Tag: computer

Mac Pro Day!

First, thanks to Nick at the Apple store in the Rockingham Mall (Salem, New Hampshire).  Dude knows his stuff, that’s for sure.  I know what you’re thinking, all the dudes and dudettes at the Apple stores know their stuff.  True, but none that I’ve encountered like this guy.  He had an answer to every question I had, and got me everything I wanted.  Kudos to you, sir.

So, how’s the Mac? Glad you asked. Let’s put it this way: I’ve used a lot of high end PCs in my lifetime. A lot. And not one of them has ever come close to this thing.  Here’s the final specs:

  • Dual Quad Core 2.26 Processors (I would have upgraded the processors, but a) I didn’t think I needed to, and b) the prices are a bit crazy)
  • 8Gigs of Ram
  • ATI Radeon HD 4870 (The upgrade with 512MB of DDR5 on-board  video memory.)
  • 640 GB main drive.
  • 30″ Cinema display.

I’m about 80% done installing all the software I need, and it’s so easy because this thing’s a freakin’ beast.  I’ve been installing handfuls of apps at a time.  My PC would have thrown up and died an hour ago.  So awesome.

As you may know, my PC had two external hard drives, each a terabyte in site, that I had planned on connecting to this beast. However, they used Firewire 400 and the new Mac Pros only have Firewire 800 (only, like it’s a bad thing, heh.)

So my solution was rather destructive.  I ripped open the cases, and dropped them into the available slots on the Mac Pro.  I know what you’re thinking; it’s day one and I’m ripping the thing open already to put more stuff in it?  With a PC that may be complicated, but fret not, it takes less than 10 seconds to install a new drive into a Mac Pro. Literally.

So I dropped in the two terabyte drives, and the secondary 320gb drive from my PC, for a total of 2.94TB in the Mac Pro.

The hardest part was opening the freakin’ cases of the drives, which I learned is more complicated than it needs to be. The first was easy, the second I ended up smashing to bits to get the drive out.  It worked though.

One of the drives is formatted in a way that OS X can’t erase stuff from it. (I assume this is a formatting issue), so I’m going to copy everything off of it, format it, and put the stuff back.  It’ll take a while, but it’ll get done eventually.

The biggest question people are going to ask, is about the 30″ Cinema display.  Is it as good as it should be for $1800?  You bet your sweet ass it is.  I can fit the whole freakin’ internet on this thing, on one screen. It’s huge, and the resolution is enormous.

It truly is a work of art. Given, it should be for what I paid for it, but I’m not complaining.

Overall, my Mac experience thus far, has been nothing but excellent.  My PC is sitting next to me (as a reminder of what applications I need to install) and begging me not to through it away.  With those beady Windows eyes of it.  Evil! Evil I say!

Photos of the new set up below (Warning, I didn’t re size them, so they’re going to make your monitor explode.  Mine, on the other hand, loves them this large):

Thanks again to Nick at the Apple store. You are awesome, and my new computer thanks you for selling it to me.

Mac Pro Day in 2 days

For those of you following along at home, Mac Pro day was supposed to fall on my 30th birthday.  For reasons out of my control, it’s been pushed back until I get paid from one of my clients.  Which should happen today.

Thus, Mac Pro day will be this Saturday morning, October 10th.  I’m beyond excited.

Also, in case you weren’t following along at home, I’m making the switch to Mac after 25 years on a PC.  I’ve been using an iMac at the office I’ve got with one of my clients for about 4 months now, and I love it. I can’t wait to switch. The fear of not having Windows was pretty strong for a while, but has completely subsided. I’m ready for change.

I’ll be purchasing a Mac Pro, with some added options to it, and a 30″ Cinema display. (Or possible 2 24″ LED displays, depending on whether or not the sales person thinks they’ll be better for me.)  Check back this weekend for photos.

