Techno bubble babble

Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 23.00.13

After ten minutes trying to get my MacBook to wake up from a deep hibernation yesterday, not for the first time, I had a bit of a rant on the Twitter late last night about crap technology.

The MacBook problem is deeply irritating. On the one hand, you can get the black screen of death, which you can only apparently fix after a forced shut down and then a period of mourning before you attempt to start up again. Usually, you have to do this several times. Yesterday’s problem was similar. I was at work till late, and ran the battery down. The computer shut itself off and I had to wait till I got home to plug it in. When I did so, it took a good ten minutes before the trackpad or keyboard would respond to input.

Which got me thinking about all the stuff that irritates me about modern computers. Experience of iOS devices with their stripped down version of multitasking and their solid state storage, are so snappy that working with even a recent laptop with a conventional disk drive is a pain. Worse still, the disk that seemed huge when you bought it soon fills to capacity. And with what? Clearing space on my wife’s hard drive the other day, I concluded it was video and photos. Her iPhoto library was 34GB.

Above you see a detail of a shot I took in the summer. It’s at 100%. I can’t actually see the full image at 100% on my screen. Sure, I can crop down to details like this as a substitute for zooming, but with the pixels squeezed onto modern cameras, if you do that you just become more aware of noise and compression artifacts. For the amount of use the facility to zoom/crop like this is, I don’t think it’s worth it.

My 5 megapixel Minolta camera of 10 years or so ago took excellent pictures, which made great prints, when I printed them. My 12 or 14 megapixel Panasonic or my 8 megapixel iPhone does not do better. I’m convinced that the reason so many raved about the iPhone 4 camera was that it was 5 megapixels, which is the Goldilocks sensor size. Anything more is a waste, and I’m sick of having to spend my life managing fucking disk space. Because, in the end, you can’t trust the hardware. I have a 1TB drive at work that has started to fail. It has loads of really important school work on it, but there’s nothing I can do but watch it die (and my school is so short of money that I seriously doubt it will be replaced).

Seven years on, I’m still waiting for a backup solution at work, but hey, that’s another story.

One response to “Techno bubble babble”

  1. I’ve noticed a couple of errors with usually incredibly reliable Mac systems.

    Aside from the battery itself getting old, the power management can occasionally go wrong requiring the NVRAM to be reset (Command/Option/P/R).

    The other error is when the disk is getting elderly and starts to misread the boot and similar. Your BSOD reminds me of the symptom.

    I’ve fitted a few new disks along the ages – best before the old one completely dies so that the full image can be copied to the new larger disk first(nowadays circa £50 for 500GB).

    Two necessary tools are a torx screwdriver set (£7 Maplin) and a guitar plectrum for easing the edges of the case (jeans pocket). And steady hands.

    A recent note about such practices…


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