CzyA's Big Head

America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within. -Stalin

Monday, February 05, 2007

Back to Posting

Well I've beeen busy, but hey, I need to get back to this. So here we go. I have a lot of new macs this day in age and I can offical say that the move to Intel has been much smoother that I had thought. I am still on PPC for Final Cut Pro and Shake work, but over the holiday I got my Dad an iMac. One of those 17" 2Ghz Dual Core iMacs. And I must say there are nice. COmpared to my 1Ghz G4 Powerbook, Amazing. I did a test scene in Blender 3D. 8 Minutes on my powerbook, 46 seconds on his computer with threads enabled. Wow. I've got to get me one of those.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

CzyA's Tech Review - Fall 2005

I really should call this the Apple review. Here it goes.

Mac Mini - Okay, go ahead and buy it.

The latest offerings include a base of 512MB of ram, OS 10.4, and the option of a Superdrive. However, the price of the superdrive model makes you wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper and better to just buy the base $500 model and get a firewire external DVD burner.

iPod Nano - Great for the next must have trendy thing. Great for those that just want something to play songs, not play songs and carry all your pictures, and episodes of Desperate Housewives, and a base OS X install disk image. If you want something that will hold a lot of songs and just play songs, this sleek thing is the answer. The bad thing about it? Feels like I could put it in my pocket, forget about it and then sit on it. Also I loose things and I know I'd loose this thing.

Now I am not impressed with the new iPod phone. Why? I like my Cell Phone to make calls and my ipod to play music, not devices that do it all. Before long they will be including swiss army knifes with cell phone, ipod, and gps navigation. Call it the iSwissknife or iKife, or something. That is just me. I like things that do one thing great, not something that does a lot of things okay.

I've Been Busy

I've been busy the past few months with work and then my iBook finally died. The Logic board fizzeled out once again. While I'd love to buy a new one soon, I think it would be better to wait another six months or so and get one of the new Mactels when they come out in early 2006. I will be needing a new laptop for law school any way next fall hopefully.

Other ponderings.

SG-1 may have jumped the shark and might have been better off ending the show with everything in the SGC nicely wrapped up and moving Jackson or Carter to the Atlantis spin off. Atlantis seem to be going well with fun stories. The Stargate is not to be taken too seriously as a drama in the first place, but still is an enjoyable watch.

Battlestar Galactica on the other hand is continuing to be extremely well done for any TV shows on any network at the moment. The cliff hanger with Admiral Kane was great.

I saw Serenity and thought it was a good movie and having now seen Firefly for the first time, thought the series got seriously cheated by the networks. It is a shame that the movie maybe will make 30 million a the box office, although I imagine that it will do quite well on DVD sells. Serenity won't win any oscars, but it was a good enjoyable two hours to spend escaping from the ordinary lives. However with ticket prices $8.50 a pop, I'm not going to see too many movies anymore. In fact the four movies I've seen thus far have been: Sin City, Hitchhikers Guide, Episode III (twice), and Serenity. Nothing else really interested me. And I have to admit, that Hitchhiker's guide would have been a better rent or buy on DVD because the big screen didn't give a story based on writing a lot added effect. In that respect, Serenity too will make a good DVD buy.

The one thing I liked about Serenity/Firefly and Battlestar Galactica is that things don't always end nicely. People die, and main characters are no exception to that. These aren't the good ole star trek days were no one died, unless the actress quit and left the show.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Looking for a good TV show? Try the Sci-Fi Channel

I've been a fan of sci-fi for years, but there is one show now on that is blowing away most of the shows on TV period: BattleStar Galactica. This is not the old series from 1979. Similar characters, similar ship, similar story background, but there is where the similarities end. This show has come good acting, great writing, interesting storyline(s), and most of all excellent character developement. No one is purely "Good" or "Evil". Each has their own faults and strengths and so far their interaction leaves you with a feeling of "What's going to happen next?". The downside is Baltar's on going affair with the human-like Number Six who seems bent on having Sex and talking about "God". No. 6 and Baltar often have some extremely interesting diologue, but always involving something in a sexual manner. While pleasing eye-candy, I think people watching the show get the point. I for one am ready to say, "Okay, next chapter please".

Two other shows to note also are the ones preceeding BSG: StarGate SG-1 and StarGate Atlantis. SG-1 will be entering its 9th Season this summer. Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O'neill [used to be MacGyver too]) will only be back as a guest star next season after being in the past 8 seasons. But Star Gate SG-1 is an Action/Comedy set in a sci-fi world. Where BSG is darker and serious Drama, SG-1 is lighthearted and fun. It follows an X-file style of on again, off again story-arcs that go through seasons and has had its share of dramatic plot twists and turns. Again, Characters have evolved and grown. Hallmark of good story development.

Star Gate Atlantis is in its first season. Its been a little ho-hum, but is starting to pick up. **Spoiler Alert** Unlike Voyager, they will be wrapping up the "Lost in space" part at the end of the first season. From there we'll have to see. But the characters, with McKay becomming a little less annoying, are starting to take shape.

