I'm going dark

May 31, 2006

Not really, but that's kind of what I feel like (and it's probably what I should do). Yesterday was the first day of BARBRI, a ~1.5-month study course for the almost-impossible California Bar exam,1 which I'm taking near the end of July.

I'm putting this post here so that I can reference it when making excuses for the lack of new posts, the slow e-mail responses, and the loss of all quantifiable productivity (ugh!).

The study course requires 8-12 hours a day (fours hours of lectures and then they suggest you study 4-8 hours on your own). After having just finished the six day, six-hours-a-day PMBR "early bird" review, I'm at a total loss as to how anyone could work on this stuff for 8-12 hours a day for a single day, much less an entire summer, yet that is our plight. Did I mention that it's all mind-numbingly boring and tedious and dry and dense and...

All of this is just a long-winded way of asking you to please cut me some slack. As always, I will reply to every e-mail received, it just might take me a bit longer to get to it (especially the "can you please help me with..." e-mails).

And what will I be doing in my "downtime" on top of replying to e-mails, keeping up with the 250+ feeds I'm subscribed to, and writing posts? Learning Ruby on Rails of course. I've never been so excited about a new language + framework; the whole "convention over configuration" emphasis really, really intrigues me, because it seems to work to abstract away all of the mundane elements of programming so that your output is limited more by logic than by syntax (read: you can be more productive and in a shorter amount of time). The end-goal here is to use RoR to build my own CMS to power this site, something I've been putting off for far too long.

  1. The exam is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, in the country. It's three, brutal, six-hour days (18 total hours of test-taking) and has an incredibly low pass rate.  :(    

Poll: How does Photoshop "feel" under Rosetta?

May 30, 2006

Update: This poll has been closed. I got the answer I wanted/needed and a lot of great e-mail feedback to boot. Thanks.

I need some end-user feedback. If you spend a lot of time in Photoshop and have recently moved from a G4 machine to a MacTel, how would you rate the 'usability' of Photoshop under Rosetta? I'm hearing a lot of conflicting reports and the answer to the question will play a significant role in my decision to get a new Intel Mac before a Universal Binary is released.

Keep in mind that I'll likely have 2GB of RAM in the new machine and am not too worried about the feasibility of processor-intensive filters, but rather, I simply want it to be able to load RAW files in a relatively short period of time and allow me to add multiple layers and masks without too much fuss.

How does Photoshop "feel" under Rosetta?

  • It's not bad enough to let it impede your purchase. (28%)
  • It's horrible; keep your G4 until the UB is released! (9%)
  • I have no idea, but I wanted to press the "Vote!" button. (64%)

Blog(s) devoted to World Cup soccer

May 30, 2006
Blog(s) devoted to World Cup soccer. "After a few years off, World Cup Blog has returned in time to cover the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It has been revamped to include a blog for each of the 32 teams in the tournament, as well as one about the referees and and another for general tournament news. The blogs are written by fans in countries all over the world including: United States, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Hungary, Sweden and Brazil. The bloggers are not paid journalists, but they are fans that offer their passion and opinions about their teams on a daily basis."

Can I buy a MacBook?

May 26, 2006

Me? A computer nerd's nerd? I'm seriously considering upgrading from my aluminum PowerBook G4 to a MacBook (MB) instead of a MacBook Pro (MBP). What the hell is going on? It's actually quite simple: by almost all accounts, the MB is awesome.

If you've looked at the benchmarks,1 the MB nearly equals or bests the Pro line in almost every relevant category. That jarring statistic, coupled with the ~$1100 price difference, has really caused me to pause and think about which machine I should get.

Before going any further, I should qualify the "~$1100" statement above. The MB configuration I want can be had for $1368, and a comparably-equipped MBP for $1999. The difference in price here is probably not enough to keep me away from the MBP (and its sexy body, 128MB video card, ExpressCard slot, better display, etc). However, if I were to go with the MBP there is simply no way I could stop myself from bumping up the HD to the 7200 rpm model and the video card to the 256MB version (and I'd get an extra .16GHz to boot). Add in all of that and we're now looking at $2,499 (about a $1100 difference). I should point out that the prices I'm quoting include the cheapest memory options available; everyone knows that you upgrade the memory yourself as Apple's prices are ridiculous. While on the topic, I don't think I'd get less than 2GB of RAM (the upper limit) this time around.

