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.
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
This is sensational news – Apple now support dual booting OS X and Windows XP on Intel Macs with their new Boot Camp utility, to be included as a part of 10.5 Leopard when that’s released.
I’ve been considering upgrading my iBook to an Intel model when those are released and now I see absolutely no reason not to. The ability to dual-boot was made available a few weeks ago when some enterprising individual released a hack, but this is a matter of turning on the computer and clicking the one you want to use.
No shitty text bootloaders and no more worrying about whether an app is available on OS X or not. This could seriously be an Apple killer app.
What I loved though, were the quotes on the Boot Camp page like this one:
Macs use an ultra-modern industry standard technology called EFI to handle booting. Sadly, Windows XP, and even the upcoming Vista, are stuck in the 1980s with old-fashioned BIOS. But with Boot Camp, the Mac can operate smoothly in both centuries.
What I’m more interested in, however, is the effect on the Mac gaming market. It’s been steadily growing with companies like Aspyr producing a steady stream of decent ports and official support from big names like id and Blizzard, but I have a feeling that this will kill it off, since developers will assume that Mac users who want to play games will have Windows anyway. They seem optimistic, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Not that you want any more than Microsoft will no doubt leave, but I’ve just seem it reported on Slashdot that the UK Home Office is working with Microsoft about the possibility of putting in backdoors to the encryption systems in Windows Vista so that they can bypass it during criminal investigations, getting around the fact that people can conveniently “forget” the password and render any incriminating data lost.
It’s an obvious concern with all the terrorism investigations and the stuff that certain people probably have filling their hard drives but it’s incredibly pointless to encrypt the data and build in a backdoor so that it can be bypassed easily. The vast majority of people who use it will only have the innocent aim of protecting themselves from things like identity theft. It’s yet another draconian anti-terrorism measure; a thing that’s getting worryingly common. Like the news story says, they can let refusal to give the passwords count against them just life the refusal to answer a question does at the moment.
Besides, it’s not like this will solve anything. Criminals who want to keep their data safe can still encrypt individual files and OS X still has support for AES-128 encryption built-in. I doubt a serious cyberterrorist would be stupid enough to rely on nothing but the protection included with Windows anyway, and this is just a major security issue in case a hacker finds out the backdoor.
Now this is genius, and I just found it from listening to the latest episode of TWiT. It’s the audio from the live Windows Vista demonstration from CES where Microsoft were showing off the latest innovations that will be in the new Windows whenever that turns up. The twist is that the video shows all the same features in Mac OS X right now, and indeed since Tiger shipped way back in April 2005. There’s another one here showing yet more search and control functions that Mac users have been enjoying for the best part of a year.
Nice to see that Windows is staying as innovative as ever. Now I just need the money for a MacBook Pro…