Saturday, September 23, 2006

An achievement

No, really... for ten years I've been driven batty by the fact that I could have a fast computer or a quiet computer, but not both in one. In periods I used two computers because of this (a mess for file management).

Then for a while I solved it partially by putting the box in a closet with sound proofing on the inside. But it really only solved it halfway. The G5, for all its fancy multi-step cooling management, still sounded like a dang hoover when it had worked for a little while.

But now Apple has made me a happy camper by somehow building the Mac Pro so the fans apparently hardly ever have to run. I have not heard them go on yet.

It is such a huge pleasure to sit working on one of the fastest personal computers in the world, yet only hearing a little ticking from the hard drive, and the wind in the willows outside.

Erase disk? [yes] [okay] [now]

We have come a long way with user friendliness of computers, but we still have a ways to go. Two examples, just from today:

A local friend (hi Mary) had moved and needed to go online with her Mac, and wirelessly. She went with BT, bless her optimistic little heart. They don't send out an engineer these days, they ship the hardware and you're on your own. Of course she needed to call Support.

I had mentioned to her that she probably did not need the BT software CD to get her machine online, but of course the supporters pushed her to install it. (Me, I've had half a dozen ISP over the years, and I never needed their software. I don't know what it's supposed to do.)

Well, after hours of messing with the machine and clueless supporters, she finally got a guy who had actually touched a Mac before. He revealed to her what had not been evident anywhere on the packaging: their software is not Mac-compatible...

And of course, like I hinted to her, it turned out that she basically just needed to turn on the modem, wireless router, and the Mac, and she was online automatically. Bet that doesn't happen on Windoze.

And then myself: I put in a second hard disk in my new Mac Pro, for running backups. Well, the disk did not turn up after I started up the machine. Well, I could see the disk in the software, but not a "volume" which you need to use the disk at all. It was hinted somewhere that I needed to Format the disk. And I knew what software to use for it, but there was no option for formatting!

Well, after I had been studying for a while, I guessed that "format" is the same as "erase", and even if there are no data on the disk at all, you still need to "erase" it to make it work! There was no "format" button, but there was an "erase" button, and that was the one I needed to use. I only figured it out because I vaguely remembered that the two things were synonymous from the old time DOS language, but I figured the modern Mac had clearer language than that! Well, not always. :)
(You try clicking on a button that says "erase" without being sure of what you're doing!)

Friday, September 22, 2006


If you are not yet using, you are missing out on a great resource.
I use them often, and I am donating $20 every month to their work. I think spreading knowledge is one of the most important activities in the world, more than worth supporting.
They have several other projects worth noting.

The tale of the monster and the disco rigido

Ooh, my new "Big Mac" arrived today. The new quad Xeon Mac Pro.
My G5 was a first-generation, and it is now exactly three years old. For a softcore geek and pro user like me, that's getting long in the tooth. :) So I'm excited.

See Bill Noll's great photos for how the G5 (and to some extend the Mac Pro) looks. Beautiful tech.

Did you know a hard disk in Spanish is "disco rigido"?! ...You can just see Frankenstein's creature doing the monster mash.

As you may be aware, the faster computers become, the hotter they become, and the more cooling they require, making noise a problem. Despite this, my G5, amazingly, was more quiet than my G4 was. And the Mac Pro is way more quiet than the G5! I am impressed by that. This is really important to me, since it is my work and placed in my home, and I'm rather hyper-perceptive. And also they even fitted more space for drives and so on in the same gorgeous cabinet as the G5, due to the Xeon's better performance/temperature ratio needing fewer fans and such. This shows that Apple made a wise choice in going to Intel chips.

Talking about pro user: even over FireWire 800, the machine tells me it will be like four hours to transfer all my files to the new machine. And that is just one of two hard disks! The two machines are standing next to each other as we speak, smooching. I am writing this on the iMac in my living room. (Laurie Jeffery says my apartment "is like NASA".)

Update: OK, after three and a half hours (due to around 130 gigabytes of picture files) of transfer, I rebooted the new Mac. The two machines were "fanning" up a storm, since the heavy use of disk heats up a machine. And still, when I turned off the G5 so only the Mac Pro was running... Sweet Silence! Only the ticking of the hard disk. Lord, that quietude alone is almost worth the price of admission.

By the way, Macs have for a year or two had the most wonderful feature: when you get a new Mac, it asks you if you have an old Mac, you then connect the two with a FireWire cable, and it transfers all your files and settings for you. It's amazing, the new machine works just like the old one right off the bat. Keyboard shortcuts, desktop picture, everything. Getting a new computer is twenty times easier.


Continued from a comment I made myself under the Bewitched post:

Besides it is not just what you can *get* (with special powers), but what you can *do*.

Why limit yourself? I bet most pets are perfectly happy, but would you limit yourself to the life of a pet?

Many might say the human life holds all they would ever want, but isn't that just like the pet having finally convinced itself there is nothing for it outside that fence?

