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archives
May
25

iPad 3, sorry I mean “The New iPad”

Finally received my new iPad, upgrading from the iPad 2. She’s pretty and white (originally ordered lack again but I had to “settle”). Is it worth upgrading from the iPad 2? Not for most people. That’s the plain and simple truth. It was a luxury I could afford because I found a buyer for my iPad2, I wanted to keep my iPad current in case of any interesting features coming to iOS 6 and to upgrade to a 32gb model. I’m still on wi-fi as I don’t really need 3G on the device.

My biggest complaint is that it is heavier than the iPad 2. That’s my only real gripe.. there are one or two apps that seem to be a bit unstable on the New iPad but otherwise it’s an iPad and it is pretty much the best electronic device I’ve ever used. The biggest selling feature touted by Apple is the screen. And have no doubt, it is impressive. However the change is not as drastically visible as between say an iPhone 3 and iPhone 4. That has a lot to do with the iPad 2 screen being pretty good to begin with. The more I use the device the more appreciative I am of the screen especially when reading text as for images and video, that depends a lot on the original’s quality as well as apps being optimised for the so called Retina display. Holding the device close to your eyes, it’s very difficult to make out the individual pixels that make up the screen, and going back to my 27″ iMac, makes the difference noticeable and makes me excited about the prospect of “retina” displays on desktops and laptops.

The camera is much better too, definitely a good selling point and probably will lead to more people holding their ipad up in streets to  frame a scene. The video produced is of excellent quality too, reaching HD quality. Obviously, the results suffer from low light conditions, lack of flash producing overly grainy results and are not a match for the iPhone 4s. Still pretty impressive results compared to the iPad2.

Performance is a mixed bag as it depends a lot on individual apps at the moment. The improved graphics pretty much eat away at any performance that this generation of iPad would have gained from the improved processor. So basically it’s as nippy or slow as the iPad 2. Browsing is great as is the whole experience, it’s well as the late Mr Jobs described the original iPad – Magical!.

This flying amphibian’s buying advice is… if you already have an iPad2, unless you want to keep up with the joneses, have a load of spare change, need a second or third iPad in your household or office, are buying your first iPad then it might not be for you. Otherwise why don’t you have an iPad?

 

 

 

Mar
22

Trying out the new kitty

I managed to somehow obtain a copy of the new kitty. This one’s meant to have quite a loud roar. Unfortunately as i’m all hdded out, and didn’t feel like spendin more moneuy on my puter at the mo… I went for plan c. I burnt the os dmg onto a dvd.. it fits – yay. Now, I couldn’t install it on my laptop cos my laptop drive isn’t the original hdd.. it was a recycled external drive and doesn’t have a guid partition table. That’s something the os requires to install apparently. Wonder how come the previous smaller, mountain cat managed. So what i’ve done is remove the hdd, plugged it into my desktop and am using some partitioning sw to create another partition which will then be reformatted using guid tables (hopefully) and then place back into the latop in order to install the big kitty.

Rawr.

Mar
18

Apple’s Virtualised Mac OS X & the iPad

In all of Apple’s success with their iDevices (iPad/iPod/Phone for the uninitiated), I feel that perhaps, one of their biggest flaws is often overlooked, which is in my oh most humble opinion, the fact that to enjoy an iDevice’s full functionality, you need tether it to a desktop OS running device (aka a computer). In fact in order to better manage your device and its contents you do need to use iTunes and what’s more, you can’t really use most of the devices without activating it through itunes.

This is especially so in the context of a future dominated by these devices as they are poised to take over from laptops as being the most successful Personal Computing device.

Now, imagine a virtualised OS X that you can access via the web or at least a virtualised iTtunes… an online repository where all your media is handled on powerful servers with data back up and recovery. This may still be some way off – maybe 3 to 5 years into the future but who knows?

And the reason why i reckon this is necessary? Well, we’re now supposed to be living in the post pc age – in the tablet era. However an iPad and an iPhone still have an umbilical chord tied with a pc – you can’t really use the iPad without a computer running iTunes.

If apple offered an online virtualised home folder, the first screen when i switch on a new idevice would be a page asking whether i want to connect to a computer or to the virtual host service. This would let me activate any iDevice I have, anywhere I have an internet connection. For example, I intend travelling to buy my iPad 2, but I’ll have to wait till i fly back home to get it started… ah well

As a side effect.. or “halo effect”, it will also bring more non mac users to an online mac experience – an online iTunes / mac system which can be a building block in apple’s attempts at establishing some sort of social network. Basically offering a cloud mac experience that could compete with google apps and maybe even take on Facebook.

Apr
25

State of Mac retail in Malta

Some exciting developments have taken place over the past couple of months in Malta when it comes to acquiring a new Mac. Whereas previously we had the monolithic BDS, then bought out by Gasan who merged it with another company to form SG Solutions being the only supplier of Macs and Apple products on the island, now we have Klikk becoming the second officially recognised retail partner.

