Thank you for the very complete and very informative review! I appreciate that you not only covered the technical aspects of the product but also shared your subjective reactions to it.
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Thanks for the review. Here are my questions:
How big is the power supply?
Can you set the recordings to an external hard drive, to improve performance?
Since there is only one tuner, wouldn’t any overlap of TV watching/recording at the same time (unless it is the same channel?) cause the device to overwrite the previous recording?
The power supply is one of those that covers up two spaces on a surge protector; there’s no box part way along the cord like laptops have, though.
I haven’t tried recording to an external hard drive; it’s a good idea though. The EyeTV software does let you specify where you want recordings saved, so it’s definitely possible.
It’s not possible to watch one channel (live) while recording another one, because there’s only one tuner. However, it is possible to watch a show you recorded earlier while recording a live show (on any channel). (It’s even possible to watch a recorded program and a live program at the same time, though I’m not sure why you’d want to.)
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Does this device take screen captures that can be saved to the hard drive as JPEG files?
Yes, you can take screen captures. Command-C copies the screen to clipboard, Command-Shift-C saves a picture of the screen as a JEPG, or of course you could use the screenshot capabilities built in to OS X.
Yeah, the days of dreading opening QuarkXPress, Word, and Photoshop all at the same time (and heaven forbid an e-mail application), then losing all of them to a sudden system freeze are finally over. This age of stability makes the simple act of sitting down to my work computer in the morning a thing of joy instead of a source of anxiety. That’s gotta be worth $130 every 18 months or so!
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I came to OS X late (Panther—still have a T-shirt). I used Linux (Red Hat) for a number of years—still do. But, support for Microsoft Office–generated files was not so good, so I had a Windows notebook that I used for most non-technical work, such as writing and class-related materials. My heavy-lifting was all done under Linux.
I was curious about Macs, and when OS X was released I started to pay attention. Then, late in 2003, I learned (Doh!) that OS X was Unix-based. That piqued my curiosity sufficiently that I decided to replace my Windows notebook with a PowerBook.
What I learned was that I had all of the power of Unix sitting prettily beneath the OS X hood. All I had to do was open a terminal shell, which defaults to Bash (Hooray!), and I was as much at home as I was on my Linux boxen.
Panther was about as stable as the RHCL 9 systems I was running (which would run for months without a reboot). Office was available and ran acceptably, with few compatibility issues from the Windows side. Virtual PC was available, but was too slow to be useful on the PB’s G4 processor.
But, I found the system to be a pleasure to work on. I had all the access to the Unix subsystems I wanted, plus the utility of the OS X GUI. This worked very well for me and I continued my migration by purchasing a dual-G5 desktop a couple of years ago. That system now does most of my heavy lifting.
I just (as in last week) purchased a MacBook Pro. I have a feeling that the last of my Windows notebooks will now be handed off to either a colleague or a student. I’ll have more to report as the experiment continues…
Blah. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—who cares what some popular geeks and bloggers switch to or don’t switch to? It doesn’t mean anything outside of what they themselves want. And we all know that geeks get off on changing things every few years anyways. It’s how they stay employed and how they start new programming trends, which are really just the same thing over and over again. Distributed computing! Personal computing! Dumb terminals! Thick clients! Who cares? Sometimes the blogosphere is so incestuous it’s sickening.
Lots of writers, myself included, pay slavish attention to what the big-name computer geeks do because they’re usually on to something, not because we enjoy hearing the sounds of our voices. (Well. Mostly.)
I see that the first generation of an innovative application or tool is often much too difficult for the ordinary user, or even a technically minded enthusiast. At one time, all of these things were quite difficult: instant messaging, posting digital photos online, maintaining a personal Web site, even sending e-mail or browsing the Web.
But I’ve been using the Internet long enough now—amazingly, just more than half my life—and I remember doing those things when they were hard, when they were intended for enthusiasts only. Today, nearly everyone does or more of those activities online. I remember burning my first CD, and thinking that it was nigh on impossible to get it right. It was. But it gave me a taste of the future…it got me hooked.
The alpha geeks are sometimes visionaries. Maybe we feed their egos by paying attention to them; but it also gives us a sneak peek at what’s coming. That’s why I think it’s newsworthy.
Honestly, I have no idea whether Mark Pilgrim’s switch is the bellwether or just a statistical blip. That’s what I love about journalism, about blogs, about tech news.
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Mark Pilgrim’s foray into Linux got me to install a copy on my old Windows box. I even used it for a couple of weeks almost exclusively. I’m impressed with how far Linux has come in the last few years. I once worked in a Linux-only business, so I have some experience with the bad old nightmare of getting things like network cards and printers to work. It is now straightforward to install. Peripherals work. The GNOME desktop looks nice. There are reasonable substitutions for many common programs. But it’s no threat to OS X for most people.
The simple fact is that iPods don’t work with Linux. Photoshop doesn’t either. For the über-geek and the person who only needs the minimum of software, Linux is fine. For most of us, it simply doesn’t support the excellent software that we’ve grown used to using on the Mac. You can’t separate an operating system from the software that runs on it.
I don’t own a new Mac yet, but it’s on it’s way. And I enjoyed both this article and the How I Spent The Summer article, which is where I linked from. I saw this book on the Safari electronic book forum and figured it might be a good place to start for a Mac newbie wanting to see what GarageBand could do. Thanks for taking the time to write the articles.
Glad you like the article and I hope you find it helpful. Congratulations on the impending arrival of the new Mac. I’m jealous.
Keep reading ATPM each month and I am sure you will find many other interesting things. We have a great staff with varied interests.
Yes, clicking on the file then clicking on the name is dangerous that way, but Click and Return works nicely. Or am I misunderstanding this?
—Trivia Why’s Guy
That workflow is kind of a kludge. I often forget about using the Return key. After reading your comments I thought to check my keyboard and mouse settings. Somewhere along the way I set my double-click rate to very slow. Changing it back to my usual setting seems to have resolved my problem without needing the workflow.