My new Apple MacBook and gripes about it

14 09 2008

So I did say screw it to patience and went ahead and bought a MacBook from the local Apple store. Quick basic specs on this device running Mac OS X Leopard (10.5.4) are:

13.3″ (widescreen 1280×800) TFT (gloss finish), 2.4GHz Core2Duo, 2GB (2 sticks – 1GB each – 667MHz DDR2), 3Mb L2 Cache, 160GB HDD (actual storage 149GB) @ 5,400 rpm, 144MB Intel GMA X3100, 800MHz FSB

Then I got an iPod Touch 8GB and a HP Photosmart C4480 color inkjet printer thrown in for free along with an Apple carry bag totalling for around $1200 w/ the notebook (after calculating mail-in rebates of $299 + $100 and 10% off using my old student ID card). Not a bad deal at all. Oh and I had to make a separate purchase of a VGA connector cable for an additional $19.

An interesting point to note is that the cooler-looking “black” MacBook had a 250GB HDD instead of the 160GB as an attempt to justify a $225 price premium over my top-of-the-line “white” MacBook. Pretty weak of Apple to stifle a consumer’s color choice but it’s either this or another ugly Windows Vista notebook. Steve Job’s Apple finally has the upper hand in the OS wars and they know it.

Despite getting a great deal with the MacBook which comes standard with bluetooth, a nice non-VGA webcam, built-in microphone, a line-in jack for an additional audio input, a firewire port, proprietary video-out port (mini-DVI), slot-loaded 8x dvd/cd burner and the regular stuff like 2 USB ports, ethernet, audio out, and power (it’s magnetic!), I had my gripes.

  1. There are no dedicated HOME/END/PGUP/PGDN/DEL keys

    – Cmd+Left Arrow / Cmd+Right Arrow = Home / End
    – Cmd+Up Arrow / Cmd+Down Arrow = Page Up / Page Down
    – Hitting Cmd+Left Arrow while blogging on Firefox 3 also serves as the BACK key. Delete does the same function making that redundant. Wiped out my post as I was typing.
    – Hitting Cmd+Right Arrow took me back to the typing page but everything was gone.
    – FN+delete = Delete
    – The delete key by itself is actually the beloved “backspace.”

  2. The touch pad isn’t depressed making it prone to accidental touching even with the “Ignore accidental trackpad input” checked in the mouse/trackpad settings.
  3. No simple way to turn off MacBook screen like in Windows XP.

    – You can switch the back light off by pushing the brightness setting all the way to the bottom but I’d like to have the power to the LCD turned off completely.
    – OR you can switch the primary screen to the HDTV, shut the lid of the MacBook, wait for it to go into stand-by, and then lift up the lid again.

  4. There is no physical right-click button on the MacBook even though Apple supports it. The only way to do it is through the touchpad.

    – One-Hand Method (preferred): Tap on the touchpad with 2 fingers spread apart.
    – Two-Hand Method: Another option is hold the “control” key and tap.

  5. Minor issue: No WinAmp. Will need to get acquainted with iTunes 8.

Up next is my post on why I like the new MacBook.

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Republican National Conference in St Paul, Minnesota

3 09 2008

The corrupt politicians and their fake-smiling cronies are in town across the river in St Paul, Minnesota. So are a nasty bunch of anarchists and the usual assortment of hippie peace lovers. On tv, Rudy Guiliani appeared and started making small talk getting the crowd hyped up averaging around 3-5 words per sentence. The crowd cheered. More 3-5 word simple sentences with “9-11” thrown in randomly. The crowd cheered again.  The pattern continued and Rudy said “USA” with a swing to get the crowd going “USA USA USA” like sheep following the movement of a mindless herd. Wish there was someone out there asking Rudy about how he refused to help out the FDNY and NYPD who were volunteering out there during 9-11 and now suffering from various respiratory diseases.

We’re all getting used to Rudy’s stories of how he fought the terrorists during 9-11 but then he came out making fun of Barack Obama’s efforts to the streets of Chicago. Seriously. Rudy? You must be going senile. And as expected, he went on to praise McCain through out the years but failed to bring out 2000 when almost every Republican out there painted him as an unpatriotic American. Didn’t matter. The crowd cheered. Something about the honorable Joe Biden (Democratic vice-presidential nominee) flip-flopping. The crowd cheered around his feet.

Then the newly nominated VP to John “I was shot down in Vietnam” McCain showed up. Sarah Palin began the speech with family values and growing up in a small town in Alaska with her “Eskimo” husband who strangely enough looked white and very un-Eskimo. I bet he was discriminated quite a bit because he was an “Eskimo.” Oh puhleez. Don’t yell out saying Obama’s pulling the race card when you’re doing it yourself, only in your case, it doesn’t work at all.

Along the way, she talked about her activities in the PTA and being a mayor of a town of a few thousand. And do note that she said it was a “tough” job unlike serving on the streets of South Chicago. If that’s tough, I’d like to know what her understanding of the role of the VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA means to her. Then something about how she liked to drive in her car. WTF does this have anything to do with being qualified for the position? Then some lies about tax breaks and how Obama would raise taxes. Lies. More lies. Some history on her efforts which she lied about. If she was a murderer, the crowd could care less because this is the crowd that refuses to look at facts. The crowd cheered.

Like “9-11 Rudy”, wife of Eskimo and the Governor of the populous State of Alaska, Sarah Palin talked about all the torture” that John McCain had to endure in Vietnam. Only, I got 2 problems with that:

  1. Vietnam vets do not like to talk about what they did and saw there. They’re not willing to relive those memories. So why is Palin and Rudy going on and on about John McCain being a POW there?
  2. John McCain was NOT tortured. According to the US Government and our prez whom some call “Dubya” or “the original pothead”, worse acts were carried out to the fine residents of Guantanomo Bay and it was deemed normal treatment.

About John McCain, and please I do not have anything against someone who actually went there along with the likes of Democrat John Kerry (who was bashed by Repuglicans for not being a true veteran), although I respect his service, getting shot down isn’t something to be proud of. He is still an American hero but I severely doubt he is the right person for the job. And why are the Repuglicans now embracing him when they trampled down on him back in 2000?

Since she had nothing else to say about her experience and had exhausted her vocabulary of emotional keywords, she went on with some negative jabs on Obama. The crowd cheered. Sarah Palin mocking Barack Obama? Someone who’s had it easy all her life making fun of a social worker? Very classy indeed. Literally.

Republican speeches are always very interesting because of their over-use of keywords and suggestive terms and the blatant lies tossed callously in sentences filled with emotional moments. You can be Emperor Palpitine or Darth Vader and still come out after the speech looking like good ol’ Ben Kenobi. In short, all words and no substance. But be warned. If you’re not careful, you can get swept in with their lies just like how Anakin Skywalker turned to the dark side and became Darth Vader. We know Palpatine and Darth Vader are “evil” because they already look like villains and can’t afford the luxury to smile and make you comfortable unlike the Repuglicans you see on tv.

The following are some of the most popular keywords in a typical Republican speech: God, good, evil, victory, America, Americans, bless, values, faith, terrorist, protection, death tax. Nauseatingly childlike and corny but certainly very definitive and divisive words for the simple-minded. You’re either with us, or against us. Sounds familiar? You know what, the American public has had enough and can see through their lies and know that they’re going to get 4 more years of the same terrible 8 years we’ve gone through. If you want to take advantage of unsuspecting people, go do that elsewhere. My word of advice to republicans is to “Pack up your lies in your suitcases and get out of our country!”