* Posts by aellath

10 posts • joined 24 Apr 2007

Boffins chomp noggin-nobbling narcotics


Ritalin to stay *awake*??

Hope it works that way for them -- all it did for me was put me to sleep. The higher the dose, the sleepier i got.

stimulant? Ha!

(same for dex . . .but worse!)

Apple MacBook Air Early 2008


i ended up getting one to replace iBook G4

and it's great. i'm a tech pro and college student; my laptop goes with me everywhere (along with, unfortunately, a bleeding *tome* of a calculus text and accompanying binder) and i'm not gentle with it. i try to be, but i forget. The iBook (4 years old) has lived all 4 years like this, including falling off bicycles onto asphalt, dropped from 4 feet when i tripped over a dog in the hallway, and, of course, being pulled numerous times off tables and chairs when i tripped over the power cord. It needed the hard drive replaced *once* (after the dog incident), but the motherboard replaced a couple times (the notorious iBook whacked display problem). In fact, that's what finally killed it: it's out of AppleCare and my attempts to shim and solder the IC in question only worked for a bit.

i'm not rich -- far from it -- but we decided that a replacement laptop for me was more important than other expenses we have coming up, since i use it every day and need it for school and work.

Since i am certified with Apple, i perused their internal tech documents about all three model-lines. i got a chance to test the MBA and a MB in noon sunlight and in the middle of a forecourt lawn for display and wireless capability. i put them both into my backpack in place of my iBook and tested the weight of them with my typical load.

i did also examine specs and price, but i'm not a gamer or multimedia person, but a beginning programmer and web coder, so pretty much anything would've been acceptable after the iBook -- which worked perfectly for me for years. i never felt its age before it actually failed.

Style, i don't care about. Otherwise i'd've found a way to replace the iBook last year, instead of making it last as long as possible.

After an hour in an Apple store, i went ahead and financed a MBA.

It's been perfect in the month since i got it. i never have wireless trouble; it switches networks effortlessly (like Macs do, unlike the Windows laptops i've had to deal with), the display is perfect and the weight is like losing a couple pounds out of that backpack. And the slimness means that the pack doesn't strain when i close it anymore and i can fit my lunch in finally.

Best of all, AppleWorks still works perfectly under OS 10.5, so i don't have to buy Pages! ;)

i never miss the ports. All i ever used was a USB double-button mouse for WoW and some light graphics work, and it fits and works fine.

A hard-core gamer or heavy multimedia producer wouldn't like this unit. But for one who is neither, but does program and does often have ten or more apps open at once, and carries the laptop around everywhere, it's perfect. i'm even not minding the fixed battery, since i haven't been able to hot-swap batteries since the Duo anyway. If i can plug in long enough to swap batteries without shutting down, why not just stay plugged in and recharge? The battery lasts long enough for it to go through a day at work (it's not constantly used, just regularly) and an evening at school -- and often, the bus ride between.

i *have* used Windows (Lenovo) laptops. i've used them for work, where i had to carry them around to test wireless at various schools. They were a pain in the patookus, because they'd almost invariable bluescreen when awoken in a zone different than when they went to sleep. i took to carrying my iBook as well (talk about a heavy bag!), because *it* could sleep and wake in different zones without batting a cycle. If the wireless were up and running, it would just attach and keep working as if nothing happened. The Windows laptops would BSOD or complain about IP numbers if it did manage to reattach to the new zone; i'd have to quit any network apps and restart them. The iBook i could leave all my apps open and they would just pick up where they left off.

So please, whilst i admit i never even considered a Windows laptop for the replacement, don't accuse me of a blind Mac-worship. i *have* and do work on both sides.

It was the MacBook Air sub-notebook



"@aellath - TLDR. u f4!L"

i can parse the second half, but what the heck does TLDR mean??

Some power users still have a respect for language and don't muck about with leet-speak. Honestly, when i see it wherever it looks like illiteracy to me.


Think about the target market!

Okay, yes, i'm a die-hard Mac fan, although i work exclusively on Lenovo and Windows. i'm also a person that *never* runs out to buy the newest and greatest anything; i want those idiots to be the introductory testers and i'll go get it after they've shaken it out. ('swhy i haven't upgraded to 10.5 yet!)

However. i'm currently on an iBook G4 that is a couple years *out of AppleCare* (thus, about five years old). It does what i need it: email & web, WP, financial, games (including WoW), developers' tools, and Adobe CS, especially Photoshop. It's been majorly repaired only once or twice. In five years. And i'm not exactly gentle; i do things like trip over a big dog on the floor whilst carrying the iBook in one hand (running) and something in the other . . . swing around with the thing plugged in at the extent of the cable . . . walk away from a desk carrying whilst it's plugged in . . . carry it in a backpack that i then sling around and drop on floors . . .

The point with this sub-notebook is portability. *Not* digital video editing, *not* major league graphics work. It's a notebook aimed at people who move around, for work *or for school*.

The thinness of it is actually quite a good feature, not just for sexy good looks like intimated above. As thin as it is, i'll be able to carry it *and* these huge tomes of hardback textbooks that seem to be de rigeur for college now. It's great for a college student! Most campuses (in the US, anyway) don't let you onto their network with your personal computer, anyway, so a wired port is useless there. But it's got a full-sized keyboard, great for taking class notes on. Since apparently a lot of students hang out in coffee shops and those seem to have wireless access (i don't go to coffee shops, so i don't know), don't need a wired port there, either.

For travellers, the thinness of it means it will fit in carryon with even more room to spare.

My home is both wired and wireless; my workplace (which is a school district larger than Rhode Island; not, i think, a 'mickey-mouse outfit') is wired and wireless -- i haven't had to use a patch cable with my iBook in forever. 'Fact, i forget that i would need it in someplaces, and open up to check email before i realise that connectivity isn't there. Even my weekend job, for which there is only one computer (the POS), has wireless access so if i need to do some database work there i can just connect right up.

