supermarket voucher gift, the actual amount spent was around $85. I did have to spend over 2 hrs setting it up. Had to download the drivers and work with Mum’s slow internet. Repeat for her laptop. Stupid HP, installation was easier on Mum’s windows machine and there are still glitches when scanning to my mba.

What with Monday night being a busy TV night (Deadliest Catch, TAR and there used to be MKR), I tried to fit in nano whenever I can. Happy with the wordcount today.

I should add titles to my chapters, corresponding to where they are in terms of house building. If chapter 3 was the first meeting between the MCs, then chapter 4 is tearing out the defective floor frame and starting fresh. Things are going pretty well with the house, but the MCs haven’t moved beyond the sort of awkward formality of people who have just met.

will i buy the ipad mini


Will I buy the ipad mini?

Please rephrase.

When will I buy the ipad mini?

Thought so.

Unless someone offers it to me for Christmas, I’ll save it for a special occasion. What special occasion? Not sure yet, I’ll leave it open for my own discretion.

I’ve had the kindle for a while now, and it’s been completely indispensable. I take it everywhere, but I don’t use it except for reading and games as I haven’t put many apps on it. Paid for angry birds (for the 3rd time, that’s an issue) but all other apps are free. An ipad mini will be even more perfect, if apple gets the multiple device app purchase issue sorted out.

ipad 2 vs macbook air


I’m probably getting an ipad 2 next time I’m in the US. I gave my ipad to my niece and sometimes I miss it. I use the mba mostly at home but I think that it will more likely bridge the gap between the mba and the iphone. There’s a really interesting article from Business Insider on The Atlantic about how people really use the ipad. Usage has increased; almost 40% of respondents use it as their primary computer and over 70% use it to read books. Perhaps the one chart that I will use as justification is that over 70% of people think that ipads and macbook airs are not mutually exclusive.

macbook air


I spent the weekend setting up the macbook air, which I bought in Chicago and only unboxed this week. Unfortunately migration assistant didn’t work, and after spending hours and hours trying to fix it, I had to go with the more traditional manual method of backing up and restoring from an external hard disk. The one advantage here is that I can pick and choose which application to transfer over, so it’s like starting over again.

The painful part out of the way, I set about downloading firefox, adium and the rest. For the most part I could copy the existing setups and bookmarks from the library. Documents were straightforward to copy across, including Calibre e-books and the iphoto library; my itunes library is always on the external disk. Updating software took forever, not because of the machines but because of the pitiful virgin wifi speed.

The most obvious difference between the 2 macbooks is size. Compared with the thin, thin Air, the Pro looks like a Biggest Loser contestant. The 13” screen is smaller, but at the same resolution and way sharper so it doesn’t take me long to adapt. Do I want a bigger screen? Sure, but not at the expense of size. If I wanted a bigger screen, I would have stuck with the Pro. The keyboard will take some getting used to, it takes more energy to type, and each keystroke is accompanied by a click that isn’t so easy for touchtyping. This is my biggest complaint, plus that it isn’t a backlit keyboard.

It’s fast. Booted up by the time the apple logo came on at the Pro. Applications opened quickly, the finder navigation is an improvement.

Overall, I’m really liking it. It feels great and outperforms the Pro. It was time to get a new mac, and I think going with the Air was a good decision. For good measure, I updated both iphones so the new iphone4 is now fully functional.

iphone 4


I blame the American practice of locking phones. It’s so alien and moronic and all the other words for stupid. My iphone has been stuck in airplane mode since December, and I’ve been using my blackberry. I worked out the costs. If I get an iphone 4 in HK, even with a plan that I’ll only use once or twice a year, it’s still cheaper to get it and then get a SIM only plan in the UK.

So that’s my new toy. Not synced yet cos I didn’t bring my external drive. Not bothered, I downloaded cover orange, it’ll tide me over till next week.



Signed up for sky bundle package — tv, internet and phone. Phone was mandatory for the broadband service I wanted, so there was no choice. I may not even plug the phone in. The choice was between sky, virgin, BT or getting the services separately. Virgin tv isn’t in the area yet so it was natural to get sky.

