Prices Drops on Macs in NZ

6 December, 2006

As an update to the story of Apple finally deciding on a presence in NZ, apparently all resellers prices are dropping becuase of that. From Totallymac:

All NZ Reseller pricing is changing today as well, to be in line with the NZ Apple store.
All products will ship to end users directly from Australia.
Daniel
www.totallymac.com

And sure enough, Totallymac’s price for the iMac is now $2699, the same as the Apple store. Excellent.

Advertisements

Good news for New Zealand Mac Users.

6 December, 2006

It’s day of big news for NZ Mac fans.

nz-hd-hello1.gif

First, Apple now has a New Zealand online store. Just like the US’s one. Not a store run through Renaissance, not some poxy iPod reseller, but a real NZ online Apple store. Free shipping, free iPod engraving, and prices that are a couple of hundred dollars cheaper than the others also add to the joy. For an example, a 20 inch iMac is $2699, while at the very good TotallyMac.com, they’re $2955. I don’t know any of the politics behind this new store, but Renaissance must be pretty damn annoyed at all the work they put into their online Apple store that only opened a few months or a year ago, that has just gone to waste.

At as right now, not everything is working, the podcasts link is broken, for instance, but I’m overlooking any little bugs like that…

There’s currently a giveaway draw going on for the next few days: there’s a MacBook and some iPods up for grabs every day until December 10th, so go along and give them your email address for some Mac-lovin’

The second news is that after years of rumours, there is now an iTunes New Zealand store. Yes, New Zealanders can finally put some legal music on our iPods! Songs are $1.79 each, which is only a small rip-off compared to US prices, as opposed to the huge rip-off we’re all used to. And it’s cheaper than the UK store, where, at 79p each, songs would work out to over $2 each.I’m looking forward to browsing around, and actually being able to buy music online.

Realistically however, I know I’ll end up buying very little because:

  •  a) I already have my music “Back catalogue” of all those CDs, tapes, and records I’ve bought over the years, and
  •  b) BitTorrent. 😉

Solution to the Frog Jump Problem.

5 September, 2006

frog.jpg

It appears some people need a helping hand with getting the Frustrating Frogs from one set of stones to the other.

It’s an interesting test of how well people can think ahead – I know that from watching people try it here at work, that they keep doing the same thing over and over again and getting the frogs stuck.

So here’s a way to do it.

Assume  the stones are numbered 1 to 6 from left to right. Click on each one in the following order:

Stone 5

Stone 3

Stone 2

Stone 4

Stone 6

 Stone 7

Stone 5

Stone 3

Stone 1

Stone 2

Stone 4

Stone 6

Stone 5

Stone 3

Stone 4 

Not so hard, neh?


Frozen Excel Art

23 August, 2006

One of the more interesting quirks of Windows is how an application that has hung or frozen often ceases refreshing the screen, so that if you move that particular Window, you get an alarming spasmodic splash of partial toolbars, text, and whatever other information happened to be on your now sadly lost work.

It’s probably a little more visually exciting than the spinning beachball of death, but certainly causes more stomach ulcers.

As I said, moving the window gives you this random sort of updating as the Windows struggles to do something with the locked-up app. And since there’s nothing else you can do except wait and hope it sorts itself out, I find myself making pretty patterns by swooshing the window around my desktop. And so, I present my first iinstallation of what is sure to be an avant garde new medium: Frozen Excel Art!

Should I charge for this…? 😉

======

Update: I’ve taken down the pics for now: trying to do any sort of photo editing on a locked down Windows piece of crap at work is impossible, and WordPress only reduced the physical dimensions of them when I uploaded, it didn’t reduce the size (i.e. in kilobytes). So they were massive. My apologies to those on dial-up.

Will get on a proper computer later on, and put up smaller versions of my artistic brilliance…


Frustrating Frogs

24 July, 2006

According to the email that accompanied this little game, you should be able to complete it within 3 minutes, if your IQ is above 50.

The idea is to move all the frogs so that the green frogs change positions with the brown frogs.

The frogs may only move one step at a time, or jump the frog in front of them.

My two workmates couldn’t solve it. It only took me a couple of attempts, so I can rule over them with my IQ of greater than 50!

Let me know in the comments section how you went…

Frog Leap Game

frog.JPG 

(For those on Windows PCs that rightly distrust downloads because it seems that everything you download corrupts something on your computer, I’ll put your mind at ease as best I can: the link is to an Excel workbook that contains the game in a Flash version. I downloaded on my work PC and my home Mac and nothing bad happened on either.)


I Gave My Computers the Flu

14 July, 2006

Last week was unpleasant. I went from having a slightly sore throat on Monday afternoon, to full blown influenza the next morning. I staggered along to work, and made it as far as lunchtime before crawling home to bed. Where I stayed for the next four days.

