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User Journal

Journal: I never write.

Journal by sbuckhopper
So I know that I never write in this. I think that I've been lurking through my friends' journals long enough now.
Why write now? you ask...well I happen to be sitting here watching the worst movie I have ever seen before in my life. The movie is called Seamless. It isn't like any movie normal bad movie though, for some reason I can't just turn it off.

I think the only thing that I could say competes for being worse than that is New Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which I've watch...oh tonight as well! If you've never seen that one, I think the story line is okay...it should be, it was somewhat ripped off from the real Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon however this one make some of my home movie cinematography look like genious work. Oh and its in Cantonese. I think I could deal with one of the two, but not both. I could only manage to muster myself through half of that 4 hour movie before I turned it off.

That's alright though, I'm enjoying some Pear Palinka right now with the movies. Thanks very much to my good pal dgtlrift and his wife for bringing that along to me. I think I still need another three shots for it to count as a drunken journal entry though. At least it makes the movie more enjoyable.

Toodles.
The Almighty Buck

Journal: Consumer End Industry Woes 2

Journal by sbuckhopper
Eastman Kodak Company just announced 4500 to 6000 cuts by the end of the year in "administrative, staff, research and development, and consumer imaging." They need to reduce their budget by 300 million in order to keep doing business. This is the seventh quarter out of ten that Kodak has done some sort of layoff. Yet Dan Carp (CEO) continues to make 7.6 million a year. Notice also that Antonio Perez has an unreported salary (he is new to this position, so it isn't entirely unexpected).

However there are a large number of companies where the COO makes in the ballpark of the CEO (even half is a lot in this case), sometimes even a lot more, I really hope that it isn't the case here. Here are my references that made me say so: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

This is not just a remark of frustration over what the CEO is making, but it is also a mark of frustration over a company that had so many good things going for it and let them all get wasted.

I would have hoped that a better jist to this article would have been, lifetime Kodak employee Dan Carp see value in the company he works for and decides that a broad sweeping upper management paycut is needed. There will still need to be job cuts in the order of 2000 people worldwide, but Kodak has realized that one way to get through this slump and to get management to work for a better increase in profits and corporate momentum would be to cut the top heavey pay of these untouchable managers who know how to legally extort a company for more than they are worth.

I don't think that some of these top employees would think anything about telling the peons that they're not worth what they're getting paid.

Yes I realize that this is in some respects a childish rant, but I think that some of these things still needed to be pointed out.
Desktops (Apple)

Journal: Today is The Day

Journal by D_Fresh
The G4 Arrives Today!
Forgive me for getting over-excited about such a thing, but I've been waiting for 2+ years to get a new Mac, and now it's finally happening. And on top of that, it's arriving with a spanky-new OS that's significantly better than the previous version. I think I have reason to be excited.

Of course, the heavens are aligned against me because my family arrives tonight for a weekend visit. Which means that I won't have as much weekend time to play with the thing, and my wife will probably begrudge me the time spent even hooking it up today because we have "chores" to do and errands to run in preparation for The Visitation. Damn the electric fence.

Fortunately, I'm still jobless for at least a few more days, as the two, count 'em, two job offers I'm expecting shouldn't arrive before Tuesday morning or so. It's particularly gratifying after being unemployed for over 5 months (two of which were by choice, mind you) that I'm going to be the subject of a bidding war. Asid from a better salary, I'll be able to choose between two very attractive IT/Teaching positions at Boston-area private schools, each of which has its advantages. Tremendously rewarding feeling. Now we'll be able to refinance this horrendous mortgage and take advantage of the low, low rates going around right now, and save ourselves thousands of dollars over the long term while making thousands more in the short term. Sweet, sweet victory. I savor it. Like the new G4 I'll only be able to peer at for the next 48 hours.

Ahem. Yes. Sorry. I'll say one thing - FedEx Home Delivery is, how do you say, "da bomb"? They're a little-known branch of FedEx Ground, and they deliver to residential addresses six days a week and until 8 P.M. What a concept! Once we have a bit more savings I think I'll invest in FedEx stock. God knows we give them enough business. Then again, everything we've bought from Amazon.com comes via UPS - perhaps another purchase is in order. Call it a hedge, if you will. To think that there was a time (waaay back in 1998) that my wife was wary of buying anything off the Internet. Now I can't pry her away from the catalogy sites - she's no profligate spender, but between the Web and the nearby Wrentham Village Premium Outlets she's in bargain heaven. So am I, for that matter. :)

It's also fun to receive a Jaguar-loaded machine on the same day Jaguar is being officially released. I love being cutting edge, if only for the moment. Can't wait to use iCal and iSync, and to back stuff up on DVD-Rs and CD-RWs. Ah, the modern age is here at last. A few years late.

