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family and home and infrastructure04 Aug 2013 08:21 am

This weekend, I got my wife an iMac desktop replacing her aging Windows Vista PC, which was getting long in the tooth and pokey.  This complete our migration from an all PC environment to a complete MAC world.

The process started when I replaced my laptop with a MacBook Pro.  I was typically going through a new PC laptop every 6 months.  I am hard on PC keyboards, since I learned to type on a TRS-80 which had a terrible keyboard bounce problem, so I learned to type by pressing the keys very hard.  So I would get a new Window PC laptop regularly.

Next I got my daughter a MacBook Pro when she graduated from 8th grade.  She was using one of my older PC laptops, but, wasn’t very happy with it, and asked for a Mac, so she got migrated.

My youngest son was not happy with his Windows PC. Even though he had anti-virus software on his PC, he continued to get viruses on his PC, so he asked if he could use my Macbook Air, which became his primary machine.  Even with Microsoft anti-virus installed, during his forays to Club Penguin he still managed to get virus and spyware regularly.  I have not gotten any viruses on my Mac’s as of yet which is a great plus.

My middle son asked for a MacBook Pro about in March before we went on vacation for spring break. Since he was graduating from 8th grade, his MacBook Pro became his graduation present.

So, all we had at the house was my Wife’s Vista PC, which was getting old and locking up.  During the time she was using it, I restored the machine to factory settings a few times because Windows gets pokey when things download and install from the Internet.

Before making the decision to migrate her to a iMac, I installed Windows 8 as a VM on my MacBook Pro using Parallel’s which lets you install VM’s including Windows, Limux, CentOS, etc.  I absolutely hate the Windows 8 interface.  The interface in my option has to be one of the most counter intuitive travesty’s ever created by a major software vendor. Its mind boggling how they could miss the mark so drastically.  I believe that the Windows 8 user interface was designed around their Surface tablet, but, clearly they should have had a refined user interface for PC’s versus the Surface.

I love the interface on my iPad.  Apple, with Steve Jobs as the design nazi really did an amazing job enforcing usability on all of their products.  I will be very interested to see how the interface changes with iOs 7.

So I picked up the iMac earlier in the week, unboxed it, and it literally took a few minutes to get the box configured and up and running including migrating all of my wife’s emails into Microsoft Office for the Mac.  I am still a big fan of Microsoft Office.

Conversely, I work every day with Windows 2008 servers.  While there is the issue of security vulnerabilities on Windows Servers, they still do a fine job every day supporting the IT security applications that I work with on a daily basis.  While I had the option to select the IT security software on Linux servers, running on Active Directory Domain connected servers has worked well for me over the last few years.

When my wife and daughter get back from east coast college visits this evening, she is going to be surprised to see the new ergonomic iMac sitting on her desk ready for her to start using it.

I also have a Sun workstation sitting headless in the Server room in the basement, which I have kept up and running whenever I wanted to geek out in a UNIX environment.  That is less of an issue now that I installed a VM of CentOS Linux on my Mac that I can use for the same purpose.

I think that my sentiments are very similar to others who are moving towards being dissatisfied with the Windows 8 operating system and look for alternatives.

development and home and infrastructure28 Dec 2012 07:31 am

Time sure flies in the blogsphere as I noticed that I have not blogged about anything in about a year.  Not to say that the conversation is not occurring.  It occurs in real time through Facebook and Twitter, with thoughts or ideas that internet me getting a status on Facebook or a tweet on twitter and then, my friends and colleagues interactively discussing the topic with me.

My home office PC was having all sorts of strange problems ever since I had a power failure at my house that took out one phase of our three phase power.  Even though the computer was connected to a UPS and we have a whole house generator, the one phase being down did not cause the transfer switch to move us off grid power, and the brown out went right through my UPS, and my quad core PC started frying.  I replaced the power supply, and the video card, but, that computer was still completely screwed up.  The behavior is very strange.  At no particular interval, processes freeze on the computer. In the task manager, they are listed as “not responding”.  I reinstalled the operating system twice and it didn’t solve the issue.  So I decided to get the iMac 27.   This was one of the best computer decisions I have made in my professional career.  Its remarkable that a new computer can fill an lifetime IT guy with Glee.  After I made the decision about 6 months ago to get the new iMac, I decided to wait until Apple released the refreshed next generation iMac.  And that was also a fine decision.

The computer itself by its very design is far and beyond that of a typical Windows based PC.  While you can get these options for a Windows PC, by default you get a small wireless keyboard that has an excellent feel, a trackpad to use as a mouse and all of the technology built into the 27 inch display.

The setup process was a breeze, getting the machine on my home wireless network, and connected to the physical network.  The access point in my home office is older so its not using the latest and greatest wireless protocol so the speed is better on the wired network.  Unlike the new access point i installed downstairs near where the boys Xboxes are located.  THEY are enjoying 56MB connectivity from both of their Xboxes.

