Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Mac Story – 002: Buying a Mac

Now, this was quite fun. Unlike my previous PC purchases, Apple takes away quite a lot of the “hassle” in deciding what configuration you want to have, and also if the components are going to perform together. That is of course, if you are not buying your PCs in a shopping mall where you can usually choose only machines on stock. This is also partially true for PC notebooks, where the choice of models, types, and subtypes made by a single brand can be daunting, almost overwhelming at times.

Don't get me wrong, I can make a choice of configuration, have it assembled and delivered and use it happily till I get a new one. This time, however, I got quite considerably annoyed. When searching for a new notebook, I tried several dealers, but somehow I was not able to get quite what I wanted. The models I wanted were either out of stock, or haven't yet made it to European market, etc. So I decided to jump (at least partially) the PC ship and give Mac a try. Of course, the important tipping point being the fact that I can run Windows on it.

My notebook search collided with my traveling and photography plans so I ended buying in Germany. I am not going to disclose the specific city, nor I am going to give the shop a plug (although they would definitely deserve it).

Like I said above, Apple takes the guesswork out of the computer purchase. They offer pre-configured machines you just grab right in their (usually) fancy box, pay, and go home. Or, at least so I had expected it to work. The dealer I went to told me, they had the last piece of the new MacBook, and that they did not have the faster one with 2.4GHz processor and the fancy backlit keyboard. They only had the 2.0GHz, and I had to make my mind right away, because they expected to sell it that day (no surprise 2 days before Christmas). So, I actually left.

Then I met the shop assistant outside the shop few moments later as he was having his smoker's break. I just asked him whether it would be possible to whack 4GB of RAM instead of the pre-installed 2GB inside, and if he could sell me a copy of Windows XP. Since he said “Yes” to both questions, I was almost bought. He saw the hesitation whether I really should invest into the 2.0GHz machine, so he gave me his opinion on that as well. He said: “Look, I have the 'slower' MacBook myself. I don't really see any point paying premium just for slightly faster CPU and a backlit keyboard. I do some DJing on the side, and if there is anyone who should have a backlit keyboard, it's me, however, I didn't find it worth the money. You said, you wanted 4GB of RAM, now, what about 500GB hard-drive instead of the pre-installed 160GB?” He then sent me across the street to a PC hardware store, told me what sort of HDD to buy (since his shop did not keep it on stock), and he began installing the extra RAM. So after about 30 minutes I ended up owning a brand new 2.0GHz MacBook with 4GB RAM and 500GB HDD for the price of 2.4GHz version with 2GB RAM and 250GB HDD.

Plus a German book for switchers from Windows to Mac OS, and an extra 160GB HDD that got replaced by the bigger HDD. The book came as a free extra. I am not quite sure if I am ever going to read that, the German language is not a problem, however, the Mac OS X has not presented any considerable challenges as yet, so I don't really feel the need to read 1:1 comparison between Windows and Mac OS.

If this experience continues, I am really going to be massively angry that I cannot use the Mac for my daily work, i.e., translating.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this blog constitutes in any form any advice, recommendation, guide and/or guidelines. If you use, imitate, implement and/or follow any of the actions described, you are and will be the only person responsible and/or liable. The author of this blog does not guarantee and/or recommend anything!

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Mac Story – 001: Getting There (The Big Decision)

I have been ogling the Macs for quite some time. Almost 8 years to be more precise. If I lived in an isolated universe where things are perfect, and people can make computer choices and decisions based only on what they like, I would have been using Mac since 2000 or so. However since (what must easily be) 95+% of computer market and user base in our region is “wintel” oriented, I went with Windows.

Also, I found Windows to be sufficient for my needs since Windows 98SE + Office 2000. I was able to combine several languages including Chinese Simplified and Traditional in one document, which made my life really nice and simple. The transition to Windows XP was also surprisingly painless, and I must admit that Windows XP has worked great for me ever since.

So why switch to Mac OS at all; well, the simplest answer would be curiosity. I have had previous experience with Mas OS pre-version 9 and I did not like it that much, however I was really curios to see and experience the Mac OS X in action and real life use.

My main problem with switching completely is my work. I do translation and localization for living, and somehow the localization software has never really made it to Mac, at least I was not able to find any suitable alternative for, e. g., Trados that would allow the same productivity (if you know any, please, let me know). Plus, I have to use bunch of proprietary programs for software localization, and those run only in Windows (no alternatives here, I'm afraid).

However, ever-since Boot Camp appeared, the Mac became an option also for me. I will be trying to document my experience with it, from shopping, through double-booting to using both Mac OS X and Windows in my MacBook on daily basis.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Quick One on Interpretation

I'm currently watching a prominent US news TV station, and frankly I'm appaled by the quality of the interpreters they are using for their broadcasting.
Those people are often almost impossible to understand. I think the TV station should be able to hire someone with at least basic level of pronunciation. And I am not talking about people whom the network uses in, e.g., war zones, I am talking about interpreters who translate and do the voice-over of pre-recorded speeches and public appearances of VIPs and high-ranking politicians.
This lack of professionalism certainly kills lots of interesting info that gets missing in pronunciacion.