Getting past the O.S. hype – choices beyond who is yelling the loudest.

Joel Spolsky wrote

“…Last week they[Microsoft] send out a round of expensive laptops with Vista preinstalled. These are not loans, by the way: they’re completely free laptops (“yours to keep!”).”

Joel’s blog is great – always on-point and interesting. This “Bribing Bloggers” article was inspired.

I can’t say I would have said “no” to a new, hot laptop – but nobody asked. Anyway, this is just the beginning of what Microsoft is going to do: free laptops to get some positive blog posts, just to give us a taste of what is to come.

My point – here it comes…the avalanche of Windows Vista hype outside of the geek world is going to invade every nook and cranny of our lives. Just wait – you will not be able to turn on a television, drive past a road sign or lift up the morning paper without a Microsoft ad shouting at you: “Vista is lemony fresh and makes its own gravy!” The ad execs are in for a good first quarter. We are going to be reminded over and over again that Microsoft is the richest company on the planet and they have the ability to change our lives, whether we like it or not.

Buy Vista and put it on your old hardware and watch it crawl – or get a zippy new PC with gobs of memory and a hot video processor and watch the new Windows, well, run marginally faster that the old Windows.

Don’t buy into it.

You have options – Linux, Macintosh, or stick with XP.

XP, even after six years, has all the pieces to make it semi-secure. As we have seen with Microsoft Windows upgrades in the past, it takes about four to five years for the public to cycle from one version to another.

Ahhhhh… thinking about blowing some cash on a new PC anyway. Once you go Mac… They are just as fast, darn stable and grandma can understand how to use it.

Or go Linux – you have never seen your old hardware work so well.

Whatever you do, put your fingers in your ears, close your eyes and start yelling “LA, LA, I’M NOT LISTENING, LA, LA.” , because you will not be able to turn a corner and without being reminded that there is something out there better for you and you would not want to miss it, now would you? After all, Windows will change your life, again, and again, and again, till they can’t suck any more money out of that puppy.


Mac Mini Core Duo – Changing the Memory

I never thought I would become one of those bloggers who post pictures of stuff they take apart just to show the insides – that would be so geeky.

Hi. Today I have my pocket protector.

I wanted to do something very simple. I wanted to expand the memory in my Mac Mini to 2 gigs. This would nicely stop the nasty memory paging to hard disk that occurs when I am running too many programs (or just Photoshop CS2 – what a hog.)

One would think that changing out the memory would be like most other memory transplants I have done over the last 15 years. One would be wrong.

I thought the guts of my Mini were like the guts of the older G4 Minis. Not. Not even close. G4 Minis were easier. Intel Core Minis are not. Intel Core Minis require hands of a watchmaker, the patience of a monk, eyes of a fox and the putty-knife of, like, um, a painter.

Mac Mini Core Duo - Prying it open
“The putty-knife pry.” Flip over the Mini. Pry the left. Pry the right. Pry the front. Separate. There is a video at the end of this post. Watch it carefully.

Mac Mini Core Duo - Remove these screws.
You will then need to remove the four screws holding down the large black plastic mount. One would think white would be a better color for seeing. One is not the Apple Engineer who said “Black would be nice.”

The airport antenna at the top right will need to be popped off so you can get to the upper right screw. Just squeeze the two plastic mounts holding it onto the main mount. It will pop off and since it is spring mounted, the antenna will fly off and the spring will go onto the carpet. You then spend quality time on the floor looking for it.

Mac Mini Core Duo - pull this plug
This plug, I think it is for the built-in speaker, will need to be unplugged. You then gently lift the black mount directly up.

Mac Mini Dual Core - Here is the Memory
And here are your memory modules. Upgrade away.

Now you just have to reverse your steps. Easy, right? (Let me answer for you. “Like Hell.”) The use of colored wire, or colored plugs, or color would have been a plus.

The following is a video I found on YouTube. I wish I found it about one week ago. This comprehensive video is from the great folks at Other World Computing. O.W.C. allowed me to get an old Mac (6400/200 with G3 upgrade) to run OSX with the use of Xpostfacto back in ’02. That WAS a fun project.

Happy Upgrading.

Control Data Corporation and Dad.

It starts with 2 pictures and some questions. You see, my mother has boxes upon boxes of old photos going back to the early 1900’s of both her and my father’s family, some after they got “off the boat” and some shots taken in “the old county.” Neat stuff, if you are related. I am. You probably are not, so I will keep it as interesting as possible.

I would like to thank Christi’s dad, Don, for digitizing a good bulk of them for us to archive. All of the following was found out because of Don’s scans.

Here are the shots…
Dad at the Post Office
This is shot one, taken on what looks to be a very good quality camera. This web ready version of these shots does not really do them justice. My dad, Frank Aprigliano, is, well, the shorter one. They are standing in front of what looks like a card reader that says Control Data – Transactor. And the guy who is not my father is smoking a cigar, around computer equipment – welcome to the 1960’s. Before we had hard drives we had magnetic tape, and before we had that we had cards to hold various information. If you are older than 55 then you remember those cards that came with your electric bill that told you “DO NOT BEND.” They held a small amount of information, probably your unique ID, and you sent them back to CON ED with your $10 check for electricity. Gas and food were cheaper, too, according to the book The way things were and why we liked them better, by Ima Olfart. But I digress…

Dad at the Post Office
And this is shot two. At first glance it looks like a line feed printer, labeled Control Data 3010, and I still think it is, because I cannot find anything to the contrary. I have come to learn that Control Data was trying to perfect OCR (optical character recognition) so there is the possibility that this could be an OCR. OCR in the 1960’s? Cool. I do not know how posed this shot is, guys on the phone, probably talking with tech support in India, and tech support, “Bob,” is asking “Is it plugged in?” My Dad is in the middle. And there is a guy leaning on it, smoking a Lucky. That is so 1960’s. Where are the Martini’s?

I would like to point out that the previous two photos are released into the Creative Commons specifically for historical reasons if you have need.

So there you have the 2 shots. I do not know exactly when they were taken or even what year. Enter Google. Time to geek out.

I found the following line here about Control Data Corporation
“1966 – …CDC gains a $22.7 million contract from United States Post Office for the Postal Source Data System… “

Hmm… My father worked for the post office. And I remember my mother saying that he did not want to go to a training in Minneapolis, the headquarters of Control Data, so they sent a trainer to his post office. So now we have an approximate year. 1966. I cannot assume which computer the shots were attached to but there are two possibilities, the 6400 and the 6600. Since the 6400 was released in 1966, I would assume that the U.S. Post Office would only get the latest, although that is only a guess on my part.

Well, there is so much more information out there about Control Data Corporation, but if you know who the other folks are in the pictures, leave a comment or send me an email. I would love to work that info into this post.
One last piece of “We have come a long way.” I just spent about $400 on four gigs of memory at NewEgg for my Mac Mini and Christel’s new Lenovo. They they fit in the palm of my hand and hold 1 gig per stick. And then there is, or was, this…

This is 4k of memory. From MUSEUM “WAALSDORP.” Take that Mr. Ima Olefart.

The following are some good links if you want to Read on…

WikiPedia on Control Data Corporation
CDC brochures from ComputerHist0ry.Org
6400/6500/6600 Reference Manual (real fun read!)