Over 500,000 Scoville units.

Jan-Feb 2006

Activity Monitor Tells All

One feature of Activity Monitor.app I didn’t notice before (nor have I seen it referred to on the web) is that it will tell you whether any running process is PowerPC or Intel native. The column is enabled by default on Intel Macs (but you might have to scroll to the right to see it :) It’s disabled by default on PowerPC Macs, because, uh, what’s the point?

This makes it pretty easy to weed out those non Universal Binaries lurking on your system. It seems that I only run 1 or 2 regularly on this machine, and they should be “native” before long. My dual G5 will still be doing the heavy-duty apps (audio, video) for the time being…


It's Finally Here!

Finally got my new iMac Core Duo 20"… With 1.5 GB of RAM. Since it’s my second iMac of this style (first was a 17" 1.9 Ghz G5 iMac with iSight), things are pretty much the same from the outside, other than the larger size. I just got finished transferring the 80 or so gigs from the machine it replaced, so I’m checking out Intel apps, getting the lay of the land, etc… More info to follow!

Put your keyboard in the dishwasher!

The other week on IRC, my friend Mark asked me if I had ever put my keyboard in the dishwasher. You see, the guys on #appleiigs (on irc server slashnet) think I have these crazy ideas where I put technology through all sorts of unnecessary abuse. Most of it is just exaggeration, but if I think something is beneficial enough and has little risk, I’ll give it a try. So anyway I did a few quick searches and I found that some people had indeed tried what sounded like a crazy idea, intentionally bathing a piece of electronics in 60 minutes of hot, soapy water.


At first I tried it with one of the current white Apple keyboards. I figured if it was destroyed, it would only cost $30 to replace… And it was dirty enough that I had been planning to replace it anyway. See, when you eat at your computer desk as much as I do, your keyboard tends to catch as much food as your plate. I ran it through the regular cycle, with detergent. I didn’t use the heated dry option, and I recommend you don’t either :) After it was washed I made a few keen observations: 1) It was clean! and 2) It was full of water! I shook as much water as I could out of the keyboard and turned it over for a day. Once it appeared to be dry I connected it to the usb port of an old spare computer (in case "something happened"). It was mostly functional but i noticed a few of the keys simply didn’t work! So i quickly unplugged it and left it for another day or so. After that, the keyboard worked perfectly. If you’re gonna try it, I recommend you give it a few days before you plug your keyboard in, or it could be short-circuit city!

After the initial success, I decided to perform a larger test in case it was a fluke, or in case it was the specific keyboard design that allowed it to survive. So i tried 2 more Apple design keyboards (hey that’s what i have lying around), as well as a big translucent "split keyboard" (shown). After drying, they all worked fine. I couldn’t discern any difference in the action of the keys between the washed and unwashed.

So take it from your favorite germophobic blogger, or me. Do something about the bacteria on your keyboard, or you’re better off washing your hands in the toilet.

Oh, and if your keyboard looks like this, the trash can is a better place than your dishwasher…

Core Duo Macs vs. Predecessors

There is a lot of noise going around about Apple’s comparison of the MacBook Pro vs. the PowerBook G4, and the iMac Core Duo vs. the iMac G5. According to the SPEC benchmarks used, the new iMac gets 3.2X (integer) and 2.1X (floating point) the performance if the iMac G5. The MacBook Pro gets 4.5X and 5.2X of the performance on the same test over the PowerBook G4.

People seem to have overlooked that Apple actually posted some real world benchmarks on their Universal Applications page.

universal applications

According to their graph, the MacBook Pro is 1.7 to 4.1 times faster in the 6 applications they tested, and the iMac Core Duo is 1.5 to 2.6 times faster. Still, these benchmarks cover a limited scope, and they don’t tell you exactly what or how things were tested in most cases… But check it out anyway, it’s better than nothing at this point.

Apple and Intel, Two great tastes that… I mean… yeah…

Well, they’re finally here.. And just a month after I bought a PowerPC based iMac G5… I never saw it coming. After all the iMac G5 has

  1. A decent processor
  2. Not a G4 processor
  3. Was just released (just this morning Apple still said “the NEW iMac G5 on their front page!)

and I just didn’t think it would be updated so soon. So now I have to eat the difference between selling my iMac G5 and getting the new Intel version. Hey, I can’t respect a single core iMac when I could have a dual! Plus I really want to be able to do some convenient things as far as emulation is concerned… My iMac performs double duty as a software synth player for my studio, and as a general purpose web server, IM, email, etc box. It leaves my primary system open to do the heavy lifting running Digital Performer, games, or other cpu intensive stuff. Luckily, MOTU says on their page that they’ll have intel drivers for my MOTU 828 by the end of the month. They often take their sweet old time with software, so this was a pleasant surprise. I’m still waiting for MachFive 2.0, which I think they announced almost a year ago…

Also fresh & funky like a big fat monkey and tastes real good like an almond joy is the MacBook Pro. Nice specs, finally a dual processor portable to put mobile OS X back in the same league as Apple’s desktops. Let me join everyone else I’ve talked to and heard about in saying it’s the Worst Name Ever™. We grew up with “Powerbook”. “Powerbook” rolls right off the tongue. “MacBook Pro” smacks of something like “Tatung Ultra MP3 Player GZX-5000 512 Megabyte Sensation Pro” or some other nasty title ABA* would use. Oh well, I guess I’ll get used to it eventually. In other gripes, they axed the Firewire 800 port from it. IMO, they should get rid of Firewire 400 from all Macs and strictly use the safer and faster 800 ports.. After all, they’re backwards compatible with 400, and it’s “just like” Apple to ditch the old standards for the new…

* ABA - Anyone But Apple

Dreams and record sales

While talking to Randy Bandit last night on the phone,
I was noodling around with my home-hacked fretless bass, MM2.thumbnail
(yeah, i violated a MusicMan MM-2, ehh, except mine is black - more on that later) giving it the best Jaco workover someone with about 10 months of on and off bass dabbling possibly could. Anyway, that must have influenced the dream I had this morning before I woke up. In my dream, I was listening to Adore by Prince. But in the middle of it there was this big fretless bass solo. In my dream, I figured it must be his bass player (a woman who’s name didn’t come to me in my dream) that added the solo. Then, later in the dream, I was listening to How Does It Feel by D’Angelo, with Raphael Saddiq on bass… But in my dream Prince had written that song…

When I woke up, I had to find that version of Adore with the fretless bass solo, so I staggered to my iMac and the iTunes store to look for it. I found a ton of songs called “Adore” (including the Prince ones of course), then it occurred to me that I probably made up that version of the song in my dream… But then I remembered that it was played by his bassist in my dream, so i did a Google search for “prince female bass player”. The second hit turned out to be a page on Top Ten Female Bassists. First I scrolled through it and was upset when i didn’t see Me’Shell Ndegeocelloon the list, then I realized it was Top Fender Bassists (I just woke up, remember?)… Anyway I found her, Rhonda Smith is her name! Her CD,Intellipop, wasn’t available at iTunes- so I bought her CD via Amazon. I should get it by Friday. I hope it’s good :)

rhondaIpop.thumbnail (Uhh hey Rhonda, do you give bass lessons?)

To read this note is a fool's folly.