After getting back in the swing with a walk up Tinto Hill it was time to tackle another munro. We had planned to do Schiehallion back in July but illness, holidays and finding a suitable weekend meant it never happened. So last Saturday we got up early and headed up to Perthshire. It was a two and a bit hour drive but empty country roads were fantastic. We were also pretty lucky with the weather and the day was dry with some clear spells. One very lucky find was Loch Lubnaig just to the north of Callandar.

Loch Lubnaig

Mirror like surface and some great photo’s. I don’t often think about a DSLR but this was one of those times that I knew a better camera would have been very handy. Onwards to Schiehallion which is 3547ft/1083m high and thanks to a well maintained car park and excellent path is fairly popular. As we climbed up the sun started coming out and it was getting pretty warm. The climb up is fairly steep but as I mentioned previously it’s helped by a great path. However the path doesn’t take you to the summit. You think your at the top but you’ve got around another mile of rocks and boulders to navigate before you get to the cairn. This was the trickiest bit of the walk and I can only imagine it’s fairly treacherous on a wet day. However it only took a couple of hours to get to the summit from the car park.

Me at Schiehallion Summit

Not long after these photo’s were taken the cloud rolled in and it got very cold -fleece and gloves required while we ate lunch and got going again. We were now on the north side of the hill and it was very slippy – I managed to cut my shin in four places as it slipped down a rock and you had to tread carefully to avoid a sprained ankle. We could have taken the old path back down but it had badly eroded the hill hence the newly constructed oath so we were respectful and retraced our steps back to the car park.

Schiehallion Runkeeper

This was a great walk and one that anyone could do as long as you’ve got the right footwear for the rocks on top and also remember that at this time of year it can be very cold and windy at the top of a munro compared to conditions on the ground. A full set of photo’s can be found on Flickr.

4th Year

September 30th 2006. Just over three years ago. It cost more than other similar hardware but it looked oh so desirable. It was all new to me but yet quickly became familiar. It was the day I took delivery of an Apple iMac. Three years have actually flown by and a lot has happened in that time. Unusually for me though one thing that hasn’t changed is the hardware I use. I’m still using the 24″ iMac which is running really well with Snow Leopard. Three months after getting the desktop I picked up a Macbook Pro which I still use today. What’s interesting is that prior to switching I would buy a new PC every couple of years. Maybe that was to do with PC gaming that I used to do more off, maybe it was the slowdown over time that I noticed with Windows. All I know is that for an initially high outlay compared to a same spec PC I’ve gotten far more use out of both my Mac’s.

Another key point is that the three years have been relatively hassle free. My iMac failed to boot once but I restored from a backup disk and it’s been fine ever since losing only a couple of day’s worth of files which wasn’t much. Touch wood. During that time I’ve upgraded the O/S twice to Leopard and recently Snow Leopard. The upgrades have left me with a faster O/S each time which was impressive and surprising.

One change that I’ve worked on over the last three years is making sure the software I use on the Mac is either open source or I pay for it. It’s taken a while as I couldn’t afford to buy everything at the one time nor find good alternatives to some expensive software but I’m there now. Torrenting makes it easy to get any app you need to be honest but I felt more and more uncomfortable about stealing software especially as the Mac development community is smaller, tighter and does make some great software. Definitely the right thing to do.

So that leads me into year 4. No need to upgrade, everything working fine. Except my head. More specifically my gadget head. One thing I’ve toyed with buying for a couple of years was an Apple TV or a Mac Mini for the TV. I’ve an ever growing library of digital media and I want to rip my DVD collection. Out of the two products I’d prefer a Mac Mini – more flexibility when it comes to player choices with Plex being the favourite at the moment. But I don’t want a third computer!

So the plan I have formulating…

  • Sell iMac and replace with Mac Mini for under TV.
  • Sell Macbook Pro and replace with new Macbook Pro with larger local disk.
  • Pick up a good monitor (not Apple as prices are eye watering!) for use on desk.
  • Pick up a Drobo as I’m running out of disk space as my local media grows.

That would leave me a great setup that should do me for a few years except it will cost money that I don’t really need to spend but when has that stopped me before. Mmmmm. Also, new Mini’s and iMac’s are rumoured this month both at a cheaper price. Interesting.

I might not know what hardware I’ll end up using but I do know I’ll be sticking with Apple over the coming years. Hopefully year 4 will be as trouble free as the last three.

New Clothes

The change in season’s has prompted me to give the blog a fresh look. Nothing fancy and quite simple like most of the other blog templates I’ve picked up. I plumped for Modicus Remix which I’ve been tweaking today. Quite pleased with the look although I do want to edit the CSS slightly as some things look a bit iffy.

I also took the opportunity to remove Intense Debate and switch to Disqus. We use Disqus on DigitalOutbox and I’ve been impressed with the better options and faster performance than I saw here with Intense Debate. One big advantage of Intense Debate was the plugin support but they haven’t really taken off yet, certainly not to the level I expected.

I also tweaked the Google advert locations. I finally put on some ad’s back around April/May and they’ve earned enough to pay for the blog hosting so that’s not too shabby. The theme change also allows for a nice DigitalOutbox link in the sidebar. Nothing like a bit of self promotion from time to time. So that’s the theme change for another year although I do have some thoughts around adding a more colourful theme next time that I want to hand crank myself. Just need a bit more time and motivation.