Mac at 30

I first used a Mac at university in the early 90’s. It was in the university library and I’m pretty sure it was a Macintosh Plus. While it worked fine, it was a bit slow and nothing grabbed me about it so my first home computer was an Escom 486 and for years I was a Windows and PC user. It was my main games machine as the FPS market took off and the PC platform served me well for years.

The seed that started my move to Mac was in 2001 when the first iPod was announced. I’m pretty sure it was late 2002 or early 2003 before I finally picked up an iPod and suffered using Real software to sync my music on Windows. I loved the iPod. From the packaging to the ease of use, everything about it felt special compared to the competition. I still remember the button lights slowly fading – never got old.

Roll forward to 2006 and it was time to upgrade my PC, not to a newer model but making the switch to Apple. I bought a 21″ iMac and it was such a step change to what I had before. Quiet, fast and an amazing set of applications. A few months later and I bought a Macbook Pro. I was hooked.

Home Office
Home Office

Now I have a 27″ iMac, a Macbook Air, iPhone 5S, iPad Air and an Apple TV. Overkill but I still love Apple’s product design and software despite my recent moans. I didn’t expect much from Apple to celebrate that today was the 30th anniversary since the Macintosh was introduced but I was wrong. I guess time’s have changed since Steve Jobs passed away.

A beautiful website with a great interactive timeline showing the history of the Macintosh. It also wouldn’t right to not have a video from Apple celebrating the event.

There’s also an easter egg on the Apple site.

A custom font that shows each of the Macs from the last 30 years. Nice.

Despite the iPhone and iPad eating into it’s usage, I still wouldn’t be without one. Happy 30th Macintosh.

Madrid Bound

Be a bit quiet round here for the next few days as I’m off to Madrid. Now this isn’t a holiday and is definetly a business trip with long hours and no time for play when I’m there. Honest.

Anyway – it’s a good chance to test the new iPod out. Video podcasts here I come. Still loving the mac by the way. Still amazed by the ease of use of it all.

I’ve Moved

It took a long time to deliver but I’m finally there – I’ve moved to Mac. They say a picture is worth a thousand words…

iMac up and running

I’ve posted a full Flickr set of the unboxing of the iMac and iPod – not too many pics as it’s been done already. It’s too early to feel settled with OS X although I’ve so far managed to do everything I’ve wanted to, including an almighty struggle to get my iTunes library over to the mac from the pc. I ended up hacking the library xml file to get it to work. However the iMac hardware is stunning. Quiet, fast and bright – in fact too bright much like when you view a TV in a store and it’s set to 100%. I ended up reducing the brightness to just over half to make it easy on the eyes. Even then it was brighter than my last LCD. Still can’t get used to using the Apple key for cut, copy, paste and there are obviously lots of oddities that will take time to understand. Expose is stunning though and makes managing multiple windows a painless task – windows could learn a lot and that still hasn’t been addressed in Vista which is an issue as more people move to larger and larger desktops.

The iPod is as impressive as ever. Screen is bright, video’s look sharp although I still think it’s too small to watch TV episodes and movies on. Most noticeable are the new earbuds – comfy and sound good. Gapless playback is also welcome…at last.

Downsides. Only one at the moment – the Mighty Mouse. It is OK but not a patch on my old Logitech which will be pressed back into service. The virtual right mouse button is awkward and the side buttons require a lot of pressure to activate. Not for me and it defies logic as to why Apple couldn’t design something better.

Seeing as I’ve spent only a day with the iMac I’m surprised how easy it is to perform basic tasks although I do feel vulnerable due to my lack of knowledge. If something went wrong I would probably struggle badly. With Windows I felt comfortable that no matter what I did I could rectify the situation – it will take a while to get that feeling with the Mac. Hardware has also worked like a dream, both new and old. Joy of joys – I don’t have any dead pixels (well none that are obvious and although I’ve scanned a few times and can’t see any I ain’t going hunting). Thoroughly delighted that I finally made the move. It will be interesting to see how the next few weeks go as I scratch beneath the surface. To be honest I can’t wait.


I need a new iPod. It’s almost three years since I picked up my 30Gig iPod and I’ve only a few hundred meg free. I’ve been toying with the idea of dropping some of the music that I never listen to…those album fillers that are usually skipped but every so often I’ll listen to a track that I’ve previously dismissed and it clicks. So I’m keeping all the music in my ever growing library. Therefore 60Gig is a must.

I’m also listening to more and more podcasts. I treat it as my radio station where I can choose what ramblings to listen to. Still a bit hit and miss but quality is ever increasing.

I’m also anal with regards album art. All my mp3’s have embedded album art images which makes playing on various players and devices a joy as I recognise and remember so much not just from the sound but also the covers. Sad I know. Talking of other players I’ve had a peek round the market in case there is an iPod killer out there that meets my needs. Despite it’s shortcomings nothing appeals as much as the iPod in combination with iTunes.

So it’s a no brainer – order a 60Gig iPod. Well…..not quite. There’s lots of fanboy rumours that April 1st (or there abouts) will see a new video iPod so I’ll hang back and see whats coming. I love the way Apple launch their goods on an unsuspecting market but I would hate to buy one of their products only to see a new version that’s faster, better, same priced and launched a couple of weeks later. I can see me giving in soon though – the force is weakening.


I’ve been using iPodder for a few weeks now with mixed results. iPodder allows you to download podcasts of your choosing to your iPod. Podcasts, in case you didn’t know, are audio files (like normal radio broadcasts) that can be easily downloaded from the net and stored on your iPod, or any digital player for that matter – pc, Xbox etc.

While the software works well and integrates nicely with iTunes, it’s the quality of the content I’ve been most disappointed with. Out of the popular top 10, Reel Reviews, IT Conversations and Engadget have been the only ones that perked my interest with the rest being fairly poor. Adam Curry (who started off the concept of podcasting) was just irritating – if I want to listen to someone coughing in my ear I’ll just listen to the guys in the office whose banter is far more entertaining. The others I have tried have been fairly poor. I guess it’s no surprise really as like blogging, some things should be left to the professionals. Still worth a try even for the two shows above although it goes without saying that this is for broadband users only – the IT Conversations shows can run over an hour…but they can at least be fast forwarded for when they get a little dry.

iPod Photo

ipod_photoNew iPod Photo announced. 40 & 60Gb versions and for not too shabby a price. Looks good and would be a definite buy if I didn’t have an iPod already. Main issue for me is that Apple’s support of existing users is pretty shabby. I love my iPod but some fairly basic updates wouldn’t have gone amiss – heck – I can’t even play back tracks without any gaps between them. These kind of features should be in as a basic minimum. Good to see battery life quoted at 15 hours though. Don’t know if I would get much mileage out of viewing photo’s on the screen…a more practical screen will probably be found in the next version due in March. I would however love to see the album art while my mp3’s are playing. Very cool. Still…won’t be upgrading. Also odd to see the new U2 special edition iPod more prominent on the Apple website over the new iPod Photo.

Finally, iTunes 4.7 is now available. Probably with updates for new iPods only….hey-ho.