Goal: A Cross Country Drive

cross-country-zig-zag

In my 2014 Resolutions Post, I said:

And, of course, I have my social/creative trip idea: I would love to drive cross country, and meet up with a different friend for dinner each night. It would take me to all sorts of spots off the beaten path, and would be a cool touchstone each day — to meet folks I’ve only known online, and to visit with some people I haven’t seen in a while. I’d love it!

… and I am serious about that. I really want to drive cross country, meet friends, take a lot of pictures, and experience some sides of America that would be missed by merely sticking to the Interstate for 3500 miles…

Why And What?

Travel brings perspective. Getting in a car and driving it is more connected than flying. Getting off the main roads and seeing one of a kind places is even better. My hunch is that touching base with a lot of people along the way is better still. I sure know many online, and I imagine it would take me into the Real America; not just the sanitized freeway version of it.

I’ve seen enough Big Box stores and McDonalds to last a lifetime. This trip ain’t about that.

I want to take a lot of pictures, write a bit, and perhaps solve some common tech problems for people along the way (“my computer is acting funny…”). And I want to build on some friendships, meet new people, and get all kinds of crazy perspectives.

A unifying theme would be: how does the Online Life of people I know compare to the one in the world of the Real? We all have our online personas and expression.. Facebook, Reddit, Second LIfe, etc. Heck, I am on Ferry to San Francisco as I write this, and there’s 200 people delving into their online selves. I am no Social Anthropologist, but obviously this is quite different than 10 or 20 years ago. How is it different, outside the Tech Bubble of the SF Bay Area?

One could say that with so much Mobile in the last 5 years, that the lines of Virtual and Real are increasingly blurred. Yeah, of course there is some escape into a phone or tablet, but there is plenty that is unique to where you live (I hope so!). That’s what I find interesting, and that’s what I want to see and capture in photos.

Will anyone care as to what I snap and write? I don’t know, and actually that does not influence my desire to do it. Well, if you want to fund this I suppose I care a bit… I have a good history of doing Virtual Photography, and average over 500 views a day with that. I do that for myself, but other people seem to like it. I think that passion starts with wanting to do something because it makes one happy. If it’s done well, then other people take notice. I don’t think it works the other way around (“oh!? others like this? Gee, I think I will develop a passion for it!”)

So I am serious about wanting to do this trip. I had a glimpse of the possibilities when driving cross country in 2005. I’ll do it as part of my own journey, and any audience for it is a cool bonus.
Potholes

  • money – hey, how am I going to pay for this? I don’t know yet. Yes I am aware of obligations, and no, I cant expect the trip to pay for itself. Can I do it semi-cheaply? Sure… gas and where to stay (motels, not so much B&B’s) will be the biggest costs. Can I work along the way? Yep, but I would not do that to the point where I am merely driving and sleeping. What would be the point?
  • car – omg I don’t have a car! I’ll figure it out.
  • the cat – what to do with Dylan… I dont think I want to schlep him around in a car for 2-3 weeks straight. I’ll figure it out.
  • film – ha ha – just seeing if you are paying attention. I suppose I could pretend I would be racking up $20 a day of 1990′s film and processing charges. A few days of that pays for a lot of memory.. problem solved.
  • route – this is an interesting one.. I have a basic idea of who I will visit (and they know.. there will be no surprises like that ) I expect the route will be somewhere between the most direct and efficient, and crazy zig-zag. I would love to keep this under 3 weeks. My naive idea is to make a large circuit, coast to coast, up and around and back…
  • when – well, I cant do this until I get the other problems sorted, and I do need a bit of coordinating time with friends. It wont be till late Spring, at the earliest.

Advice?

I know some folks who have done the cross country drive solo.. my own father did it a few times before I was born. Let me know of any tips!

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Ahoy, It’s 2014

One of my resolutions has been.. to post my resolutions…

2013 was a tough year, and I am glad for the fresh start (and new job). I could dwell on why last year sucked so much (being out of work, hurt badly by someone, having to move when the place I was living in went up for sale…), but, new years are for new beginnings.

And of course, January 1 is an arbitrary day. We can start afresh at any time.

I used to have the attitude of “I’ll make resolutions as I think of them”. It’s a good goal, but something about the Occasion of a New Year gives things more.. hmm.. weight?