User Journal

Journal: G4 shipping, and comments on the Palm m130 situation

Journal by D_Fresh
At last, six days later, the new G4 has shipped. My excitement is growing, but of course my parents are coming this weekend and I have two, possibly three job interview this week, which will take me away from the house and potentially make me miss the delivery. And the FedEx guys, while polite, are about as dumb as a box of hair. I've tried more than once to get a form or something to sign so they'll just leave packages without signatures, and they always just look at me stupidly and say there's no form, but maybe they will next time. What happens when I'm working and no one's in the house during the day? Do we just have to pick up packages at the FedEx offices? That's beyond lame.

I just noticed that the "journal topic" drop down is populated differently depending upon which /. section you're in - since I'm somehow writing from within the ""Your Rights Online" bit, I don't have all the detailed Apple topics I usually do. That's fine with me - I talk too much about Apple anyhow.

I'm getting awfully sick of consumer whining, I have to say. From the .Mac subscription fees to this latest Palm m130 color screen blowup, it seems like people have a persecution complex when it comes to corporations. What happened to allowing people some slack for mistakes? I'm not saying that Palm should be allowed to get off scott-free - they should offer m130 buyers discounts, free stuff, apologies, etc. - but there was a time when customer loyalty meant backing off of a troubled company at times. Palm isn't exactly financially stable these days, and the people who bought an m130 chose a Palm product, so they must prefer the company over Handspring and Sony at some level. If you want Palm (or Apple, or any other company that's had a misstep lately) to survive and remain solvent, stop jumping down their throats for the least little infraction and demanding compensation. This smacks of entitlement, and it's not an attractive quality. I've been known to complain to companies before, and I've received some kind compensation every single time I've done so, but in every case my position was unambiguously correct. Griping about 58,000 colors rather than 65,000 colors on a PDA does not qualify, IMHO. It's just not egregious enough. I mean, they didn't actually charge for a full 16-bit screen, did they? m130 buyers got what they actually paid for, no? The fact that they didn't get exactly what they were expecting based on company claims is bad, but you have to consider the magnitude of the mistake.

That said, Palm has one more strike before they're out. This was a serious blow to their credibility, and I believe in forgiving but not forgetting. If I were an m130 customer I'd be miffed, but I'd survive and move on, warily. There are companies I'd recommend staying away from altogether (Jiffy Lube comes to mind, and never buy furniture from Eddie Bauer), but Palm is not one of them. Yet.

Technology (Apple)

Journal: More about "crippled' DDR in the new G4s

Journal by D_Fresh
Well, the G4 DDR debate rages on with the posting of this story on Apple.Slashdot.com. This is a Good Thing, because /. posters are some of the best-informed folks out there, and this comment helped clear up the issue the most for me. He says that although the processors are not able to take advantage of a DDR front-side bus, the rest of the system components - hard drive, graphics, PCI bus, etc. - will see speed increases when accessing system memory, and this in turn will lead to real-world performance increases for things like hard drive memory caching, GPU main memory usage, and so on. Definitely good news, and I look forward to non-CPU tasks being benchmarked on barefeats and other places. (I've emailed Tom's Hardware in the past lambasting them for ignoring the Macintosh hardware in favor of Intel and AMD platforms - it struck me as simply ludicrous that they called themselves a hardware site while neglecting to admit the existence of alternative platforms that are interesting simply because they offer a different design philosophy from the "mainstream" Wintel/AMD system architectures. No reply, of course.)

Everyone is saying that Apple is gearing up for more than just two processors in a system (see this comment by foobar104, who always has interesting insights), which is intriguing to me because it represents such a different direction from the way Intel and AMD seem to be headed. Obviously this isn't coincidental - Apple is trying desperately to reach parity, psychological or otherwise, with the faster clock speeds of the Pentium/Athlon competitors through a combination of multiple procs and an OS that takes full advantage of them - but it *does* raise interesting questions about the capabilities of an Apple system with 4+ processors vs. those of a single proc Wintel box. I'd like to think, knowing what little I do about pipelines and multi-threaded apps, that a multi-proc Mac would get better performance when running several applications at once, even if the applications' processes were simply segregated by processor and not symmetrically divided among all of them. (Pardon me for not speaking the language very well - some of the terms are still new to me.) But then I remember that the system bus, memory bandwidth, and so on are usually shared by the processors, and this can become a bottleneck for performance. Still, it's nice to think of G4 chips becoming cheap enough to pile several onto a single mobo, which in conjunction with OS X's SMP functionality could really speed up power-user tasks like audio or video production. (Beowulf cluster remark summarily deleted - ed.) Maybe Apple is following the NASA doctrine of "smaller, faster, cheaper" when it comes to processors - a concept altogether foreign to they-of-the-single-super-clockspeed-chip at Intel.