This is the one service that is comparable to chicago in terms of price. The whole package will cost me £62.50 a month, compared with around $100 for RCN without phone.

macbook hotair


There was a rumour that the macbook air might get refreshed this week, citing a source that was reliable in the past. And that the refresh may come as early as Tuesday. Well, Tuesday has come and gone and no announcement. Sigh. It seems more likely that any refresh will be later this year. According to ars, who spoke with intel,

low-power Arrandale-class processors “for the ultra-thin segment” are coming later this summer

I am very tempted to get an mba in addition to a new mbp (may be even an ipad) this year. Walking around London for 4hrs with the mbp, the e-reader, adaptors, wires and 3 books in my backpack was good training, but I can do weights at home and an mba would have made it feel less like hiking expedition. Big apple year this may end up being.

i touched an ipad

We were at best buy and I couldn’t help it. Played with an ipad for a bit. Yep, it’s just like a larger ipod touch. It’s still a bit too large for my liking. It can’t fit into my back pocket like the iphone, and it’s kinda too big and heavy to carry around. My maximum size tolerance is the ereader and it’s bigger.

Way cool though. No doubt I’ll get one eventually.

Will it blend? Looks like it does. I watched this with horror.

there is no backend database

Three days of workday training complete. Lots of information to absorb. Very hands-on training. I was forever playing with the training system and doing exercises a step ahead. Heehee. The most important takeaways:

  • unlearn everything about past systems
  • challenge status quo and ingrained bias
  • keep it simple
  • everything is an object, there is no backend setup database
  • tenants
  • it all comes down to clear planning and knowing how to configure
  • supervisory org rules
  • use the search bar



Why I will buy it:

  • so pretty
  • just touch it
  • easy to use
  • better than b&w e-readers
  • apps!!
  • I can see it replacing the netbook
  • pretty, pretty, pretty

Why I won’t buy it (yet):

  • can’t multi-task
  • no flash
  • no webcam or camera
  • no usb, not even an sd card slot
  • adaptor isn’t magsafe, ie need yet another power supply set
  • additional 3G cost — unless there’s a bundle for iphone+ipad
  • it’s just a larger iphone / ipod touch, can’t take the place of the mbp
  • price will drop

google nexus one

don’t get me wrong, I’m forever an apple fanboi, but omg is the google nexus one fantastic or not? I’m so tempted to get one because: a) it gets full 3G support in US, UK, HK and Singapore — my 3 primary locations are all there; b) it fully integrates google voice!!! c) android is bringing serious competition to apple but mostly d) I have 4 sim cards but only 3 phones, this is the perfect opportunity (excuse) to correct that anomaly.

no mbp

i shut down the mbp this morning with a guilty twinge — i’m gonna be without it till next sunday — a good 10 days. I’m going away on holiday, then to the conference. I’m taking the netbook. A fb friend, upon reading my dilemma tweet (mbp or wind?) put it aptly — that it will be an experiment to see if I’m compatible with netbook computing. I think I am, but ask me again in 3, 5, 7, 10 days.

msi wind u100

new toys! netbook taken on iphone

This is an important pic for 2 reasons: a) it’s my second new toy this week and b) it was taken on my iphone. Yep, i succumbed to the temptation and got myself a netbook. It was basically as simple as Car emailing me a Tigerdirect link and me saying go ahead. MSI Winds had been leading contenders in any case. I didn’t end up getting the u120 at the end, I got the u100 which is older but had more functionality like b/g/n wireless, bluetooth and faster upload speed. For just under $400 I get a 10” screen at 2.6lbs, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD, 3 usb ports, 4-in-1 card reader, neat. It even came with a case which is shiny plastic and kinda tacky and i won’t use it.

I’m writing this post on it, and typing is fine — I’d eliminated the Acer and the 9” Eees cos i was constantly making mistakes on the keyboard, this one is fine. I have my usual tabs open in firefox, and have been happily surfing on it.

I suffered through installing stuff on it — firefox and add-ons, itunes, mcafee, ccleaner, and bemoaned Window’s lack of userability when i found myself forgetting basic stuff. The ability to hackintosh was a deciding factor in the decision to go for the Wind. Will I end up making it dual boot? Probably, but i’m not in any hurry.