SS Envy sails again

As you may be aware, Paul Allen is co-founder of Microsoft. That makes him one of the few people in the world who can afford a boat like this.
It's not something I particularly aspire to (what would I do with it?), but it is surely a nice boat.
And if you look at the last picture, you'll see a classic example of envy disguised as moral indignation.
Yes, I am sure that if the guy who wrote that (very poorly) had earned that kind of money, then he would immediately give it all away to the needy. Oh yes, sure.
And if he should turn out to be the one guy who felt he didn't deserve it and couldn't use it, and gave it away, would the world really improve all that much? I doubt it. You can't give it away, and you can't take it. You can only make it, or not. I am reading the wonderful book The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, and she writes a lot about this. For example, the Bangladeshi was almost destroyed as a people by a huge charity inflow a couple decades ago. Only when they found out (with a little of the right kind of help) how to make their own affluence by themselves did they recover and start living instead of just surviving.
Featured comment by Laurie (not Laurie Jeffery, but a female reader):
Eolake, thank you for that wonderful post. I myself am growing out of my judgement and envy of the rich. In my case, I have I was too spiritual to be concerned with money. Secretly I felt money had more power than God, and I was afraid to even handle it. Same with physical beauty. Once I saw the hidden ego motivations behind my desire to stay overweight and unnatractive (to remain special and spiritual, not ego-driven and superficial), I dropped all excess weight and started LOVING who I was underneath, so luxurious. Same now with financial health. Now I bless rich people and beautiful things, I bless the people I used to be secretly envious of. I want to learn to be in the flow of luxurious living and loving. For whom for what? Now, it's for love, not ego. I've begun seeing a finance "coach", and am beginning to turn around my sorry financial status. It feels great, to be free of the false spiritual ideas, and out from under the thumb of the scarcity principle.
Thank you very much.
Take a peek at my money article from last year.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Softer flash light

If you use a big flash, and you don't like the hard shadows you get from it, take a look at A Better Bounce Card.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Bewitched, and Being Normal

I watched the Nicole Kidman movie Bewitched. It was good and funny, though I found it was too short, there were lots of cool secondary characters who were not given time at all. And the story was rather abbreviated, for example one moment Nicole's girlfriends don't know she is a witch, the next they do and act like they have known and accepted it all their lives. A bit weird. But nice little romantic comedy.
And it showed some scenes from the original TV show, which seemed charming, so I rented that.
It's very good and funny. Elizabeth Montgomery is balls-out hot. And cool.
By the way, did anybody see the show originally? Was it in color or B/W? Because when I see clips of it, it's in B/W. But the show on the DVD I rented is in color. And if they colorized it, they've done a marvelous job.
... OK, I just looked it up on it was black and white for the first three years. Awesome job that colorization, not once have I noticed anything unnatural about it, and I'm a photographer.

Her husband Darrin in the show is a First Class idiot. He's got a wife who is stunning, who loves him, they have a great sex life (made surprisingly clear for a sixties sitcom), and she is a witch! And he does not appreciate her. He keeps trying to get her to stop witchcraft! She can make food and trees and furniture in a split second just by wishing it. What a gift. And here both him and her are perfectly willing to throw it away to be "normal." I can't express my disdain for such idiocy.

It would be fine if it was "just a TV show," but it reflects a huge tendency in humans: the desire to fit in is so strong that they will throw away the use of huge, god-given gifts to have it.

I think this is not as bad as it was fifty years ago, when "being normal" was the be-all and end-all of everything. But there is still a feeling in many that if you use Special Powers, you are somehow "cheating" and it's nor "fair" to ordinary humans. It's self-oppression is what it is. Isn't your duty to yourself, to the universe and to God bigger than your duty to a few accidental humans in your community, who would rather see you brought down to their level than have you use your potential?

Featured comment by Lucid Twilight:
It is fear that is our greatest foe, and furthermore the fear of being afraid. Normalcy is a safe alternative to the life we could be living, albeit a dull experience at its best. People do not concern themselves enough with the quality of their lives and focus too much on the quantity of years.

When all we did was work and sleep and mate, this was acceptable. We lived as unthinking creatures of habit that did what was necessary to survive, distracting ourselves with complaints towards the upper classes when we did have a spare moment to ourselves. Life, as it is now, simply could not be better (in comparison to what we've known) and herein lies the problem: we have too much freedom, too much time, too few distractions. That which we desire is within our grasp and there's no longer enough to divert our attention from ourselves and the things that really matter in life, but we're afraid to delve within and sort these things out. If the world keeps changing and we keep resisting, something will break sooner or later. But if we instead rid ourselves of fear and tread boldly into this new territory I firmly believe it will bring about a golden age unlike anything we've ever seen on earth.

It is perhaps the greatest irony that we think to be safe that which is most detrimental to ourselves. It's understandable, having lived in a self-destructive manner for so long. (Safety in the familiar) And now we stand upon the threshold with two possibilities laid before us: we can move beyond this destructive phase or we can reset the clock, so to speak, and send ourselves back into the dark ages. That isn't to say these are the only two possibilities, but they are in my mind the most prominent. The question is how long it will be before a decision is reached and acted upon. We might even go a hundred years or more relatively unchanged, but there are subtle imperceptible energies at work. I'm not talking about anything sinister like conspiracy theories (load of bollocks they are) but the natural forces, seen and unseen, which are constantly at work around us, things we often direct without consciously realizing it. The face of humankind will be altered, it's just a matter of how and in what way.

