Tag: laptop

Circuit City needs to stop insulting customers

I’m in Las Vegas for the EnergyCamp conference.

I had a couple of hours today so I decided to check out the local Electronics stores. When I went into the Circuit City store I was approached by a member of staff who informed me that I “needed to leave my rucksack with customer service near the front of the store”!

I resent being told that. I resent the implication that because I have a rucksack, I am a thief. My rucksack contained my laptop and several other items of value to me. If Circuit City don’t trust me with their valuables, why should I trust them with mine?

I said nothing and simply walked out of the store fuming and into the Best Buy which is conveniently placed next door (as you can almost see in the picture below!).

Circuit City and Best Buy in Las Vegas

The staff in Best Buy had absolutely no problem with my having a rucksack. I browsed the store for about 45 minutes, had several interactions with various staff members, all of whom were very helpful, and I left Best Buy having purchased some electronics goodies I have been looking for for sometime. Goodies which I have no doubt Circuit City also stock.

Are Circuit City always so insulting to potential patrons? And if so, how are they still in business?

Firefox 3.0b1 on OS X Leopard quick review

I downloaded and installed the beta version of Firefox 3.0 a few days ago and have been using it since on my OS X Leopard laptop.

I also installed the Proto theme for Mac Firefox which significantly enhances the look of Firefox 3 on the Mac.

firefox 3.0b1 on OS X Leopard

My initial impressions of Firefox 3.0b1 are very positive. It is fast, stable, looks really sweet and many of the memory issues which have dogged Firefox appear to have been fixed.

To expand on the memory comment, in Firefox the memory used to leak so the longer it remained open, the more memory it consumed. I have had Firefox running on this Mac now for several days with up to six windows open some of which have up to twenty five tabs running. Currently this is using 1.38gb of virtual memory. At the same time, Safari which has one window open with two tabs running is consuming 1.41gb of virtual memory!

Another change is the ability to Star and Tag bookmarks. Personally I prefer the way Flock allows you to bookmark directly into Del.icio.us.

One disadvantage of running the Firefox beta is that none of my favourite plugins now work but at least Del.icio.us have a bookmarklet which runs well out of the bookmarks toolbar so I can still bookmark there from Firefox.

The release notes list a raft of improvements under the headings:

  • More Security
  • Easier to Use
  • More Personal
  • Improved Platform for Developers and
  • Improved Performance

Overall, I like it. It seems much improved, more responsive and less of a memory hog. Shades of good things to come!

Another device?

Amazon are set to release an electronic book reader called the Kindle today according to NewsWeek.

The device sounds cool, in theory (built-in wireless over EVDO, email, long-life batteries, search, lots of storage, etc.) but do we really want another device to be carrying around?

Especially at the price point being talked about ($399).

I’m already carrying my phone, laptop, iPod and sometimes my dSLR camera. I say sometimes because at this point I often make a choice – which one can I manage without.

I can’t imagine forking out for a Kindle. Especially not when I can get much of the promise of the Kindle on my iPod (and more besides).

Having said all that, I think Tim O’Reilly makes a great point when he says:

I’m rooting for Jeff and the Kindle. I’m not sure that he’s going to win his bet that people will use a single-purpose device rather than reading on a multi-function device like the iPhone and its successors. But I’m also not sure he needs to. Even if some other device becomes the reader of choice, Amazon will still become one of the leading sources of the books that feed it. All Amazon needs to do here is move the industry forward, and I think that’s already been accomplished.

Microsoft needs a new strategy for its Windows platform

I have Vista installed on this laptop. I haven’t booted up Vista in weeks. Why? Because I installed Ubuntu on another partition and it is so much faster, and more secure (since Microsoft instructed me to remove Norton and then failed to get OneCare to work on this laptop).

Many others are eschewing Vista, not just because of the speed and stability issues it has but also because of the steep learning curve on moving from XP to Vista.

On the other hand Apple’s star seems to be in the ascendancy. In their financial statement released yesterday, for the quarter ended September 29th, they report:

Apple shipped 2,164,000 Macintosh® computers, representing 34 percent growth over the year-ago quarter and exceeding the previous quarterly record for Mac® shipments by 400,000. The Company sold 10,200,000 iPods during the quarter, representing 17 percent growth over the year-ago quarter. Quarterly iPhone™ sales were 1,119,000, bringing cumulative fiscal 2007 sales to 1,389,000.

“We are very pleased to have generated over $24 billion in revenue and $3.5 billion in net income in fiscal 2007,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re looking forward to a strong December quarter as we enter the holiday season with Apple’s best products ever.”

“Apple ended the fiscal year with $15.4 billion in cash and no debt,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO.

Why are Apple’s Mac sales doing so well and Vista so poorly?

At least part of the answer has to be in Apple’s strategy of releasing new versions every 12-18 months. Steve Jobs referred to this strategy in a piece in the New York Times yesterday when he said:

“I’m quite pleased with the pace of new operating systems every 12 to 18 months for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve put out major releases on the average of one a year, and it’s given us the ability to polish and polish and improve and improve.”

Apple introduced OS X in 2001 and since then has brought out four newer versions (Puma, Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger) with a fifth version (Leopard – OS X 10.5) due to ship this coming Friday.

Ubuntu releases new versions on a pre-defined six monthly schedule.

Xp was also released in 2001 but the next version of Windows, Vista, didn’t ship until January 2007.

The gently, gently upgrade strategy appears to be working for Apple and Ubuntu as their uptake soars.

Microsoft needs a new strategy for its Windows platform. Its current strategy certainly isn’t working.

Google Reader saved my life!

Well, that might be exaggerating it slightly 😉

Still, I was away recently on holidays for three weeks and I didn’t bring my laptop with me. I was offline. Cut off from the infostream for the first time in months.

Then one evening, while walking my son Enrique around the local plaza, I noticed there was wifi available on my phone (Nokia E65).

I fired up the browser on the phone, navigated to Google Reader and I nearly cried when I saw all my subscriptions load on my phone (sad aren’t I?)!

I was able to read my feeds, share interesting stories, and star ones I wanted to come back to – wohoo! I was able to get my info fix once more.

Enrique got taken for a lot of walks in that plaza for the rest of the holiday!!!

Your top Web 2.0 apps?

If we ignore the fact that the term Web 2.0 is controversial for all kinds of reasons and concentrate on the applications themselves, which Web 2.0 apps (using the broadest possible definition) do you use most?

I use:

  1. my blog and podcast software all the time (they are run out of WordPress)
  2. my Flickr account regularly to post photos
  3. Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets frequently for collaboration or sharing of documents
  4. Google’s Calendar to synch with my laptop and mobile phone calendars
  5. Technorati, PubSub and Google’s Blogsearch to subscribe to RSS searches
  6. Flock as my main browser of choice (primarily because of the Flickr and Del.icio.us integration) – I also use Firefox, Camino, Safari and IE7
  7. Feedburner to burn and track my feeds
  8. NetNewsWire, Google Reader and iTunes to consume my feed list
  9. TechMeme, Megite and TailRank for keeping up with tech news
  10. Del.icio.us very occasionally to store URLs for items I have found interesting

What cool Web 2.0 apps am I not using that I should be using? What are your favourite Web 2.0 apps?

Dell's hellish batteries recalled

According to a report in the New York Times today, Dell is recalling over 4 million laptop batteries because of their propensity to catch fire or explode!

Up to now the advice has been if you think your battery might be one of those likely to catch fire, take it out of the laptop and just use the power cord!

If you have a Dell laptop you can check to see if your battery is affected here.