MacBook Air

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As you may have read in a previous post, my beloved MacBook of three years has finally bit the dust. That MacBook treated me well, and with an SSD and upgraded RAM it was able to work wonders.

Now, however, it is time to move on. And as you may be able to tell by the title, I have decided to continue my Mac collection with the newfangled MacBook Air.

Which one did you get?

One of the big reasons I wanted the MacBook Air was because of its portability and the offering of an 11 inch version. Due to this, I got the 11 inch MacBook Air with a 1.8 ghz Core i7, 256GB flash storage, and 4GB of ram.

I can hear a lot of you saying “Isn’t 11 inches a little small?” Why yes, it is. However, when I’m at home, I have an LED Cinema Display to hook it up to – no lack of pixels over here.

Design

The design of the MacBook Air does NOT fail to amaze. It feels so thin and light in your hands, but at the same time it feels incredibly solid. Because it’s a “unibody” MacBook, it was manufactured from one single piece of aluminum – it’s strong. Tapering from 0.68 inches down to 0.11 inches, you can bet your bank account it’s thin. Thanks to this, I can finally accomplish my dream of slipping my computer into a manilla envelope. The one problem with this pencil-thin design, however, is that on the whole computer you get a total of five ports. On the left side, we have a MagSafe power adapter, USB port, and microphone/headphone jack. On the right side we have a thunderbolt port and a USB port. Sorry, disc lovers!

Upon opening the computer, you get some more goodies.

The first thing you’ll notice is the screen. It’s bright and, well, beautiful. It packs a very nice DPI, featuring a 1366 by 768 resolution squeezed into 11.6 inches of glossy glory.

Next, you’ll notice the keyboard. The keyboard is full-size, featuring every key you’ll find on that thick MacBook Pro. In addition to being full-size, the keyboard is also backlit – a feature that was definitely missed on the previous version of MacBook Air.

The next thing you’ll notice is the giant trackpad. This trackpad resembles that of the MacBook Pro, although on the 11 inch version of the MacBook Air it’s a tiny bit thinner. The glass surface is a cinch to move your fingers across, and is extremely responsive to say the least.

Last and, well, least, would be the FaceTime camera embedded in the bezel of the screen. Apple decided not to put in one of the new FaceTime HD cameras, and will probably bring it back in the next version of the MacBook Air. Nonetheless, it’s still a standard functional webcam that is definitely a good addition.

Performance

In addition to being quite the looker, it gets a high score in the area of performance as well. As far as processing goes, the 1.8ghz hyper threaded dual-core i7 works wonders. The 256GB SSD performs at ~250mbps Read/Write speeds. The 4GB of RAM is sufficient.

For comparison, I’ll test the performance of the Air versus a pro using Geekbench. I first ran it on my mother’s MacBook Pro (Late 2009), which features an intel Core 2 Duo and 8GB of ram. It scored a Geekbench score of 3002. Not bad.

Then I ran it on the Air. It scored a whopping 5200 – which is a 70% increase from the pro, in 30% of the space.

The one setback of the Air’s performance would be graphics. It’s running an Intel HD 3000 chip, which is integrated so it doesn’t boast the same performance that you might get with an nvidia card. Although it might not be on par with an nvidia, it’s still a perfectly good graphics card nonetheless.

Watch out!

If you’re thinking of buying one of these, there’s one thing that you might be at risk of. The SSDs in the Airs are provided both from Toshiba and Samsung. This would be no problem, however the Toshiba SSDs are about 100MBPS less than the Samsungs. Yeah, that’s a big difference.

Here’s a video to find out if your Air boasts a samsung or a toshiba:

Conclusion

The MacBook Air combines the two most wanted/needed components of a notebook computer: power and portability. The powerful processors and fast memory give it some meaty specs, and then the 0.68 to 0.11 inch body makes it a lean, mean, working machine. I definitely recommend this computer to everyone, whether you’re a professional video producer or an under-appreciated artist living in a college dorm.

Apple MacBook Air Homepage

Goodbye, MacBook

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No, I’m not talking about the white one (post here).

I bought an aluminum MacBook in 2008, and it has lasted me until today. I loved it, it was reliable, and has lasted through three software versions. I have used it for three years straight, rarely skipping more than 8 hours without using it.

And today, it has finally left us.

I’m not getting rid of this computer, as it was my first real computer and has signatures of apple engineers on the bottom.

You’ll get to find out what computer I get next when I write a post about it. :)

Oddly, however, today is the same day that Steve Jobs has resigned from his CEO position at Apple. Coincidence? I think not.

Goodbye, Steve.

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Today, Wednesday August 24th 2011, marks an important day in hi-tech history.

