Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘MacBook pro’

My Guitars…

In Music, Random on October 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I enjoy playing the guitar.  I do not play with the skill of Eric Clapton.  I can’t play lead for beans.  There’s a certain element of bounded creativity to play lead that I just don’t get.  It never sounds right to me, no matter what sound effects I use. I can memorize the licks, so for example Freebird or More than a feeling or name your song, I can mimic it pretty well, I just can’t go there without a tether. So I stick to rhythm and chords.

The guitar in the my blog header is a Martin 000c-1e. I bought it in 2000. It’s a pretty nice guitar and the pickup works pretty well for the few cases where I’ve had to use it for a recording or in concert.   I have an old Sigma that I used since high school that I repaired myself without the right equipment.  It’s more of a dreadnought body and it definitely resonates the bass more than the 000, but the 000 has a very pretty sound in comparison.

A picture of a firebrand I found on the internet.

A picture of a firebrand I found on the internet.

I have a Les Paul Firebrand that I haven’t used much since High School that I bought new in 1980.   It pretty much stays in the attic with my 25 watt Gorilla amp.  It’s not a bad guitar, it’s got the double humbucker pickups and when I use the foot pedals I can have some fun.  Crank up the distortion and set the flanger a certain way and play “Snowblind” by Styx or something.   I discovered that now that I’ve had it since I was 16.5 years old that I can consider it a “Classic”.  When I poke around on e-bay, it looks like it could gather a couple $k (maybe 2) but I don’t think I’ll sell it.  I’ve never had any work done on it and so just for ha’s I might get it a tune up some day and see if works any better.

If the economy recovers and I recover from my MacBook purchase, I’d like to buy a nice 12 String.   I had a friend who had a Guild 12 String that was an awesome sounding instrument.  I’ve played around at the local shop a few times with a Martin 12 string and a Takamine.   $2500 dollars for a guitar, even a 12 string is an investment.  We’ll see.

My new 15″ MacBook Pro…Review

In technology on October 17, 2008 at 12:46 am

The powerbook was feeling its years, and I’m now a happy new owner of the new MacBook pro 15″.  Yes the new one that Steve presented the other day.   I purchased it last night and brought it home.  They hadn’t even put them out on display yet.  Spent most of the evening migrating my account from the powerbook to it over the home wireless g.

here are the stock specs:

Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.53 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Disk: 320G SATA 5400rpm

FIRST WORD OF WARNING:  Don’t let the Apple store help give you the first firewire cord they think might help migration.  The powerbook had both firewire types, the MacBook Pro only has the 800.    The cables are different and if you just let them grab one, you’ll be surprised when you plug one end into your powerbook and sit there at midnight not able to plug the other end in.  I didn’t look and trusted the guy as I was playing with an iPhone at the time.

Migration Assistant: worked intuitively even though I did a network install.  Anyway, this morning moving my 70G of docs, pics, music and movies was over.

Virtualization: During the day I installed VMware Fusion, then XP.  Worked like a charm.  It is slightly disconcerting to hear the XP song coming out of my apple speakers, but I’ll get used to it.   I did not install XP on the bootcamp partition.  I hear it works really well that way, but my windows needs are very specific and it just wasn’t compelling to waste my time.  I could always do it later.

Windows/Office: A little while later I installed Office 2003 (Office 2007 barfed complaining that I didn’t have Windows installer 3.1).  Way cool.  Now I have IE for those goofy sites that only look right in IE and Firefox and Safari for everything else.

iSight and VMware: My next problem was that I couldn’t activate the iSight camera under the XP VM. XP knew it was attached but didn’t have a driver.   I googled it and found that all I had to do was put my leopard dvd in, explore till I found the apple iSight driver in the boot camp directory and voi la, the camera was up.  I need this because the hybrid classroom software at Bentley U. will only allow you to use video from the VM not from the native drivers when in OSX.  Whatever.  I’m up.

Next I did notice that that VM and OSX fight over the camera.  This is kinda dumb I think.   It should just work for both, depending on which os/vm is got control.  Yes yes, if both screens are up this could prove confusing, one does have to win.  That’s the kind of problem sw engineers are supposed to relish…a mutex here, a semaphore there.  Anyway…

Performance: Did I mention that this machine SCREAMS.  It is so fast (compared to my powerbook of course…)  The XP vm is pretty good.  I haven’t done any serious stuff on it yet but it looks ok for running excel and stuff.

Battery-life: I know I’m supposed to get 4-5 hours a charge.  In normal mode, I probably got 4+ but I don’t think it was a whole 5 hrs.

Keyboard: works great.  has a good tactile response.  backlight works more consistently that on my powerbook (the powerbook always seemed to get itself tied up in knots as to whether to light the keyboard from being asleep.

New Mousepad/Trackpad: It’s huge, responds well to multi-touch commands (although I’m still learning about what to do with more than 2 fingers).  The mouseclick is a bit awkward.  The primary place where it responds mechanically is right along the center axis.  If you click high or low it makes a mechanical clicking sound but it does not actually do anything.  So I have to train myself to get my thumb pretty close to the middle for a click.  I expect that this will be a disat for new users as it is not always responsive.

Display: oh it is so beautiful.  It appears to have more overall control than my old powerbook.   dimmest to brightest is a huge range.

Built in Audio: Strangely enough it sounds very tinny at low volume and then when you push it up a bit it sounds like it gets a bass boost that I didn’t have on my powerbook.  I could be imagining it of course because the display is so beautiful it could be making think that it sounds awesome.  I’m listening to Pure Prairie League’s “Aimee” right now and it sounds really good.

Other Software Compat: I had to reinstall the Air engine so that Tweetdeck would come up right, evidently the migration assistant didn’t get it right.   Firefox works great.  iLife 08 seems to be converting things over pretty well.

Conclusion: this is an incredible machine and I can see that the quality that went in.   As I come up with more thoughts I’ll post them here.