Apple Has New iMacs – What Now?

April 28, 2008

I bought my 24″ iMac last year (sometime in August or September), and this morning Apple has released a refresh of the entire iMac line. The really compelling thing about the high end 24″ iMac is that it includes a pretty spiffy nVidia graphics card – an 8800gts if I’m not mistaken.

Of course, being an iMac I can’t just upgrade – but I’m not certain that it’s worth upgrading just for a slightly faster processer but a much shinier graphics card. I am using my iMac more and more for photo and video on the Mac side and gaming on the Vista Boot Camp partition, so a better graphics card just makes a lot of sense. I may take a look and see how much I might get for the iMac on CraigsList or EBay – supposedly their resale value is pretty good. I also believe there are a couple of local dealers that might take a trade in or something.

GRR! Darn you, Apple, for refreshing your iMac line and making me covet a new model!

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Quick Update Before Bed

October 27, 2007

Civ IV installed like a champ. I did get a little worried – after the initial install the game ran fine, then I ran a game update to get the 1.74 version and installed it – and then the game died looking for a DirectX file! D’oh! A quick Google search found that I needed to reinstall DirectX 9.0c, once that was done it ran GREAT. It’s much smoother than on my Core Duo laptop, even at full 1920 resolution. AWESOME…


So far, So cool

October 27, 2007

Well, this post comes by way of IE 7 on Vista Ultimate…installed in Boot Camp on Mac OS X Leopard. Here’s what I have done today:

  • 4:15pm – Left work so I could get home and down to the Plaza around 6pm to go to the Apple Store
  • 6:00pm – Arrive on the Plaza to find a line outside the Apple store going around the block – I estimate around 250 people. Ick. And absolutely no parking…I hate the Plaza
  • 6:10pm – While trying to find parking I get fed up and say that we’re going to the OP Best Buy with the new Apple section.
  • 6:40pm – Arrive at the Best Buy in Overland Park. Walk in, pick up Leopard. No line. Walk around for a few minutes, then check out and leave.
  • 8:00pm – Get home after having a quick dinner and start the upgrade process. The slowest part was the DVD check process….
  • 8:30pm – DVD check is done. Install starts, says it’ll take 1 hour 20 minutes. I go down to play Sims 2 Castaways on the Wii and forget about time…
  • 11:30pm – Come back up to find the Mac at the Leopard login screen. Log in and start messing around – pretty cool so far. I like the reflective dock and I don’t find the transluscent menu bar to be too annoying.
  • 11:45pm – Start up the boot camp assistant after using Disk Utility to burn my Vista Ultimate ISO to DVD. NICE that OS X has that in it. Read through the install guide, partition a 32gb drive for Windows, then start the Vista install.
  • 12:45pm – Install of Vista is done. It went pretty quick once the files were decompressed. Installed Boot Camp drivers, and was surprised when my wireless keyboard worked without a problem in Vista. Reboot count: 4 reboots so far – 2 during install, 1 after Windows Update, 1 after Boot Camp update…
  • 1:00am – Uh oh, the reboot AFTER the boot camp update has caused my keyboard to no longer work. Fun new Vista feature – on-screen keyboard, which allows me to enter my password and log in. Very handy. Run the Bluetooth configuration and it finds the keyboard OK.
  • 1:00-2:00am – Screwing around with Vista. I haven’t really played with it too much but it looks…like it’s trying pretty hard. My experience score on the iMac is a whopping 5.1 – and the bottleneck is the memory, of all things! My graphics performance is 5.7-5.9, which is awesome.

Performance wise, Vista is running very well so far. I am about to install Civ IV and see how it goes. I will say that the startup/shutdown with OS X is MUCH faster than Vista. MUCH. So far, my experience with Leopard and Vista is pretty darn good – the only hiccup was my wireless keyboard, and that was a quick thing to fix. So now I’ll try a game install and then probably get some sleep…


Best Shopping Experience Evar

October 13, 2007

Today I managed to ignore my “never go to the Country Club Plaza” rule, because I really wanted to go to the Apple store. I dreaded the trip, mainly because I hate driving on the Plaza. So much. Pedestrians are quite insane there – I know they have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean that a couple of tons of SUV won’t cause some bruising if they walk blithely in front of one.

So I drove by the Apple store and was surprised to see an open parking spot right across the street. Nabbing it, I was amazed by all the gawkers inside the store – even though it was really rainy and generally “blah” today, there were still tons of people ogling the Apple goodness. I was there for a couple of specific things – a copy of Parallels Desktop and a wireless keyboard. I snagged both and also got a USB hub, since changing from the wired Mac keyboard to the wireless meant the net loss of a USB connection.

As Jen and I stood there wondering what to do next – there were TONS of people milling around the Genius Bar – an Apple employee walked up and said, “are you ready to check out?” Sure, we replied, and she then proceeded to whip a portable scanner/PDA off of her belt and scan our items, swipe my credit card and even send me an emailed receipt. She then grabbed us a super-cool Apple store bag and we were done – and never even had to stand in line!

So I’m now typing using a wireless keyboard, which is cool but SMALL – this thing has no numeric keypad and is missing a bunch of keys that I would otherwise consider important, like HOME and END and DEL. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I love being wireless. It was also so much easier to discover the keyboard on the iMac then in Windows XP, where I routinely seem to lose connectivity with the keyboard/mouse. Parallels seems pretty cool, I’m going to try to do some performance tweaking but I managed to get a Vista installation done in under an hour (before Windows Update, of course). Unfortunately it’s not a gaming solution – I’ll wait for Leopard and Boot Camp to do that – but it should be fine for running Vista, Office 2007 and even some Visual Studio goodness.

Tomorrow I’m smoking up a brisket and pork shoulder for a potluck at work, and then this week is United Way week – we’re doing all sorts of cool things, culminating in the annual chili cook-off on Friday. Can I keep the streak alive and go for the three-peat? YES.


Cross Browser Compatability

October 13, 2007

Suddenly, it’s very important to me that web sites work in multiple browsers. Up until recently, all I’ve really used is IE – version 6 at work, 7 at home. All those other browsers could suck lemons for all I cared, because I didn’t need to worry about them. They were for geeks and weirdos.

Then I bought a new 24″ iMac. And now I use Safari and Firefox. And now…I care.

The browser compatability thing hasn’t actually bitten me much until this week, when one of my favorite intellectually-stimulating sites – cracked.com – redid their site and it looks like warmed-over poo in Safari. It actually doesn’t look much better than that in Firefox either, more like warmed-over diarrhea in a dixie cup. It used to look like hot s*&t in a champagne glass. I really need new episodes of The Venture Bros.

Pretty much every other site I frequent that isn’t completely Microsoft-centric seems to have a decent handle on this cross-browser shindig. But for some reason, Cracked.com – even with their vast IT department and mountains of cash for high-priced consultants – can’t seem to figure it out. Ah well, I’m sure they’ll get around to servicing the 7% of their readership that uses Safari.