Pod Munch: Episode 1

July 9, 2008

So I have done the first episode of the podcast I have been talking about.  Yep it’s very rough around the edges content and production wise but I intend to improve, like a fine wine, with age.

Give me your feedback.  Best way to help me improve!

Show Notes:

  1. Viacom vs Google / YouTube
  2. Gmail’s new security feature
  3. Google launches Lively virtual world
  4. Samsung starts to produce SSD’s on the cheap
  5. KOffice 2 Alpha 8
  6. The Alarm Clock that can get you the sack
  7. Green Israel
  8. iPhone 3G
  9. 7Digital


July 7, 2008

Apple logoI have always been a reluctant Apple user but over the past year or so I have found myself surrounded by more and more Apple products and you know what?  I like them.

Yes they can be over priced, yes they do overly use DRM, and yes there is an element of style over substance.

So am I that superficial that I can be converted despite all of those things or even because of them?

Well not really, my love affair began fairly simply with my other half wanting and getting a iPod shuffle last year.  I scoffed of course having never used iTunes and read all the negatives about it’s DRM and how it limits the way you can use your downloads and devices associated with it.  And I still hold those views.  But iTunes really is a very slick and user friendly piece of software.  It makes downloading podcasts, which I listen to lots of, and other sundry simple via an Ipod.  However I don’t use iTunes for the negative reasons I stated.  However I still like Apple products.  Again, why?

Well since the day of my partners pink Shuffle I have been curious and as such have tired the majority of their products to the point of now writing this on a Macbook (as you will have an idea of if you have read my previous posts).

I like the iPods, especially when using them under Linux using software that allows you to edit as well as you can with iTunes if not with a little rougher UI.

Having used the nano, classic and shuffle I have found the zenith in the Touch.

My iPod Touch isn’t used for music or podcasts.  Why?  Because I have jailbroken it to use it as a very capable handheld mobile PC.  There isn’t much I can’t do with it using the inbuilt wifi.  It is use to check my email on the fly, sign in to an IM, check on the news, browse the web, check the whether and basically any other operation you can think that you might want to do on the move.  Of course it can’t replace the functionality of a fully fledged laptop but what it can do is replace my Asus EEE 701, which has now been handed down to my partner.  Yes, I love my Ipod Touch, not for it’s Ipodness, but for it’s functionality, when jailbroken of course.

So I guess I can move on to the Macbook.

I had never used an Apple computer until I got my hands on this one.  I knew what to expect from the style and looks; as I mentioned Apple products are simply stunning for the most part.

But hardware and OS X wise I had to lose my virginity.  OS X is slick and smooth, there are problems getting some freeware tools and programs that I am used to using, but  I am happy to be using a system that is close to Linux in it’s Unix core although I have yet to really get under the bonnet.  I haven’t even opened a terminal yet.  As such I can only comment on the GUI and it is functionally simple with installs via downloads very easy and it’s overall simplicity over complexity works well.

Hardware wise I am impressed.  The Core Duo model I have runs fairly fast after my upgrades.  I have installed 2 gigabytes of RAM (The maximum for this model I was rather sad to read), to replace the default 1 gigabyte.  I then changed the hard drive from a 60 gigabyte to a 120 gigabyte model.  What I noticed most doing this was just how easy it was to install the upgrades.  Remove the battery, undo three screws and you have access to everything most users would need to upgrade.  The whole operation can be done in under 10 minutes.  Now I come to my favourite aspects of the Macbook, and these alone are almost enough to keep me on it as my main machine.  The screen is simply gorgeous, the best I have seen on a laptop.  It is clear, bright and unbelievably crisp.  But the coup de tat is the battery life.  5 or 6 hours during my normal usage!!!  Brilliant, and coupled with the above, a deal sealer for me.

Yes Apple.  You have a convert.  Not because you are beautiful, although that helps.  You have your downsides in software availability  compared to a Windows or even Linux machine; and your DRM is horrible.  But your hardware is brilliantly designed and that coupled with the functionality of your devices… well, like I say, the Macbook will be my main machine for the foreseeable future and me and my Ipod Touch are never separated.

Maybe its time for me to try the Iphone?  I just hope my other half doesn’t read that!

Macbook Part 2

July 5, 2008

It is finally here and although it is second hand I had to sell my soul on ebay to get it.  It is the first generation Macbook so it is over two years old.

It needs some work.  I have replaced the hard drive from stock I already had laying around.  It also needs some ram as the stock it came with is minimal and I hope to install some today.


I am writing this blog post from the machine!  It is running OS X Tiger and  I have to say I am impressed with how slick it is.  It is nice to have a propriety machine that isn’t windows based.  It means I can finally migrate ‘totally’ away from the Redmond machine.  I expect I will be fiddling with for some time to come and that my Ubuntu Dell will be neglected no doubt.

It also means that the Asus passes to my partner and hers passes to our eldest.  She has been needing hers replacing for a while after she broke it.  So everyone wins.

Anyway, on with the work!

Site Updates

April 4, 2008

Added a ‘twitter’ widget to the site again, and why not…

Added my Amazon Wish List to the sidebar, and why not, you never know…

And I need to edit the partition’s on this laptop… my 125gig windows one needs expanding so I’m going to have to eat in to the Linux 125gig… shame.

Windows Vista Service Pack 1

March 19, 2008

Vista SP1 is here.

I installed Vista from scratch today and then manually downloaded SP1 from the Windows download website.  The automatic install via automatic updates isn’t being rolled out for another week or so.

So what was my experience like?

Well Vista Service Pack 1 is a rather hefty download, weighing in at nearly half a gigabyte.  It downloaded within half an hour with my connection and then it was simply a matter of the install.  This went smoothly taking around forty five minutes again for the full install including configurations and reboots.  What else can I say?  It takes away the need for multiple updates and downloads with a fresh Vista install.  As for stability and other advantages?  Time will tell.

What I can say is that Vista is already downloading more updates for installation…..


March 10, 2008

I was harsh with KDE 4 last time I had it installed and with the release of 4.0.1 I wanted to go back for another look.

It’s live-cd based on an openSUSE engine worked like a charm, the install however isn’t for the dual booting faint hearted.  If you want to resize partitions to create space for the install, hold on to your pants.  I ended up exiting the installer and manually creating space before going back for the install itself.  Which ran very smoothly.

However it does partion its free space in an awkward layout, I haven’t looked too deeply tonight but I will!

I have left the KDE 4 install for this blog post anyway as I have no internet access out of the box with my wireless which is a black mark to start with.  I’ll update more as I use it more in the week.

Integrated webcam

March 8, 2008

I hadn’t bothered looking at the integrated webcam on this laptop since I rid it of Vista, so I thought I would have a look today.

Considering this laptop, the Dell xps M1330, can be bought with Ubuntu preinstalled direct from Dell, as expected, the webcam works out of the box driver wise.  Software?  Well Ubuntu 7.10’s repo’s include a program called ‘cheese’ which picks up the cam straight away and allows recording of video and photo taking.  The other option is downloading Skype 2 Beta for Linux which also runs the cam ‘out of the box’.




Me and me and Marie.