And of course, posting some resolutions gives me more incentive to follow through. Any of you could hit me up and say “Are you bench pressing 700 pounds yet”, and I’ll say “whoa there cowboy! You have me confused with someone else”. But yeah, you can ask me about anything I post here. Keep me focused.

People

I’ve been soooo bad at keeping up with friendships.  I am better at it online, and can say I’m close to people all over the world. But… it’s not balanced, and I need to reconnect with some old friends locally. Waves at them.. hey you!

  • host a dinner once a month
  • get out at least once every two weeks to go do something with friends

Hosting implies I am going to move to some place where I can do that, and that’s another goal I will get to…

Creative

Blog – I will post once a week.

Music – You know, I’ve been playing guitar for 30 years, and I sound like I have been playing for one! Ok, not really, perhaps two… I’ll start recording and posting to Soundcloud, or if I am feeling photogenic, perhaps Youtube. I miss my Strat (which I gave to my daughter, what was I thinking?), and my old Fender acoustic cutaway with a pickup. Sheesh, and I miss my old mixer and digital piano..  The first goal is just to get something recorded once a month.

Photography – Most of the photography I do is Virtual. It’s a creative joy to do with friends in SL, and I’m pretty good at it. But… I also get out and about, especially in San Francisco, and will start posting some.  I am wayyyy overdue for a new phone (yes, I have an iPhone 3GS in great shape.. that would be over 4 years old) with a much better camera.

Quality Of Life

It’s pretty easy to get swept up in the routine of being online, or traveling to another place where I can be.. yes.. you guessed it.. back online. Not good. Some of the quality of life thing, to me, means having more variety, and being able to slow down.

  • Take the Ferry to work at least once a week. Indeed, I am writing this on that!
  • Read a book per month
  • Watch a movie per week
  • Go out to a movie per month
  • Lots of walks, both City and Nature

Travel

It feels like forever since I’ve been able to have so much as a weekend trip where I can simply relax. I will do that every other month, starting in February.

I actually have enough frequent flyer miles for a round trip in the US. Hmmm…

And, of course, I have my social/creative trip idea: I would love to drive cross country, and meet up with a different friend for dinner each night.  It would take me to all sorts of spots off the beaten path, and would be a cool touchstone each day — to meet folks I’ve only known online, and to visit with some people I haven’t seen in a while.  I’d love it!

Residence

The definite thing this year is that I want to get a 1 or 2 bedroom place, and get most of my stuff out of storage. I have a great small guest cottage situation right now, but I can’t do it forever – I do need more space, want to have a spot to have people over, and miss some things that have been tucked away in storage for a year. I am aiming for moving to a new place on June 1st.

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A Very Sound City

It’s Not Just Tech…

So many hit records came out of a dumpy studio which happened to have stellar acoustics, and 1 of 4 Neve analog mixing consoles in the world…

“Yes you can do this on your own, but you’ll be a much happier human being, to do it with other human beings, and I can guarantee you that” — Mick Fleetwood

“You still have to have something to do with those tools” —  Trent Reznor

“Be true to yourself, and make music that you love.  Go out and play, turn people on to your music,  spread it yourself.  Don’t think it happens any other way” –Rick Rubin

Sound City & The Human Element

I love well done Documentaries.  Dave Grohl went way beyond mere facts, figures, and history to put together “Sound City”.  Much is said about the creative and human elements of putting together great music, and the interviews of folks such as Tom Petty, Rick Rubin, Stevie Nicks, Lee Ving, Neil Young, and Trent Reznor are spot on.

I very highly recommend Sound City.  It’s very much about the ethos of not trying to get computerized perfection, but to get into a Creative Space and Flow, and to produce art with others (and to embrace the little imperfections that occur anytime Humans play instruments ;)  Jack White had talked about the same themes in his interview with Conan O’Brien

All of this is not to say that tech and computers don’t have a place in Music Production.  They surely do!  But I agree with Dave’s view that they should not overwhelm the process.

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Create. (Jack White & Conan O’Brien)

It’s a New Year. Create!

So this is a post that’s very much a late New Years Resolution, and is pretty much me telling myself how I am going to get into the state of Hard Work on Creative Things (techy, coding, writing, music, or whatever).