Enough rambling - I've got to get up and do something. My wife is working all day at the hospital, poor thing, and I'm jonesing for stuff to keep me occupied. Woe is me. :)

Apple

Journal: Encountering Apple bigotry

Journal by D_Fresh
Yesterday I had a job interview, and my interviewer said something that bugged me. She made a remark to the effect of, "Yes, some people insist on using Macs here, they have this religious devotion to them that I think is incredibly silly." Now, I can understand where evangelism rubs people the wrong way (and I try to keep my rhetoric to a dull roar in crowds of questionable "loyalty"), but her closed-mindedness was very irritating. She's clearly never used a Mac on a regular basis, so she's probably unaware that different OS's can affect a person's productivity and satisfaction more than a little. I'm never going to claim that a Mac is the solution for everyone, but if more people tried them out I think they'd realize that they've been struggling with their Windows machine a lot more than is necessary. I kept emphasizing at this interview that the computers shouldn't be the focal point of education - they should fade into the background and become appliances, like plumbing or electricity. I think IT types tend to enshrine the computers and make the technology central, because to them it is - but to the rest of the organization, especially in education, it's definitely not.

The good news was I found another person there, fairly high-profile, who is also a Mac fan. I think he could be a valuable ally if I get this position, because I definitely intend to introduce Macs as much as possible to those who show the willingness to switch. Heck, with Virtual PC they could be using all their old apps while still enjoying the stability and usability of OS X 10.2 - and if others see how easy the Mac experience is, and how the computers "just work," they might start asking for Macs as well. It's just a dream, but it's more likely to work in education than anywhere else, no?

I think that my wife is going to enjoy the new G4 because it will be so much zippier than the G3 we have now. In the past she's really objected when I switched to OS X on the G3, and I can't blame her - it's dog-slow on this CPU, and the stability gains do not outweigh the frustration of waiting several seconds for Finder operations to complete or windows to resize. I'm a bit concerned by the barefeats speed test that showed no speed improvements for the new dual-proc DDR boxen over the old dual-GHz models, and I'm hoping that somehow their benchmarks were skewed. If they weren't, I guess I still got dual processors for under $2500, which was impossible before, and OS X 10.2 for no additional charge. *Sigh*

User Journal

Journal: Unbelievable diamond discussion

Journal by D_Fresh
Holy shnikes, the story on the front page now about diamonds and whether they are worth their cost has gotten more comments on it than anything I've seen since Sept. 11th. Whoda thunkit? The general feeling of the /. crowd seems to be away from diamonds and toward alternative gems that a) are less expensive, and b) have less moral, political and commercial baggage associated with them. I was only vaguely aware of this, but apparently DeBeers has a stranglehold on the world's diamond industry, and this plus the fact that there's virtually no aftermarket for diamonds (as one poster pointed out) means that DeBeers effectively controls prices and drives them up to insane levels.

Having bought a relatively expensive emerald-cut solitaire ring for my beloved bride (who cherishes it and gets compliments on it regularly) I felt a bit snookered and foolish at first, but the more I think about it the more I believe that /. is largely made up of nonconformist fringe players who have no problems doing things like getting wedding tattoos or not buying rings at all and going to Hawaii or something (as if that's any less conformist). Personally, I know that my wife expected a diamond ring and nothing else - we shopped for it together and then I covertly finished the deal and surprised her with it, again as she expected.

The point is, I resent being made to feel like a conformist tool for doing all of this - generally I do *not* just do what's expected of me, but in this case I loved her enough to recognize that this ritual would make her very, very happy, which it did (and the memory of it still does, quite often). That's not to blame it on her - I think every woman deserves to dream about, if not receive, beautiful jewelry. The symbolism is strong and meaningful, and the fact that DeBeers or any other cartel allegedly inflates prices artificially via strongarm tactics doesn't necessarily lessen the emotional impact of a diamond. The engagement ring, to my wife, represented the culmination of a wedding fantasy that she's had ever since she was a little girl, when she and her sister would page through bridal magazines and prance around the house in their mother's wedding veil. How far back do you need to trace this "conspiracy" to romanticize weddings and their symbols before you acknowledge that, on some level, people want this kind of fantasy because it taps into a deep-seated need for companionship and intimacy?

