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From Bay Area to Barcelona

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Antes y Después [ Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 17:13 ]
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[My Location |El Masnou (Barcelona) España]
[My Mood |accomplishedaccomplished]

Before and After

Two years ago I replaced my PowerBook G4 of three years with a MacBook Pro with a 17-inch screen. My MBP has served me well and I intend to continue to use it when I am traveling or need to use Windows 7.

Antes / Before
MacBook Pro

Yes, I did tidy up the desk prior to installing its replacement.

After at least ten years of using a laptop, I thought I would go back to a desktop. Many times I run out of screen real-estate and am forced to use “Spaces”, Apple’s term for virtual screens. So I was looking for an all-in-one desktop with a big screen.

I decided on an iMac with a 27-inch (viewable) LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT active-matrix liquid crystal display. (That’s a mouthful!) Now I have plenty of space to have several windows visible at the same time. The 2560-by-1440 pixel, widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, display has a 1000:1 contrast ratio plus in-plane switching (IPS) display technology. This improves the viewing angles as compared to traditional displays. My MacBook Pro has a glossy screen and I haven’t had problems with reflections. (My “office” faces north so there is little direct sunlight.)

Apple offers two processors for the iMac: a 2.66GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor or 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor. I went for the faster processor. The processor is not much faster than my portable, but with four cores in can multiprocess better.

The iMac has 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 memory standard, with support of up to 16GB. More memory means you can run more applications simultaneously without memory “swapping”. I decided to upgrade to 8GB of memory. I was surprised to see that when just having a browser and mail client active, what I consider “idle mode”, consumed 2.7GB. That’s more than the 2GB my laptop has!

The standard hard disk for the iMac has a Serial 7200-rpm ATA hard drive of 1TB. One can can optionally choose a 2TB drive. Currently I use 150GB on my MacBook Pro, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize the drive is only 200GB and I have a partition for Windows 7. Seriously I have been putting things off for worry about running out disk space. Ahora no hay problema. I also purchased a Western Digital 1.5TB disk drive for back-up. I use both Apple’s Time Machine and binary copy types of back-ups. Each has its advantages. The drive has FireWire 800 plus USB 2.0 connections. The Firewire protocol supports faster transfer rates than USB. (Currently there are no USB 3 drives available here.)

Después / After
MacBook Pro

My docking station for my iPod touch is sitting in front of the iMac.
On the right is the WD 1.5TB disk drive. On the left is a picture of Ruben and me.

Setting up the iMac was very easy. The first screen that is presented is your choice of language to use. (You can change this later.) Compare this to Windows 7 which only offered castellano and does not allow the system language to be changed later. Very annoying when you have a multi-lingual household whose members prefers to use their mother tongue.

The system set-up procedure allow you to transfer all the applications, settings, and users from another Mac or hard disk. It took about an hour to copy over 75GB of data using a FireWire 800 connection. Once that was done, it asked to have the system to be registered at Apple. Since all the networking information had been transferred, it knew the router name and WPA2 password to use and the iMac connected to their server with no problem. And sure enough, when I logged in, my desktop had all the icons that my laptop did (except the disk names were different.)

I have been busy making sure that everything is working as expected and so far haven’t encountered a single problem. I had more trouble with my Windows 7 installation (upgrade from Vista), which did not preserve things such as network settings forcing me to run a “wizard” in order to use my WiFi network. As you have have guessed, I don’t like “surprises” like this,

And in case you are wondering, I ordered the iMac on my birthday to celebrate becoming a “senior citizen”.


From: (Anonymous)
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 18:17 (UTC)
Looks great, enjoy it. The only downside is how the super-sized screen now covers a big area of the window behind it. Although, on the other hand, it's perfect against nosy neighbors. Anyway, are those fingerprints I see on your ipod?!?! Looks like it's time for some of your clothing-optional cleaning. ROFL
(il passante)
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 22:11 (UTC)

Are those fingerprints I see on your ipod?

Yes, those are fingerprints on the protective screen for my iPod. After several months I should just replace the cover, since I have several.

