Archive for June, 2006

Apple MacBook review

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Due development of Apple OS X software and phasing out of my former 800MHz iBook a new laptop had to be selected. Since I never quite liked the design of the PowerBooks and the negative stories one can find about the MacBook Pro on the net, I decided to wait for the iBook a-like Mactels. Recently they got released and I finally had the ability to aquire a black Apple lap^Wnotebook.

The last sentence already reflects that Apple tries to sell it not as a laptop but a notebook because it gets quite hot. Though unlike some other, normal PC laptops not on the top, the keyboard but more on the bottom. That said although I’m a bit disappointed about the performance / heat ratio after the switch to Intel I rather like a touchable keyboard.

At least the black flavour is quite stylish and unlike PC laptops the fan is nearly off when idle. However after some days I had to notice a subliminal whining when the machine is running, idling on battery.

The list of pro’s and con’s boils down to:


  • stylish
  • light, thinner
  • outstanding keyboard
  • fast CPU
  • Mag-safe power connector
  • magnetic display holding, nothing to break apart
  • linear audio out without noise and spikes including optical in/out
  • brigther display than former iBooks
  • graphic chip with outstanding Open Source driver for Linux and friends


  • hot like vulcano underneath
  • glossy, very viewing angle dependant, overdriven display with worst white to black switch time I ever saw (thin black or gray text even disappears while scrolling!!!)
  • end of life x86 CPU without 64 bit extension
  • sharp border of the top-case where the former iBook was rounded. I guess a shortcumming of cut down production costs …
  • touchy DVD drive, does not read many CD-RWs and skips when moved slightly
  • still not perfectly processed, some unevenly placed plastic parts (as usual)
  • whining while idleing on battery, most probably some DC-DC converter

What I wonder is why unlike the former iBooks the power-on fanfare is not mixed to the headphone when one is plugged in, there appears to be no way to silence the beast when you power up your machine in an audience … :-(

Also, personally I have no use for the IR remote and the built-in iSight which I btw. find a bit noisy. The later is also easily touched while opening the conver.

All in all the design is the logical continuation of the former product lines, however some more detail work such as choosing a display that is not as laggy when the display content changes, a rounded top-cover border and better heat dissipation would have been very much welcome and would have made it an outstanding machine.

As it is it is just about average: Good design but too many pitfalls that could have easily been avoided.

Later on I noticed due to whatever reason the hostname was amusingly set to blackrider :-)

Adobe Lightroom and LUA

Sunday, June 25th, 2006

Recently I sumbled over Adobe Lightroom - a still beta digital RAW image post-production suite. It’s GUI is truely remarkable - featuring the same “game based” interface design rules we wanted to implement for our audio software since some years now.

Even more remarkable is that about 40% of the code is written in LUA - respect! You can see a note about this in the copyright / acknowledge dialog and a there is a matching presentation from an Adobe employee about Experiences building a desktop application with Lua presented at a LUA workshop.

1.9 GB of new photos

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Today I sorted the photos that stacked up over the last years. Just deleting the unworthy ones and rotating the portrait images took 4 hours and left 1.9 GB of images in 1600 files which will show up in the photo gallery within the next days

Thanks to a quickly done kde servicemenu entries executing jpegtran for lossless JPEG rotation in the image context menu of Konqueror it was quite a pleasure. It is as simple as creating a ~/kde/share/apps/konqueror/servicemenus/rotateL.desktop with the content:

[Desktop Entry]

[Desktop Action rotateL]
Name=Rotate to the left (counter clockwise)
Exec=jpegtran -rotate 270 -outfile "%u" "%u"

Maybe something like this (including the variant for 90 degree) should be shipped with KDE by default ,-) Anyway it reminds me I should add support for lessless rotation to ExactImage.

Hello new world!

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

So I dive into the shiny new world of blogging as well. Not because I want to be so wicked damn cool, but because my static HTML files and shell script generated photo galleries I maintain since about 1997 started to not feel right anymore. Publishing new photos was not just drag’n droping files for example in KDE’s Konqueror from a camera:// to a fish:// remote machine, but additionally running aging shell script in the right order - guess how that felt like in the 21st century …

Let’s see how comfortable I’ll feel with WordPress after some days of use ,-) …