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MacMiniMini review/observations of my MacBook Pro

Back in the old days I felt that having two PCs was the best way to go. A high-spec PC for my gaming habit and a low spec machine for general day to day web browsing, email, and general apps. That was in 2003 and by 2005 the low spec machine was becoming a painfully slow machine. By December 2005 I’d had 4 years of Windows XP and while it wasn’t unreliable or slow, I was bored of it! It’d still be another 2 years before Vista made an appearance.

I’d seen Macs before and had dismissed them as over expensive, but now there was the MacMini on the market, it was exactly what I wanted, a small low spec machine for general day to day work, this is what it was being marketed as! So after a 30min play around with one in the local PC World I hit the Apple website and plonked down £565 on a 1.42Ghz PowerPC MacMini with 1Gb of RAM and an 80Gb HDD. I was pretty impressed with the hardware, however as it was an alien OS  to me (OS X Tiger at the time) I think I struggled to get on with it. This was in the dark days, before FireFox had really caught on and a lot of websites still used WMV and IE6 compatibility. This caused the little MacMini a lot of problems, any time some intensive Flash kicked in or I wanted to play a WMV file the fans would crank up to maximum and it would grind to a halt. After about 18 months I got sick of it and went back to a single Windows PC just in time for Vista, vowing never to return to a Mac…

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The Advent 4211

Netbook first impressions

I’ve been after a netbook for some time. The current Toshiba M400 while a power house seems overkill and I find it hard to use at home be it for work or web browsing as it is so awkward to hold, and the lack of side air vents mean if I lay it on my bed it gets very hot very quickly.

I had been intending to do get the Dell mini-Inspiron but it was taking forever to be announced and the specs didn’t seem a major step up on the MSI Wind that I already liked. The clincher was a thread on the OCuk forums saying that everyone’s favourite high street PC retailer PC World were selling an Advent branded MSI Wind for only £270. For that price you get a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of RAM, 80GB HDD, 10″ LED back lit widescreen display, Wifi/Bluetooth, and the archaic but ever functional Windows XP Home. Unfortunately the first one I got had a duff charging unit and would take a whole day to recharge, the second one had a duff space bar and touchpad, but number three has so far been reliable.

First thing I did was upgrade it to 2GB of RAM and then stick OSX on it. Despite the fact OSX has to be hacked around a bit to get it to run on the hardware it runs stunningly, even better than my old G4 Mac Mini, all the eye candy works and the machine instantly sleeps and resumes I’ve been blown away by it and despite having dual boot with XP I pretty much always stay in OSX. There are a couple of issues, the standard WiFi card in the Advent/Wind isn’t recognised by OSX and there are no drivers to make it work, I swapped mine for a Dell 1490 card and that is natively supported by OSX and works fine. The only other outstanding issue is that the headphone socket doesn’t work, sound out of the speakers is fine, but the headphone socket (and microphone) don’t work, it’s a driver issue and I can only hope that some clever person whips up a driver that supports it. Currently the advantages outweigh the negatives and I’ve really enjoyed using it. I am on the lookout for a larger battery, the one included is only a 3 cell unit and barely lasts 2hrs. There is a 6 cell model which offers 5hrs battery life but it’s not sold separately, a couple of third parties have announced they intend to make batteries to support the Advent/Wind though.

The Apple iPod touch and The Orange Box

hl2ep2.jpg 

Ya see it?! Apples and Oranges!!

H’anyway yesterday was the release of Half Life 2 : Episode 2 the second part of the episodic content that followed up Half Life 2. Also released was Portal and Team Fortress 2. Hopefully this will be better than the woeful Halo 3, hell it couldn’t be much worse!

I’ve also completed my review of my new Apple iPod touch which you can read here, I had intended to add some pictures of my own however the digital camera has gone on holiday so I may as well post it with the official images instead.

*goes off to kill hunters*

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

 I don’t go to the cinema much, mostly because it’s full of annoying kids chatting and getting up to go to the toilet way too often. That’s not to mention the awful image quality and crackly sound. I think the last film I went to see was Casino Royale.

I’ve been a bit of a Harry Potter fan since book 4 was released. I was interested in what all the fuss was about and got the first four books from the library and thoroughly enjoyed them. I like the books and I enjoy the films but I don’t frequent the many forums and I don’t own Harry Potter action figures or Lunch Box!

The films – I felt – didn’t start off perfectly, perhaps because I was expecting something as rich with detail as the books, the second film was better and the third took the films in a much darker direction. The fourth (like the book) was my favourite. I was a little concerned when I went to see the fifth that too much would be cut from the original book which was huge, especially considering the fact that Order of Phoenix has one of the shortest running times at 2hrs 18mins.

I booked my day off work and went to see the first showing at the local cinema on Thursday 12th July at 11am.

Be warned that the following review contains spoilers about both Order of the Phoenix and the Half Blood Prince.

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