Monday, December 13, 2010

Working remotely and how I bought a 27" iMac


I don't travel much. To be honest, the largest amount of traveling I do is to the shopping centre over the weekend. My daily work commute is less than 5 minutes (and a similar number of kilometers).


So why do I need a laptop ? Well, I do a fair amount of work from home. This work is not particularly system intensive; it primarily comprises reading e-mail, browsing, some RSS feeds and Skype. The heavy lifting is generally done at work. I've been waiting for Core i7-based quad-coreMacbook's for at least a year, and so have a few other people. Bottom line, I don't forsee it for at least another 6 months to a year, if then.


Meanwhile, the quad-core iMac has been around for a while, is well priced, and gotten good reviews. The 27" also has the added ability to be used as an external monitor, which is useful once the machine outlives its useful life.


So I ordered a custom version; 2.93GHz quad-core i7, with 8GB of RAM. It arrived last week, and I can only say, "Wowzers!". The thing is blazingly fast, and consumes everything I'm throwing at it with ease. I migrated all my data across, and am using it full-time for a week now. All I can say is wow, wow, wow!


So, initial thoughts;

  • For what you get, its a great price
  • The unexpected Bluetooth keyboard, mouse and trackpad (which I wasn't expecting) is cool - what is mind-boggling is that they were already paired with the machine before unpacking them
  • 27" is quite large; obscenely large, actually (maybe a bit too big)
  • Its a pity there is no eSATA support, or ability to expand using ExpressCard support


For what I need it to do, its great.


PS. I've ordered a 11" Macbook Air as a companion device to use remotely; its fast enough for what I need (I've played around with a few), the screen is large enough and when used with Dropbox to sync my data, will be flawless. Also, all the stupidity of the previous generation seems to have been sorted out.


I'll survive by using the iPad I'm borrowing in the interim. It sucks.


My Air is only arriving in January 2011 (thanks Apple) for putting Africa at the bottom of your priority list. A post for that when it arrives, for sure!

Friday, December 10, 2010

iPad (and iDorks / iTards)


So the Apple iPad generated a huge amount of interest and attention. I've managed to play with one for about 3 weeks now, sufficient time to talk about it authoritatively.



  1. Its fast and highly responsive
  2. The screen size is right - a 7" would be too small
  3. Gestures are a more intuitive method to browse / peruse information
  4. The battery life is brilliant - almost a full week, with an hour or three use per day



  1. its fundamentally unusable when not connected to the Internet
  2. Most apps are still not multi-tasking / threaded compatible
  3. It has no camera for video conferencing
  4. The video out is controlled on an app-level
  5. There is no USB interface to get content onto it
  6. You're in this diminishingly exclusive club of posers



if you wanting to use it a a computer replacement, it isn't. If you're using it a tool to augment content consumption, its ideal. Overall, is it worth R7000 ? Nope.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Desire HD

I was very happy and comfortable using the HTC Desire, which is an Android phone. It was stable, fast and felt much more integrated and polished than the Nexus One, itself a good device.


Then HTC announced the Desire HD, a bigger version of the Desire. To be honest, if screen size bugged you before, its about the only compelling reason to change to this. Superficial thoughts on it are;


  • it is bigger (maybe uncomfortably too big)
  • the build quality is poorer than its sibling (it scratches ridiculously easily)
  • the battery life is lower because of the larger screen
  • it feels slightly snappier (but not significant enough to warrant changing)
  • has a long way to go - I'm not sure where this is hosted, but connectivity and the site itself needs a major improvement is a portal where users of qualified phones can track their phones (ala MobileMe), lock / wipe them remotely, access their backed up data, etc. Its a great promise, but needs some more polish and thought.


So, overall, happy with it, but as happy as I was with the Desire. Nice, but not different enough to justify a change.


PS. These can also be rooted and its annoying that Google doesn't force manufacturers to do this out the box