// 14.Feb.2009

Software Optimisation vs. Hardware Upgrades

Given the rapid advance of Moore’s Law, when does it make sense to throw hardware at a programming problem?

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// 31.Jan.2009

CubeSoft Networks

Fast & Security Conscious, High-Performance, High-Availability Unix Hosting on Redundant Server Arrays.

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// 28.Dec.2008

A Cornucopia of Performance

I’ve just realised that, come May 2009, my Apple Power Mac G5 will be four years old. This is the longest amount of time I’ve ever gone without buying a new computer. For the previous twenty years (yes really) I’ve been chasing the performance ceiling: upgrading where necessary, but usually buying the newest, fastest, greatest machine that I could (and frequently couldn’t) afford.

Indeed the same was true when I bought the G5 back in 2005. I bought the most powerful variant available at the time. Equipped it with half a terabyte of hard disk and populated all the memory slots. Then I bought the biggest, most-badass display that I could (and installed the high-end graphics card that was needed to drive it).
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// 19.Oct.2008

Upgrades vs Antiques

‘I want to buy “the” quintessential Apple product and cherish it for years.’ Beyond the constantly growing demands of gaming, it seems like most personal computers now can do most of what anyone wants them to do.

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// 19.Oct.2008

Replicating Rapid Prototyping Machine

The promise of advanced fabrication technology that can copy itself is a truly remarkable concept with far reaching implications.

- Sir James Dyson, 17th April 2007.

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// 03.Oct.2008

Blinkenlights: The Beginning

The epic history of the Blinkenlights project in advance of a whole new Blinkenlights installation in Toronto, Canada - Stereoscope. Learn more about Project Blinkenlights.

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// 24.Aug.2008

Vintage Apple Computer Photoset

Unboxing a mint Apple //c - twenty years after it was originally sold. Awesome! [via]

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// 17.Aug.2008

Lenovo ThinkPad W700

Lenova has announced the ThinkPad W700, a laptop featuring a trio of snazzy features that are sure to impress designers, graphic artists, photographers and CAD artists. The W700 has an integral Wacom tablet, a professional grade, WUXGA display with 400 nit brightness and an auto colour-calibration sensor that allows for on-the-fly adjustments. If that’s not enough to make you salivate then notice the separate numerical keypad and the fingerprint scanner - sweet!

The machine also boasts some fairly impressive specifications including:

  • 3 GHz Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor
  • up to 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • 1GB NVIDIA Quadro FX 3700M graphics
  • dual HDD bays offering RAID 0 or 1 configurations (SSDs are an option)

There are other goodies too!

But what a butt-ugly machine it is. I mean seriously, can’t Jonathan Ive be cloned and installed in every hardware designers shop? I’d hate to have to type on that thing - the keyboard looks to be awkwardly placed relative to the front edge of the case.

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// 16.Aug.2008

Touché Framework

A free, open-source tracking environment for FTIR-based multitouch tables. It has been written for Mac OS X Leopard and uses many of its core technologies, such as QuickTime, Core Animation, Core Image and the Accelerate framework, but also high-quality open-source libraries such as libdc1394 and OpenCV, in order to achieve good tracking performance. [via]

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// 03.Aug.2008

Apple Keyboards

I picked up an Apple aluminium wired keyboard last week as I’ve been reading good things about it and was keen to try it out. This replaces the Matias Tactile Pro that has served me so well ever since I bought my G5.

The Tactile Pro is an outstanding keyboard for typists. It is solidly built, has a good feel and, as it name implies, is a very tactile keyboard - you know when you’ve pressed a key on the Tactile Pro. It’s keys are also labelled with all the characters that are available from each key, which is a great for programmers like myself. I would never hesitate to recommend the Tactile Pro to those demanding a keyboard that’s built like a tank and perfect for the hardcore typist.

On the other hand, the Apple keyboard is unlike any I have used before. The keys have little (but just enough) travel. They are light and easy to type with and, unlike the Tactile Pro, they are very quiet in use - so I no longer disturb my sleeping children with my late night programming antics.

The Apple keyboard has 19(!) programmable function keys (awesome). Some of these are pre-assigned though for media player control, exposé, widgets & display brightness - although all can be remapped as required. The keyboard also has a user-friendly caps-lock key in that Apple has configured the keyboard to detect accidental taps on caps-lock, the key requires a determined press to activate it… that’s a neat touch.

Apple has also thoughtfully included two USB-2 ports, one each on either side of the keyboard, for quick and convenient connection of peripherals.

I like the Apple keyboard - it has already usurped the Tactile Pro in my set-up. It’s easy and comfortable to use. It’s responsive, quiet and is a nice cosmetic match to my aluminium PowerMac G5 and Apple Cinema Display. Build quality seems to be good and the board is reasonably priced to boot.

I only wish it had the backlight and ambient light sensor of the MacBook Pro - then it would be perfect.

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