Frank's Blog


Dell just announced its iMac clone, the iDell(tm) XPS One. At least one point towards this machine: it only requires one cord to operate. Everything else is obvious from the picture below. The official announcement can be found here.

From above, it looks like one of Darth Vaders star cruisers:

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During the last weeks I was very upset on getting myself one of these shiny all-new Alu-iMacs. When I was actually seeing them at the Gravis store in Berlin, however, I was a bit disappointed. That's for two major reasons. First, the back of the new iMac is made of cheap looking plastic colored in Dell-black(tm). This is a strong contrast to the otherwise very nice aluminum frame. You might ask, why care? I wouldn't if the back of my computer screen would face the wall. Second---and way worser---is the glossy screen. While the glossy screen is already annoying in the 13" Mac Books, at 20" or even 24" inch, there's no way of getting rid of all these reflections. Gravis furthermore made the mistake to place a new 24" iMac beside an old one. While the contrasts might be a little higher on the new one, the older was seemingly more eye-friendly.

Being a bit frustrated about the new iMacs, I decided to keep my old G4 Mac mini for a while longer. Since I always looked for iLife'06 at Ebay, I decided to get an iLife'08 for my G4 Macs. I was well aware of the fact that the new iMovie'08 might not run on my computers. On my 12" PowerBook, however, this was no problem. Besides the fact that the iLife installer checks if either an Intel CPU or a 64bit CPU is installed, no problem occurred so far (I got rid of the installer check by changing the corresponding script's function hasSufficientHardwareForiMovie() to always return true). Performance for small projects is quite acceptable. Like most other people, I do miss a lot of features contained in previous versions of iMovie'08. Since iMovie'06 is a free download for '08 users, the better (but older) version also runs on my Mac mini G4. Unfortunately, iMovie'08 requires a core graphics compatible video card. Hence, my Mac mini is out of the game for iMovie'08.

The most useful product of iLife (from my point of view) is the new iPhoto '08, version 7. While the new event display is a nice addon, iPhoto'08 really shines with its enhanced editing capabilities, that are in most cases non-destructive. That means, all changes are updated from the original picture. You can change the contrast or levels of your pictures and commit the changes. The next time you visit the editor, the sliders are not on their initial positions, but rather where you moved them. If you apply any changes, a fresh picture will be generated from the original. Furthermore, iPhoto'08 has a very nice import dialog, where you can now select the pictures you want to import as well as hiding the ones already imported. What's not contained is a picture sharing function between several user accounts. iPhoto'08 runs well on my Mac mini G4 and is faster (in all aspects I investigated) than iPhoto'05.

Finally, iWeb'08 found my interest. While I prefer coding HTML by hand instead of using pre-defined templates, the program is quite nice for beginners. It is so simple, I can recommend it to anyone without technical skills. When it comes to publish the pages to a website other than .Mac, however, you better know a coder, since at least for my webserver, the pages needed manual changes to work.

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So, time is up. I've waited long enough for Apple's iPhone. While it seems to be a nice technical goody, the price is way to high. While the Telekom was not mentioning any details, O2, the british carrier, introduced a pricing similar to the AT&T model. Thus, the lowest rate will be about 50 euro a month. Combining 400 euro for the phone and twenty-four times 50 bucks, the iPhone will cost at least 1600 euro during the two years plan. A bit too high, if you ask me.

However, my good old SE K700i died right away some weeks ago. As a replacement, I'm happy with a SE K810i. The phone is capable of doing almost everything interesting the iPhone can do. It plays music. Okay, without Coverflow. It plays videos. Okay, at a bit lower resolution. It shows Google Maps (anyway, already my K700i did that). Well, it's not playing YouTube content. Otherwise, it has (1) extendible memory, (2) no SIM-lock, (3) Java-Application support, (4) an RDS radio, (5) a lower weight, and (6) a way better camera. That's how I came to the title:

A Christian spider in the wood.
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PowerBook survived Surgery OR Always make a Backup 

Yesterday, my good old PowerBook 12" (yes, the lightest Apple notebook ever produced until now), unexpectedly died right in front of a class. I was giving a lecture on the pi-calculus and BPM (what else?), as Keynote did not started the presentation right away. Instead, the Keynote dock symbol bounced up and down and the beachball occured. The only things I was able to do was move the mouse. After investigating the issue, I found out that the harddrive made a metallic click noise. This came a bit unexpected, since the day before yesterday I thought about updating my backup...

Nevertheless, I went to K&M and picked up a nice 160GB Samsung harddrive. This morning, I prepared everything according to, removed about 35 screws, placed the new hdd into place, assembled 35 screws---and---finally got a working PowerBook with an even faster harddisk. This is how the book looked before the old drive had been removed:

What do we learn thereof? Always make a backup!
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The all new MacBooks have arrived - blogging and podcast ready! While I was surprised about the technical details (Core Duo, DVI video output, high-resolution screen, but only onboard graphics) the design seems to step back a bit. The white model resembles some MSI notebooks, whereas the black just looks like a Dull. I'm also interesting in getting my fingers on the keyboard, since it now resembles some kind of calculator keyboard:

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