As to the second important event, this was the first pic taken with the iphone camera. I have to do a big shrug cos it’s pretty pedestrian, even for “just” a 3MP camera. It will be useful for taking disposable pics for twitter, that’s it. I can see myself embracing this new form of photography though. At the very least, expect even more food pics.

netbook mania

netbook osx

I hadn’t planned on having spare time this weekend, so I didn’t bring the mbp. gasp So when I find myself with spare time I naturally started missing it, or wishing I had a netbook. There does seem to be a huge netbook mania nowadays. I think there is a time and place for netbooks — as second computers for basic tasks only — but it seems that there’s already feature creep on these machines.

The majority of netbooks are Windows (mostly XP) and Linux. The nearest mac equivalent is the mba or the new 13” mbp. Both very attractive machines undoubtedly but not even I will want to spend $1200 or $1500 on a spare laptop. If I wanted a mac netbook I’d have to get a regular netbook and hackintosh it. I missed out the chance to get a hackintosh-perfect dell mini 9, even though I’m sure it’s available on ebay. I’m not saying I will necessarily hackintosh any netbook I get, but hackintoshability is one of the criteria. Luckily lots of people are also interested in this, and bb gadgets have been keeping track of the various netbooks in the market. So it looks like I’m getting the MSI Wind U120.

iPhone 3GS


I was following the liveblog of the WWDC keynote. Price reduction on mbp! Snow Leopard out in a few months! All very exciting. But of course everyone was waiting for iPhone news. That there’d be a 32GB model, compass, video, cut & paste, new OS…it’s all been leaked already. But it’s still nice to have it confirmed. Now the question is, how soon after 19 June can I wait?

mac netbook rumours

Seeing that there seems to be more, more, more and even more rumours of a mac netbook, I’ll hold off getting an mba this year. May be upgrade to the new mbp, but I still need a smaller machine.
ars talked about why apple will or will not bring out a netbook. There are cases for an apple netbook: it’s all the rage, and there’s too many rumours and “we’re not doing it” statements…and we all know about these statements. OTOH a netbook means stripped down functionality, which apple doesn’t go for. Besides, it’s arguable that the iphone is a good netbook-quality small computer already.

ipod nano


I just kinda decided, spur of the moment, to get an ipod nano. I’ll probably still end up getting the iphone, but the nano will be useful for travelling and running.

I got the 16GB black one (what else). Now that my iTunes library is over 50GB I have to be selective, so I spent this morning sorting songs and moving to a nano playlist for copying. It’s easy.

I also created a playlist for running: 60 favourite songs, rated at least 4 stars. And I did take it out running. And it did make the running easier and more enjoyable. Nice.

iPhone 3g

So, iPhone 3G is coming in June. Exciting.

Well, I’ve never been too bothered with 3G. It’s been available here for donkey’s years and I still only have a 2G phone. But what got me excited was this:

Apple will announce their new model at the WWDC Keynote on June 9th. The second-generation iPhone will be available worldwide right after the launch

Does it mean it’s no longer tied to a particular provider? That it’ll be available unlocked, like every other phone out there? If so then it is truly exciting news. I just have to remember not to be tempted and wait a couple months for the price to drop or a newer version to come out.

a couple of random links

Here’s a couple of links I’d saved during thing-a-day month.

how glasses affect your image — via digg, how adding glasses seriously affect how one is viewed.

Danish police don’t know no iMac — via boing boing, the police visited this blogger’s home accusing him of using a stolen credit card to buy stuff online. He explained he has an open wifi connection. That’s not the funny part.

We moved into my roommate’s room.
She has an original iMac.
“We have your roommate’s permission to confiscate her computer,” the Ichabod Crane one said.
“Whatever,” I said. They had already assured me that we would get our laptops back that afternoon, so I figured the damage had already been done. Ichabod started rooting around under her desk.
“Where’s the computer?” he said.
“On the desk. That’s the computer,” I said.
“No, the computer.”
“That’s the computer, dude.”
“That’s the screen.” He had lapsed into the voice you use when you explain to your 6-year-old cousin how the toaster works. “I mean the compuuuuuter. Understand?”
“Dude. That’s the whole computer. Right there. The blue object the size of an armadillo.”
“No. Where the daaaaata goes. The computer part.”
“That is the computer. For Hell!” Danish swear words aren’t as satisfying.
“So that’s the entire computer, right there?”
I was standing there with a look on my face like I was watching a dog walk on its hind legs.
“New technology, huh?” he said.