SG have in the past tried to have their Macs sold through a network of local retailers but let’s say it wasn’t an inspired move. Also, in a move which surely has irked Klikk, Scan have started selling Macs too. However, there is no literature to indicate they are an official Mac distributor and where they source their stock from. Training staff for after sales is something very important and it’s all part of the renowned Mac experience, abroad at least! But one thing is for certain, wherever Scan are getting their Macs from (options are SG solutions or parallel importing), they sure know how to compete on price.

There was a time not too long ago where pricing a Mac Pro vis a vis the US price showed a rediculous price difference of some Lm300 – that’s almost €700 or the price of a flight to NYC. OK, it’s never fair to compare local prices with the US, comparisons with EU prices were still not at all favourable. When the Euro was introduced here comparisons were even easier. However, Mac prices were still quite more expensive. Now, thanks to Klikk and Scan competing with prices for all to see on their respective websites, I have finally seen a Mac with the identical sticker price as in another EU country.

Here’s the pricing of a Mac Book Pro:
SG Solutions €POA
Klikk €1,819.00
Scan  €1,799.00
Apple.com Ireland online store – €1,799.00

So there you have it – and the pricing follows similar patterns with Klikk’s prices between a few euro more expensive than Ireland and Scan’s being more or less the same. However, Klikk has more models in stock and more accessories. Both didn’t have Mac Pro pricing on their sites but right now I’d have to sell a kidney or two to afford one at the moment. They are an official partner so warranties and after sales should be better, hopefully time will tell. One very annoying thing about Klikk however, is that their site is almost completely unusable on Safari.

Mar
14

Buying a monitor’s tough in Malta!

This morning I visited three retailers in the search of a 20″ + lcd monitor to use with my macbook. My requirements were simple – it had to be over 20″ and under €250. Most 24″ – 26″ were out of my budget, I was therefore left with models between 20″ and 24″. I’m handing my g5 + 20″ apple ADC equipped lcd to my sister, so monitor size was a definite issue. I’m used to working on large displays – at work I have 2×19″ displays side by side and my ideal system would prolly be 2 x 26″ displays.

Now when I said my requirements were simple… I lied! I’m a geek and a designer, a monitor is extremely important to me. I didn’t want to buy online because I wanted to see it in person and I want to return it if I find a single dead pixel! My other main requirements were again simple – it had to be branded and it had to have a DVI connector. I was perhaps given about 6 models from the 3 retailers which matched all my requirements. All but one – they lacked DVI! One display attendant at Scan tried to convince me that all new monitors don’t even bother to include DVI and that there wasn’t any difference. Well in the past I’ve seen the difference and guess what… my macbook adaptor is DV fucking I. I have a VGA one too but that’s for my TV.

And why should new LCDs be equipped only with VGA 15pin D-sub connectors? It’s symptomatic of how the PC industry hangs on to legacy ports. Apple admittedly goes to the other extreme, killing off legacy ports completely and abruptly… But on my G5 which is 5 years old I have a DVI out and an ADC, on my 2 year Mac Pro at work I have 2 X dvis. Now I bought a PCIX graphics card for a work PC and it had three connectors – one DVI, one HDMI and lo and behold… a VGA connector.  Grow up PC world – cut out PS2, serial and VGA. It’s a wonder we have any advancements. Don’t get me wrong legacy connectors can be very useful but there is legacy and then there is antique. The only monitor I came across that matched my needs was some OEM brand and it was quite ugly to be honest. My mistake was not taking my laptop with me to ask for a proper test. The in shop multi monitor adaptor didn’t do any of the displays justice.

So I had to order online like I’ve done for my modems and hard drives. Let’s hope well.

Dec
11

super geekery… Upgrading a Macbook’s internal HDD!

One of the greatest benefits of having a macbook over a macbook pro was that the macbook was ironically rather easier to upgrade. The MacBook Pro might’ve had more expansion ports, but when it came to replacing the internal hard disk, the MacBook had the distinct advantage. Now, Apple has improved the MacBook Pro’s design, they too are easy to upgrade, apparently. I never intended my Macbook to become my main machine but as my G5 is about 5 years old and I’m waiting for Apple to release an affordable tower… I find myself with having to upgrade what was a very basic spec. 

The original specs of the machine were 2.0ghz, 1GB ram, 80gb hdd and a CDRW/DVD-Rom player. I already added 1GB, wasn’t too sure about adding another 1GB to bring the total to 3GB as it isn’t officially supported by Apple. I have since upgraded 2 iMacs at work to 3GB and the benefits of the extra GB were palpable. 

(more…)

Oct
15

ah finally – iphone is officially announced in malta!

A pre-registration page has appeared on the malta vodafone site. I don’t want the iPhone so bad as to pre register. I want to know what the price plans are and if it will be available prepaid. Ah well. I’m off to try and fix my stylesheet.