New Computer – Migration In Progress

I finally gave in, and purchased a new computer yesterday. Namely, the one I’ve had my eye on for the last few weeks. I splurged, and bought it yesterday, from CompUSA. Smartly, over the border, to save on tax. Specs: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 quad-core processor, dual 320 GB hard drives, 3 GB RAM (PC5300), 16x LightScribe DVD drive, Vista Ultimate (with Media Center), built in wireless networking, wireless keyboard and mouse. I also upgraded the video card, to support dual DVI. I, easily, let the sales rep talk me into the top of the line video card. (GeForce 8880) As we know, I can’t live without dual monitors these days.

My old PC will now live in the living room (P4 single core, 3GB PC3200, 1.6TB storage) as a music share. Though I learned a valuable lesson, when you read online that “displaying a PC on a TV (even an HDTV)” that it’ll look horrible, they’re not kidding. At 800×600, the screen’s barely readable, via DVI. Luckily once iTunes is started, the TV will be shut off, and iTunes will do its thing.

In migrating from my old XP box, to the new Vista box, there’s a few things that are obviously different. I had the intention of installing XP over Vista when I got the machine home. However, I think if I never give Vista a chance, I’ll never get used to it. Sure, it’s got some quirks that you have to adjust to, but so did XP when it came out. Here’s how I migrated, which may help you:

My migration had two major necessities, 1) to get all the extra junk off my old machine (programs/files), 2) get that extra junk onto the new machine (programs/files)

What I did was the following: as I uninstalled a program from the old PC, I installed it on the new PC, one by one. The good part of this was that the new machine was much faster than the old, so the processes finished about the same time. Perfect. Some important things to remember, before uninstalling an application, that may slip your mind:

  • If your application requires user settings, see if there’s an option to back up those settings. (ie e-mail applications, FTP clients, browser favorites)
  • If your application needs to be downloaded from the internet, install it before you uninstall the old one, in case you need a serial number

The biggest, and most helpful thing I found in my migration, was an application called MozBackup. What MozBackup does is simple, it takes all your settings from both Firefox and Thunderbird, and dumps them to a file. You then e-mail that file (or copy it over) to the new computer, and install it. It captures everything! Though it warns you that some extensions might not work, I didn’t have any issues. Firefox captured: bookmarks, links, extensions, cookies, cache, and display settings. Thunderbird captured: all my e-mail settings (43 e-mail accounts settings), all my saved/archived messages, and e-mail signatures. Amazing. If you have to move from one PC to another, and use Firefox/Thunderbird, definitely download MozBackup. It’s free, and worth every penny.

I’ve still got more work tonight to do, installing video processing applications, mostly. One note to make: TivoToGo does not work with Vista. There’s supposedly some hacks you can do, to make it work. Luckily there’s a VIIV option available, that works with Media Center, that I downloaded, and it worked. However, if you don’t have Media Center on your Vista PC, you can easily still get to your Tivo:

Open up trusty Firefox (or IE, if you’re dumb), and type in: https://<your tivos ip address>/nowplaying/index.html (if you don’t know your Tivo’s IP address, you can get it from the settings on your Tivo itself)
Username: tivo
Password: your media access key (gotten/set at Tivo.com in your account)

This will allow you to download files directly to your PC from your Tivo(s). I’ve found, honestly, that the download speeds going direct from Tivo-PC are faster than if you use Tivo’s software. I haven’t found a way to get files to the Tivo just yet. (Sidenote: if you have video files on your PC that you want to watch on your Tivo, you can easily convert them using Videora Tivo Converter to something Tivo can understand. Though you’ll need to upgrade your TivoToGo software to the Plus version. I think I paid $30 or so, and is was worth it. Hopefully Tivo fixes the Vista issues, so things work as expected.

The most important thing to remember when you’re moving from one PC to another- be sure to copy all the data you want to save, before deleting it. If that means copying it to more than one location, to ensure you’ve got it, do it. I’d rather have two copies, than zero copies.

Next project after software installations are finished: ripping every CD we own to the “old” computer, and hooking it up the audio system. That’s a project in itself.