10/16/09 Mac at the Subaru dealership

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10/16/09 Mac at the Subaru dealership

My adventures with the Mac have been so varied since my last entry that it has been hard to keep up. Getting my own laptop at this time was definitely a good decision. My schedule has become so crazy that I need to have a machine with me to keep projects rolling, particularly in those short periods in between tasks, and during times when I am just waiting for someone.

For example, right now I am at the Subaru dealership getting new break pads/rotors. This was an unexpected stop, taking way too much time out of my already jam-packed day, but luckily I had the Mac with me and was able to get a few things done.

The touch pad continues to be a favorite feature, though it has shown its limitations, and I just need to break down and get a mouse. When working in Dreamweaver or in my web CMS, I simply can not be as productive, or as comfortable, without a two-button scroll mouse. The scroll in particular is sorely missing. Eve though you can scroll by rubbing two fingers on the touch pad, that ties up those two fingers, and the finger swipe method does not have the same accuracy/predictability of a scroll wheel.

I’ve already transferred my New Mexico journal to the PC for final editing and web posting there. Otherwise, I don’t think it will ever get posted because doing so on the Mac right now is extremely frustrating.

Still, the keyboard remains a favorite, and I am using the Mac for my college work (two papers and some smaller assignments).

Battery life remains good, and I can sometimes get away with using the machine intermittently for most of the day without a recharge.

I still do not have a separate MIDI keyboard to more conveniently set up a composing workstation, so my musical explorations on the Mac have been few.

I just got Apple’s reminder email about the end of my warranty period. The original 90 day warranty can be expanded to three years for an extra charge of $349, but I don’t know if it is worth it. Years ago when our Dell had screen issues, the warranty was useful for the screen replacement that was necessary. Within the months the screen had problems again, and at that point it was out of warranty. Same issue, but with no active warranty, this was not covered.

The MacBook hasn’t had any serious issues. I haven’t been overly impressed with the support so far, so I am leaning toward not bothering wit the extension. The Bluetooth issue (sending data out to my Blackberry) has still not been resolved. Apple Support wanted me to set up a time to work with them on this, but I simply haven’t had the time and it’s not a priority. I was still expecting that they would at least be able to provide some suggested solutions via email, but they did not.

I like that iWork opens MS Office 2007 documents (DOCX, PPTX, etc). I don’t have Office 2007 on my PCs, but that’s what BU uses now. While collaborating with a classmate I noticed that PowerPoint 2007 files open, but the text formatting may be a bit off. Still, it’s enough to do basic review.

The Mac performed very well during a recent digitizing marathon where I took several LPs and converted them to WAV files using Audacity. The MacBook held up almost 24 hrs of constant use during one of these sessions. The material is now converted but needs to be edited. So this time waiting at the garage has been well spent reading the liner notes and checking the audio files for clipping.

Audacity
I still do not see the fascination with Audacity. If someone never used Soundforge, I can see how Audacity would hold appeal. The fact that Audacity is free goes a long way, but not enough to make me switch. For straight transfer of stereo material to the digital domain, it is fine. It has some merits over Soundforge, like the XML import/export capability for metadata. But I soon found myself missing the larger meters in Soundforge and the more robust marker and region editing tools that I needed. It was a good thing I had a network established so I could drag the files to my PC for final processing.

Ah yes, the network. Setting up the MacBook on my Linksys Router/Cable modem network has been interesting at best. The printing has been working fine, but until recently I didn’t have any file sharing.

So far, the Macbook and Audra’s HP can talk to each other (both ways). I can access the MacBook from my studio PC, but I can not access the Studio PC from the MacBook. And yet, the shared location I am trying to access from the studio PC is the same one that the HP can access just fine. Based on the last time I tried to figure this out, the problem seems to be somewhere in the AVG firewall configuration on my studio PC, which always has been locked down a bit more.

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