So if your looking for some good TV, turn on the TV (or TIVO) on Sci-fi on Friday nights from 8PM/EST to 11PM/EST

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Church

My Namesake here is CzyAnglican. You can find me often online at the chatrooms under that tag. I am an Anglican. I grew up baptist and converted to the Episcopal Church USA. Why then is my name Anglican, simple: when I'm in the US I attend church at an Epsicopal Church which is part of the Anglican Communion. When I am in Europe I attend, usually, a Church of England parish. Its the same Anglo-Catholic faith...well mostly. We like to have politics in our church, just not church in our politics...*sigh*

Anyway, my questions of faith this week revolves around The Holy Scriptures, commonly called the Bible. The Episcopal Church is Catholic with a capital "C". We share a lot of common Tradition with our Roman and Greek Orthodox cousins and in the last 100 years, the three major "Catholic" churches have begun to bury 500 - 1500 years of bad blood and begun working together on relief projects and opening talks between the faiths. This is a good thing. Its nothing to brag about, but together we can do a lot more good for the suffering of the world.

Now our Church isn't perfect, but there are a few things I think the Episcopal Church is doing right. One major attraction for me was the three-legged of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. It is a church that thinks and where questions are welcomed and opinions varied. It is not shunned, but welcomed, and while we may not all agree with everyone, there is respect.

It is Lent, so I will be posting my thoughts on my faith over the next few weeks.

Friday, February 11, 2005

iWork 05

This was billed as a replacement or upgrade of Apple Works 6. While the wordprocessing program and Keynote 2 presentation program are both examples of quality Apple writing applications, I have to say this is not a replacement for Apple Works 6. Why? It lakes one major application: a spreadsheet. If your in any business related field, then Microsoft Office for Mac is still the defacto standard. I can remember for the first several months I owned my iBook, Apple Works 6 did everything I needed, but had some short commings. The spreadsheet would export numbers and formatting to Excel, but not the equations. So I could send someone the end result data, but not how those results were acheived. That was a serious drawback and why I purchased, and still use, Office V.x. I have not upgraded to Office 2004 for mac yet simple because Office V.x does everything I need. The other huge draw back was lack of a presentation program of any quality. Yes, Apple Works 6 included a presentation program, but it stunk. I needed PowerPoint for sales pitches and presentations in business school period. Keynote was a step in the right direction, but still wasn't there yet. iWork 05 is not going to be replacing my install of MS Office, but I can tell you that I will be using Pages and Keynote 2 more.

Pages - Is 2 parts Word, one part Publisher, and a great program for typing a letter or designing a brochure. In many ways, Word for Mac is Word for Windows + 1/2 MS Publisher for windows. For those that don't want the expense or need for Pagemaker/Indesign or Quark, say a small business, Pages is wonderfully easy to use and very powerful. Its intergration with iLife (iPhoto, iTunes, etc) is great for adding images and page layout. I've found no problems thus far with exporting the document to Word format and then opening with Office for Mac or Office 2002 and Office 2002/XP on Windows. If your a home user or small business wanting to design flyers, Brochures, catalogs, etc. on the Mac, then this ideal for the $79 price tag. I would like to see a few more templates, but I am sure that more will be available from 3rd party sources with time online.

Keynote 2 - Today I could and probably will be using Keynote more instead of Powerpoint. Its very similar in operation and options and is rather good for creating such items. Its intergration with iTunes, iPhoto, and iMovie again is great for keeping media organized on your machine in simple locations. Also I like being able to export into Macromedia Flash format for placing slide shows online in an effective presentation media. Now I will rail against Flash for many things, but for displaying an effective powerpoint like slideshow online, flash is the tool to use. You can also export into Adobe PDF and HTML. My biggest complaint is that the Apple designed themes still lack the selction of Powerpoint and is still somewhat limited. Again I am sure that 3rd party design firms will create and make available on CD or download more themes online soon.

Final Words: If your in publishing and advertising and on a budget or a home user without the need for a spreadsheet appliction than for $79, iWork '05 is a great buy for the price. I hope in iWork '06 a good spreadsheet application is added. I didn't go into databases here because Apple Works 6's DB was useless for tracking anything more than recipes or mailing addresses and Apple's built in Address Book does a much better job of keeping track of contacts. Also, MS Office offers no DB program for the Mac. Filemaker is still the standard Macintosh DB Appliction, but one can also run the free MySQL or PostgreSQL database systems as well, however neither of these have a great front end for the typical, non hard core Unix Geek, Mac user.

Mac Mini - Wait

I like the Mac Mini, especially if you are replacing an exsiting home system that is primarily used for Email and surfing the net, downloading digital pictures from your camera, and maybe making home movies. If you already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, your ready to go or can hook it up to your TV. But there is two words of caution.

One - Its first generation Apple techology. There will be problems, always has been with first generation anything even Apple. Therefore I am saying wait until fall. Also, I expect to see OS 10.4 released this fall as well. Apple is rather bad about not giving away new OSes. I purchased my iBook a week before the release of OS 10.2 was announced. I was preparing to leave for Germany at the time and didn't have the luxury of waiting another week. If I had, I would have gotten OS 10.2 free when it was released. Instead I had to pay for the $70 student upgrade at the time.