During that time, I couldn’t concentrate enough to read a book or watch a DVD, and daytime TV is an appalling series of infomercials and inane chat shows (although I now absolutely need a Magic Bullet, and that makeup that covers all your flaws if you’re Melissa Gilbert).

So I spent much of the time lying motionless, or idly surfing the net by poking one hand out of the covers to control the iBook. This was good.

I could also play around on my new web site at www.meromo.com, having just spent the better part of 3 weeks after work each night setting up mySQL, php, phpMyAdmin, WordPress, Webalizer, phpbb, talking to XNet to get a static IP Address, and getting my sturdy purple G3 iMac DV set up to act as my server (and iTunes player). It was finally working, and I could surf to it from the iBook. This, also, was good.

On Thursday, at some stage during the day, the iMac turned off, never to come back on. I suspect a leaky ceiling and a drop of water into the top grill of the iMac. It now produces a momentary flash from the power light when you turn it on, and that’s all. It’s screwed. Argh.

On Friday, while doing the hand-poking-out-of-covers thing on the iBook, the screen shook, flickered, and produced a brilliant kaleidoscopic range of beautiful colours. Uh oh. Upon a  restart, nothing. Looks like I suffered from the dreaded logic board problem that this particular series of G3 iBooks were prone to. And the extended repair period that Apple undertook is also well past. Argh. 

2 days, 2 computers broken.

And I still have a stupid cough the flu left me as a departing present.


5 Favourite Google Tools

30 June, 2006

Google has a swagload of tools now. Here are my fave five. 

Gmail 

Gmail was one of Google’s earliest (if not the first?) move away from pure web searching. In the computer world, I tend to use product that is the best (which is why I use a Mac), but this can mean that I sometimes use things only because they suck less than the competitors, not because they are good in and of themselves. (Such as the Mac OSX Finder – much worse in many respects than OS 9’s – but still miles ahead of Windows or Linux file and window managements programs. Even if Mac OSX plunges into unheard depths of crapitude, I couldn’t even start to consider switching until the makers of those systems realise that a global menu that changes according to context is a vastly better idea than redundant menus in every single freaking window).Not only does Gmail suck the least, it is good. Huge space, huge attachments, fast loading, fast searching, great spam catching, lack of irritating ads. The recent adding of chat to the email window is excellent as well (although I believe it still doesn’t work in Safari). The grouping of conversations is brilliant, you can show or hide the individual emails in your conversation at will, and the Labels give you some sort of order to your email should you not simply want to do a Google search on your own emails to find something.

Calendar 

Google’s calendar has replaced iCal as my appointment-making-thing. It can import and read iCal format calendars, is incredibly smart when you add an event (e.g. “Quiz at the pub next Tuesday 7pm” will put it in the right place – you don’t need to laboriously change little boxes for date, day, time, am/pm, length, status etc etc.). It will alert you via email, pop up, or text message (only if you live in the US for the last), does all the public and private, shared and single calendar things you might want, and can send you an agenda every day. iCal can subscribe to your Google calendar, so whenever you open iCal on the Mac, it will connect to the Net and update your iCal with all the appointments you added in Google Calendar

Personalised search 

This tracks your searches (only those searches that you want tracked, in case your “research” tends towards the “artistic”), and based on your past searches it will attempt to give you more relevant search results. Although most of one’s searches will tend to be completely unrelated (fastest bird in the world at one moment, Windows error messages the next: “Reserved error” – useful information there, thanks, Windows.), over time it does start building up a picture. Places that you’ve visited turn up in your results along with the number of times you’ve been there, and for the analysts amongst us, you can see how many searches you’ve done and when (in a blatant misreading of what the graphs show, apparently I search  mostly on Wednesdays in June at 9am…). The tracking includes normal web pages, images, news and headlines. Searching within your past searches is very useful when you come across a problem or query you had in the past, but can’t remember where you went to solve the problem, and saves you from starting your whole search again from scratch. 

Personalised start page 

Yes, I know the idea of a portal is dead and buried – but it died because all the other so-called portals were garish advertisements with a tiny areas for your content. (Can’t remember whether it was Yahoo or not, but I remember one portal/search site where I truthfully could not find where to type my search. At all. I had to leave. That’s crap).Google personalised home page allows you add modules for the things you want, and doesn’t have any ads. You can make it as cluttered or as minimalist as you desire. I have my Gmail, Google Reader, and Google Calendar as the main items, and a few other bits and pieces, such as Word of the Day, Apple’s share price, Links, and so on, which I change as the mood strikes me. Love it.

Sketchup 

This free 3D/CAD/drawing/visualisation package is bursting with potential. Have  a quick look at the tutorial included within it, and you’ll be creating holey buildings and abstract lumps almost instantly. Play around with it a bit more, and you can design anything you care to think of, put textures onto your creations so they look like the real thing, and upload building or places to their actual location in Google maps so others can view your prowess. Floor plans, and building based on those floor plans are obviously its main area of strength, and  it could therefore be very useful to those who are interested in certain game genres