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A Book and Some New Toys

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Soon after Steve Jobs’s death, I went ahead and ordered a copy of his biography. I spent some time deciding which electronic version I wanted (Kindle vs. iBooks), but I ultimately realized that I could just go ahead and buy the hard copy, thus avoiding any syncing issues entirely. This book would be worth owning on paper anyway.

So I actually received the book two days ago, and having only read a couple chapters in, I can say that the book is great. I won’t bore you with any details since I suspect anyone reading this blog will probably read that book anyway. Furthermore, other tech blogs have been incessantly posting tidbits from the book, behavior I find incredibly annoying since most people want to read those tidbits for themselves. It’s not even tech news!

The other day, an interesting deal popped up on SlickDeals. Verizon had two iPhone 4/4S bundles listed in their online store as free. I quickly jumped and ordered 3 of each (the maximum allowed amount). That was last Sunday. On Thursday, my order status never updated, so I called in and asked. I kept getting vague answers about how I’d be getting an email with more details on my order on Friday, but my order would be processed by then. On Friday, lo and behold, I get a cancellation email with an offer for 30% off. Psh. Not cool. Anyway, I called in to complain, and insisted that my order should be fulfilled. I get some attitude from the first CS rep, suggesting that since I was not a Verizon customer, I could only get the 30% off offer as a courtesy. Discrimination eh? Escalation! I pointed out that I’d talked to non-Verizon customers who successfully had their orders pushed through by calling in (SDers). At first the supervisor tries to deny that and suggest that the other person might have just taken the 30% discount. I insisted that that was not the case. After 20 minutes of arguing, I successfully got one of each package pushed through, again “as a courtesy.” Yeah, 3 of each was probably a little bit excessive hahaha. Anyway, along with my book the other day, my package came. For a little bit of my time, I got a free Power and Protection Package, and a Premium Brand Package. The P&P Package had a case + belt clip, a car charger, and some screen protectors. The PB Package was the real winner. It included a Jawbone Icon, an Incase case (with a little stand), and another set of screen protectors. Cool! What I’ve learned from this experience: Verizon’s customer service isn’t really that great unless you pull a little bit of arm twisting; companies are usually on the hook for pricing errors, unless they want to lose customers. I know I sound like a bit of a jerk for all this, but the person I spoke with on Thursday actually promised to process my order.

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Categories: Discussion, Random, Tips

Soon

October 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Today is the highly anticipated Apple iPhone event. I’m not really expecting all that much, as the most likely release is going to be a spec-bumped iPhone 4 with cool voice-command features. There are still rumors flying around of a redesigned iPhone 5 coming up, but I just really don’t see it happening on this release.

Either way, I will be making another post later about the event, as well as the Apple Thunderbolt Display review.

Categories: Discussion, Random

27″ of Glossy Goodness

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I was planning to upload a whole slew of unboxing and setup photos, but iOS5 seems to have eaten most of my pictures. I’m too lazy to put the display back in the box and reshoot all the unboxing pics, so I won’t.

I’ve only just gotten the gorgeous display set up, so this isn’t much of a review for now. I did run some tests to make sure the display was a good unit, and I was fairly pleased. I didn’t see any backlight bleed, and definitely no yellowing. I’ll post back in a couple days after using this guy for a while, but as of now, my $1k was well spent. For now, I have my 17″ MBP in clamshell mode. That may or may not change if I decide I don’t want to waste that extra 17″ of real estate, but I think 2560 x 1440 might be enough pixels for me. We’ll see.