I have no love for DeBeers and their old-school almost-criminal behavior, and I hope that the cartel eventually crashes down and diamond prices are subjected to market pressures just like most other consumer goods. But don't take your cynical attitude and rain on our little parade here - regardless of where it came from, that diamond ring means a lot to both of us. Take your moralizing elsewhere, but keep it out of my marriage!

Yep, should have had a pair in there somewhere, but whatever. To cheer us (well, probably just me) up, here's a list of the specs for my G4 purchase that's now at step 2 of 4 in the Apple order status chain, "Being Assembled":

POWER MAC G4

  • Dual 867MHz w/1MB L3
  • 512MB PC2100 SDRAM - 1 DIMM
  • 60GB Ultra ATA
  • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
  • NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti,128MB
  • Ultra SCSI PCI Card & Adptr
  • 56K Internal Modem
  • Apple Pro Keyboard
  • Mac OS (10.2, baby!)
  • Country Kit (whatever that is)

Okay, that's enough for today. Time to go entertain my sister-in-law some more. Yes, she's cute and 21 - no, I have no ulterior motives. :)

User Journal

Journal: It's a red letter day for moi!

Journal by D_Fresh
My my, this is turning into quite a day. Not only do I buy a new G4 hot off the presses, I also get a story accepted by /.! Very exciting. If you haven't seen the story, it's a real nail-biter about...bar codes, a.k.a. UPC symbols, and how they're being lengthened at no small expense to U.S. retailers. Not exactly the type of story I'd imagined myself submitting, but I caught the link at the bottom of Wired.com and thought it might interest the /. community. Judging by the comments posted already, it's doing OK for itself.

In other news, I bought that new Mac I've been yammering about for the past couple of days (much longer, if you ask my wife). I had to get the low-end one, as predicted, but I sported it up with some additional RAM (512 MB total), a SuperDrive so I can back up to DVD-R, a GeForce 4 Titanium so I can, er, look at more polygons and stuff, and a SCSI PCI card so I can still use my old Zip100 drive and all the backup disks I have. I didn't get an LCD monitor, nor the Apple Pro Speakers, but I don't need them right away - I just need me a new Mac with Jag-wire. Should be shipping in a week or so, barring any major slowdowns - I just hope my wife doesn't go ballistic when she hears I spent a teeny bit more than we'd agreed upon. :)

So that's my success for the day - enough, if you ask me. I also called my old employer and talked to my ex-manager, who was very sweet despite the fact that she doesn't fscking listen to me at all, and I remembered how it drives me mad. (I mean she literally steps all over you when you try to talk, even when it's "your turn" in the conversation. Try working for someone like that!) Even though I left there almost 5 months ago they still miss me and talk about me, which is flattering and makes me feel wanted. When you haven't been working for nearly half a year you forget how productive and good you were when you actually had stuff to do.

Maybe I'll pick up a few extra fans from this story posting, who knows. Not that I'm expecting them or anything, but a boy can dream. If you're out there, fans, and you're reading this drivel, drop me a line, or a comment. Let's get a conversation going or something. Tell me Macs suck in an articulate way, tell me my /. story blows goats sideways behind a barn, tell me why I'm suddenly hallucinating that the phone is ringing...god, I'm going insane.

Apple

Journal: Rumors are swirling

Journal by D_Fresh
At the risk of becoming a broken record, I have to mention that the specs for the new Macs are flying around the web - dual processors all, and a pricing scheme that's a bit steep compared to current levels. If the rumor sites are to be believed (and I think they are), a dual-867 MHz starts at $1699, a dual-GHz at $2499, and a dual-1.25 GHz at $3299. No word on the other specs, but they must be fairly good if the price points have raised that much.

My plan is to get the low-end dual-867 MHz model, much as it pains me to do so, because a) it's the only one shipping right away, and I need it for a class I'm taking in September, and b) I can only spend up to $2200, which rules out the mid-range model. Considering I was seriously tempted by the flat-panel iMacs, a low-end G4 desktop isn't the end of the world - provided I can get a reasonable graphics card like the GF4 Ti. Rumor is that the Radeon 9000 will be standard in all but the dual-867 - don't know much about that card, but if this is true it's good news for ATI and the graphics accelerator world in general. I was getting a bit worried that nVidia had it all wrapped up, Apple account and everything, which is always bad news for prices.