What does it take to turn your creativity into real results? I would say that Jack White and Conan O’Brien have very real, proven insight. They did a great chit chat on the topic, covering a lot of ground about hard work, passion, keeping things simple, and Jack’s obsession with the number 3. Watch this when you have an hour and can Focus… (I know, that F word – don’t go getting all tl;dr on me)

Why this inspires me…

So, ok. Jack and Conan are obviously creative and successful, and I’m struggling to find the creative and tech groove where I can consistently do new work… (I am not talking about the context of employment, per se, I am talking about my drive to get traction on my personal projects).

I think three pillars of achieving some artistic success would be: Creativity, Passion, and Hard Work. Jack encapsulates by saying “I want to create something every day… I cannot wait to catch up to this idea I had 3 weeks ago”.

For me, it’s easy to be Creative.. at least with ideas. I can even be Passionate about wanting to get them implemented. But it doesn’t get me far, because I can suck at follow through. My block is not breaking problems down into small enough chunks (I am talking about playing guitar, or redoing my web site, or revamping my blog, or being consistent with real and virtual photography). When I think of a project as a whole, it’s too easy to get daunted by the size of the task, and to put it off. If I could get paid for hemming and hawing on scratching a creative itch, I’d be rich (or if I could get paid for overloading the mashed potatoes of my thoughts with tons of gravy cliches :)

So one takeaway from Jack’s chit chat would be: Simplicity. In my mind, that translates to “break things down into simple parts, and start working on them one by one”. It also can mean Iteration. I don’t have to tackle my whole web presence in a day, and I can get a creative update done in a series of simple steps….

Which leads me to.. I tend to get all the more Passionate about something when I sense little successes are within reach, and that leads me to Work Harder. It’s a sense of “knowing I am on the right track”. I think there’s the element of a Positive Feedback Loop – to let little achievements be that spark that drives me every day to keep at it.

I resolve to get up earlier and at least chip away at projects every day. My goal is to get into the groove that Conan calls ”hard hard freekin’ work” (but, make no mistake, work that is enjoyable!)

A tip of the hat to where I first saw this on Laughing Squid.

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Use Longer Passwords, Today

Short & Sweet, Too Easy To Beat …

So I was just led from a HuffPost bit to this article: “No password is safe from this new 25-GPU computer cluster” …

The title is a bit misleading, but the gist is that any 8 character password can be cracked in 5.5 hours with a cluster of 25 off the shelf AMD Radeon graphics cards.  The longer a password is, the longer it takes to crack.  More on that in “How long would it take to crack your password?

So you don’t think it’s a problem today?  How about those files that will be up in a cloud 10 years from now? :)  Yeah… what you store today, can be cracked tomorrow, by an ever-increasing range of misguided mammals that have nothing but time and equipment.

Of course, you can always go back an reencrypt things later…  or change all of your passwords, later… sure, you’ll remember..  Wait, let me go make some popcorn, this’ll be fun to watch ;)  Got them all?  Sure!?  Hee hee..

Just start using longer passwords now.  Think of little phrases or sentences.  Think of “future proofing” your passwords a bit, at least for a good 10 years or so.

Wait?  Graphics Cards?

Yep, Graphics Cards.  GPUs.  For certain operations (cranking through a massive set of computations), the use of OpenCL on a GPU is much faster than a CPU.   You can Deep Dive on OpenCL, and quickly realize “oh oh, CPUs are nothing compared to some specific areas where a few graphics cards can effectively be something we would have called a Supercomputer just 10-15 years ago”

But wait, who has a 25-GPU cluster sitting around?  In 10 years, everyone, in one card.

No, I dont think I am kidding.  Check out “CPU And GPU Trends Over Time“.  I did check out the actual data files for the graphs, and the key one was for GPUFlops:

  • 2003 – NVidia FX5900: 25
  • 2007 – NVidia 8800 GTX: 518
  • 2010 – NVidia GTX 580: 1581

…and I know for a fact that the NVidia GTX 690 (2012) is way faster…

So What To Do?

