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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sleep ...and more mac clap-trap

I really like the way my body knows what it needs.

This past week has been pretty hardcore, with several nights that have seen me sleeping for less than five or six hours. Thursday was probably the longest day, with the fire alarm going off at 5.40am and then again at 6.20am, 10 minutes after the fire brigade had left. When it happened that second time I decided that rather than waste time standing around waiting for them to come back (they took 10 minutes to arrive that first time, despite the station only being at the bottom of the road and despite my having called them within moments of the alarm sounding), I'd go and do some shopping in the evil 24 hour supermarket down the road (oh, that reminds me, a warning to people in Japan: Tesco is planning to start opening Express stores over there soon, having got a taste for Japanese retail action through the Tsurekame chain).

The 15 minute downhill walk was a 5 minute jog. Running back up the hill with 8 litres of water in my rucksack took a little longer, and has left me with satisfyingly knackered calf muscles. Oh yes, the fitness routine continues.

Anyhow, I was doing OK on relatively little sleep, but knew it would catch up on me eventually, and sure enough, yesterday at 5pm my body told me it needed more sleep, sending me on a 2 hour late afternoon sleep trip, and then this morning, shut-eye that lasted (on and off) until midday.

(The 'off' bits were where I was reading The Accidental Office Lady, a true 1980s story set in Honda HQ, Tokyo. Whilst it made for an easy and at times entertaining & inspirational read, it wasn't all that useful for the purposes of my essay. Nonetheless, I'm glad I read it as it made me feel that if she can publish a book, so can I).

This afternoon, having made my packed lunch (marmite and alfalfa sandwiches, banana and apple) I made my way here, to the 24-hour Information Commons which is providing magnificent views over a Sheffield alight with fireworks displays. When not looking out of the window I have been ploughing my way through translations and essays, turning text books into 3 page word docs, and hearing about the horrors of Leopard.

And thinking back to yesterday morning when I finally learnt how to make battered octopus balls.



The rest of this entry is all about Macs. Feel free to switch off now.


I'm starting to feel that not having my Mac is actually a good thing (having said that, last night I was checking out Apple's terms and conditions and noted that it would actually be possible to buy a new mac, use it for a week and then take it back for a full refund).

In addition to denying me my usual supply of RSS feeds and quick links to favourite websites (thus giving me more time to study), it seems that delaying my debut with Leopard has helped me avoid some teething problems. These include

Time Machine - Mac users beware!!!

I got an email from a friend earlier today who, thanks to Time Machine, has permanently lost 10GB of data, including archive videos, photos and other docs. Why? Simply put, Time Machine will not keep permanent copies of any data that is on your machine for less than a week (for details check out Apple Discussions), and thus should not be used as ones primary backup tool. Rather, it should be thought of as an additional (and somewhat sexier) addition to one's data protection arsenal.

Whilst I am of course very sorry for my friend (and I hope Stellar Phoenix or equiv recovery software is able to work its magic), I'm also glad I didn't find out the hard way.

(The moral of the story seems to be don't let Time Machine become a replacement for full, regular incremental backups made using Super Duper or equivalent, and if you're really neurotic additional monthly backups to DVD which are then sent to a different geographic location to guard against loss due to burglary. Alternatively/additionally, a remote server with lots of space would do the trick).

Problem 2: Adobe LightRoom is not yet supported by Leopard. TM will corrupt the LR library, imports of RAW files direct from one's memory card / camera are not possible, the print stage doesn't work. The update for that is being released mid-November apparently. (However, all CS3 apps work OK, so I guess it's back to Photoshop and Bridge for me for the time being.)

Problem 3: TM can't use disks hooked up to an Airport Extreme network. At least not unless you connect the disk directly to your mac via USB for the first sync, then plug it into the airport. Glad I know that in advance so I won't get frustrated trying to get it to recognise my colourful collection of external hard drives. There's been talk that airport networks aren't as reliable with Leopard. Let's hope that bug gets fixed soon.

So yes, perhaps letting others be the guinea pigs is the best thing to do. Having said that, I do look forward to Monday / Tuesday when they finally manage to fit the new screen which has been giving them grief - something about the wire being too short?! Ooh, I'm looking forward to trying out iLife 08 too - and did you know, you get a free trial copy of iWork with it. The educational discounts on Apple software are even better than the hardware discounts - up to 50% (otherwise there's no way I would have bought iLife).

Despite the bugs and unnecessary eye-candy, it does sound like Leopard is an incredible beast when one strips away the spots. There's a great review here, which talks about the nuts and bolts of it all - reading that gave me a whole new perspective on this OS, and is well worth a read by anyone who feels a bit disappointed with the release. (Be warned though, it's quite long, and took me over an hour to read!)

Hmmm. Am I obsessed?



OK, back to the grindstone.

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