Tag Archives: apple

New MacBook Pro

So they released the new MacBook Pro, claiming it’s “engineered to standards that don’t even exist yet.” Really? Hey Apple, how about – gasp! – conforming to a standard that does exist? It’s called Blu-ray, and if you want to be taken at all seriously as a video editing and motion graphics platform (or even a purveyor of modern consumer electronics) you’ll get your hardware and OS developers working on it so you can add it to the 17″ model (whenever that gets updated…).

Age of Conan (on my Mac Pro)

I was not expecting AoC [ Amazon ] to live up to the hype, but it did.

I was not expecting it to be so gorgeous, and not just because you can see boobies. The youtube clips don’t do this game justice.

I was expecting it to be buggy and to have that “new game” feel, but the content I have seen so far is kicking butt. I have not yet gotten stuck, had a buggy quest, or had the game crash.

I was not expecting AoC to run as smoothly as it did, considering I am playing it on a Mac using Bootcamp, but the only thing limiting it is the steaming load that is Windows XP. I have 8 cores and 16gb of ram running on a 64 bit bus, most of which just sits there unused. I went with a slower processor and dumped the savings into upgrading the machine, but I have never used more than 35% of the CPU. The 8800GT is doing all the work, and all I can say is WOW (no, not WoW, not anything like WoW).

The fighting mechanics are still growing on me. I was one of those rare people that will admit to liking Oblivion, especially compared to the click on target mash buttons lameness that most classes in WoW utilize (sure, in raids they are now forcing you to move around to avoid hot lava, but the only reason this is hard is because many people don’t have the skills to actually watch their cast bar AND the screen). So far I have only played a barbarian, and the casting time for longer combo moves seems a bit off. Many times I think I initiated a combo, but my toon is just standing there getting beat on. Finally, the combo will pop up, and like some tard at the fair playing whack-a-mole, I excitedly mash the buttons in the order shown. Sure, I could have gone with the dance dance revolution comparison, but that would give away my winning idea of using a dance mat for controlling my toon!

Things I am not digging as part of the Early Access include the craptacular server maintenance schedules and lack of voice acting for the quests past the starting area, but maybe those will be fixed with the official launch. Of course, they are european, and expecting even half-assed customer support would be purely naive. Don’t believe me? Go try to find their phone support number…. nope, they don’t have one. Hopefully they can make up for it with adequate online GM support.

Should Blizzard be worried? Yes, they should. Not because everyone will be leaving WoW to play AoC,though some will, just for something new to do. Personally, I am not yet to the point where I am hooked, and I fully expect to go back to WoW some time before the next expansion. AoC may just delay my return for a few months. The real reason Bizzard should be worried though is that a bunch of weird Norwegians showed that WoW did not set the bar too high, and they are no longer the only real option for people wanting to get their MMO on. Two days ago I was still resigned to WoW being the best option for the foreseeable future, but now I can see that providing them competition is not only possible, but likely. This is good for gaming in general, and I look forward to seeing how the competition drives the genre in the future.

Apple Market Share Jumps to 14%!

This is pretty big news: Macs now account for 14% of all PC sales by units sold. By dollars spent, it’s 25% – yes, they are friggin’ expensive.

In my microverse, the laptop share must be 80% or more. What’s interesting is that even by techies, they’re not being bought for OS X. The reasons I’m hearing are that it’s very reliable and (this is coming from a very talented sysadmin, mind you) “it’s just so thin…”. Several people are using Windows as the main OS.

By non-techies, it’s totally the external form that sells it. Clearly Microsoft thought making Vista look more like Aqua would help, but it’s the container, not the guts, that’s grabbing buyers. I heard another story on Hacker News from a guy who explained to his friend how the Macbook Pro was so much faster than the Macbook, even though the specs look similar. His eyes glazed over, and then he proclaimed, “Yeah, I like look of the glossy black one better.” These aren’t computers, they’re accessories.

I think they’re cool, and I love the fact that it’s UNIX under the hood and runs Windows reliably. But I still have a hard time spending $600+ more for a laptop with fewer features than an HP or Dell. But I’d definitely take the Apple over the Sony.

Why don’t I like Apples?

I grew up a PC guy. Any time anyone mentions Mac or Apple I have a built in vomit response and a look of disgust. That didn’t go over well with my girlfriend when she got her shiny new Macbook. I began to try to figure out why I had all this inner hatred. After all, even though I don’t own anything made by apple, all my friends have iPods and they look pretty darn cool.� Even the aforementioned Macbook seemed pretty good. I even have a friend with an iPhone and that’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Maybe I had this Apple thing all wrong. Was it time for a new paradigm?

Wait a minute. I just read the letter posted to the apple website by CEO Steve Jobs. I’ve been bitten by the early adopter curse in the past as have many of the people who undoubtedly purchased an iPhone. That’s more or less par for the course, although, most people prefer if price drops happen more than 66 days after a product is released. What surprised me the most was the attitude in the letter. Maybe it’s just me but it seems like Apple just sent out a big “Tough Shit” letter to some of their most loyal customers. The best part is that the $100 they are giving everyone back is a store credit to the Apple store. Since most items there cost over $100 they are asking people to spend even more money at Apple.

Maybe I will stick to not owning any Apple products for a while longer. It hasn’t caused me any grief so far. In fact, I am probably stronger carrying my ancient brick MP3 player than I would be if I “carried” an iPod around.

Apple TV: crap in a lacquer box.

The rollout of the Apple TV Appliance reminds me of a story I heard when I was a kid. It involved a man from ancient Segovia buying a donkey for his farm in Spain. He bought this highly adorned donkey for an exorbitant amount and was proudly walking it home. When he started taking off the embroidered tackle, he found the unpleasant truth: the beautiful epaulets and head-dress were hiding sightless eyes, the elaborate tassels that reached to the floor were hiding the infection in the rear legs, and the lacquered and shiny saddle was hiding a lame back on the animal.

In the same way, I hope people are not deceived by the beautiful Apple design and ergonomic, logical menus. I hope that they get to examine the crappy video image before they buy. This device succeeds in *downgrading* all image sources to make them easily available anywhere in your house. Wow.

If it’s too late and you’ve already been screwed, go ahead and use the amazing human ability to justify our mistakes. We are really good at this, gauging from the various studies that�show that our satisfaction with a crappy product decreases markedly at first and then actually increases after purchase. I think it’s our attempt to justify our mistakes and say to the world “it’s not really all that bad if you consider……” Same behavior applies to poorly conceived marriages. Be aware; beware.