Categories: Impressions, Random

Hell Yes

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Ok. I couldn’t resist. I placed my order for a 27″ Apple Thunderbolt Display yesterday. It’s going to set me back a couple paychecks, but I’ll just starve for a bit. I kid. Anyway, people are going to point their fingers at me and label me a fanboy (I’m definitely a fanboy), but the way I see it, my display wasn’t determined based on an act of fanboyism. Sure, there are much cheaper displays out there, but at 27″ and 2560 x 1440 pixels on an IPS display, there aren’t any cheaper than the $800 that Dell might sell theirs for occasionally. I did look at the Ultrasharps too, if anyone is wondering, and I feel that the $200 premium I’m paying over it is worth it to get my beautiful Thunderbolt base station (essentially). When the prices of Thunderbolt cables and hard drive enclosures drop (I’m not paying $50 for a cable, even if it does have actual chips in it), I will play with daisy chaining too. In the meantime, I’ll sit on the order status page and constantly refresh till I get my shiny new screen set up in front of me. Stay tuned for a review.

Categories: Random

That Time of Year

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, we’re into September, so it’s time to start speculating about what Apple has up its sleeve this Fall. We’ve been seeing a good deal of leaked “iPhone 4S” pictures, including logic board and front panel leaks. Most of the actually leaked material looks just like the current iPhone 4. The exception, of course, is the fact that a bunch of cases have come out from China depicting a completely different design for the speculated “iPhone 5.” Personally, I’d just like OS X 10.7.2, iOS5, and iCloud to just launch already, and the only thing really holding them back is that Apple needs to push out their next round of hardware before they’ll finally release the software.

I don’t expect iPods to get much this year, and last thing: where the hell are the SB Mac Pros!?

Categories: Discussion, Random

Finally, maybe? Some news..

September 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m convinced I’m just lazy. The semester has been looking busy, but not THAT busy. I’m pretty sure I COULD have found some time to make a post in the last couple weeks, but I guess I just didn’t feel up to it. Anyhow, at some point in the near future, I’m planning to migrate this blog over to a more universal one, so I won’t feel entirely obligated to post only about tech stuff. Every once in a while, I do feel like posting about my life outside of my toys, but the blog is called “Tech Junkie Review.” Maybe the transition will be motivation to post more, maybe…

Ok let’s get to some actual content. Not all that much has really happened in the last couple weeks. We do have a good amount of Apple gossip, but gossip is gossip. The way I see it, Jobs stepping down won’t make any difference in the way Apple works, considering the man has been silently looming instead of actively managing for months now. Cook will do just fine. iPhone 5 rumors are really ramping up, with VERY mixed information: some say it’ll only be a “4S” with a mere spec bump and improved antenna. Others seem to be incredibly convinced that the iPhone 5 will have the teardrop shape, a giant screen, and a different home button. I know a lot of people who are waiting for the thing, but I probably won’t be picking one up myself, unless AT&T really entices me with the full discount in contract renewal pricing. More than likely, I’ll be waiting for the first LTE iPhone, at which time I will buy one unlocked (so I can use it in Asia or Europe, maybe…). I have been eyeing a Thunderbolt Display since they were announced too, but I’m not sure I want to spend the grand on a display just yet. My primary use would be the docking capabilities and cable simplicity, and of course movies, but Belkin now has that Thunderbolt dock on the horizon, which could save me a bit of money. I don’t really NEED the big-ass display either. I’d just really, really like one. It’s pretty.

I hadn’t looked at any Microsoft news until two nights ago, when the Windows 8 Developer Preview was released. I was incredibly surprised there were no strings attached to the DL: no developer fee, no NDA, nothing. Just go to the page, click the download, and there you have an ISO of a slick new OS. Apple might want to learn from this.

After a good day of deliberation and forum-trawling, I decided to Boot Camp my fairly new MBA and give it a shot. Most threads said that it installed fairly easily, and the drivers worked for the most part. Several posters went as far to say that the OS was incredibly polished for a developer preview. Ehh… It took me all of 15 minutes of usage before I deleted the partition. I was incredibly impressed by the install itself (took about 10 minutes total), but shit, in the 15 minutes I actually used the OS, 5 minutes were on restarting the machine because it’d become completely unresponsive. I couldn’t get the drivers to install at all, and frankly, the Metro UI is an ugly piece of crap. It’s kind of like Lion’s Launchpad (which also kind of sucks), but uglier, and less thought out. On tablets, hell yes. It has that touchscreen mentality to it. Using a mouse with Metro is incredibly weird, and really just doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe I’m reaching that point in life when I’m supposed to start feeling old due to the “hip,” new technology. Probably not…

