Posts from April 2011


Apr-30-2011 1:23 PM

It seemed like such a log­i­cal assump­tion: of course the pop­u­lace of a coun­try wants to express their col­lec­tive voice when estab­lish­ing national governance!

Were we wrong?

We encoun­tered an unfore­seen curve ball: the major­ity of peo­ple don’t actu­ally seem to care enough to par­tic­i­pate, excus­ing them­selves from all respon­si­bil­i­ties to the demo­c­ra­tic process on the grounds of polit­i­cal dis­il­lu­sion­ment, per­son­al­ity dif­fer­ences, ille­git­i­mate rep­re­sen­ta­tional per­cent­ages, pseudo demo­c­ra­tic processes, or some sch­peel about a lack of “ide­o­log­i­cal res­o­nance” with any par­ties in the run­ning. Blah, blah, blah… I call bull­shit.

Yes yes yes yes yes. I am guilty of this. That’s why I try not to complain. So many people complain all the time but never bother to try influencing our leaders. Wake up! Do the work!

Lucky 13: A MacBook Air Review

Apr-27-2011 6:49 PM

2010 MacBook Air 13 inch head on

Since the introduction of the first MacBook Air I have been in love with the design of the computer. It is sleek. It is svelte. It is tiny. It is rock solid. You feel like you are carrying the computer that Oddjob from Goldfinger would be carrying – a deadly sharp weapon. Every time I pick up this computer I expect it to be heavier and flimsier than it is.

This extensive review of usage makes me want a 2010 MBA all over again. I’m really looking forward to the time when there is a MacBook with the insane agility of the Air and the punch of Pro muscle. A computer to be reckoned with, indeed.

The Art of Endless Upgrades

Apr-23-2011 9:39 PM

I can kind of understand why a mechanical device would break down after a while — moisture rusts metal, or the air oxidizes membranes, or lubricants evaporate — all of which require repair. But I wasn’t thinking that the intangible world of bits would also degrade. What’s to break? Apparently everything.

Here is news to the young: Crap accumulates in code. Chips weaken. Programs break. On their own, nothing you did.

Computers sure are a lot more shiny and powerful and predictable than older tools, but they do break in random ways. Sad. Human designed stuff will have problems at least until the new earth.

(via Shawn Blanc)

Turning the Classroom Upside Down

Apr-18-2011 8:30 PM

… our tools have given students and teachers the power to “flip” the traditional classroom: Students can hear lectures at home and spend their time at school doing “homework”—that is, working on problems. It allows them to advance at their own pace, gaining real mastery, and it lets teachers spend more time giving one-to-one instruction.

A good example of fresh thinking about school. The whole idea of school needs a rethink in my opinion. More real world experience is needed. Learning cements with use.

Apple Macintosh Laptop

Apr-18-2011 5:09 PM

Yes, we love our Macs
Or else we’d scribble notes on paper sacks
‘Cause we believe in having rights
They’ve got lots ‘o’ gig-o-bytes

We set it on our desk
Plug in our Apple Airport Express
Without them, we wouldn’t know what to do
Since it’s true, we always know what’s new and what to do

Download songs to my Apple iPod
With it, I ain’t no clod
My Mac is like a brother to me
Now the true view of life I see

The idea of Windows XP is way too deep
And besides, Mac is way more cheap.
Longhorn wouldn’t even come close
When it comes to Mac, you get a double dose

Apple makes a lot of stuff But the Mac is their best, sure enough
Mac is really superior
Linux doesn’t even come near

The power of Mac is incredible
But I wouldn’t say XP is dependable.
Another thing: it doesn’t take up so much room
So, in light of this, it’s surely Windows’ doom

I wrote this years ago. Probably as satire.

How To Steal Like An Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)

Apr-17-2011 8:22 PM

Figure out what's worth stealing. Move on to the next thing.