Yeah, I know.  Security is such a pain.  Use longer passwords, and don’t use the same password for everything.   There are many followup parts to this that I could write (two factor authentication, the whole USB key enchilada, the rise of biometrics and nanotechnology, etc).  For now I would just say “go longer, and if you run into web sites that limit passwords to 8 characters, yell at them”.

Oh, and a little Post Script:  when I was in College.. a lad in my 20′s using some old Vax 11/750 running BSD Unix, I had a really fun password.  It was ”        ”.  Yes, 8 spaces!  I knew that only the first 8 characters entered mattered.  I merely held down the spacebar for a few seconds, hit return, et voila!  Logged in!  If I felt someone was watching me, I would type a few random characters at the end, and still be logged in.  Those were much simpler days.

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Beginning of the World

Happy Winter Solstice!

It’s a wonderful Winter Solstice Day!

Oh, and there are some rumblings that the World Ends Today because a Bunch of Mayans Said So …  Maybe I should get in One Last Post!

Sigh, whatever!  I thank the Mayans for being very right on about Chocolate.

How to treat Today?

Today is the Beginning of the World.

If you have been hung up on Numerology, or Astrology, or some other thing pointing to a Sign or some impending Doom & Gloom, then here’s a simple suggestion:  Cut that out!

Treat it as the beginning.  It’s a new start!  The world didn’t end.  You have the rest of your life to get going on all those projects you’ve been pondering.  Woo hoo!  So do it!  Obviously I need to include myself, and practice what I preach… well, I have been blogging.  It’s a good start.

But seriously, one way to look at today is to consider all of these past predictions involving calendars and numbers as “they were trying to make sense of things at that time, based on what they knew”.  It’s even possible that we’re making some silly predictions now that will be scoffed at in 100 years (but not Climate Change… I am afraid that one is very real).

So it’s the Beginning!  It’s a new start.  The World didn’t end.  Some people made a bunch of money on T-shirts and some disaster kits got sold.  Big Whoop.  Get out there and feel confident!  Do stuff and things!

Go out an^%$#~Enj–~Connectio^~rrors.oy the D^%M..Disconnected From Internet Error~~~..9^%

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Guest Post: Star Trek Barbie, by Sophia Smith

A Guest Today!

Today’s post is by my daughter, Sophia, a 19 year old Junior at UC Santa Cruz.  I’m happy to have this piece as a strong lead towards the more Creative & Social side of this blog!

Sophia is a double major in Modern Literature and Spanish Language Studies, and you can find her writings at Sophia Words.  This piece, ”Star Trek Barbie”, was first published in the Leviathan Jewish Journal - you can find it on Calameo (page 16).

I wont set this up too much, except to say that it’s two facets of her upbringing, and she  reflects well about Then and Now.   Sophia did have every Disney Heroine, and it is true that I was pretty reluctant about the whole Barbie Thing.  Sophia and I used to watch a lot of SciFi (Star Trek, Star Wars, etc.), and Star Trek Barbie was my way of getting an accomplished / smarty angle in.. a compromise of sorts.

I didn’t let her watch “Barney” either ;)


Star Trek Barbie

Sophia Smith

As an only child, I didn’t have siblings to play board games or sports with, so I amassed a pretty impressive collection of stuffed animals and dolls.  Although I had a variety of baby dolls, my dad refused to buy me Barbies. For my eighth birthday, he finally caved and got me my very own Star Trek Barbie. She was dressed as the Commander of The Voyager, had her own phaser gun, and even came with a subordinately dressed Ken doll.

My dad didn’t like the message that Barbies send to young girls. He considered them to be vain, vacuous, and placing emphasis on beauty and clothes over traits like intellect and determination. Dad didn’t want me to feel pressured or preoccupied by Barbie’s hyper-femininity, and so he kept it out of my toy chest.

I was well aware of why Barbie was withheld from me, but just like sugary cereal or a forbidden TV show, I craved what I couldn’t have, and always sought to play with Barbies when I went over to a friend’s house. I felt guilty for doing this, because I could hear my father’s voice in my head encouraging me to do something more mentally engaging.