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, the most valuable company in the world, has officially resigned.

“ I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know,” Steve Jobs said in his resignation letter. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

The exact reason for Steve’s resignation has not been published. Steve has been on many medical leaves recently, and this day was unfortunately expected.

The new CEO of Apple will be Tim Cook, the current COO of Apple. During Steve’s medical leaves, Tim Cook has taken over – so we won’t be stranded with someone who’s new to the job.

Steve Jobs has made many contributions to this world, and nothing would quite be the same without him. He’s the mind that was able to build the worlds most valuable company, with more money than the US Government, from a garage in Palo Alto, CA.

Steve will be taking place as “Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee,” as stated in his resignation letter.

“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

HP TouchPad Discontinues, Disappears

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The HP TouchPad has had terrible sales, and as a result it was discontinued by HP and put on a sale of $99. Within hours, the HP online store was sold out, and every store that carries them in the bay area was out of stock within 3 hours of opening.

At $99, I wanted one. Last night I called best buy and they said that they would start the sale this morning. This morning I call 10 minutes after opening and they tell me they’re out of stock. I call every Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Office Max, Office Depot, Staples, and Radio Shack in the area – all out of stock.

Now it’s 11:00. Nobody has them anymore, and it’s as if they never existed.

It’s amazing how an unwanted product can sell out at the right price. Every product is a features:price ratio. If you have terrible features (HP TouchPad) and a low price ($99) you will get good sales (out of stock in 3 hours).

If your’e looking for a Touchpad, you’re probably out of luck. The 32GB version is still available on the HP online store for $150, but I think that’s a little bit of a ripoff.

DIY $5 Lightbox

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We all wish we could have studio-reminiscent photos for our blog posts, etsy listings, ebay items, etc.

Well, you can always buy a lightbox like this one, but that’s $2000!

Here’s how to build an extremely functional lightbox using things that you probably already have around the house. I built this one out of stuff that I had laying around, so for you it might be as low as $0!

Materials:

  • Cardboard box
  • Large paper (the thinner the better)
  • Cutting tools
  • Some desk lamps and/or flashes
Instructions
1. Cut three holes in the cardboard box
Tape up the ends so you have the box, then cut out big windows on three of the sides of the box. Leave only about 1.5 inches from the edges of the window to the edges of the sides.
I wish I could have a picture for you, but I already built mine! You can look at the final picture at the end of this post and you’ll probably get an idea of where you need to cut.
2. Get out the paper

I had a huge roll of white paper laying around, and the thickness was just the same as my lightbox’s windows.

You’re going to want to cover two opposite sides of your box with paper, as the third you will be taking pictures through.
Take your paper and cut it so it is barely bigger than the windows you cut in your box, then tape them so they completely cover the two opposite windows.

3. Add the back

Now it’s time to add the backdrop. I cut a strip of my roll of paper, but you might have to take some pieces of paper together – unfortunately that might mean that you have some pieces of tape in your photos. 

Take the paper and tape one end to the back top edge of your box. Push the paper inside the box so you get a nice, smooth curve at the back bottom edge. 

4. Add lights, finish up

The front window still has an edge at the bottom, which will probably get in the way of your shooting. Cut that little edge off so the front window is open.

Now, you just need to add some light. I have some photography modeling lamps around, so i propped those up and put them on each side. In addition, I got a desk lamp for each side and put in 100w bulbs. For the final touch, I put a light right in front so that the front was filled in as well.

5. Shoot!

You’ll probably want to set your camera on manual, then put it in a tripod. I’m using as wide as an aperture as possible, as low as an ISO as possible, and change the shutter speed so that you get the right light.

This will give you the smallest depth of field and littlest amount of grain, and as long as your camera is on a tripod the long shutter speed won’t blur anything. If possible, set the white balance on your camera by finding the setting for white balance and set it to custom, then take a picture of your white backdrop. Most DSLRs have this feature, but if your camera doesn’t then just set the white balance to Incandescent.

Here’s some photos.

 

 

How-To: Create Instagram Photo Booth Strips in 3 Easy Steps

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You’ve been using Instagram, the social network of quirky and cool pictures.

So now you have a profile with all these awesome pictures with comments, and all this other techy stuff.

But sometimes it’s nice to convert all that cool digital stuff into something analog.

And that’s why today, I’m going to show you how to make photo booth reminiscent photo strips.

You will need:

  • An instagram account with pictures
  • Photo paper
  • Photo printer
  • Rotary cutter, paper cutter, or at least scissors
Step 1: Get your photos

The first part of this project is to make strips of all of your photos.

