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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Going too easy on Apple and others 

What fun; it seems I've been upgrading my entire life. After the fog light incident, I did some manic rearranging of my A/V system.

I don't even know if the details are interesting. I don't have enough hi-def inputs on the HDTV (as I mentioned previously), so I finally spent the $60 on a simple but effective 4-1 component video switch. Then I finally put the progressive scan DVD player in the main room, freeing up the PlayStation 2 from its DVD playback duties (by current standards, it did them very badly in several ways: no progressive scan, and no comprehension of how to work with wide-o-vision).

Nothing a couple of hours on the floor rerouting audio and video cables couldn't take care of. Seriously: I can do this stuff, but how do non-nerds handle this stuff? I fear there's a lot of non-technical types with HDTVs who have either hired someone to take care of the wiring, or they're not really watching an HD signal.

It should be said that I make things harder on myself by running equipment which I, er, know how to make work. The approved method of getting a really simple hi-def wire-up these days is to buy a really expensive HDMI-switching and upconverting receiver (and, erm, attach it to an HDCP-capable TV) and throw everything through it, but even then it's a fair bit of wiring.

I'm now up to five sources which have to be routed into the receiver, and that's hardly anything special. Heck, I could add one or two more video game consoles from my pile. It's a lot of stuff to move.

But that was only one of the projects, and I think it almost qualifies as a system that comes by its complexity honestly.

My other upgrade project was my iBook's hard drive. Over the last few months, the system has gone from warnings like "your hard drive is low on space" to "your hard drive is REALLY low on space" to "No, seriously, I don't have any place to put this stuff."

Fortunately the cost of an 80 GB laptop hard drive is about a hundred bucks, so upgrade ahoy, and let's see what having 50 more GB will be like. I stopped by iLync in Burnaby and picked up a new hard drive (offered the choice of a Samsung or a Toshiba, with the Toshiba costing a few dollars more, I told the clerk "Korean is good enough") and found a USB 2.0 laptop drive housing for a very reasonable $10. Sold.

Carbon Copy Cloner eventually succeeded in moving my data from old drive to new after a few tries. I suspect the super-cheap drive enclosure.

Then I went to Faqintosh and followed the 57-part directions on getting to the drive.

For some reason, the ridiculously elaborate process didn't drive me nuts. I can't decide if it was because of expectations (I wasn't surprised that getting to the drive in a laptop was a pain; I was very surprised that getting to a fog light was), or because it was slightly less painful, or because I could do the whole job on my living room table.

It was about two hours from open to close for the drive. I expect more from Apple. But it just didn't drive me over the edge like the fog light did.

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