Two - Lack of a Superdrive. The current offering is a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. You can still play DVD's and burn CD-Roms, but you cannot Burn DVD's. I imagine that Superdrive will be an option in the next generation of Mac Mini's. Then you can Play DVD and burn home made videos to DVD or CD-Rom.

I do believe that Apple has plans for a downloadable movie service much like the iTunes store and that the Mac Mini will be a home run seller for Apple and will be a great product. I would just wait for the next product offering this fall and then purchase.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

CzyA's Technology Review for Jan 2005

I like technology so I am going to post monthly things I see and discuss and talk about them. Right now I am offering free advice to anyone that wants it. Just drop a line in the comments section on this site. Please give me a day or two to reply.

I think the biggest news this month has been from Apple with introduction of the Mac Mini. If you are looking to replace a basic home computer, already have keyboard and mouse, or looking for a media center to hook up to your TV, for USD 500 this is your choice. It used to be common myth that Apples and Windows were incompatable. This is no longer the case. I switched to Apple about 3 years ago when Mac OS 10.1 was realeased. It is a Unix-based operating system making Apple's extremely stable. Unix has been around since the 1960's. Its tried and true and many large businesses have been using some form of Unix for a very long tim. Apple just tied a nice user interface and bundled some really good programs into the Unix stable core and developed a damn good platform. Once I went 6 months without rebooting my iBook. The only time I do is after installing updates that require a restart. Its great.

Another great invention to come from this month's MacWorld Expo was the iShuttle. The flash memory music player from Apple. Wanted an iPod but don't want to spend $500? Well at USD 100 and USD 150, these little gum pack sized players might be what you want. I am considering purchasing one. While they only hold about 250 songs, I don't have more than about 300 on my iBook and only listen to about 50 on a regular basis. So this maybe ideal for those of that would like a portable MP3 music player with Apple's iTunes music store and ease of use.

Microsoft has announced that by this summer that you will have to prove you hav a ligit copy of Windows 2000 or XP to recieve access to major secuity updates. This is another attempt to thwart piracy. I understand their rational behind the move, but the problem is that this makes it even more complicated for home users to deal with. The new registration scheme for Windows XP, and Office XP, requring a connection to the internet or call a phone center to get an access code makes it damn inconveint. I am not convinced that this will do much to thwart piracy of MS products. I do think that if MS reduced its prices on Windows to $50 for Home edition and $150 for Professional that it might help thwart piracy even more. Big time MS profits come from their Office software, especially on Mac because Office for Mac is a great product!, not their OS.

Friday, January 21, 2005

W's in for the start of his next 2 years

In reality, George W. Bush has 2 years left in his presidency. His last two years he will be a lame duck. Why? After the mid-term congressional elections, the mandate of 2004's election will be over and people will begin making strides towards the 2008 election. This is why Bush is pushing his domestic agenda so early in his second term.

Social Security is the main focus of his domestic policy. Old people do like it because the feel as though they may lose current benefits. Its an understandable fear, but unfounded and here is why: if social security is not delt with now, my generation WILL cut those benefits in 20 years. Something has to be done with social security and there isn't an answer that will please anyone.

Here are a couple facts to consider. Back in 1968 my father had just started working for McDonnell Aircraft Company. He was in the finance area and read a report that stated that back at that time, someone that retired at age 62 drew pention for an average of 18 months. 65 as a retirement age was reached because the percentage of people that would draw social security, at that time, was a small pool and most would not draw for a long period of time. Forty years later, people are living well into their 70's and beyond at a much higher quality of life. Advances in health care has increased life span dramatically. This could not have been forcasted when the program was orginally designed. Using the same logic when Social Security was set up, people starting to work today should not be able to collect until 75 or 80. However, changing the age might actually cause 20-somethings to vote next time...not bloody likely...but.

What social security has done is the problem with most social welfare and many other projections: Ceteris Paribus. Ceteris Paribus is a term from latin often used in economics meaning "all things being equal" and also commonly known as: "If things continue...". We all know how well things remain equal. If they did remain equal, I'd be on my own private island after making a bucket load of gold by creating a Dot Com. I can remember it being stressed in my business statistics class that the longer a projection or forecast is made: the greater the margin of error. Any one else remember that USD 10 Billion surplus by 2010 the governement was supposed to have? The point is, anytime the government makes a project for more than about 12 months...chances are its not going to happen like they say it will.

Back to Social Security and what needs to be done. Personally, I'd prefer to see the money in my pocket that I could invest in a Roth IRA or 401K plan instead of the government's. Or a tax credit that you can use if you invest in your own retirement plan rather than the government's. The problem with most people is that if you just give them the money, they'll just spend it now instead of thinking about the future. Just look at consumer debt in this country (another topic for another day). However, I am all about personal freedoms and that people should take responsiblity for their own actions and mistakes instead of looking at the government. The government is not your father. Remeber that!