Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

Blogging with a new MacBook Pro

This week I made a transition to a new computer.

It’s a new 15″ MacBook Pro, the latest update, purchased through the online Apple Store. It’s factory reconditioned, and was the first of the recent models that I’ve seen come through for sale. These reconditioned items are delivered “like new” and come with full factory warranties. I’ve been buying through this channel for years, since the prices are discounted below the “education” prices, which in turn are well below retail prices.

It replaces a similar model that I bought in early 2007, but which was introduced several months earlier. There’s really nothing wrong with my old computer except a bit of wear, and four years of incremental improvements. The main thing for me is that the current model is much faster, especially when I have to run Windows on my Mac, which I must do for certain online services. I also use Microsoft Access, which took the place of the old FoxBase database that I used to use.

In any case, this new MBP is a beautiful computer.

The transfer was surprisingly straightforward.

First, I updated all the system software on the old computer, which took less than an hour.

Second, I made a full backup of the old computer’s internal hard drive using Apple’s Time Machine, which is not something I normally use. But I read that Time Machine can be used to transfer everything over to a new computer, and that was my goal.

Third, I plugged the hard drive into the new computer, booted into Apple’s “Migration Assistant”, and followed the instructions. It didn’t take long at all, and all applications and user files were copied onto the new computer.

I was worried, but it went extremely smoothly. In something well under an hour, the new computer was loaded and running. Programs, bookmarks, passwords, mail, almost everything moved over without any problems. I was able to just start working on the new computer without anything further required on my part.

I haven’t yet had a chance to use all applications, but I’ve noted only two exceptions so far to the smooth transition.

First, my older version of Photoshop CS3 gets an error message saying that the application has to be reinstalled. This is not good news. Second, for some reason, the Migration Assistant didn’t copy over Quicktime Viewer 7, an older program which does some things that can’t be done by the latest version of Quicktime. But I copied it over manually, and all seems in order. One older program I use occasionally brought up an error message saying that it needs Rosetta to run and asking if I wanted to install it. I answered affirmatively, it automatically downloaded Rosetta, which is Apple’s emulator to run older pre-Intel software, and then everything worked fine, so I don’t consider that one a problem.

Using the new computer makes some things just feel “snappier”, while other programs are able to run dramatically faster. Windows, which used to do everything at a glacial pace, now runs fine.

Hopefully I’ll be able to get 3-4 years out of this computer, as I did the last one, before the incremental improvements again call for an upgrade.

Another damp morning in Kaaawa

Morning on the beachIt’s been cloudy and damp in Kaaawa all morning. It drizzled while we were out walking earlier, then rained hard soon after we got home. Since then, it’s cycled through rain-dry-rain periods.

But I liked this photo from this morning and wanted to share it. Click for a larger version.

[Canon 5D II, Canon 28mm f/2.8 lens]

Is it just going to get worse in the gulf?

If you’re into doomsday scenarios worthy of Hollywood, here’s a rationally argued assessment of what might be happening in the Gulf of Mexico.

This started as a comment left on The Oil Drum blog, spotted by Casaubon’s Book at Science Blogs, picked up by Mother Jones, and then broadcast by Information Clearing House.

If I understand it correctly, the premise of the original comment is that there is evidence that the well now gushing oil is actually seriously damaged beneath the ocean floor. Attempts to cap the well merely increase pressure below, causing those deeper breaks to get worse. The oil and gas escaping from the damaged areas in the well below the ocean floor are actually causing erosion, and could eventually cause the collapse of the area surrounding the well.

Worst case, in this view, is that nothing can stop the oil until the whole underground oil reserve that has been tapped into is emptied. And just how much oil we’re talking about isn’t clear. Billions of gallons?

There’s enough technical information, and enough references, to make it difficult to dismiss this as pure conspiracy bunk.

Hollywood science fiction begins to pale alongside this doomsday scenario.

Another week, another Feline Friday

Ms. WallyYes, it is another Feline Friday. These photos are a little late, because I was a little short on cats, believe it or not.

In any case, taking the lead is Ms. Wally, who was firmly ensconced in Meda’s lap after we got back from our walk this morning.

Earlier this week, I treated Wally to a dose of Revolution, which is of those flea-killing chemical spots that you drip onto the back of the cat’s neck. She hates it. She can smell it as soon as I puncture the tip of the little plastic bottle and get ready to apply it. This time, despite my efforts at concealment, she tried to make an escape out to the deck and into the front year. I managed to get her in hand and get the stuff applied, but she was not a happy camper.

Several days later, though, she feels much better. So do I.

So just click on Wally’s picture for a few more of this week’s cats.