Start out by going to http://instaport.me and downloading all of your pictures to your computer as a zip. Instaport is a simple service that allows you to download all of your instagram photos as JPGs for free.

Once you have a zip saved and you can view your instagram images, you might want to go through deleting the ones that you don’t want to be included in your photo strips.

Step 2: Print your Photos

The next step is to open all of them up in preview. Go into the instagram folder (the folder containing all of the JPG images from instaport) and press Command A. This will select all of your instagram photos. Then just double click anywhere in the window and you will eventually get a preview window with all of your images open.

Next, press File>Print and configure the settings to look like so:

If possible, try to print borderless – your printer may or may not support this feature.

Next, hit the big Print button and let the magic happen. In a few minutes, you should have a few pages of instagram photos.

Step 3: Cut your Photos

Get out your rotary cutter / paper cutter / scissors and cut them into even strips horizontally (so that you have strips of four). Here I’m using a rotary cutter to to cut the strips evenly and cleanly.

Step 3: You’re done!

Once you’ve done that, you’ll have a ton of cool instagram photo strips.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3.5: Do stuff with them

Well, now you have these cool strips! There’s tons of things you can do with them. Use them as bookmarks, give them to friends, collect them, hang them, use them as business cards, or my favorite: start an instant photo wall!

Also, feel free to follow me in instagram! My username is maxswisher.

maxeh.me

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Here on Good Morning Geek, I post fairly professional reviews, opinion, news, etc. However, sometimes there’s things that readers might like to know about, but just don’t have the same professionalism to fit in here on Good Morning Geek.

That is why I have made a new, smaller and less professional site – maxeh.me.  I post about more random stuff, with possibly a few more typos and/or grammatical errors.

Enjoy!

NetBeans

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I code HTML, PHP, and CSS quite often.

Usually, I use an application like VIM. VIM is a command-line based application that shows you syntax and if your quotes are in the right places. Helpful, compared to Notepad/TextEdit.

If you’ve ever coded Java then you know about Eclipse. If not, Eclipse is a free java development environment that includes auto-fill, error highlighting, manual libraries, and more.

It’s the same thing with Objective C in Xcode; there are manuals, auto-correct, and error highlighting.

Finally, we have PHP in NetBeans. Netbeans brings all of the features of Eclipse/Xcode to PHP, HTML, and CSS coding. It provides auto-fill, error highlighting, manual libraries, and more.

I was recently working on a fairly large project that includes PHP, HTML, CSS, and MySQL. Watch what happens when I have a partially typed PHP function:

There you have it. As I type, it gives me live suggestions and the manual for the top most relevant function right there.

I can hit enter and it will automatically fill it in and put my cursor in the parenthesis. It’s like having the familiar Eclipse shortcuts – but for PHP.

HTML and CSS are the same way. Type an opening ” and it will automatically fill in the second for you. It also has all of the CSS/HTML documentation and auto-fill.

The other main feature with NetBeans would be error detection.

Lets say I forget to put a semicolon at the end of a PHP line.

There you have it. You immediately get the error underlined, a notification in number bar, and when hovered over you get what the syntax error is.

Now, what does all this mean for a developer?

1. You can type a lot less and no longer need to look up functions in google so much

2. You don’t need to upload your files to see if they have errors

3. You can save a lot of time between error detection and auto-completion

This is the magic of NetBeans – but it doesn’t end there.

It’s free.

Yeah. Free. Completely.

It’s open-source, cross-platform, and available to anyone who wishes to download it’s magical amazingness.

The truly sad part about this is that few developers know about NetBeans. It’s sad how they end up wasting so much time and effort due to things that NetBeans could easily fix. If you’re a web developer, this application is a MUST HAVE. And it’s free – you really have nothing to lose.

If you’re interested, click here to go to the NetBeans main site and experience the magic of da beanz.

 

Goodbye, Old Twitter

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Image Credit: Mashable

A little while back, Twitter started to slowly roll out a new version of the Twitter web interface to their users. Reactions were mixed; some loved it, some hated it, and some really just didn’t care.

For the haters out there, there was an option to switch back to the old version. However, Twitter is going to be removing the old version of the twitter web interface over the course of the next week – not that many users will notice the change, as the majority of twitter users have already switched over.

Personally, I am indifferent to the new Twitter web interface; it’s pretty and all, has some cool effects, and nicer fonts and rounder edges. The previous Twitter interface was simply getting old, and I believed it needed a revamp – which is exactly what we got.

Users of “old Twitter” will get a message saying that they are soon going to automatically upgraded to the new version of twitter, and twitter also announced this publicly on their twitter page. It was bound to happen eventually, and I guess the day (or week) has arrived.