With my dad’s influence, I learned how to skateboard, how to play guitar, how to code web pages, and how to think for myself. I wouldn’t trade these skills for the world, but the fact that I didn’t feel as secure in my girlhood as my female peers definitely caused some problems for me during elementary school. Even though he was well-intentioned, my Dad’s emphasis on stereotypically boyish activities like skating, music, and technology over “girly” activities like fashion and boy bands led me to bottle up a lot of internalized misogyny. Whenever I would see a girl with acrylic nails or fixing her makeup in public I would roll my eyes in frustration and reassure myself that “I’m not like other girls! I’m smart and practical and I don’t care about stupid girl stuff!”

Just as I was not encouraged to be excessively feminine from a young age, so too was I not exposed to my Jewish heritage or traditional Jewish activities like my father had participated in during his youth. I was raised by a Jewish father and a Christian mother. My mom has a large, close-knit family and because of this I was raised to celebrate Christmas and Easter with my maternal relatives. My father was raised in a Jewish household, but didn’t have much motivation to expose me to Judaism; I never went to temple, celebrated holidays, attended Hebrew School, or had a Bat Mitzvah. Whenever I asked my dad about taking a more active role in my Jewish education, I was usually told that I could “decide for myself” when I was older.

I lacked an exposure and a comfortability with femininity and Judaism throughout my teenage years. Whenever I met someone whom I perceived to be a more authoritative or confident figure in either arena, I felt slightly uncomfortable because I saw a fulfillment in them that I myself lacked; I felt less knowledgeable and self-assured in areas of femininity and Judaism. This uncomfortability bothered me enough to begin to address these previously overlooked aspects of my identity as I became a young adult. I have embarked on a journey of hashing out my identity on my own terms, as a woman and as a Jew.

In my youth I had convoluted my Dad’s lesson about the dangers of emulating Barbie; I became convinced that femininity and success were mutually exclusive. I had decided that femininity was inferior, so surely it would only hold me back. My mom was a feminist and taught me to believe in equality from a young age, but it wasn’t until I entered college that I realized that feminists don’t have to be anti-feminine. I could be as girly as I want to be and still care about pursuing education, being passionate about women’s rights, and remaining dedicated to my less-feminine hobbies like skateboarding.

Over the course of my college years I have come into my own space within femininity, but I am still struggling with what Judaism means to me. Reconnecting with my Jewishness has come in small, incremental steps. Spending time with Jewish friends and working for the Leviathan has given me a new perspective on a younger, fresher version of Judaism than my grandfather’s traditional faith. During childhood I thought of Judaism as a series of rituals performed in a strange language that I didn’t understand, but after meeting a variety of Jews in college who come from diverse backgrounds, I have come to see that Judaism is not as narrow a label as I once thought. While my Jewish identity is by no means conventional, I am confident that I can still find a place within this diversity.

I have discovered that I really enjoy nail polish and high heels. I feel that the things we enjoy are a foundational part of who we are. Even though my father might have equated girly behaviors with impracticality, for me they have become a source of empowerment because I have reclaimed femininity as an integral part of my feminist philosophy.  Just because some people might make this connection between femininity and impracticality doesn’t make femininity a universal waste of time. More generally, the labels that we reclaim for ourselves don’t have to fall under the same connotations given to them by our elders.

A huge part of reclaiming labels has been redefining them for myself, my identity, and my lifestyle. This has helped open a door for me to become my own person. Arianna Huffington, a founder of the Huffington Post, asserted in an article that “too often we outsource the definition of our success to others in ways that are self-destructive…But shouldn’t the major element of success be one’s own satisfaction and fulfillment?…And, even worse, [outside pressure] leads to people making wrong decisions, or, at least decisions that are wrong for them” (1). This rings true for my experiences thus far; I used to gauge my success based on others’ definitions of my identity as a woman and as a Jew. My entire life I have heard other people’s definitions of “woman,” or “Jew,” e.g. girls should be pretty, quiet, pleasant and accommodating, or Jews should be scholars of their faith, knowledgeable about Israeli politics, and vocal about their Jewish lineage and experiences. While hearing these narrow perspectives on identity can be interesting to hear on a sociological level, the choice of what a girl or Jew should be is ultimately up to every individual.

I like to paint my nails. I also like to skateboard. I like to talk with other Jews and learn about Jewish culture. I also like to eat bacon. These complexities to my identity don’t make me a “bad” woman or a “bad” Jew. They are simply a part of what being a Jewish woman means to me. Being successful as a woman or as a Jew means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. We all have different identities, and we negotiate the parameters of these labels in a unique and personal way.

