Apple products that don't work well enough for me to buy

Obviously, that's a working title... but with the release of Apple TV Software Update 2.3 it's as good a time as any to complain about what Apple *isn't* doing, which is to create a piece of entertainment hardware that provides exactly what I want.

What I want:
a combination Roku/TiVo/Apple TV-without-needing-to-be-hacked/Blu-Ray player, without any DRM or HDCP nonsense, able to navigate to and play those streams smoothly without chatter or hiccups.

What is HDCP you ask? Well, if you plan on getting a new Macbook and want to use an external display, read this first:

Just got a new MacBook last week and finally found a mini Display Port -> VGA adapter so i could use my 19” external display. I rented a movie from the iTunes store yesterday and when I tried to play it on my external display, it gave me a warning/error that the display was ‘not an authorized HDCP display’ and it would not play. Plays fine on the small MacBook screen, just nothing external. To make it even worse, i tried all the movies that I have purchased from the iTunes store with the same result… NONE of them will play on anything but the MacBook’s small 13” screen. This is crazy unacceptable.


OSX vs Windows 7

So, with the V-word a less than fantastic success

Microsoft is already close to releasing their new operating system. With a new version of OSX on the way, it makes sense to re-compare the two operating systems... I'll spare y'all the gory details and boring spec analysis, and instead refer you to a useful side-by-side comparison of the core features:


Return to blogland & battery problems

Somehow, it has been over two months since my last post (appropriately enough, this is starting off sounding like a confession, sans pedophile) and for that I apologize.

I think most of the blame is due to the fact that I can't/don't dare post or even look at the blog while I'm at work, and since historically my posts occurred during breaks at work, that's naturally going to kill my posting rate.  I guess this isn't unreasonable, but it's another reminder of how nice the academia-bubble can be.

The other cause of my lack of posting has been the occurrence of power-system problems with my powerbook.  A little while ago (I guess two months ago) I unplugged my powerbook one day to move into the livingroom and it died.  I hadn't noticed any problems with the battery,  but when I replugged the power cord and booted it back up, I noticed that the battery was at "29%, charged".  Following the instructions for recalibrating the battery, I unplugged the powercord and let it run down until it went to sleep, then took out the battery, poked the PRAM, plugged it back in, and... nothing.  It now says "0 %, fully charged".

Has anybody else encountered problems like this?  Poking around the interwebs it looks as though this is not a terribly uncommon problem, but a clear solution does not exist.  I have considered taking it down to the Apple Store downtown, but so far that's been too much bother.  I hope that the solution is as easy as spending my hard-earned cash on a new battery, but I'm leery of doing that only to discover that my new battery won't charge either.

I think that's enough complaining for now.  More posts to come - I've actually got a whole folder of post-items in my gmail just waiting to be used, although many are now out of date.  Anyway, howdy everybody and it's good to be back.