Though the MB unarguably gives you phenomenal bang for your buck, there are three main things that have heretofore stopped me from purchasing the new model; the first two fall out rather nicely, but the third might be a hurdle I'm not willing to attempt to jump.


While the widescreen MB display is nice, I'm afraid that the lack of screen real-estate would really start to bother me after a while. Moreover, I loathe "glossy" screens and there is no option to get a matte-style (read: normal) screen with the MB (who the hell wants to deal with the ghastly reflection on those things?). Luckily, for me at least, I don't see either of these things being a big problem, because now that I'm out of school, whatever machine I buy will be pumping pixels through my Apple 23-inch HD Cinema Display 99% of the time (I just need to get a mini-DVI-to-DVI converter). So, it seems to me that I'll only use the MB's screen when I travel (and for bar studying this summer). It's a non-issue.


Much has been made about the MB's keyboard and its non-abutting keys. I, for one, think it looks a bit odd and had some reservations about it when the first pictures started surfacing, but after having typed on the machine quite a bit the last few times I've gone into the Apple store, I don't think it will be too big an issue. Regardless, whatever hangups I might have about the keyboard are mitigated by the same factor mentioned above, namely, the fact that I'll have the lid closed and the machine connected to my cinema display, which requires me to use an external keyboard. It's a non-issue.

Graphics Power

Finally, I'm most concerned about the integrated graphics card on the MB. There's no question that it's plenty powerful for everyday tasks, and can handle both heavy-duty video editing (something I'm not interested in... yet) and photograph post-processing (what I'll eat up most of the CPU cycles with) without issue, but what I'm uneasy about is gaming (both on Mac OS X and Windows using Boot Camp or whatever virtualization software [hopefully] ships with X.5). No, I'm no longer a big PC gamer and haven't been for a while (but at one time in my life... I don't even want to get started), but I'd like the option to be there if and when I feel like experimenting, and, well, that's pretty much an impossibility with the MB.


I thought that typing this out would help me with my decision, but, unfortunately, I'm still stuck. One thing I did realize is that I'm probably not being honest with myself when I start harping on the MB's graphics card and my inability to play PC games because of it. Truth is, I doubt I'll ever get back into PC gaming (what with my Nintendo DS Lite, Sony PSP, and imminent Nintendo Wii purchase to keep me entertained).

Am I willing to pay ~$1100 more for a much better, though likely not pushed, video card, larger screen, and the über-sexy aluminum enclosure? I'm sad to say it, but probably. You know, I could just tell myself that once I start working I'll buy the rumored quad-core Mac tower (or whatever insanely-powerful machine they come up with) and will then have no real need for the MBP extras. Hell, if I can convince myself of that, then I should probably just drop the video card from 256MB to 128MB, accept the 5400 rpm drive, and eat the $631 ($1999-$1368; the difference between the MB and the similarly-spec'd MBP; see above). That way, I could get the "pro" machine (and live with myself :) and then still convince myself later that I need the more powerful tower. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

  1. Benchmarks from Ars Technica, Creative Mac, and MacWorld.   

How to be Silicon Valley

May 24, 2006
How to be Silicon Valley. "I think you only need two kinds of people to create a technology hub: rich people and nerds. They're the limiting reagents in the reaction that produces startups, because they're the only ones present when startups get started. Everyone else will move."

BusinessWeek on the Nike+iPod Sport kit

May 24, 2006
BusinessWeek on the Nike+iPod Sport kit. "The components work together to give voice prompts, interjected while music is playing, that tell runners how far they've gone and at what pace. The iPod will also keep track of the duration, distance, and other information on each run. The data could then be uploaded to a Mac or PC, and from there to a Nike Web site called Nikeplus.com, where users can track progress, set goals, and share results."

On the lack of new photos here

May 23, 2006

Truth is, I've actually gone ahead and created a "real" photoblog (and did so about a week after I said I wouldn't). It's about 99% done, but I haven't "announced" it yet because I wanted to have my photoblogs.org affiliation completely setup before I put the site out there. The problem though, is that they haven't allowed new signups for almost two months now! Unbelievable, and of course they decide to do this as soon as I decide to setup a legit photoblog. To be fair though, it's pretty much one guy that runs the entire site, and, well, we all know how external pressures and obligations can severely limit our time. Anyway, as soon as all of that is squared away I'll get back to posting pictures (and I've plenty to post).