Tags: macbook




Playing a gig is tiring. There’s the actual playing on stage—which can get pretty sweaty—but it’s the hauling of amps and instruments that inevitably means that a gig night is a late night. So after playing a Salter Cane concert on Friday night, I had a nice long lie-in on Saturday.

When I did finally emerge, I slothfully sat with my iBook, casting a casual eye over the Web via Twitter, Flickr and all my habitual haunts. At five minutes to midday, I glanced at my mobile phone and saw that I had missed a call. In no particular hurry, I listened back to my voice mail.

The message was from Robert Harding, the authorised Apple service provider who was replacing the hard drive in my borked Macbook. The message said that my laptop was ready but I’d need to pick it up before noon. That was just five minutes away!

I quickly called him back and asked if he could stay open a little longer. It turns out that he normally doesn’t even work on a Saturday but he had gone the extra mile to get this done and he really needed to be somewhere else soon… but he would hang on until ten past twelve.

I’ve never dressed so fast in my life. While I was donning some clothing, Jessica called a taxi for me. I ran downstairs and began counting the seconds until the cab came ‘round the corner. It showed up, I hopped in, and away we went.

I made it. Just. While the taxi waited outside, I ran in and grabbed my Macbook, thanked Robert Harding profusely—he gets a thumbs-up from Jane and Richard too—and took the same cab back home.

Now I had my Macbook back with a brand new hard drive. Thus began a long day of file transfers, downloads, SVN checkouts and cabalistic command-line push-ups involving Apache, PHP and MySQL. I’ve just about managed to restore the machine back to the state it was in before its meltdown.

And not a moment too soon: in a few minutes I’ll be heading to the airport to grab a flight to New York where I’ll spend the week giving workshops and consulting with Time Warner. I had more or less resigned myself to bringing the iBook but, assuming that this machine stays fixed, the extra power of the Macbook will come in handy.

Expect numerous clichéd tourist photos in my Flickr stream.

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.


Among the many design fads prevelant in the trendiest designs (rounded corners, drop shadows and gradients, bloody gradients), there’s been a movement toward upside-down reflections of anything that can stand up: books, words, pictures, the kitchen sink.

I’m not 100% sure where this trend started but I know I’ve seen it on the Apple site for quite some time. It’s certainly present in their Front Row software. I suspect that they may have started the whole reflection design meme. I also suspect that this was a fiendish long-term plan of theirs.

See, I think they wanted us to associate reflective surfaces with feelings of coolness and trendiness. Why?

So that they could release the otherwise lovely MacBook laptops with shiny, reflective glass screens. “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!”