Tags: ibook

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Ticked off with Apple

When I got my new Macbook just over two months ago, I was somewhat wary of how it would compare to the workhorse of an iBook that I’d had for so long. I’m not necessarily saying that Intel chips are inherently shit but I had heard enough horror stories from friends to make me think that a good ol’ G4 was a geek’s best friend.

Pretty soon though, I got used to the Macbook’s speed and power and I quickly learned to live its quirky reflective screen. Before long, it became my main machine.

How premature of me! Last night the Macbook started making regular ticking noises. A loud click is emitted every second. I tried shutting down the laptop and was confronted with the spinning beachball of death so I held down the power button to force a shutdown.

After letting it cool off for a while, I tried starting up the Macbook. The ticking resumed immediately. And now, instead of booting into OS X, I get the dreaded flashing question mark folder. PRAM zapped. System Management Controller reset. All to no avail.

I’ll probably have to send the laptop away to get repaired. But I really can’t afford to be without a laptop—I’ve got a trip to New York coming up next week that involves two days of workshops. So I dug out my old iBook and—touch wood—it seems to be working okay. No freezes or kernel panics yet. Sure, the iBook feels a bit slow and claustrophobic compared to the Macbook but at least it isn’t constructed made of shoddy hardware.

I have a lemon that’s less than three months old. Tomorrow I’ll begin the long hold’n’explain with the Corkonian support staff. I hope they’ll deal with this situation lickety-split. I’m not happy about this.

It could be worse though. At least I’ve only got a couple of months of photos and music to lose. Over at The Onion, you can see ongoing coverage of Webcrash 2007:

Although the Internet did restart, all data had been lost. At an emergency press conference, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow revealed that the goverment does not have a back of the internet but had “always meant to get around to making one.”

The good book

I’ve had a white iBook literally since the day they were first released. By today’s standards my first iBook was a primitive G3 affair. Since then I’ve upgraded to more powerful models but I’ve always had an iBook and I’ve always been more than happy the sturdiness and portability.

My last iBook is a few years old now and it’s beginning to show signs of laptop dementia. Intermittent freezing and kernel panics are telling me that it’s time to put the ol’ white thing out to pasture.

In the past I would have simply invested in a new iBook. That’s not an option anymore, more’s the pity. So I got myself a Macbook (well, technically it’s a Clearleft purchase but you know what I mean).

This looks like being a great machine—I’m certainly going to enjoy the larger hard drive, bigger screen and extra RAM—but I can’t help but feel a twinge of sadness for the passing of the iBook era. Me and my little white Turing machines have been through a lot together; travelling to foreign climes and joining faraway networks.

Now it’s time to break in my pristine new Macbook. I’d better start collecting some sticker schwag. Flickr, Technorati, Creative Commons… if you guys want to some free advertising, just send some sticky love my way.

I’ve spent the last couple of days migrating all my data and operating system foibles over to the new laptop. Soon I’ll take it with me on the road and find out how it holds up.

The Macbook didn’t show up in time for a workshop I did in Rochdale last week so I borrowed Jessica’s iBook instead but I’ll giving the new Macbook its first field test at an Ajax seminar in Dublin next week. It’ll get a good workout this month when I lug it to Paris for XTech and San Francisco for @media (and maybe I’ll make it to Copenhagen for Reboot).

I’m sure it’ll feel weird at first, like wearing a new pair of shoes, but by the end of this month I hope to form a bond with my new portable computing device.

Opera in London

I’ve just come offstage, having spoken at the Opera Backstage event in Leicester Square in London.

I was very pleased to be asked to speak. I decided to do a really pretentious over-the-top talk, which I hastily prepared on the train the day before. Forgoing slides, I settled on using the same JavaScript teleprompter that I used at Reboot.

The best laid plans of mice and men…

In between walking from my seat to the stage, my iBook died. It just shut down and wouldn’t start up again. I was left standing on stage with no slides, no script, nothing. It was like that dream where you show up for school without your pants.

“Screw it”, I thought. I decided to wing it. I think I managed to recall most of what I was going to say. It was mostly about science-fiction and Irish poets.

Now I’m done talking, my laptop is behaving just fine. Typical.

I’ve posted the script of what I was planning to say — which is, more or less, what I ended up saying — over in the articles section.

That syncing feeling

Since I started working at the Clearleft office, I’ve been using a lovely new 20 inch Intel iMac. That’s great… but it means that I now use three different machines; I have my 17 inch G4 iMac at home and my 12 inch G4 iBook for when I’m on the move. I decided that I really needed to centralise all my data.

The first step was a no-brainer: start using IMAP instead of POP for my email. This is something I should have done a long time ago but I’ve just been putting it off. I’ve got six different email accounts so I knew it would be a bit of chore.

After a few false starts and wrong turns, I got everything up and running on all three computers. Unfortunately somewhere along the way I lost a couple of emails from the last day or two.

Which reminds me…

If you’re the person who sent me an email about doing a pre-Reboot podcast interview (or if anyone else out there knows who I’m talking about), please write to me again — I lost your email but I’d love to have a chat.

Anyway…

With my email all set up, that left contacts and calendars. I looked into contact syncing services like Plaxo but I wasn’t all that impressed by what I saw (and tales of address book spamming really put me off). In the end, I decided to drink the Apple koolaid and get a .Mac account. I doubt I’ll make use of any of the other services on offer (I certainly don’t plan to send any electronic postcards… sheesh!) but I think it’ll be worth it just for the Address Book and iCal syncing. As an added bonus, I can also sync my Transmit favourites — a feature I didn’t know about.

I am surprised by one thing that isn’t synchronised through .Mac. There’s no option to centralise the podcasts I’m subscribed to. That still seems to be based around the model of one computer and one iPod. I would have thought it would be pretty easy to just keep an OPML file on a server somewhere and point iTunes at that to keep podcasts in sync but this doesn’t seem to be something that’s built in by default. No doubt somebody somewhere has built a plug-in to do this. If not, I guess somebody somewhere soon will.

Apart from that, I’m all set. I’m relying on Apple to store my data and my hosting provider to store my emails, but I somehow feel more secure than if I was just hoarding everything locally. I feel a bit less tied down and a bit more footloose and fancy free.