Microsoft Band

Microsoft products have waned with me over the years, but their new product, Band, definitely got my attention today. Also glad to see that they have apps available on all major app platforms.

Desktop decisions

Apple’s choice to remove the ability to upgrade the internals of their products has me asking decisions about my own preferred hardware setup for work purposes.

Our house is light when it comes to computing power. We have a handful of devices between the family and there’s a games console there for when I feel the need to be humiliated at Madden by my oldest son. As for actual computers though, with the keyboards, mice and monitors, we have a single laptop in the house. Mine.

My MacBook Pro has been my workstation for over a year now. Solidly built and still just as fast as the day that I bought it. It’s also the laptop the family use to sync their photos and music to external disks for long term storage. I’ve been careful about seperating content between work and family. I’ve got a couple of external hard disks for storing pictures and music as well as a third external hard disk for Time Machine backups. Anything work related stays on the laptop, while videos, movies, pictures and music are all located on external disks.

The setup we have is fine for our needs for the moment, but ideally I would like to have seperate computers for work and family. Keeping the two seperate would mean that if one was to go, then it wouldn’t be a major impact on me working. If my MBP was to pack in tomorrow then the home computer could serve for work purposes until I was back up and running with the hardware that I needed for work again.

After hearing the news of the updated Mac Minis in Apple’s product line up, I was excited. These little boxes of technological joy have been on my radar for a while. While the lovely iMac has been on the wishlist for a while, the cost of it is out of our budget for what would be a computer that would be used intermittently. The Mac Mini was the next sensible choice then. With a monitor already on my desk, it makes much more sense to just buy a computer than can plug into it and allow me to use my own keyboard and mouse.

However, joy quickly turned to dismay when I found out that as a consumer, I won’t be able to open up the Mac Mini and upgrade the parts that I need in the future. Like it’s MacBook and iMac cousins, the Mac Mini has it’s memory soldered onto the motherboard which makes upgrading in the future impossible. If you want something more powerful, you need to buy another Mac Mini with the specs you need. Hardly ideal given that in order to make these Mac Minis viable as long term computing products, the upgrades on the Apple website are higher than the market prices for similar upgrades you could do to a more open computer.

It’s sad to see that Apple’s products are going against this with memory now being soldered on to each of their product’s motherboards. It’s got me thinking again about how much do I want to invest in computing hardware in the home as I am clearly becoming more and more dependent on Apple’s products. As a technology platform for ordinary consumers, Apple’s products are hard to beat. They work well and the software that they provide for OSX and iOS is easy to use. I don’t think for everyday use I would switch to another platform such as Google or Microsoft. It just works, it always has.

The geek in me though has me looking at Linux barebones boxes and alternatives to traditional desktops such as these miniature Linux desktops as a replacement for my laptop. I definitely want something longer lasting but also upgradeable. I’m just not sure at the moment what that setup will be. Ideally a desktop running some Linux distribution as well as a small form laptop such as a Chromebook, without the Chrome OS, could serve me for my mobile needs which at the moment are rare. That could change though.

A few decisions to make here, but I think the first is whether I could use Linux as my work environment on a daily basis. I should probably decide on that first before making any decisions regarding my desktop hardware.

Team 256

What started as a monthly challenge is now fast turning into a social network daily ritual, which isn’t a bad thing when it comes to the fast and furious world of social networks.

Back in September, I started a challenge of writing a 256 character post everyday on App.net. Aside from a single day missing the post I completed the challenge. It was a refreshing use of my time on a social network. Rather than simply typing the first thing that came to my head and posting it, filling the post with 256 characters means you need to spend a bit of time editing, re-wording and ensuring your post is correct and uses all character space available. It’s this time spent on getting the message right that makes my 256 character posts so different from every other post I make.

Social networks are often seen as a cheap and fast way of getting messages across to people, but few people think before they post. While they are great for shorts bursts of information, social networks are mostly places where masses of un-edited information stream by us every day. My #team256 posts on App.net are not wildly profound or better to read than other posts on App.net, but they do provide me with a chance to write something a bit more detailed.

What started as a monthly challenge has fast become something of a daily habit. I’m still keeping the habit going to posting 256 characters a day on App.net and while I might have missed the last couple of days, I did look forward to writing my post for the day. I hope that it continues and gathers pace on App.net in the future.

Idea Index

Excellent use of those blank pages at the start of a book, create your index of ideas from the book.

via Taking Note

Planet

Journey across the world using your mouse with these amazing images taken from the International Space Station.

via SwissMiss

Pixelmator for iPad

I love using Pixelmator on my MBP, but it’s great to see it’s now available on the iPad too.

via Tools and Toys

Fixie Friday - Legor Cicli 29er

Obviously this isn’t a fixed wheel bike, but with just a single gear and no suspension in sight, this is about as close as you can get to off-road fixie.

via Cycle EXIF

New Todoist for Macs

A new look Todoist for all you Mac people. Love this service.

NB is Timeless

No fads, gimmicks, or shortcuts. Just practical advice and hardwork.

Be More You ...

with a journal.