There was a video going around the internet last year of Rainn Wilson, the guy who plays Dwight on The Office. He was talking about creative block, and he said this thing that drove me nuts, because I feel like it’s a license for so many people to put off making things: “If you don’t know who you are or what you’re about or what you believe in it’s really pretty impossible to be creative.”

If I waited to know “who I was” or “what I was about” before I started “being creative”, well, I’d still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things. In my experience, it’s in the act of making things that we figure out who we are.

You’re ready. Start making stuff.

You might be scared. That’s natural.

Great great advice on creativity and art. Feels genius to me. And that’s one good part of many.

Going Pro

Apr-17-2011 6:27 PM

For a while I flopped back and fourth between building a desktop and then getting a new portable, but I’ve finally decided to get myself a nice little laptop.

I was hoping for a 13″ machine with an SSD and mid-level graphics for about $1000, but it turns out those don’t exist. I scrapped the GPU and was willing to put in a SSD myself. Usually cheaper.

I’ve looked at notebooks like these:

  • Dell Vostro 3300
  • Samsung SF310-S01
  • Asus U35F
  • Asus U35Jc
  • Acer Aspire TimelineX AS3820T-7459
  • Sony Series S (old)
  • Toshiba L630
  • 2010 MacBook Air

It’s frustrating, because at this size and price, there seem to be annoying compromises or other problems. Like the awful touchpad on the HP dm3t. A major con on an otherwise good laptop. The TimelineX has dubious build quality. The U35F-X1 has a really poor screen.

So I decided on something else. A 2011 MacBook Pro 13″.

photo of a 13 inch MacBook pro

I’ve been known as an Apple hater, but over the last couple years I’ve gained a lot of respect for the company. Sure, their totalitarian policies still drive me up a wall, but they make solid stuff.

I was looking forward to jumping to Windows 7 since I’ve been lollygagging around in XP for the last four years. But OS X is certainly another modern and well built operating system. I’m pretty happy to have an elegant interface with UNIX underneath.1

Refurb systems should be available in the next couple months and that is when I plan to pick one up. I guess I’ll miss getting Lion free, but hopefully it will remain $29 for an upgrade. Maybe not, though, since it has a lot of new features whereas Snow Leopard was almost all under the hood changes. I definitely will upgrade to Lion because I like the iOS inspired changes and it adds TRIM support for SSDs not provided by Apple.

Because of budget, I’m going to hold off a few months before buying a 128GB SSD. With that and an i5, the thing is going to fly.

The main not so great thing is the new graphics solution. It’s the Intel HD 3000, built onto the processor chip. Performance is around the Nvidia 320M featured in the last MacBook Pro 13. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. It’s not really an upgrade. Also, Intel has a less than stellar reputation for their video drivers. Hopefully they’ll step up their game with these higher end integrated graphics.

I can take this, though. I’m not really a gamer and would be happy playing older and less demanding games for the time being. Portal (looks like Portal 2 as well), Team Fortress 2, Killing Floor, Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty 4, that sort of thing. Enough to be entertained. Having the i5 will also be nice versus the Core 2 Duo in the 2010. I’ll definitely be tempted to trade up if the 2012 model has much better graphics, though.

There’s also the screen resolution—1280×800. People are dissapointed that the 13 didn’t get the bump to 1440×900 that the new MacBook Air did. I personally have been using a 15″ laptop at 1280×800, so I think the same resolution at a smaller screen size might actually work out okay. Not to be mistaken, 1280 has gotten a bit cramped for some things. I am planning to purchase an external monitor sometime which should iron things out concerning workspace.

Photo by Marius Brede. Creative Commons.

  1. On that note, the new Ubuntu look is pretty decent. 

Free: Do the Work

Apr-09-2011 9:48 AM

The Domino Project has a manifesto book1 coming out, Do the Work. It’s free to preorder until the release on April 20. I haven’t read or heard of Steven Pressfield’s previous works, but Seth Godin speaks highly of them. That’s enough for me. Might as well preorder if you like Seth, too.

  1. It’s Amazon; you can read it on a Kindle or a Kindle app.