Monthly Archives: April 2005

What’s new…

A bit of product placement:
The new Ben Folds album “Songs for Silverman” is out (in the iTunes Music Store as well — I honestly cannot remember the last time I bought a physical CD), the same goes for Trackmania Sunrise (at least in the UK, Germany is due this Friday, US some-when in May), a fast-paced puzzle/racing game only available for PC; well worth it in any case (EuroGamer review).
Also out this Friday is Apple’s new iteration of MacOS X, Tiger; whether that’s worth paying for is up to each individual; I plan on trying out the overhauled developer tools to finally port my wavelet-toolkit…

Dan Simmons – Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion

As a follow up to my review of “Hyperion”, here is my take on the rest of the series: As the titles suggest, the series is split into two times two books (with more reappearing cast than one thinks possible at their respective beginnings). “Hyperion” is the tale of the 7 pilgrims, the “Fall of Hyperion” is the story of a poet, “Endymion” is the story of a chase, and the “Rise of Endymion” is the story of one who teaches. And they are all excellent, more relying on emotions and characters than on hard science, but they are not worse off for it as the scope is huge. In fact, I am (once again) drying tears from my cheeks at the ending. Which is perfect.
I have also fallen for many a red herring (whether through my own overly vivid imagination or because they were meant as such I do not know), and as such have been pleasantly surprised that Simmons has not resorted to clichés I thought were coming.
Very recommended (but then I usually do not bother writing about bad stuff ;)). I have a feeling that the story of the last two books (in particular the final one) — and thus pretty much all of it — will stay with me for quite some time…

Emma – Victorian Romance

I quite liked the first episode of the “Emma” anime (and I have to admit that I did not yet get around to take a look at the manga — although I’ve finished “Shirley” by the same author), all of which is thankfully provided by the iichan translation group. If you have a strong dislike of (non-superpowered) maids, this is probably not for you; it is very much “down-to-earth”.
I find it very intriguing and in the same vein as Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (“Yokohama Shopping Log”) with its slow development and strong focus on tiny little details (with good and detailed animation), but “Emma” seems to have a sadder undertone, which is underlined by the dark brownish-grey colour scheme for a Victorian London (I presume it is London from the picture of Big Ben in the ending), the contrast between poverty and the Rich as well as Emma’s reluctance to accept what would probably be best for her (in a variety of ways); but this is what makes the story. My only hope is that not too much trouble lies ahead for Emma, as I wish her well.
Slow, but recommended. Associated feeling of the day: mono no aware.

Computer Solution

Yesterday, I’ve finally received my new computer, a Mac Mini (with an Apple Wireless Keyboard and .Mac for the curious). First thing I did was obviously to take it apart (a little), remove the measly 256mb and replace it with 1gb from DSP. Opening the case is neither terribly easy nor terribly hard as long as you take your time, don’t try to rush things and have the right tool for the job (a sharpened putty knife (plastic ones won’t work as they are too flexible)). That done, I hooked up the Dell 2005FPW display and booted it up. The set up procedure is easy, but I was impressed that it found the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard without me having to connect wired ones to set them up. Also very useful is the Firewire Target-Disk mode to copy all the settings and applications from my iBook.
That left me with about 3 weeks of accumulated data to sift through (external OneTouch II Firewire drive from Maxtor…). The only problem was how to install the iLife’05 applications from the MacMini install DVD on the iBook (which you are obviously not allowed to do ;)). The top-level installer will — correctly — refuse, but inside a hidden directory on the DVD are the installers for the individual applications, which work fine…
Exposé is a bit choppy (probably due to the lack of free video memory at 1680×1050), but overall the system feels a good bit faster than the 12″ iBook, which may be related to the faster CPU (1.42 vs. 1.2 Ghz) or the faster bus-speed (166Mhz vs. 133Mhz).
Oh, and the thing is quiet. The only thing I hear is the external hard-disk and the seeking of the hard-disk of my (passively) cooled server. Pictures:
New MacMini
Apple Wireless Keyboard
Old computer (check the book as size reference)