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The Year When the Cheapest Mac was the Best

Apple's M1 Ushered in High End Performance for Average Users

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 1:15 PM

My take on the Apple M1 line of systems as the sibling M1 Pro/Max systems emerge:

Since its introduction, no one has ever mistaken the Macintosh as the cheap option for computers. Nor would anyone who watched Apple’s launch of its insanely fast M1 Pro and Max chips on Monday argue that the new MacBook Pros are cheap. However, when the dust settles, the previous reigning top Apple Chip — the M1 — will still be the one that created a year when the cheapest Mac was the best Mac and one of the best computers, period.

The X-37B

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:46 AM

The Daily Mail has an interesting — albeit, overly conspiratorial, perhaps — little article on the X-37B space plane that is preparing to land after orbiting for about a year.

Last May, amateur astronomers were able to detect the orbital pattern of the first X-37B which included flyovers of North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, heightening the suspicion that the vehicle was being used for surveillance.

Is it really being used for surveillance, I wonder? If so, what could it possibly do that existing satellites could not do?

The Worst Part About Being a Techie

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:03 AM

You know, I think the worst part about being a techie is that everyone expects you to fix their computer problems. I like helping, but some now expect it, rather than just hoping I'll be of help. Worse, if I cannot help for awhile, I get the sense that the same people become more than just a bit irritated with me.

Sometimes I wish I had not bothered to learn IT stuff at all.

The Windows 8 Disaster Rolls On

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 10:15 PM

So, apparently Windows 8 has advertisements within some of its core apps, a rather unprecedented move and one I am surprised there hasn't already been a commotion about. Even if you don't care about ads per se, there is a bigger implication than having screen space within parts of Windows 8 dedicated to generating revenue for Microsoft:

We can't talk about the inclusion of ads and not mention the “T” word: tracking. I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not Microsoft's tracking the ads you are clicking on, but if that is indeed the case, we'll find out soon enough. Unlike Windows 7 and earlier, your entire Windows 8 account can be tied to an e-mail account, so it would be rather easy for Microsoft to track things on a personal level - much like how Google does with its search engine, e-mail and so forth. This alone gives good reason to be concerned.

Can you imagine the outcry if the iPhone came out of the box with ads in its Weather or Stocks apps?

HT: Gruber

The View from Mudsock Heights

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:05 AM

My fellow OFB contributor and friend, Dennis Powell, manages to deal with political correctness and issues surrounding utilities and communication services in one highly amusing piece this week. Just the helicopters part alone makes the column worth your time.

The piece does remind those of us in the city about why we have it so good, even when it might not always seem so.

The Texas Bible

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 5:00 PM

John Dyer writes:

Fast forward 20 years, and just about any time I teach from the Scriptures I have to point out a place where the English Bible says “you,” but the original Hebrew or Greek indicates you plural rather than you singular. This means the original author was addressing to a group of people, but a modern English reader can't detect this because in common English we use “you” for both singular (“you are awesome”) and plural (“you are a team”). This often leads modern readers to think “you” refers to him or her as an individual, when in fact it refers to the community of faith.

Relating the Greek second person plural pronoun to “y'all” seems to be a required part of a beginning Greek class, at least if anyone in the class is from the south. Rather creative of Dyer to make a plugin to actually “fix” Bible translations so that they use it.

The Revolution Moves On

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:53 AM

“What's an Intel chip doing in a Mac? A whole lot more than it's ever done in a PC.

Well, for the first time in ages, there is a top tier x86 OEM that provides a real choice for a better OS. Apple today unveiled two new Intel Core Duo systems, which you can read about at The new MacBook Pro laptop looks like it should be a really serious competitor to the current premium ultra-light laptop contenders. It will come with up to a 1.8 GHz Core Duo dual-core processor and a whopping 256 megs of video ram. The system is 1” thick, includes Apple's amazing backlit keyboard, a new ExpressCard slot, and an extra bright (Cinema Display bright) screen. I want one, although my trusty 12” PowerBook isn't ready to retire just yet — I may wait for the rumored 13” widescreen Apple laptop, which is more the size I like to haul around. The new iMac was a bit of a surprise release, but looks even better than the recently updated iMac G5.

The new iLife '06 suite looks great, with serious improvements for vidcasting, photocasting and podcasting, a new application (iWeb), and some major upgrades to the program I use the most: iPhoto (which now can manage up to 250,000 photos). The improved real time special effects in iMovie look great to me too. iWork '06 isn't such a dramatic improvement, but looks good. I have not yet bought a copy of the latter, which maybe I shall do in the coming weeks (along with an upgrade to the new iLife).

As a side note, as of today, I am now the proud owner of a small chunk of Apple. A crumb, really. Or a fraction of a crumb. I managed to buy 10 shares of Apple stock right before the keynote began. I've been thinking I should buy some shares for several years — and had I bought 10 shares a few years ago, I would have made a nice chunk of change. Where the stock will go from here, I don't know, but I made $30 today as the stock went up during the keynote. Maybe I'll buy 10 more shares a few weeks before WWDC '06.

The Restart Page

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 6:27 AM


The Problem with Trade Shows

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 4:02 AM

Scott Stein writes for CNet:

Apple, the 800-pound gorilla of the industry, never has an official presence at shows like CTIA (mobile), CES (consumer electronics), and Computex (PCs). But if you read between the lines of the press conferences and press releases, every company at those shows is implicitly talking about — and reacting to — the latest Apple gadgets, new or anticipated.

And now, as we approach the annual E3 trade show, the focus naturally turns to Apple's role in the video game industry.


The Premier of...

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:47 AM

Actually, I don't need this system anymore than I need the Shuttle system I got for free (or actually half price, since I had to buy components for it), but I ended up ordering it anyway in late October. It finally arrived last Wednesday. It's a 2 Hz Dual Processor PowerMac G5. It took almost a month since I custom ordered it with a Radeon 9800 and Bluetooth capability. It's very fast and very nice. I've been too busy to try it as much as I would have liked, but I did take some time over the holiday to set it up.

The thing that really is great about this particular G5 is that it came from TerraSoft, the Apple Authorized Proprietary Solutions Provider that specialized in GNU/Linux. Thus it came with not only Mac OS X Panther, it also came with a preliminary preview release of Teresita's Yellow Dog Linux for the G5. Yellow Dog looks nice, although (as you'd expect with a beta) I'm still fighting with it to give me a proper resolution in X11. Once I get some time to devote to it, I'm sure I'll get it working. Next week, perhaps. It's exciting since, as Linus Torvalds notes, the G5 offers an affordable platform for 64-bit GNU/Linux.

At any rate, TerraSoft deserves a large heap of praise. They got it on Friday, November 14 fresh from Apple. They then delayed shipment (with my permission) because they knew a substantially better version of YD would be out very soon. On Monday, the 24th, they thought they almost had it and they informed me they were upgrading my shipping from 3-day UPS to 2-day UPS for free so that it'd arrive before Thanksgiving. A bug in the new code delayed the system and so it wasn't able to ship until Tuesday. However, TerraSoft still managed to get it to me by Wednesday by eating the cost for next day air (roughly $70 extra dollars over 3-day shipping). In their rush to get it to me, they accidentally forgot to repack the System Restore disc, so this week they sent it to me ASAP using Next Day Air once again. Impressive!

Now I just need to find time to give it a good test. :-)

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