My home office computer really has only two major functions at this point.  One is using the Microsoft Office suite of software and the other quickbooks.  Microsoft Office 2011 for the MAC is great.,  And Quickbooks Mac is also an excellent release.

When I got my MacBook a few years back the genius at the Apple store recommended Parallels VM software for the mac.  It has worked out great, letting me run Windows XP so I could use Windows Media Player to watch the hundreds of movies and such I have collected over the years.  I also set up a Windows 8 VM to check it out, and I still think that the new Windows look and feel is strange.  They tip their hat to the surface tablet a bit too much for my taste for a desktop operating system.   This again smacks of Apple really understanding what a end user wants and needs to do with their computer.

And, I’m in the process of downloading the latest CentOS Linux operating systems which I’m going to slap into a new VM on my iMac.  I need to set up that operating system on a 1U server for the project I am working on at work.  I was using a shared Linux server for my QA environment for the project I am working on and was kindly asked to get off the machine since they needed it for something else.  When I requested a new Linux VM to the UNIX team, they told me that the request would cost me a charge back of $11,000 for the VM, but, if I wanted a physical 1U box, I could have that for free.   $11,000 versus free.  The free wins out.   Thats another reason why my vast experience in all aspects of IT pays off again, as I can install the operating system and stage the computer myself at my client instead of having to engage other people to help get the computer set up.

And having thew ability to throw down a Linux VM on this iMac is cool because I can test the install before going into the data center lab to put the OS on the 1U server.

So I am completely pleased with the new iMac. And will be continuing to copy over pictures and other media from my old quadcore to the 3TB hard disk on this iMac.  I was also going to look for a NAS for the house that has a RAID 1 hard disk that we can all use to back up our files at the house.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!  Hopefully it will not be another year before i blog again!

home07 Nov 2007 09:49 am

To get into the spirit of thanksgiving, I like to go to Costco and get a bag of fresh cut up squash and make a nice soup for dinner.    This was after a busy Sunday that included taking my middle son to basketball and then dropping him off at swimming practice, followed by a quick trip to Costco to get the squash and take back the extra 4 boxes of Halloween candy that we didn’t give out this year.  It’s great to, be able to stock up on candy and then take back the extras after the holiday is over.

 

After picking up the squash I sauntered over to blenders to pick up a new one since the old kitchenaid blender appeared to have melted a seal and was leaking all over the place when you attempted to use it.  I had just loaded a snazzy new blender into my cart when my wife called.  She said, instead of getting a blender, lets get a Vitamix, since you can make healthy smoothies with it.  So be it.  The blenders go back on the shelf, and I go home to make my soup.

 

When I get home, I look for the food processor to puree the squash, but, can only find the base to the food processor.  The compartment that you put the food into is missing.  Try and call the wife, but, her cell phone goes right to voicemail.  That happens when she is in the pool building with the kiddies, so, I’m on my own.

 

I put the squash into a soup pot with a nice chicken stock base, and begin to cook it.  After the squash starts to get soft, I take out a potato masher and begin to smash the squash up in the soup.

 

My wife then calls me back and tells me that the food processor attachment is in the freezer because my youngest son was doing a science experiment.  Go figure.

 

The soup came out great, after I added some maple syrup to the mix, and some flour to thicken it up.  Delicious.

 

Monday morning, while sitting at the office, I went to the Vitamix web site to order a Vitamix.  I related my story of mashing up the squash with a potato masher, and the other consultant I sit with in my office, says, “Why don’t you use an immersion mixer?”    Having no clue what an immersion mixer is, I google it, and find an amazing kitchen aid immersion mixer that you can stick into your soup pot to blend and chop everything up.

 

I have to have one of these I think.

 

So, I go back to google which directs me to cooking.com where the immersion blender is listed at $129.00.  I thought that was expensive, so, I tried to go to amazon.com from my personal computer, but, my Verizon wireless card was slow, so I used the work computer at my client.  I don’t usually use my clients computer for personal web surfing, but, on occasion, I will.

 

The price on Amazon.com for the immersion blender is $49.99.  80% off the list price.  I’m like, WOW.  I have to buy this.   I go back to my personal computer, and log into amazon.com, only to find that *my* price is $94.00.  As an unregistered amazon.com user, they offer the product at 49.99.  As a loyal amazon.com customer its $94.00.

 

That is an amazing way to price product.  Offer an incredible discount to a new user of the web site, but, to a person who has purchased multiple times from amazon.com, give them a paltry discount. 

 

That a very interesting predatory pricing module used by amazon.com and a terrible way to treat legacy customers.

 

I created a new account at Amazon.com and got my immersion blender for $49.99.