Remember, the original iMac came out in 1999.

macbook air lust

Look. Aside from the one post with four screengrabs of last week’s Stevenote have I said a word about the macbook air? No. I have been very restrained. I’ve gobbled up every review I can find, and I exchanged emails with tues about it … no wonder since we were early mbp adopters. But have I gone all geek about it? Hardly. A small mention, yes.


I’d be deluding myself if I said I needed it. It would make travelling better, since my backpack tends to get heavy with mbp, wires, camera and book. Taking thickness and 2lbs from that certainly helps. The problem is the lack of ethernet port since the hotels I visit, though 5-star standard, doesn’t seem to be too “in” with technology and are mostly still on ethernet. Or actually, they want us to pay the $19.95 a day internet connection charge cos they’re conning us. It’s disheartening to read that:

While most midprice and extended stay properties include Internet access as part of the overall rate, most upscale properties still charge extra for the service.

But I digress. I’m talking about the mba and why so many people (or may be just the techie bloggers I read?) are waiting, waiting for the mba to come out. So how to deal with gadget envy? The choices are stark: a) resist, with difficulty or b) give in. lifehacker readers suggest everything from getting married to mooch off geekier friends, though the consensus is practical — analyse need vs want; and don’t impulse buy using money you don’t have.

Now that I’ve established I don’t need the mba; and I don’t have money issues, how can I be spared the gadget lust? My saving grace will likely be — I’m lazy and a homebody. It may take me ages to actually get myself to the shop to check it out. By that time I would have read more reviews, the price could have come down and Apple could be adding more features to the product. I got kinda burnt getting a early mbp with the battery and heat problems, so if I get a mba it’ll be a 1.1 or 1.2 version.

One of the suggestions was to use the girlfriend factor. If she gives “The Look” it means the wallet stays in the pocket. Heh, may be that might work.

another ode to iphone post

Some call it an about turn but mostly the reaction to Apple’s announcement that they will make available an SDK (software development kit) to be positive. The SDK will allow third party apps to be developed for both the iPhone and the iPod touch; it will be rolled out next February.

It sounds like this is the beginning of making both devices much more open. In a way this is like plug-ins for wordpress or photoshop. Third party apps will be developed no matter what Apple does — it’s inevitable given the tech focused user base. The hoopla about jailbreaking the iPhone is testament to this. Who wouldn’t want to more functionality?

ipod touch freed

Plus with the prospect of unlocked iPhones in France I’m more and more hopeful of getting an officially unlocked one eventually.

iPhone, iPhone

All the attention and big whoo hoo about the iPhone unlock mostly did the rounds in the tech side of the blogosphere. It’s ironic, that it didn’t hit the big time until the firmware upgrade to 1.1.1 bricked the phone. Heh, I wonder who coined the term “bricked” because it’s so appropriate and easily understandable.

Naturally the tech world reacted quickly, with instructions to unbrick appearing right away, to varying degrees of success. The latest? downgrade to 1.0.2. Oh dear.

In other parts of the world, iPhone will be carried by O2 in the UK, Orange in France and T-Mobile in Germany. What about the other European countries? Personally I am keen to see how it does in Scandinavia and how it comes up against Nokia.

When I try to explain the US model to my friends, inevitably I am met with expressions of disbelief and incredulity at the outdated and preposterous nature of it. Apple will have to think carefully about how they tackle Asia markets where:

  • there is intense competition between carriers
  • phones are not tied to carriers
  • there’s often no strict service contract
  • customers demand all the latest in technology (ie, it must be a bells and whistles 3g iPhone)
  • phones are commodities
  • copycats and parallel imports are a fact of life

I was tempted to get an iPhone in Chicago, but I’m glad I didn’t. I’m not a good enough hacker to be able to deal with the unlock and I don’t want to pay someone to tamper with it. Still, it’s hard to wait. May be I need to console myself with a lego iPhone for the time being.

lego iphone

ETA: via engadget: for this clever bit of advertising I might even stick with Nokia when the time comes.

nokia poster

print away, ahoy!

so at long last I bought a printer. It’s an Epson CX6900f — colour printer, scanner, copier and fax. Very fancy. Easy to set up, just install the drivers and follow instructions.

