Thursday, July 28, 2005
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The new mini comes in three stock configurations. The specs are:
Feature Small model Medium model Large model Price $500 $600 $700 Processor 1.25GHz G4 1.42GHz G4 Disk 40G 80G Optical drive Combo SuperDrive AirPort Extreme Optional Standard BlueTooth Optional Standard Modem Standard Optional
All models include:
- 512M RAM (upgradeable to 1G)
- Radeon 9200 video with 32M
- DVI or VGA output
- One FireWire 400 port
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- 10/100 Ethernet
The changes from the previous Mac mini are extremely minor:
- The bundled memory is larger (up from 256M)
- BlueTooth and AirPort Extreme are now standard on the 1.42GHz model
- Modem is now optional on the 1.42GHz model
- You can now get a SuperDrive without ordering it from Apple's web site
The new iBook comes in two stock configurations. The specs are:
Feature 12" model 14" model Price $1000 $1300 Processor 1.33GHz G4 1.42GHz G4 Disk 40G 60G Optical drive Combo SuperDrive
All models include:
- 512M memory (expandable to 1.5GB)
- ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 (32M)
- AirPort Extreme (WiFi)
- One FireWire-400 port
- Two USB 2.0 ports
Compared with the previous generation iBook:
- The processors are faster (up from 1.25 and 1.33GHz)
- The default hard drive for the 12" is larger
- The built-in memory is larger (up from 256M)
- Improved video (up from Mobility Radeon 9200)
- BlueTooth is now standard
The new models look good. The mini is a great deal now - the memory upgrade and bundled wireless (on the two higher-end models) means that the unit is now completely useful without any upgrades.
Unfortunately, it appears that none of today's upgrades include a video card that supports CoreImage, which is a shame. This is the one feature I'd been hoping Apple would release, especially in the iBook.
Monday, July 25, 2005
As noted by The Register's article, the Apple corporate campus doesn't exist on Microsoft's system - it shows an empty field and a warehouse. And it still shows the World Trade Center in Manhattan (corner of Church St. and Vesey St., if you want to take a look)
Saturday, July 23, 2005
The disc will not play on my good quality CD changer. It does play on my old boom box, and my computers. I was able to rip the disc to my Mac and burn a disc from the files, which does play fine on everything.
Has anyone else encountered this? Should I exchange the disc where I bought it or do you think that would be an act of futility?
Monday, July 18, 2005
Card starts out discussing possible beneficial aspects of video games and then expands upon this thesis and discusses other kinds of mental exercise, and how they can benefit people with mental handicaps, including those with Alzheimer's disease and ADHD.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
In this condition, a person partially wakes up from sleep to find himself paralyzed. (Paralysis while asleep is normal and is believed to prevent injuries while asleep.) Because he is not fully awake, however, his recognition of the paralysis often results in hallucinations of being restrained or abducted by a variety of nightmarish things produced by the subconscious.
After reading this article, it seems to me that a lot of superstitious/religious belief in things like demons, evil spirits, alien abductions, astral projection, etc. may be a manifestation of this condition.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
But I don't think it will. Even if we ignore the extra cost and the inevitable issues with the reliability of the laptops, there is still the simple fact that computers are not always more convenient than paper!
When I was in school, cramming before an exam, I often took textbooks to the bathroom with me, or I'd read them in the car (while my father drove me to school), or I'd read them outdoors. Now try doing this with a laptop. In the bathroom? Better not let any water from the sink (or elsewhere) splash onto the computer. In the car? Vibration isn't good for hard drives. Outdoors? Hope the battery doesn't go dead.
And, of course, without an internet connection, the computer will only be as useful as what is stored on the hard drive. Can we be certain that every student will have regular access to a broadband connection, in order to download texts? Can the school afford to pay for DSL lines to those households that can't afford them? Dial-up will be barely adequate, as anybody who has attempted to do research over a dial-up connection can testify.
All this assumes that the hardware will be completely reliable. But will it be? Hard drives fail. Laptops have all sorts of problems. If the computers are Windows based, we'll have to worry about virusses and spyware. And if the student's network connection is wireless, we'll have to contend with student breaking into each others' computers.
I'm waiting for the 21st century equivalents of "my dog ate my homework". Maybe "the e-mail got lost", or "my hard drive glitched", or "my finger slipped and I deleted the file by mistake".
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The concept is very simple. There is a grid full of objects. When you click on two adjacent objects, they exchange places. If there are three or more of the same type of object in a row or column, the objects are removed, the objects above fall to fill in the gap, and new objects drop in at the top to fill in the gap.
So far, this is the same as Bejeweled, another very addictive game.
Jewel Quest, however, adds a twist. Whenever pieces are removed, the background underneath them turns gold. When all of the squares have become gold, the level is complete. You score a bonus for time remaining and a new level begins. And the levels are not simple rectangular grids. They come in a wide variety of shapes, making some levels extremely difficult to complete within the time limit.
As the levels progress, additional twists are added. Like "buried treasure" - objects that you have to match multiple times before they are removed. And objects that will penalize you if they are removed directly (but give you a large bonus if you can remove them indirectly). There are 180 different puzzles, so you won't be able to finish the game quickly.
Like many other puzzle games, Jewel Quest may be played full-screen or in a window. So you can choose to either pay attention to what the rest of the computer is doing or choose to get completely absorbed in the game.
The system requirements are very small by today's standards (Windows 98, 32M RAM, Direct X 7), so it should run on anything that is even remotely modern. It installed and ran without any problems on my gaming PC (Athlon 64/3200+, Windows XP, 512M RAM).
The only downside to this game is that nobody has (yet?) ported it to the Macintosh platform. I prefer to play games like this on my Mac so they can share a desktop with the other things I work on. But I recognize the fact that it takes a while for people to port games to the Mac, which is why I have a gaming PC in the first place.