As for the window, there's a ficus that's about seven feet tall which filters much of the light already. Besides that, there is a wall behind the tree so it's very difficult for prying eyes to see in, unless they are on the roof of the next building.


Edited at 2010-03-11 11:07 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: putzmeisterbear
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 18:37 (UTC)
May you have many years of care free computing. And may all your net porn be high-def! I'm only a little jealous.
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 22:17 (UTC)

And may all your net porn be high-def!

Well, I have calibrated the screen, but I'm not so sure that the porn usually available adheres to high standards to advantage of that. That's OK because it doesn't take much to make me satisfied.

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[User Picture]From: timbear
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 20:18 (UTC)
Sounds like a neat system! It's nice when something that seems like a complicated upgrade goes so easily.

But, just to correct you, in Windows 7 you can easily tie a particular language to a user login which means the correct language presents to each user every time they log in. Of course, you have to stump up for Windows 7 Ultimate to do that though.

When I did the upgrade from Vista to W7 on my laptop all settings, including Wireless networks, were preserved. I'm wondering if the issues your saw with the W7 upgrade were Apple related rather than Microsoft related.

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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Thursday, 11 Mar 10 | 23:06 (UTC)


My Windows Vista was purchased in the US, but my Windows 7 Home Premium upgrade was bought here in Spain for 120 €. The Windows 7 Ultimate upgrade costs 299 €, so that was out of my price range. The upgrade for Mac OS "Snow Leopard" is 29 €. As you know, there is only one version or price level for Mac OS.

Sure "Snow Leopard" didn't add many features, but then Windows 7 only "fixed" Vista. Windows 7 is more Mac-like, except for all those tedious pop-ups.

For me, the obnoxious thing was that half-way through the "upgrade" install it said it had to revert to a full install because the previous version of Vista was in a different language. I was a programmer for over 30 years and I consider it unacceptable for that to happen once installation had commenced. It would be OK if upon inspection, the installer would report what had to be done. Instead, after seeing messages about saving my files and configurations, it then said "sorry, have to throw all of that away and do a clean install." There was nothing on the box or in the scanty printed instructions that indicated there might be a conflict over languages.

On Mac OS you can change your preferred language, but then you have to log back in for the change to take affect (that's Unix.) But the language isn't "tied" to the user in the usual sense as it can be reset at anytime. And you can pick the order of languages to use depending on the "localization" characteristics of the particular application. Again, this is the "Unix way" and not specifically Mac.

In any case, you don't run a wizard to connect to a WiFi network on Mac OS. You just choose an available access point and are prompted for a password if need be. It's bogus to say that Windows provides more control over the process since the majority of users just want to connect to the net with the least amount of effort and confusion.

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[User Picture]From: pbehr
Friday, 12 Mar 10 | 16:56 (UTC)
Congratulations on the new iMac.

I've had a 24 inch iMac for two years now. I love it. I shipped it over to Madrid last December and I now realize that "home" is where the iMac is. Pathetic but true.

I'm currently sitting in my hotel room in Vancouver doing accounting and tax things in a Windows window on my 13 inch MacbookPro. I could sure use 27 inches right now. LOL

Cheers, Brian
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[User Picture]From: ursine1
Saturday, 13 Mar 10 | 05:59 (UTC)

I know the feeling!

So doing financial stuff is one of the reasons why I wanted 27". Now I can have Quicken and some bank information to look at without a problem. You can replace Quicken with TurboTax shortly.

Are you still doing the Schengen thing?

As a US citizen I am required to make an IRS declaration of my world-wide income, blah, blah, blah. And of course "Hacienda" wants their money as a resident. The reality is that there is a bi-lateral tax treaty which governs my tax liability (read: no double taxation). The good thing for me is that none of my SS payments are taxable here under the treaty.

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[User Picture]From: pbehr
Sunday, 14 Mar 10 | 03:11 (UTC)

Re: I know the feeling!

Yes, still counting days in and days out. :-)

I'll remain a Canadian resident for 2010.

We'll see what happens for 2011.

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[User Picture]From: gregwoobie
Saturday, 13 Mar 10 | 12:44 (UTC)
Looks GREAT, I am sure you are enjoying every "bit" of it

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