After I set it up the Epson way, I connected the USB cable between the printer and the Airport, restarted the printer (and Airport for good measure) and whoohoo, wireless printing. Can’t scan wirelessly of course.

The downside is, the installation screwed up my Photoshop. Probably something to do with the colour settings. I can use ImageReady but Photoshop crashes every time I open it. I’m long overdue for CS3 anyway, so I’ll see what alternatives there are.

omg! numeric keyboard

I changed mobile provider and while I was it I got a new phone. I mean, I love my 7280, it’s fancy, freaky and not many people (still) have it. But the battery is on its last legs and the phone has the annoying tendency of shutting down without warning, in the middle of a call. At the back of my mind I know that I’m waiting for the iPhone, so I didn’t want to get one that is too expensive. I decided on the nokia 6300 quickly. I don’t have that much patience when it comes to shopping. It’s nice — slim and easy to use and omg! numeric keyboard.



via bb, someone put a whole NeXT system on ebay. WOW. That brings back memories. 1996. My first job at ex-ex-company, I had a huge NeXT plus a regular monitor (the large ones, not the flatscreen ones we use nowadays) on my tiny desk — I was left with the equivalent of an A4 sheet of paper for writing space. It was a funny system, there was home and objects and it was slow but pretty. The trading floor used it, and there were in-house software written on it, so certain people had to have it. I just remember there were black NeXTs and white NeXTs — mine was black. In terms of computer history, I’d just gotten rid of my LC and was about to purchase the Performa 6200.


omg it’s another love of mac post

More mac love. I mean, any article that starts

I have right here in my hot little hands that actually aren’t all that little and are only slightly warm at the moment a brand new lick-ready smooth-as-love Apple MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo Super Orgasm Deluxe Ultrahard Modern Computing Device Designed by God Herself Somewhere in the Deep Moist Vulva of Cupertino Yes Yes Don’t Stop Oh My God Yes.

has to be quoted, copied and displayed proudly on my screen, right? (Emphasis mine.)

Is it another macgeek talking? Possibly. But this one is, Apple style. Ya gotta give them credit, them iPods and mbps and stuff do look good, no? Thing is, I’m beginning to not want too many of the masses catching onto our little good thing. Especially when overzealous geeks start doing things like creating proof-of-concept kernel panics for the sake of … what?

Probably not too helpful.

my cool mac

The mbp is hot, that’s a known issue. Recently, some enterprising folks have finally come up with a possible solution. It involves modifying the kernel extensions (.kext files) that control the speed and frequency of the internal fans. They even made available several applescripts for running the fans at different rpms. Wow.

As the author pointed out, no pretty GUIs, and the script needs to be run everytime the mbp is rebooted or comes out of sleep. But it’s not even an issue because, HELLO, no more hot wrists! I’ve been running it at 3,000 rpm and it’s markedly cooler, especially the area above the battery where my left hand usually rests. coreduetemp says 27°C. The bottom is still too hot to stay on a lap for long, but I’ve never gotten into the habit of using it on my lap — too soft and unstable.

There’s some talk about whether the increased speed (setting it at 3,000 means I have the fans running continuously at that speed) will wear out the fans. The default is 1,000 and it means they’re running all the time too. I really believe that the cooler temperature will benefit the entire computer. There’s no increase in noise level either.

Most people on the forums report theirs in the 40-60°C region. I’m sure that my new koolsink helps too. No, the mbp is never as cool as the pb1, but that’s like comparing apples with oranges.

There’s a second method which involves setting the minimum fan speed rather than a fixed speed. Looks interesting, I may try it out over the weekend.

ETA: coreduotemp now stays at the 39-41°C range, which makes better sense thn the 25-27°C that it claimed was the temp cos I definitely could feel the heat. I can feel the fan working, there’s a tiny breeze when I put my hand on top of the vent.