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Computer related commentary.

Friday, 3 March, 2006

I have not much to say about the new Apple products this week. Here it is:

  1. The ipod case which is not unlike a 69 cent vinyl pouch you could get from Office Depot, except it’s leather and $99. Why bother?
  2. Dramatically upgraded Mac minis: It’s about @^$#ing time.
    • 4-5x faster chips, finally. I guess if you’re going to upgrade you may as well go nuts.
    • Still with the slow disks, with the faster system the lag can only be more significant.
    • A up-to-date video subsystem with shared memory which is getting mixed reviews from its use in consumer-grade Intel Windows boxes. I’m assuming for hoi polloi it’s just fine.
    • The implication that this machine is a ready built HTPC, but not quite ready for prime time as one has to run through a few hoops to connect it to an NTSC TV and it isn’t quite ready for an ATSC TV.
    • The new system requires paired memory, so the fact that you now have two memory slots is not relevant.
  3. The ipod Hi-Fi. I like the retro name, but it’s awkward, ass ugly and similar items are available from other vendors for less. It’s a bad idea. They could have/should have made a similar, existing product available through the Apple Store … oh, yes, they already do.
  4. I’m still waiting for the product that will bring in the hackers [old definition].
    • A Shuttle-XPC-like box which is available in the $350-400 range
    • which features a USB 2.0 multimedia-card reader which may be placed in a 3.5″ bay or used externally
    • place for at least two 3.5″, SATA 3.0/Gbs, raidable disks
    • four rows for paired memory
    • two externally available 5.25″ for common IDE or SATA optical drives
    • a modern video subsystem on-board with “Apple Approved” PCI-E 16x video cards available (perhaps ATI only)
    • two PCI slots with “Apple Approved” cards available, think video tuners, analog video input, etc.
    • Ample 1394, USB, 10/100/1000 networking, and all that crap you would expect and
    • a regular licensed version of OS X
  5. I’m still waiting for the $300 linux desktop for people who neither wish to subscribe to Symantec et al or play games, and I don’t know why Apple isn’t exploiting this market with a ridiculously cheap minioid machine.

In other news I’m thinking of getting a computer. I don’t know whether to wait for the Mac market to settle down and the next generation of Intel iMacs, or just go ahead and build something with the OS I’m thinking about. For giggles, try the realistic build I’ve compiled or the monster build which is totally out of the question but fun to think about.

Notes on the realistic build:

  • The case is well regarded, well ventilated and looks like a refugee from 1992. The object here is to get a reasonably-priced case which avoids the LED-light/bling syndrome.
  • The two 300 GB disks are intended to be RAID 0‘d together.
  • I have a source for old case badges which read “Pentium II”, “AMD K5”, &c. I intend to acquire one of these in order to disguise the true nature of the machine as an anti-theft measure. Well, it’s kinda fun, too.
  • Only the media reader would give it away, and even then only to the reasonably informed.
  • The components have been selected with a compromise between performance and relative silence in mind. The assembly would involve silicone grommets of a kind available at the hardware store, with an interest in isolating the moving parts from the chassis.

You see, if I could do more things without leaving the house I’d have quite a life. Anybody have any tips about how I could make a living right here? I’m actually asking not just being a smart ass.


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