MacBook Pro

Having gone through two internal hard drives and risking running it from a Firewire drive for far too long now, it was time to replace my good old iBook G4 with something a bit more 2007. Like something that is clocked in multiple GHz and can run both Mac OS X and lesser operating systems for the sake of convenience Battlefield 2.

MacBook Pro

Here’s the specs of my latest baby:

  • 15-inch matte display (1440×900)
  • 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB RAM
  • 120GB hard drive
  • ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (128MB)
  • Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Airport Extreme (802.11n)
  • 6x dual-layer Superdrive
  • Mac OS X 10.4.9/Windows XP Pro (via Boot Camp)

Ended up costing me £1,150 after student discount.

I bought it with the stock 1GB RAM and added another 1GB stick myself (£40 from Crucial compared to £140 from Apple, which is in the dictionary next to ‘no brainer’) and it’s awesome. It obviously performs much better than my iBook and I’ve been playing with some Intel-only apps and stuff that’s been added to OS X since I last bought a new Mac like Front Row and the Joost beta to which I got an invite last week. The iBook couldn’t play 720p video smoothly but I downloaded a couple of 1080p trailers and this plays them without a hitch. Lovely!

The only annoyance was that it doesn’t ship with all the latest updates, so I had to download a stack of patches before I could really get down to playing. That included 10.4.9 which came out well over a month ago, so I wonder how long this was sitting in a warehouse. But if that sounds bad when I installed XP Pro I had to download SP2 (200MB+) and 55 (!) security updates.

Continue reading MacBook Pro


Considering that I’m supposed to talk about games all the time, ostensibly at least, I haven’t been doing a lot of that recently. I haven’t even been playing them, much to my 360’s chagrin. No…I’ve been knee deep in the bane of any university student, my dissertation.

*sound of thunder*

Nobody likes essays, and they’re odious enough when you have to write 2,000 words on something that doesn’t really interest you. Quintuple that and it’s simply painful. I chose a journalism subject that was closer to my heart than most, blogging and citizen journalism, but writing is a lot less fun when you can’t slip an innuendo in there or joke about that time you swapped the picture on Ken Kutaragi’s Wikipedia page for one of Kim Jong-Il.

It’s due in 27 days and I’ve written a bit over 5,000 words, with the aim of getting at least another thousand down before the Easter break ends. This being the last couple of months of my last year at uni, things are complicated by assorted other projects and impending exams, which at the rate I’m going will necessarily be over-the-weekend jobbies. How I wish they’d stagger deadlines instead of encouraging us to put everything off until the week before. I could procrastinate for England.

I know what would make this better, though, and it involves Games for Windows Live. How about some achievements for Microsoft Word?

Achievement unlocked


Samsung D900 Impressions

Samsung D900

The datestamp on the first photos I took on my Sharp GX20 reliably informs me that I got the phone on 22nd February 2004, meaning that I’ve owned the same phone for over three years; surely a record in these days where most people don’t even keep the same number for a few months, let alone a handset. It’s still a brilliant phone and I love it like a pair of comfortable old shoes, but now that the battery struggles to see me through the day it was time to move on.

I went for a free upgrade to the Samsung D900. Not a clamshell as I like, but one of those slider phones that folds down to a svelte 100x50x10. It has a lovely screen that made a screen protector (can’t complain when it cost £3.90 for a pack of ten on eBay) a necessary investment with my messy fingers sliding over it to operate many of the features. I shudder to think what an iPhone would be like.

At this point I’ve been using the phone for a couple of weeks and have a pretty good handle on how things work. It has operating differences that I’m getting my head around – # is now a space rather than 0 on my old phone – and a few annoyances – no custom text alerts unless you use some hacked firmware – and as I work through them I’m finding I like it more and more. The screen looks splendid with a stellar spire in the Eagle Nebula as wallpaper (best wallpapers around on that site), and it’s also quad-band which means I’ll be able to use it in Japan. Plus MP3 ringtones lets me counter the shitty hip-hop that so many people seem to use with such classics as the Ouendan theme, ‘The Opened Way’ from Shadow of the Colossus, the Katamari theme, and, of course, the MGS codec sound.

A very decent phone, then. I tend to get comfortable with things like this which makes getting a new phone a bigger deal for me than most, and the fact that I’ve adapted this quickly can probably be taken as good sign. That’s not to say that I’ve thrown away Ol’ Reliable, though. Just in case ;)

Ten Things I Learnt from Kevin Smith

Ever since I saw An Evening With Kevin Smith it’s been my mission to see one of his legendary Q&As, but his trips to the UK don’t happen too often. On every previous occasion I didn’t find out in time, so this one must have been kismet as I fired up my RSS reader for the first time in ages, just in time to be informed that it was happening.

So that was where I was last night, and I ended up learning some interesting stuff from the great raconteur.

  1. If Kevin Smith had to pick a man to have sex with, it’d be his friend Bryan Johnson.
  2. Kevin Smith’s next comedy, which he has just about finished writing but won’t be made until after his planned horror movie (inspired by Race with the Devil), will apparently have the most self-explanatory title ever, on the same level as Snakes on a Plane. Unsurprisingly, he wouldn’t tell us the title.
  3. Kevin Smith is currently a fan of (NSFW!) I dread to think how much comment spam posting that link will bring in.
  4. Kevin recently bought a miniature dachshund because he and his daughter thought they were funny. Despite the age difference (eight years next to less than a year, or 56 and 6 using that seven-dog-years-to-one-human-year thing), his labrador Mulder may have gotten the weiner dog pregnant.
  5. Jeremy London is the only actor that Kevin regrets casting. Despite the fact that Jason Lee was far better, Jeremy gave him notes on how to improve his performance.
  6. Kevin finds the idea of black pudding abhorrent. As do I, to be fair. He also finds British cuisine’s obsession with pigs weird.
  7. Harvey Weinstein wanted them to show Clerks 2’s pussy troll on screen. Kevin and Scott Mosier didn’t want to, so set out to make it unusable by either making the depiction far too offensive (getting John Kricfalusi to animate something obscene that wouldn’t make it past the MPAA) or too lame (Jason Mewes dressed up as a troll doll inside a giant wooden pussy). Despite Mewes’ enthusiasm – he’d get to keep the wooden pussy, you see – the idea thankfully passed.
  8. Kevin ended up rewriting his whole scene in Die Hard 4.0, giving himself a huge speech. The studio was unsure about it because it turned a humourous scene into one with a ton of exposition, but Bruce Willis had Kevin’s back (“let me ask you this: who’s your second choice to play John McClane?”).
  9. Kevin Smith can use the word ‘tchotchke’ in a sentence. I still struggle to pronounce it.
  10. Lucas and Steven Spielberg are huge nerds: they like to compare websites and look at pictures of women in lingerie together. And Lucas liked the Death Star contractors idea in Clerks.

My photos are up on Flickr here.

And, one thing I learnt in London itself: some people shouldn’t be allowed to drive. This is aimed at the cunt that almost took us all out on the zebra crossing in Richmond.