Works Cited

1. Huffington, Arianna. Arianna Huffington: Success, Power, Ulcers, and the Need to Redefine Success. Empower Lounge. Web 17 Nov. 2012.
<http://empowerlounge.com/arianna-huffington-success-power-ulcers-and-the-need-to-redefine-success/>

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Branching Out (An Epiphany)

Let’s Have Some Range …

When I headed back into blogging territory recently, there were two aims.  One was to explore the methods used for SEO and Monetization (was doing a project about that for a friend).  I’m reasonably up to speed on that now.

The other aim is simple:  I like to write!

But I need some range.  I feel too confined to just do Tech all the time.  I don’t like telling myself to shelve some idea just because it’s more on my Creative side.

My Epiphany is simple: write about whatever the fuck I want.  Use good categories and lead-in links so that some readers only see my Tech stuff, or only Creative, and so on.  I’ll be damned if I am going to feel hemmed in on my own blog.

But What About The Pros?

A couple of hours after my little moment of Clarity (but had not mentioned it to anyone), a good friend wrote me to nudge me in the same direction.  It was as if she were reading my mind!  Her quote was “I love love LOVE seeing the multi-facetness of people”.

And, of course, she’s Right On.  I have a hell of lot more range than just talking about JavaScript and Hackintoshes ;)

The Exalted Blogging Pros would probably say “stick to one topic” or “start another blog”.  My friend and I call BS.  I don’t have 1000′s of readers and am not aiming to make a living at this.  I had thought about starting a second blog, but I’d rather have “some” readers all in one place, instead of a “few” in two.  Maybe they’ll get into a Gang Fight, a la Sharks vs Jets, over in some Comments Section.  I’d fucking make popcorn to watch that.

A constant for me (at least with Computers and Photography) is to learn the rules, and then know which ones to break and when (sometimes you might return from a function in multiple places, and you don’t always  have to shoot a photo “full frame”).  This is another case of that, so I say “To Hell With Conventional Blogging Wisdom!”  (laughing to myself, because there is a perceptible feeling of casting off some writing handcuffs)

So, what happens now?

Oh, I lose a couple of folks perhaps – perhaps they are firmly rooted in some Blogging Conventional Wisdom, or they don’t like me swearing.  Oh Well :)  I’d rather pick up some new readers that are happy to follow any or all of the range of things I choose to write about.  That feels more Real to me.

I do need to work on my main web page, to make a couple of obvious lead-ins for Creative and Technical.  Hold me to it!

I also want to have some Guest Posts.  I have a pleasant surprise in store on that front!

The other thing to say is:  Yes, of course I will still do Tech Posts.  I’ve been paying attention to it almost every day since 1977, and am very much a generalist and still into it.  I just dont want to pigeonhole myself as only writing Tech.

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Update: HP 4530s Hackintosh Replaced By 4540s?

4530s Discontinued

I wrote a post a while back about how I transformed my HP 4530s into a Mac.  It works well and I love it.  I’ve also been pointing to the Amazon page for it, hoping that someone would temporarily lose their mind, order 10 of them, and flood me with referral fees.  Snap! No such luck!

I’ve been watching the price of this waver all over the place, and now I see the price at a whopping $569.99!  I paid $488.95 for mine, and had seen the price dip to about $450.

I can no longer recommend getting a new 4530s, and I have taken it off the sidebar for my blog.  It’s discontinued, and it no longer makes sense to go this route.

Look At The HP 4540s Instead

Now, having turned my back on the idea of a new 4530s, it would be awfully mean of me to leave you hanging.  I mean, how would that make me look?  It’s so close to Christmas, too!

My advice is: go check out an HP 4540s.  There are many of them (this was true of the 30 as well, with varying i3/i5/i7 processors).  My hunch would be to zero in on one with an Ivy Bridge processor.  This is a little tricky, and I see that one of the listings on Amazon is confused as to whether they are selling an i3 or i5 (big thing to make a mistake on, but a 3110M is an i3).  I do point to a machine later in this post that I think would do well, but I don’t have personal experience with it!  I’m just giving a heads up.