If wired capability *is* needed, get the dongle when you buy the notebook.

As for durability -- have you taken a look at what Apple's iBooks, old and new, have had to go through when in the hands of the target audience? We have schools still using the original coloured iBooks in lab carts and classrooms, and they run just as well as new for what the students need. *What the students need*, mind you; if it's a graphics arts class or something, they aren't going to be on laptops, anyway. i've seen these things run over, slung around by the handle and across the rooms, dropped off tables . . . and keep running. (i am also a repair tech; not just Apple, but IBM and Dell, too.) Maybe the display cracked when it went under the tyres . . . maybe not. Had one seriously stomped on that still worked save for a crack across the display.

i really don't think that Apple would put out such a thin notebook, aimed for students and travel, that wasn't durable. (Unfortunately, it's too expensive for a public school district to add to the approved lineup.)

The sealed battery also tips me off that it's for travel. My iBook has been suddenly powered down a number of times by the battery-latch getting caught on something and popping the battery out, or (lately) simply being loose in the battery compartment and being jiggled hard. Told you it was old! 8) With a sealed battery, a traveller doesn't need to worry about losing power, and schools don't need to worry about curious kids fiddling with them. As a power user, *i* personally find it annoying, because i like being able to swap a drained battery for a full one, but i can at least take a different view and see how it *is* useful.

A lack of FireWire makes sense -- from this viewpoint. Kids aren't going to need FireWire access; they'll get what they need from USB drives or servers. Since i don't travel in my job, i don't know how prevalent FireWire is for the travelling businessperson, but the only time i use it is when i need to mount the iBook as an external drive on something. *That* happens only when the thing doesn't boot by itself. This is a great feature, something i dearly miss on the Lenovos i have to work on, and i find myself wondering if Apple has just dismissed it from this model, or replaced it with another way of mounting the notebook as a Target Disk.

i hardly ever use the CD drive in my iBook. Only when i need to load an app. And since the MacBook Air can utilise any other Mac's *or Windows station's* optical drive over ethernet, no problem. If you need more optical availability than that, then get the external drive (DVD *and* CD burner!), or a different MacBook more suited to your needs.

Personally, i can't see the payoff in paying hundreds extra for a SSD that's 20GB smaller than the HD, nor can i see paying double for that *and* just ~.2 increase in GHz. But the SSD *is* attractive for the shock-resistance! i just can't lose that 20GB (i have a lot of audiobooks!). But the base configuration will still do what i need -- and probably

i *am* disappointed with Apple's continued lack of a second mouse button. It took me a while to get used to having one, and i do find it convenient not to have to use two hands to get the ctrl-click menu.

The default configuration will most certainly be able to run WP, Photoshop, browser, Illustrator, JGrasp, Mail, TextWrangler, Preview (all with multiple files/windows open), a solitaire game, and copy files over the wireless all at once with no problem -- since that's what my iBook can do now. It'll probably even run WoW without having to have *all* other apps closed, though i'd still use an external mouse for that, which'll make it easier for me to pretend i'm not playing . . . ;) *And* it'll run Windows, which will be nice when i'm required to take that blasted VBasic class.

No, this new notebook is *not* the holy grail. But nor is it a pile of flop. It is a precisely focussed notebook, and does it well. Take it *out* of focus, and you may be disappointed. My husband wouldn't use it for his graphic design and artwork, but then he wouldn't expect it to do that. It *will*, though, work admirably as a display to show clients the work in progress, and be able to do minor alterations to it that may come up in consult.

Don't expect the world. You won't get it. Even Jobs can't do that.

(heh, and by the time i save up for it, they might have MkII out with more ports or a replaceable battery or . . ? Initial bugs ironed out, anyway!)


Oh, and...

...by the time i actually manage to save up, a MacTablet may have actually come out, which is what i *really* want!

Apple's Safari lacks bold vision


It's a BETA

So there will be oofs. What burns me are the full-on "complete" versions of MS software i have to run that still have oofs.

Besides -- when i view the Reg with Safari on XP, it looked fine -- better, in fact, because it didn't have those bleeding mid-article adverts!

Apple's Safari 3: a crashing experience for non-US users


No ads!

and boy! am i glad that those ads interspersed within the body of a page *don't show up* in Safari! i can finally read an entire article without those dogs staring at my every move.


Works great!

i've no problems yet -- but i'm not mixing and matching languages, either. i'm giddy that i finally get to use a browser that *works* on this *blinking* workstation. For all Firefox's vaunted superiority over IE, i found it so slow i was going barmy, even on XP.

Irish kids' literacy hit by txts


Appropriateness of 'voice'

i know it's driving ME batty that there are more and more posts/comments/whatever in discussions and fora that read like someone who either cannot spell or can't be bothered to try. i can see that extreme abbreviation of words for SMS, and TDD (where it started), but doing it in a place where you don't have space issues is just lazy. i'm about to start skipping any post that uses that slang, just like i did/do for l33t speak.

High level Night Elf druid saves PC gaming


They forgot to count...

...those of us who used to subscribe to WoW but had to stop and don't dare re-up because we know it'll suck up our lives again!

Since i never went for power-levelling, but for roleplaying and trying out different variations of characters and personalities, i never got bored. What helped was that i'm not an expert on fighting, so i often died. ;)

As a rule i prefer logic and one-person games (i loved 7th Guest!), but someone gave me WoW for a gift and addicted me hard. The one complaint i had was that there were scenarios only available to groups/teams, and solos couldn't do those.

i really doubt consoles will ever replace full computers for gaming. i like being able to pause, flip a window and check email, etc., and resume without having to get up and go to a different machine.

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