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Month: March 2009

Apple has new goodies……sort of

I’ve been waiting a LONG time on the new Mac-Mini refreshes, and I have to say I was surprised at the new versions. They’ve got a little kick to them this go around. However, if you bump the RAM up to at least 2GB and add the 3year warranty and a new keyboard, you are sitting at about $900.00

If you don’t care about the warranty and don’t need the keyboard, you can still get the 2GB of RAM and keep it down to $649.00.

Also, they released new Mac Pros and iMacs. I have to say I was impressed, that is, until I read a little more. Apple and I have a strange history: I love to support them and I love OSX. However, they always seem to just MISS my cup of tea, and I always think…”Well, I’ll wait for the next round”.

Let me explain. As you know (or don’t) Apple has pretty much switched from ATI to Intel to Nvidia for graphics. However, even with the brand new models, the BEST you can get (Nvidia wise) is a  GeForce GT 130. If you are thinking “130…what the hell is that?”, read on.

Basically, as most of us know, the “best of the best” in the Nvidia world is the “GTX 2xx” series, and prior to that, it was the 9800 Series. Well, Nvidia has renamed their chip line on the 9600/9500 line to…you guessed it! “GT1xx” !!!!!!

If I’m right, it seems the GT 120 is a renamed 9500 and the GT130 is a renamed 9600! I can’t believe that even on the HIGH end Mac Pro, they DON’T offer at least ONE version of a GT280! However, they do seem to offer a ATI 48xx series, which is good, but as I said I LOVE Nvidia.

Now on the other hand, I’m always looking at this situation from the stand point of “what if I want to GAME and run everything with nice resolutions and AA etc”, and as most of us know…if you want to game with the big boys, just build a PC. Well, that still seems to be the case.

On the brighter side of things, these new Macs truly have some wonderful configurations and will be very good machines, especially for those people that just want to do everything but the high end gaming.

My advice:

If you’ve never had a Mac, and don’t care about gaming at all, but need a complete computer (monitor and all) I would go for the 1499.00 iMac, as it has a 24inch screen.
If you think you’ll game from time to time, I would go for the 1799.00 iMac and possibly upgrade the video card to the GT 130 or the ATI card.
If you’ve never owned a Mac and are happy with your current computer, but are curious about OSX and would like to just use the monitor, mouse, keyboard etc. that you have, then go for the entry Mac Mini and upgrade the RAM to at LEAST 2GB.

If you’re a hard core gamer and want to keep up with the latest games etc…just keep building PCs or check out the Dell XPS 630 for a great entry gaming rig that can upgraded as needed.


Geeky Greats: Free Apps For Better Geekery

I am always on the hunt for applications which either improve my workflow, provide me with a free alternative to something I would otherwise have to pay for, or generally improve my geek stature. So without further ado, here is a short list of some of the apps I have found recently:

  • .htaccess Editor – This web-based tool allows you to quickly generate .htaccess files for your web site, without having to remember your way through vi or having to look up the sytnax when trying to do some basic user authentication.
  • InstallPad lets you create a list of applications you often find yourself installing when setting up someone’s Windows-based PC. Any application which can be directly downloaded from the Internet can be added to InstallPad. All you have to do is run the self-contained InstallPad executable file, and it will go grab all the apps from the Internet and install them for you. It’s a pretty slick way to set up Firefox, Thunderbird, and more, all with one double click for free.
  • Google Analytics Reporting Suite – A free Adobe Air-based application which runs from your desktop and allows you to quickly monitor all of your Analytics accounts through a very smooth interface, optimized to be less sucky than the clunky interface provided by Google. Requires Adobe Air, also a free app.
  • MailStore Home – I have written about this free tool before, and it still blows my mind so much that it deserves to be mentioned again.  MailStore allows you to back up and archive your email accounts, whether they be in Outlook, Thunderbird, or GMail (or others). This tool saved my neck when my email accounts got too big for MozBackup to handle without crashing.  Now, I can use MailStore and archive stuff to keep my inboxes streamlined, then backup the archived email with my favorite paid backup tool, Carbonite.
  • Tweet Deck – If you are a Twitter user, this is THE tool for keeping up with everything, posting, and more. Another free Adobe Air application, Tweet Deck runs from your desktop and has more bells and whistles than a elementary school band class.