Archive for April, 2009

April 17, 2009

The Dark side from Toronto


A long time since my last post and this will not be the real post. In Toronto now and enjoying the wonderful weather and the peace and quiet. Ironic really since I have access to so much more in the way of culture here and yet it waits for me to find it and does not present itself in my face. I was standing on the street outside my folk’s house a moment ago and I was struck by the absence of noise of any sort. No dogs barking, no  distant thumping of speakers, no people shouting..just blessed peace and quiet. I had to leave the Caribbean to get to a place of peace – who knew?

Trinidad is anything but a place of peace right now with the Summit of the Americas taking place. I left knowing that had I not the place I live and the place I work would be under lockdown because the government decided that citizens are a nuisance and their free movement was a hindrance to visitors. If this were the G20 or something I might not have minded so much but the SOA is a talk shop from which absolutely nothing  of substance has ever emerged. To be frank it is another ego boosting enterprise for the ersatz PM to show off to the world. That is all well and good but to spend about a billion dollars of taxpayers money to feed your ego verges on the criminal. Worse still is the upcoming Commonwealth Heads meeting which we also ( jnexplicably) offered to host. So we will go down in history for hosting two of the world’s most useless summits at a cost that could have built a new hospital or helped fix the roads or utilities. And to add insult to injury they have banned any demonstrations during the summit. I thought it was a sign of a democracy that people could protest peacefully. Thanks Nero.

In other news I went out to buy a new Mac and found them cold, ugly and expensive. Having had 2 failed Macs in a month I was somewhat hesitant to give Apple any more of my money. WHat happened, instead, was I saw a dreaded WindoZe laptop that was exceedingly beautiful. She is a Toshiba PORTEGE ( I swear they spell it all in caps) and has some rather nifty features which almost overcome the hideousness that is Vista. Who came up with this craptacular piece of rubbish? At least I can look at my red PORTEGE and think she is lovely as opposed to every other windows ( and Mac) laptop I saw in several stores.

We will see how I survive but I have Macified her complete with Expose and a dock….at the very least |I can look at her and not feel ashamed.

April 1, 2009

Alas poor iMac!


It’s finally happened my beloved iMac has died and , looking at the LEDs on the board I can conclude she died  quickly of a logic board failure. So much for Apple making machines that cost more but last longer and make a better investment. Truth be told, in recent years Apple has not had a stellar record with me in terms of quality. In the old days I would buy an Apple computer like an Apple IIc or even the original Macintosh and the thing would run till it was a technological anachronism. I remember resurrecting my IIc 16 years after I bought it and it booted up and worked faithfully but not so with the new and “improved” Apple.  My first iBook suffered the  same failure that many did and I had to take it in to have it repaired under the extended warranty service. Good for Apple for extending the warranty but bad that I am sure they did so because a massive lawsuit was looming since it was caused by  a manufacturing defect. I subsequently sold it and I understand it died because the same problem arose. This embarassed me since I sold it to a friend and made me wonder about the consistency of Apple products.

While I owned the iBook I was captivated by the new ( well, then it was) flat panel iMac G5 and ran out and bought it. I knew in my heart that buying anything that Apple has just introduced was a foolish move but I went ahead. Three months later my beautiful 17″ iMac was suffering a weird collection of symptoms that was also ( based on the web)  shared by gazillions of her compatriates…a logic board failure caused by bad capacitors. Again, Apple extended the warranty ( faced with a massive lawsuit) and she was duly fixed.  She worked well and earned me money writing for about four years until about a week ago when she just died unexpectedly from a non-capacitor failure. I loved her and I pray ( as an atheist) that she is in a better place..perhaps Bonaire. Given that much of my life is on her I was a bit upset but thanks to the lax organ donor  situation as applies to Macs I was able to rescue my work by placing her hard drive in an enclosure.  It is all too sad. She was a wonderful creature and i will miss her terribly but thanks to Apple fixing her will cost far more than a replacement computer.  I am thus left typing this on a pre-Jobs  G4 that we all know as Sybil. She has now lived way past her lifespan but is chugging along fine running OS X 10.4 Tiger. To see my amazement you can note her specs :

Machine Name:    Power Mac G4
Machine Model:    PowerMac3,4
CPU Type:    PowerPC G4  (11.3)
Number Of CPUs:    2
CPU Speed:    533 MHz
L2 Cache (per CPU):    1 MB
Memory:    768 MB
Bus Speed:    133 MHz

Ancient indeed, but working just like Tinkerbell my Powerbook ( who is having her own problems but they will be fixed shortly).  I am now happy that I had that hobby hacker urge to stop Sybil from facing an imminent and  undignified demise.

I will head to Toronto shortly to see my family and maybe buy another Mac or ..shudder…contemplate  buying a Windoze or..much less shuddering…Linux computer. I  confess that I now love OS X almost as much as I love OS 9 ( which I still use…talk about blazing speed). Can I handle worrying about viruses? Most likely not. Can I handle the ease of having everything integrated so I can drag and drop from any programme to another? Probably not as well. Most likely Apple will win again and I will buy a Macbook Air or a Macbook Pro  but I will never stop feeling I am suffering from Stockholm syndrome. In these  trying economic times do I really want to tie myself to something that makes me pay a premium for every upgrade or accessory? I dunno but I know that the dark side is very dark. I may well do so.

c6443lbc61051_v1In other news I have finally given in to age and admitted that they say..”my arms are not long enough” to read printed text. I have fought it bravely for years but being unable to see the calorie content of items at the supermarket and being presented with forms to complete at work which seemed like a blur to me has resulted in me heading to the optician and getting a test and now glasses. It seems that my vision has gone from 20/20 or better to 20/25 but I am sure age has nothing to do with my astigmatism. After a chat with the experts they fitted me out with glasses that cost about $1000 CAN because being a TV presenter I had to have the non-glare option and I am now wearing something called progressive lenses. They are the equivalent of a 6 martini lunch.

While I like the idea of a 6 martini lunch I have to say these suckers take a lot of getting used to. I was not told by Carters Optical that I was essentially wearing a tri-focal lens that requires me to adjust my brain to steering my eyes to a special point on the lens depending on what I am doing. Reading involves looking down without  moving my head, working on my computer involves using the middle part of the lens ( but don’t turn you head or the screen turns into a trapezoid)  and driving or walking involves such contortions that I cannot reasonably explain here. I am trying to get used to them but on a recent walk to HiLo from work I had to stop because I had the feeling I was 20 feet tall and the sidewalk was falling away from my feet.  It is only 4 days but I hope it gets better.

I wore the glasses on camera for the first time today with my guest Dr. Joth Singh of the Environmental Management Authority and the general consensus was that they made me look “more intelligent”. I am disturbed by the implication.

More troubling still, I now realize that everyone’s facial skin is far worse that I thought. Who knew that glasses ( albeit in the rather nice frames I wear – see above)  would result in me seeing so many blemishes.