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Sat, 29 Dec 2012

Final word on Ivybridge ultrabooks

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD

So, after all this time, I took advantage of a trip to Canada to buy an ASUS UX32VD-DH71-CA ultrabook. I was starting to wonder if I should wait for Haswell laptops or a Microsoft Surface Pro device, but one can wait forever until something new comes out real soon now, and my original non-unibody Macbook Pro has become somewhat of a boat anchor, as Apple won't support it with newer releases of MacOS (which goes to show that one should trust one's instincts: I remember being concerned that Apple had decided to use non-64 bit Intel Core Duo processors in those early Macbook Pro systems, and sure enough they were discontinued after 8 months to be replaced by 64-bit capable Intel Core 2 Duo models).

So, I am typing this on my shiny new Asus Zenbook Prime ultrabook running under Windows 8, and so far the machine is very nice. It's also nicely upgradable, as you can change the harddisk for an SSD and you can add more RAM, so ideas for the future.

Any suggestions as to whether I should attempt to put Ubuntu onto my old Macbook Pro? I wouldn't mind having an Ubuntu laptop around, but Ubuntu on Apple hardware always seems like a bit of an iffy proposition.

Anyway, more on my experiences with the new Ultrabook in the coming weeks. Until then, happy transition into 2013 to you all!

/hardware | Posted at 09:38 | permanent link

Sat, 15 Dec 2012

I am irritated at Windows 8

Grumble grumble grumble.

:-(

I am irritated at Windows 8.

Last night, my PC informed me that it would reboot in 15 minutes to install a Windows update.

That irritated me: my PC should not decide when it's going to reboot... I could be in the middle of something important and need to postpone rebooting for an hour or two. Previous versions of Windows have always given me the option to postpone the reboot.

So, I shut down the PC and went to sleep.

This morning, I rebooted the PC and went into the desktop... Boom! "Skype has stopped working".

Cannot get skype to work. Restarted it, failed again.

Argh. It's been ages since a Windows Update has broken my machine (actually, I can't remember when that last happened).

Reinstalling skype did not resolve the issue.

Then Internet Explorer also stopped working. Not a huge issue as I use Firefox most of the time, but still...

Hunted around for a solution and in the end fixed it by going to Windows Update and installing the latest Important fix (KB2779768).

So, now looking at the update history, it seems like KB2771431 is the one that broke skype, and KB2779768 fixed it.

Still, I lost an hour hunting around for a problem that shouldn't have occured. Last thing you want at 6 AM on a Saturday morning is to be hunting around to find why your PC is not starting up gracefully.

As I've said: Grumble Grumble Grumble.

P.S. I also dislike how some New UI (Metro) applications display adverts on my PC. Actually, that has turned me off completely from New UI applications, and now I avoid them for that reason.

/software | Posted at 01:59 | permanent link

Wed, 12 Dec 2012

Windows 8 on my PC

Another quick blog item on this 12/12/12 :-)

Since I've last blogged about this, I have purchased an upgrade for Windows 7 Ultimate Edition on my main PC to Windows 8 Pro.

I have gotten somewhat used to the 'modern' UI popping up when I boot the machine and/or bring it back from sleep mode. It still feels a bit odd navigating this new GUI with a mouse, as the big tiles really look like they're made for big fat fingers... so I do spend most of my time in old-style desktop applications: MS Office, WoW, Steam games, Skype (desktop version), Firefox, Thunderbird, etc.

The O/S feels quite responsive and I am pretty happy with it. Next machine I buy will definitely be a Windows 8 machine, and that will be OK.

As for my "new laptop saga", the next chapter still isn't written: I am still tempted by the Asus UX32VD as it's the best machine around... so the jury is out: will I buy an Asus for Christmas, or will I be able to wait until Q1 2013 to get a Surface Pro device?

More later on this topic.

/hardware | Posted at 17:09 | permanent link

The 12th of December 2012

The Hobbit

Blogging on the 12th of December 2012. On the 12/12/12. Last time we have a triple repeating number until 01/01/01 (in 2101). It's a silly pattern, as you could say that 2012-12-12 is not really a repeating number, but it's amusing to see how many places have reported this as news today.

Anyway, as I didn't pay particular attention what I did on 11/11/11 (or 10/10/10 (or ...)), let's talk about something special that we did today: we saw the early premiere of the movie "The Hobbit" at midnight at the Gaumont Marignan theater on the Champs Elysees.

As this is a long movie, we weren't home until 3 AM, so actually it will soon be time to hit the sack, but before I go, here are some thoughts about The Hobbit:

  • It's a good movie. Not a great movie, but I'm glad I saw it.

  • The HFR 3D experience is... OK. I still am not a big fan of 3D in movies (and don't get me started about how silly it is to try to have 3D in a TV at home with present technologies). As for the 48 fps HFR, I thought it made the movie look a bit like a video game (you know how sometimes video games in high resolution look too real? well the movie looked a bit like that). Maybe it was just too late at night and I was too tired to truly appreciate it? I'll have to see it again

  • The story of The Hobbit is a short, slightly silly, story. The movie certainly captures that: it does feel a bit thin at times. Plus, they are trying to make 3 movies out of that short book. It's interesting, the special effects are amazing and the characters are very nice, but I am not sure that The Hobbit deserved to be turned into 3 long movies.

Still, the dwarves' quest for Erebor is enjoyable: I definitely had fun and will certainly see the movie again.

So enjoy 12/12/12 while it lasts and get all of your last minute shopping done before it's too late :-)

PS. Oh, The Hobbit is definitely not a kids' movie: any young one seeing it will probably be scared of the wargs and the orcs.

/misc | Posted at 16:58 | permanent link