To understand the range of the 4540s, look at the HP 4540s Specs.  The processor options are bit over the top (why so many?!):

  • Intel® Core™ i7-3612QM (3.10/2.1 GHz, 6 MB L3 cache, 4 cores)
  • Intel® Core™ i5-3360M (2.80 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache, 2 cores)
  • Intel® Core™ i5-3320M (2.60 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache, 2 cores)
  • Intel® Core™ i5-3210M (2.50 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache, 2 cores)
  • Intel® Core™ i5-2450M (2.50 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
  • Intel® Core™ i3-3110M (2.40 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache, 2 cores)
  • Intel® Core™ i3-2370M (2.40 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
  • Intel® Celeron® B840 (1.90 GHz, 2 MB L3 cache)

I did not bother to bold the Celeron, and I would shy away from getting one.  Too weak.  Stick with the Core i3/i5/i7 range for laptops.

The thing to note about processor numbering is:  the ’3′ denotes an Ivy Bridge processor, whereas a ’2′ denotes the older Sandy Bridge.

I would go for an Ivy Bridge i3-3110M or better, because the graphics (HD4000, versus HD3000 for Sandy) are much improved.  That would have me looking at this one  – be aware that this is my guess, and you should do some independent research.

Here is a good review to start with: HP 4540s Review

And, of course, the folks at tonymacx86.com have been talking about this in the 4540s thread.

Hope this helps, and enjoy your Macs!

 

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One Year. One Island. One Internet Device.

Some History

Way back in 1994, I wrote an article for a then-ISP called “West Coast Online”.  It was  ”TV or the Internet?”.  I proposed the scenario, way back then, of being stranded on a deserted island with a great TV + Whatever Channels, or, a great Computer with Internet Access.  Remember, this was 1994.  For me, it was an obvious choice… I would have taken the Net.  This was before Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Video and so on…  My point, way back then, was that I would prefer to be interactive.

So, it is nearly 2013.  Let’s update the question!

The Scenario

Let’s say you are going to be stranded By Yourself on some Tropical Island for all of 2013.  It doesn’t matter what you write, or video, or what you do through any communication means.  You are Really Stuck There.  It’s a Hypothetical.  Revel in it!

Aside from all the basics (like food…), you get a choice of Just One Internet Device.  Let’s say that power is no problem, and your Net Connectivity all over the island is perfect.  Storage is not an immediate issue, as you can always offload to the Cloud…

…But, you only get One Device.  Let’s assume you don’t break it :)

What To Choose?

I think this is a deceptively simple question.  A friend of mine said she’d pick her iPhone.  She can do everything on it… but I think the small screen would drive her crazy in a week.  But, I could be wrong.. let’s dive in, shall we?  In all cases, you have a webcam, and doing photos and video is no problem.

  • Phone – an iPhone or Android phone.  Ok, cool.. you can take it in a pocket as you hike all over the island.  You can do great photos and movies.  Perhaps you realize after a week that the small screen is driving you batty.  But hey!  You can take it everywhere!
  • Tablet – this is a muddled one.  You could have an iPad mini, or an iPad, or some Android Tablet.  Heck, perhaps you want a Kindle.  Now we get into an interesting space: you cant take the Tablet quite so easily all over the island, but you can more easily get some things done (such as writing and video and pics), and you have a much better web experience. Do you leave it behind a lot, when you would have taken the phone?  No cheating with adding a keyboard to the tablet.
  • Laptop – Not so portable as a Tablet, but what a difference!  More flexibility, but not so much fun to lug around.  Even more screen space to watch movies…  No cheating with adding an external monitor to the laptop ;)
  • Desktop – We’re not going anywhere on the island with this beast!  This is more about making the best of things when you are back in your tropical hut.  You have a huge 30″ screen and a webcam, and can get any computing task done.   Games rock.   It’s your ultimate desktop.  You just cant take it outside.

Not So Easy, Is It?

For me, it’s not an easy choice.  I waver between Tablet and Laptop.  A phone is ridiculously small to do much with writing, video, and photos.  A full-on desktop is a perfect choice if it’s going to rain every day for a year.

So here is my question to you:  which would you pick?  Let me know in the comments.

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