Scripting News for 5/18/2006

Micki Krimmel and Al Gore, lookin marvelous! 

New header graphic, taken at Future In Review

Podcasting at MIT. 

My new Mac 

The black MacBook is a very nice computer, a clear upgrade from the earlier iBook G4. People have expressed concerns about the keyboard, but so far it’s fine, no problem.

Well, that was too good to be true. I hadn’t installed the memory upgrade when I wrote the bit above. The people at the store said they couldn’t do the installation for me, and it would take me five minutes, and it couldn’t possibly go wrong. They actually say things like that at Apple stores. So I was feeling positive (see above), tried to install it, and now the computer won’t boot. I tried re-installing, still wouldn’t boot. I tried going back to the old memory configuration, and it wouldn’t boot. Conclusion: the computer is fried. I got lucky when I called, the person I spoke with was only slightly arrogant. That’s the problem with Apple’s culture. They teach their people they’re so much smarter than we are, but at the same time they design computers that require you to do these upgrades for yourself, and I’m fairly technical, and I managed to break the computer doing it. Bad design. In any case, I’m paying for it with my time today, I’m heading back to the store in Emeryville to see if we can’t get this resolved. I feel really stupid for having bought this computer. Yeah, they are the geniuses. They got my money, and I got a time-sink and headache.

Postscript: I brought it down to the Apple store and they were able to install the memory. The tech said “You really have to force it in there.” I’m logged on to the net through EVDO. Happy again.

The new Mac keyboard 

Dan Gillmor via email: “How’s the keyboard? In the photos, the keys look a little weird.”

Well, the keyboard is weird, and takes some getting used to. The fingers don’t normally seat themselves in the right place, there’s more space between the keys than on the keyboards I normally use. I’ve done just a little bit of writing on the new keyboard (I’m using it now) and it is difficult to use this one and the one on my Mac desktop. I can see this is going to be a problem, and it’s not clear how it’s going to get resolved.

On the other hand, the keyboard has a nice feel to it, contrary to some of the reports I’ve seen. It doesn’t feel cheap, and it is quite usable, if it weren’t for the non-standard spacing of the keys.

3 responses to this post.

  1. I have a huge beef with Apple’s arrogant support. The fact that they call their support desk at the stores “The Genius Bar” really makes me wonder what kind of attitude they are presenting: “we’re geniuses, you’re not”. When I went to the store two days ago to swap out an iPod nano that flaked out (lower half of the screen was a smear of what appeared in the upper half), the guys standing around all looked at it surprised, saying “oh yeah that needs to be replaced!” But an hour from when the store was supposed to close they could not do the obvious and swap it out… after driving all that way I was told I needed an appointment and would have to come back the next day after making an appointment online. This is after having called four hours ahead before we made the hour trip, to make sure we didn’t need anything else – Genius! Definitely a time-sink.

    In the end, yesterday we headed straight to the desk at the time of the appointment, and 10 minutes later had the replacement nano.


  2. Posted by Brian H on May 18, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    One thing I’ve been wondering about WRT the MacBook keyboard is, are the keys really farther apart than on previous keyboards? Or have they just eliminated the beveled edge that seperates the keys?

    I played with one today, but without actually measuring the key spacing I can’t tell, but it seems like the keys are actually spaced exactly the same as previous mac laptops, but the lack of the beveled trim around the key accounts for the extra space between them. In other words, if you measure the distance between the center of one key to the center of an adjacent key, that distance hasn’t grown any larger.

    At least that’s the impression I get. Anyone care to measure this out?


  3. Hi, Dave!

    Go with the Mac Book pro. See, these days I do a lot of personal support work for lots of music producers, writers, and artists in the NYC area, and so I get to see how a lot of these things wear over a couple of years. The plastic Apple Laptops have nothing but manufacturing flaws and more manufacturing flaws. The letters wear off the keys, the screens crack, the keys fall off, the wireless range stinks. The Aluminum ones wear much better. Just keys falling off and the occasional bent lid (which is ugly but doesn’t impair function) if someone pushes the screen back too far. I fell asleep with my 17″ G4 PB in my bed two years ago and rolled over on it. It ran like a top, but you had to put two books (or the o’reilly sendmail book) on top of it to make it go to sleep after that. The Aluminum boxes will pick up a very week wifi signal that a plastic box won’t even see. Aluminum is what antennas are made of, after all.

    I have also come to the conclusion that for a traveler, more ports are good ports. I live and die by my led goose neck lamp

    Au revoir!



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