I suppose I could just settle for the current high-end dual-GHz model, which is rumored to be dropping in price to $2199, but that's at the top of my price range at the moment (damn this new house and unemployment) and also lacks the new gewgaws of the latest hardware. And I'm nothing if not an early adopter at heart, if not always in practice. Must...have...new...gadget.

Thanks to the two of you who commented on my last entry - apparently I have more fans than appear on the list! I'm afraid I'm still going to pay for .Mac, in part because I need the email address and the backup software, and in part because I want to stay abreast of All Things Apple, especially if I'm going to be an IT Coordinator at a school. But I really appreciate and enjoy the feedback, and I promise to branch out and talk about some non-Apple topics sometime soon. :)

Desktops (Apple)

Journal: Finally... 3

Journal by D_Fresh
Today is "finally" day, as in:

Finally...

  • ...new Power Macs will be unveiled tomorrow
  • ...I'll be upgrading my current system
  • ...I have more than one promising job prospect on the horizon
  • ...I beat Terrans using Protoss in StarCraft, against the computer (okay, I'm notsogood). I've been trying this for a while - my offensive technique is, well, offensive.
  • ...I get to celebrate "Victory Day", because Rhode Island is the one state in the nation that still does. It used to be "Victory over Japan Day" or just "VJ Day," but apparently the "Japan" part was just too in-your-face and they took it out. Because of course it's not too in-your-face to still celebrate the actual day. No sir.

It will be interesting to see which price points Apple chooses for their new systems - if they keep them the same and hope that the new features still attract buyers, or if they drop them a bit to spur sales in a slow economy. Either way, I think it was wise to wait - I'm expecting at the very least faster processors (of course), a new enclosure design, faster RAM (DDR), perhaps 8x AGP, GF4 Ti standard on some configurations, larger standard HD capacities, and even (if the rumor sites are right) new mouse and keyboard models. If this mouse is a two-button jobbie, the /. pages will be fun to read! I can't think of a more inconsequential standard feature that's gotten so much criticism. Attractive but unlikely new features would be quad processors, additional PCI slots, integrated Bluetooth support, and upgraded AirPort specs - but given Apple's recent success at keeping major enhancements secret, I won't be altogether surprised if one of those unlikelies come true.

Rumor also has it that Jaguar has been let out of the cage - perhaps these new models will also ship with it standard. That would save me about $20, which is always nice. I'd just put it toward the $50 .Mac fee and moan a bit less about that. I think it's worth it overall - I just hope they improve the service over the coming year so I feel justified in shucking out $100 the next time around.

Is anyone reading this? Feel free to comment. I think I'm talking to empty air, though. :)

Apple

Journal: Getting a new Mac this month!

Journal by D_Fresh
So I'm pretty excited, because this month is the month I buy a new G4 desktop. It's been 3.5 years since I updated, and the system is sorely in need of it - a beige G3 just doesn't run OS X fast enough to be usable. So whatever Steve unveils in the next few weeks, I'm getting - most likely the mid-range system, but if I can possibly afford dual processors I'm doing that. Money is a bit tight to spring for the flat-panel display, so that will have to wait. Which kind of sucks. Do I need an adapter to hook up my existing VGA display to a GF4 Titanium? I'll have to investigate that...

We just took a drive today up to Southborough, Mass. It's a pretty area up there - a private school in town invited me back for a second interview to be their IT manager, and I'm hopeful that they'll make me an offer. After nearly 5 months of not working, I'm ready to jump back into the fray. It hasn't felt like a vacation. On the bright side, my cooking is getting very good, especially the Chinese recipes.

I'm going to try and post in this journal more, and be more interesting about it. In the meantime, you can see up-to-date info about my wife and me at our web site, DougandDaisy.com.

User Journal

Journal: Wacom Graphire

Journal by sbuckhopper
Well I finally got my Wacom Graphire installed. Yeehaw! I buy things way ahead of time and let them sit around for three or four months before I decide to take a gander to actually bother installing them. At this point, I make some lame attempt to figure out this complex system that I have never heard of (ie xinput) without actually reading the directions. It doesn't make me a pleasant person to be around for the next couple days.

But I have it done now and it works and now I've bothered to put in a journal entry for myself. I have a dual monitor display, but I'm not willing to pay for more than one nice monitor, so I inherited the second one that I run off my G450. Its a really old NEC 17 incher that only does 1024x768. This is lame to have it be in Xineramic mode (my other monitor is a 19" Sony jobber that does 1600x1200...but I run it in 1400x1050) because I loose all sorts of screen relastate and the Matrox X driver wiggs out anyway...so I run another window manager on it yet and I have offically made that my "doodling monitor".

