go train!

I found one of the little pluggie-innie dealies that attach to an iBook power adaptor on the GO train yesterday. This is convenient, for my own pluggie-innie dealie got bent and no longer works.

tasty bytes

my ibook status

I just upgraded my iBook to 1.5GB, the most it’ll take.  The CD·ROM Store took a bit of time to get the memory in, but when they did it was $50 less than I was originally quoted.

It took me four heart-stopping tries to get it installed. It went like this:

  1. black screen – eek!
  2. appeared to work, but no extra RAM recognized.
  3. black screen – double eek!
  4. works- yay!

Each tim required power off, battery out, the keyboard to come off, a fiddly little plate to be unscrewed (which was  nothing like the Apple instructions said), the SODIMM reseated, fiddly plate restored,  keyboard in, battery in, power on. My old ThinkPad was a lot easier – I once installed RAM in it on a subway train …

DHL really, really sucks

So Apple sends me my replacement iBook battery. First I hear is a yellow tag on the door. I call up the DHL website, and redirect (or so I thought) the package to my work address. That was Tuesday.

Wednesday, there’s no package at work, but there is another yellow tag stuck on our door. No matter, it’ll come tomorrow (being today).

Nothing at work today either, and Catherine says that there’s a message from the DHL unclaimed parcels office in Markham. Having the old yellow bill with me, I head up to Markham to pick it up.

I thought that Purolator was bad, but DHL take teh cake. Not merely are they in the arse end of Markham, but I had to wait about half an hour to get my package, in a long queue of irate folks. Annoyance. And the thing is, DHL are right next door to Apple Canada, but the battery got shipped out of Sacramento.

The only tiny piece of amusement I got from all of this was that I used my :CueCat to scan the DHL ‘DNK’ number, and it worked. I am easily amused, but it’s all I’ve got.

completely not feeling the love for the iPod Shuffle

Shuffle mode on the iPod Shuffle isn’t random. It seems to play the same tracks in the same random order every time you restart the device. It only seems to get a new randomization when you sync with iTunes.

Oh yeah, and it’s too wide to fit alongside a standard USB plug on an iBook. I’ll check the BestBuy returns policy, ‘cos this thing just ain’t doing it for me.

review of CanWEA 2005 swag bag

So I’m at the 2005 CanWEA conference for the next few days. The swag bag is a standard nondescript nylon thing, thankfully big enough to take my iBook and a few other bits and pieces. The contents are a bit disappointing, though:

  • a very plasticky flashlight that I may discard after harvesting its batteries.
  • a small bag of jujubes.
  • a copy of North American Windpower magazine (which in itself is quite a decent magazine, so is actually one of the highlights).
  • a trade show guide, but no conference program (they were held up in customs; can’t we print ’em here?)
  • various company brochures, zzzz.

You’ll note an absence of useful pens, pads, USB keys, model turbines, or other special swag. I was hoping for more …

world’s slowest USB

I tried copying about 180MB of files from my old Thinkpad onto a USB key using the mini-ITX box last night. It’s supposed to have USB 2.0 High Speed, but it certainly hasn’t; it took several hours. It managed a little over 5 Kbytes/s on a single file.

By comparison, the iBook moved the same amount of data from the key to the desktop in under four minutes. That’s more like it.

I wonder what could make the mini-ITX box so slow? As far as I can tell, there are no USB1.1 devices on the bus. Unless the device was mounted ‘sync’ (where every write isn’t buffered, but immediately written to the USB key), it’s a mystery.


So I bought the iBook. So far, it’s plain sailing — but then it should be.


For a truly soulless evening, take yourself down to the BestBuy at Scarborough Town Centre.

STC is a mega-mall, with the obligatory huge concrete and asphalt deadzone around it. Its current sales slogan is For what defines you, which must mean that its denizens are in a pretty parlous state, existentially speaking. Its only slightly attractive feature is its derelict KrispyKreme store, which opened as a flagship, then frazzled almost as quickly as a KK’s dextrose rush. Abandoned donut shops are Canada’s ruined abbeys; places of worship gone to seed.

BestBuy itself is an outcast from the mall, in an especially ped-unfriendly way. Perhaps the only defined route there is through a monster split-level Wal-Mart, but I didn’t have enough hitpoints to make it through that particular slough.

I’d checked their website, and it said that the store had iBooks in stock, at $50 below retail. Did the store have any on display? No. The Apple section was set behind the customer service desk, which was a scrum of slightly disgruntled shoppers. So I left without seeing one.

I wandered in a bit of a post big-box haze to McCowan RT, a weird little station at the very end of the rails. At least I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the 401 at McCowan; all boiling red and purple. That’s about the best you’ll get near STC, and for free, too.


Okay, so if I were to buy an iBook, I must be able to:

  • have virtual workspaces, like X11
  • use a compose key for accented characters
  • be able to do my usual Perl/Bash things in the terminal
  • get basic, useful applications for free.

Since I can do these things on Linux now, there’s no point in me switchin’ in the kitchen.

my lappy is not well

My ThinkPad T21 is dying. Well, its processor and interfaces are fine, but its backlight is erratic, the battery lasts about 20 minutes, and the case is badly cracked. Because it takes so long for the screen to come on, it’s almost no use as a portable computer.

It’s a shame; it has been a nice machine. I’d prefer not to have to buy a new machine — it’s a toss-up between another used ThinkPad, or a new iBook — but this gets me very frustrated. Catherine has been complaining about how tetchy I am about it.

I’ve probably been very bad at responding to e-mail over the last few weeks because of this. Apologies.