Big camera

Professional digital cameras have something like 20 megapixels these days. (A pixel is one of the little dots on your screen. A megapixel is a million of those.) How about a camera with one hundred and sixty megapixels!?
And handheld too... Although this camera is stretching the definition of that. This picture is not a joke!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A popular target

You know you're not as popular as you have been when you see your face on ads like this in mainstream media...


"Be contented when you have got all you want."
-- Holbrook Jackson

... Pardon me, but isn't that the definition of contented, pretty much?
This sounds to me like saying "be full when you have eaten all you can." or "be wet when you fall in water."

I am sure he means there are people who are never contented no matter what they get. But obviously they would be contented if they had what they really want. Perhaps they feel they need and want something but they don't know what it is.

And actually I think this runs deep in the human condition. I think it is only recently in history that we run into it, because it is pretty new that any number of people get all their creature comforts sated and more.

(Wow, like often, this post rapidly runs deeper than I foresaw.) Studying Silvia Hartmann's work, I am learning about this. And finding out about how humans live in only a tiny bit of our true beingness, the thinking mind. There are huge systems, "energy systems" which are immensely important, but which we are really out of touch with. I am working currently (with emotrance and other things) to heal and build up these systems, and it is changing my life profoundly. My "energy heart" in particular.

It is as if you've been living for 80 years locked into a tiny cabin without windows. And you have forgotten there is a great big world out there, but... you just have these longing feelings...

Monday, September 18, 2006


Interesting article calling for reason in the current storm of hysteria regarding age.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Online films are here

So online films are finally arriving in the mainstream. I guess one should not be surprised that Apple has the most promising platform, with their new iTunes movies option. I recommend watching Steve Jobs' presentation of this (and the new iPods).

I tried the service, selecting one of the few comedies I had not yet seen, Shakespeare In Love. And lo and behold, it turned out I had seen it! How such a forgettable film won all those Oscars I'll never know.

Apple says the films are "near DVD quality". Well, while they certainly are at least as good as VHS, I would never confuse them with DVD. Also you don't get subtitles (which I like to have even though I understand English fine: There are always things that are hard to hear). And you don't get all the extras typically on DVDs: interviews, commentaries, etc.

So altogether I think that it is a pity that Apple clearly was not able to negotiate as good terms for the films as they did with TV shows. While a TV show on iTunes is just two dollars, a film is thirteen, fifteen, or ten dollars, depending on how old it is. It is too expensive in my opinion. About half would have been right. Convenience is the only area where iTunes Movies is competitive with DVDs, at this price.

It could be that prices will come down. But unfortunately history (CDs, e-books) show us that a market quickly becomes entrenched at a certain price level, no matter if it is reasonable or not. Quelle fromage.

Movie conceits

How come in Hollywood movies, when you turn on the TV, whatever you are interested in seeing on the news is always on at that moment?
Or that if you need a cab, you just go to the curb and raise your arm, and you have one within five seconds?

Not even the worst novelist would write stories like that, and it may be part of the reason some people have trouble respecting Hollywood. (Not me though.)

Update: Featured comment by Pascal:
Actually, this is one of the ideas I've already written down for later use. Once, I saw an "action" movie that was so pathetic and cliché, that I considered writing a novel version of it, in a sarcastic tone. It would go something like this :

"The poor, foolish Pitystani rebels! Challenging Brad Brannigan like this on a bad hair day! He jumped from his cover in disdain, and calmly walked forward to the fortified HQ, one heavy machine gun in each hand, spraying the charging fanaticized enemies and mowing them down, wave after wave, sneering at the hail of bulets which kept missing him by a mile, their years-long brainwashing hardly a match for the holy panic that his mere heroic sight filled their bearded hearts with.
The mortar shells falling all around him in clouds of smoke didn't even make him flinch. He was a one-man army, out for revenge, justice, and the American way. His Ray-Bans glistened superbly under the faint crescent moon's light. His machine guns empty, he paused and looked at them while the soldiers kept firing at him, so intensely that he had to take a small step sideways. He tossed them on the dusty ground, took out his gun in one hand, and started making ammo count by downing at least three foes with each bullet, not bothering to really aim, while tossing grenades like baseballs, each one sending a dozen commies screaming in the air. His red-hot handgun jammed after the 75th bullet, so he grabbed his trusty army knife, and plowed through the hordes of heavily armed terrorists, all way too terrified to even think of opening fire before he came close and cut them in half with his casual swings. The deaths of his whole platoon would soon be avenged. Smith, Jones, Jackson, Sanchez, Lee... All those beloved generic characters would not have died in vain.
But for what he did to his goldfish, Bou Guimahn would suffer. A lot. His knife would lose its edge before he got to the scumbag, but he still had a broken toothpick in his front pocket. The Metal Gear nuclear tank of the infamous villain didn't stand a chance. Its radar could only lock on metallic weapons..."
Eolake again:
One of my friends stopped watching action movies with me because I always predicted who'd die. If they are too nice, have no important function, and especially if they have doubts, they are dead for sure.