People find this funny...that I have a doodling monitor. It makes perfect sense to me, lower resolution, easier to see graphics. But anyway.

Okay, this journal entry is done, its my first one, I nkow it bites, but oh well...I'm going to submit it later. If I don't like it or the comments people leave, I guess I can delete it.
User Journal

Journal: Thinking of submitting to "Ask Slashdot" 1

Journal by D_Fresh
So I'm writing a thesis on the Cultural Relevance of Computer Games, intending to point out that these games are really far more pervasive, mainstream, and important than most people think they are. One of the points I want to explore is how people play computer games - typically we envision the high school kid with no life sitting for hours fragging his friends, but there are definitely other ways to insert games into one's lifestyle. What are they? How do people play games? Especially the long ones, which take hundreds of hours to finish, or the console games, which can go on as long as you want them to, much like arcade games without the quarters.

So there's the Ask Slashdot question - I've just got to figure out how to word it. Granted, quite a skewed sample set, but still something to go on. And if my email address is put out there I could potentially start dialogues with people who might help me out even more. On the most basic level, I guess I'm just interested in how normal or abnormal I am in my own gameplaying habits - typically a few stolen hours on a weeknight or weekend morning, before bedtime happens or the day's chores kick in and the wife kicks me off the computer.

We'll see if it gets posted - that would be really cool.

Apple

Journal: Post-Macworld thoughts

Journal by D_Fresh
First, a quick and targeted intro. For those of you who don't know me (everyone), I'm an Apple guy. Have been ever since my family got our first Apple ][c in the mid-80's. For a while it was just inertia - I got a Mac when I went off to college, then just kept upgrading - but as I grew more sentient I realized that being an Apple guy was a Good Thing. It not only appealed to my non-conformist streak, it also gratified a need for aesthetic pleasure that I didn't realize was there until I entered the workforce and had Windows foisted upon me.

As my Apple ardor has grown over the past seven or eight years, I've been following the company's announcements more and more closely (though from afar - I've never actually attended a Macworld convention). This time around my reaction is different in a way that is interesting enough to analyze. I was anything but overwhelmed when I first saw the LCD iMac - the utterly basic quality of the design and the color was not enough to excite me the way the Titanium Powerbook or the original Blue & White G3 case did. Still, I kept looking at it - I found it difficult to look away. Thoughts were rattling around in there that I hadn't quite pinned down, and my opinion was not yet set in concrete.

Since then I think I've come to grips with my own opinion. The new iMac is beautiful in its simplicity and impressive for its feature set. As a desk fixture, it's so basic as to be nearly (but not quite) brilliant - a deceptive amount of thought went into every design decision they made. As a computer, it has what might be the best price-performance combo of any Mac ever. $1800 for an 800 MHz G4 and Superdrive is something I don't think anyone expected. It seems they held off bumping the professional models to make the iMac look like an even better deal. But I don't expect that to last long - Apple needs to break the 1 GHz barrier before too long so they don't appear to be left in the dust by the chip-that-marketing-built, the P4.

I really don't understand why they enlarged the iBook screen without increasing the resolution. Must have been a price-driven decision. I hope the bigger iBook sells well, but I have my doubts yet. iPhoto would excite me more if we had a digital camera, which I'm embarrassed to say we don't. (singing: "Someday, my toys will come...") Didn't stop me from downloading the app, though - I'll probably install it this weekend and play around with our existing photos. It's worth noting that iPhoto is really a complimentary app to Photoshop, not an alternative at all, which makes Adobe's foot-dragging on the OS X version of Photoshop all the more annoying. I'd really like to know the story on that one someday - are they starting from scratch? Feuding with Apple? Hiring less competent developers? What's the big hold up here?

The Wired article about the lack of any exciting non-Apple announcements at Macworld has me a bit upset. Maybe it's just an off year because of world events and the economic downturn, but I hope that this doesn't reflect a broader trend toward Macs now that OS X is the default boot. (A questionable decision, that.) I also hope that OS X retains the Mac's user-friendliness - right now, the shareware being released and the OS indications all lean toward the techie side of the house, which is to say away from accommodating the "dumb users" who just want to play games and surf the web. But then that was the way when the PowerPC was first introduced too - and in both cases Apple did an admirable job of providing a smooth transition method for all users.

Enough of this. More ranting and rumination later.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.

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