I did disable Metro (lots of quick instructions online for that), but at that point, the OS kinda just looked like Windows 7 except a little bit slicker, and while it worked, much, much quicker. It’s definitely a zippy OS, and it really feels like Microsoft’s Snow Leopard. Once it gets a little bit more polished, and the Boot Camp drivers start to work (not likely until the official release comes out), it’ll definitely be a pretty awesome OS to use (especially with that spiffy, native EFI support).

I realize I sound like I don’t really like Lion right now, and I guess that’s not fully true. But, the Wi-Fi bugs with Lion have irritated me to no end for the last few weeks. I work IT, the school uses WPA2-enterprise. When hundreds of freshmen arrive with their brand-spanking new Macs (all with Lion), and the Wi-Fi doesn’t work, people get pissed. Then there’s the loss of Samba (breaking our network printing system), which just leads to a whole different set of nightmares. I’ve been testing 10.7.2 also, and obviously Samba’s not back, and the Wi-Fi problems don’t seem to be fixed. There it goes again. I just lost my connection. Whoa, a self-assigned IP error. Haven’t seen one of those myself since 10.6.6.

Categories: Discussion, Random

Inertia

July 4, 2011 Leave a comment

I should really get my shit together. I keep telling myself I’m going to post more, but then I get lazy. This summer is really not going like I planned at all… I haven’t gotten any tech projects going, and I definitely haven’t been studying enough. Either way, it’s July 4th, and I figure I owe it to myself to take some time and make a post.

I’ve been on the Lion GM for a while, and I gotta say, I’m very happy with how it’s working. I hope iCloud comes out of beta soon as well, but I really can’t complain about how it’s working (pretty great). Lion itself is incredibly stable (I really have yet to find a problem with it), and despite it not really having all that many “revolutionary” updates, I really appreciate the under-the-hood changes, as well as the really nice UI overhaul. Lion is like the Snow Leopard to Snow Leopard, if you know what I mean.

I sold my 11″ MBA a week and a half ago in anticipation of an impending spec bump. When I bought the machine, I told myself it was just for portability, and I really wouldn’t need to be doing any spec chasing. Well, I’m not too good at resisting that kind of temptation. Considering I was able to sell the machine at about 85% of my original cost, I’m pretty happy. I’m actually very much looking forward to this boost in performance, since I’d been totally maxing out the 1.4 GHz CPU as well as the 4 GB of RAM. Hopefully, Apple will give us some more upgrade options on the 11″ this round.

Rumors on 9to5 Mac and Apple Insider this morning suggest that Apple might even ditch the blade SSDs in favor of some ONFI 3.0 tech. Essentially, it’s one more step to killing off user upgradeability. What this entails, essentially, is NAND flash soldered directly onto the motherboard, allowing speeds of up to 400 Mbps. While I really hate the idea of not being able to put in my own SSD, I really can’t complain about 400 Mbps on such a small machine. Though I have my doubts (mainly that Samsung isn’t quite on board with this tech yet, and Samsung is one of Apple’s main suppliers of flash memory; and that Apple JUST introduced the blade mSATA SSDs a couple of months ago), I can’t say this wouldn’t be an unwelcome addition that would make the snappy machines even more snappy. Thunderbolt is really just icing on the cake. My next big purchase is likely going to be some sort of external display (a 25″ HDTV as a monitor is really starting to look like crap next to a 17″ MBP). If Apple can deliver a new 27″ LED Cinema Display using Thunderbolt (a minor, but worthwhile upgrade), I might be picking one up. Sure, Thunderbolt peripherals are expensive, but I can’t help but imagine the possibility of using the Thunderbolt port to power the USB/Firewire hub that the displays carry. Granted, price will still be a major consideration, but the thought of a set of machines working in perfect synergy seriously appeals to me.

Categories: Discussion, Random