Mela is home

I spent the weekend pretty much away from my own computer, working with my parents' new Apple iMac, MELA [Italian for apple]. Even though Mela worked fine out of the box, there was quite a bit of set-up to be done, in order for my parents to be able to use it.

The first order of business was to download and set-up Yahoo!Messenger for the Mac. That worked fine.

The next was to get their contacts off of their old Outlook. That didn't work out well, as it wouldn't export. I tried sending the contacts from my palm via bluetooth, as the whole category for family, as that would have most of their contacts. But only the first four would send. I wound up doing sending them one at a time, via bluetooth. It took awhile, but was easier than typing them all in. I did type in the one's that I didn't have. I then exported Mom's new address book as a vcard file, and imported it into Dad's.

Next was importing bookmarks from the last backup, and setting up everything's preferences.

I'm not sure I like the built-in mail client. I can't figure out how to subscribe to IMAP folders on the mail server, for one thing. But it wil work natively with spamAssassin on the server, so that's good.

I also added and configured some widgets, like Sudoku & stock tracking and set-up their dot-Mac accounts.

Then I had to learn how to really use the iMac, so that I can answer their questions. Using control or alt or apple/command, with the mouse or a key. Learning to squeeze the mouse and using the scroll ball thingee - stroke lightly works best. They're now set-up with the basics, but there's much to learn, much to do, and then help them to learn as well.

Nothing like being the home CIO & help desk. :D

It's a Mac

The decision been's made, the money's been paid. I've bought my parents an iMac Intel Core Duo. Spent some time investigating TabletPCs and Apples, old and new.

The TabletPCs don't use a touch screen, as I knew; they use a digital pen. What I didn't know was how they work for selection and control. The Toshiba and HP/Compaq units, at least, that were available at the local CompUSA, work like this. To simulate a left mouse double-click, you press down on the point. For a right click, you press a button on the barrel while pressing down with the point. I felt this might be confusing for my parents, and maybe even impossible for my poor, old arthritic mother.

I was thinking that the Tablet would allow them more freedom in use, even more so than their old, dead Sony laptop, that handwriting might be easier than typing, and if not, they could use the keyboard. However, the disadvantages just seemed to outweigh the advantages.

The iMac really won out with its clean display. I think it will be very good for my parents to learn a new user interface as well. So my partner and I spent some time today at Robert Scoble's favorite Apple store in Palo Alto, and came away with the iMac. Surprisingly, the other area where the iMac won out, was in price. I also considered a Mac Mini plugged into an LCD screen [maybe even an Apple Cinema Display] :>> to replace their aging - but working TV.

But to duplicate the specs of the 17 inch display iMac with a Mac Mini or TabletPC would bring the price over two grand US$. Granted, since my first home computer, a Kaypro 64 in 1984, I've always set $3000 as the reasonable price for a reasonable PC. But not today. Here's what we got for $1299:

  • 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor
  • 2MB L2 cache shared across the two cores
  • 512MB DDR2 SDRAM
  • 160GB SATA hard drive
  • Slot Loading superdrive (DVD+R, DL/DVD+/-RW, CD-RW)
  • ATI X1600 graphics with 128MB GDDR3 SDRAM
  • Built-in iSight video camera (web cam)
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • 2-Firewire400, 3-USB2, 2-USB1.1 ports
  • 802.11g built-in
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR built-in
  • Every audio and video I/O port you could ask for
  • All the software my parents need including some of the best A/V & photo software around

I couldn't go wrong. :p

Set-up back at the office couldn't be easier. It found our WLAN, and accepted the hex code for the passphrase without an hitch. As I write this blog using Safari [testing web designs we make on Safari will be much easier than going to said Apple store and telling the staff why we're there], MELA [Italian for Apple] is getting its updates.

Now for the hard part...

Bringing MELA to my parents and giving it to them. :-/

Sun T2000 Try and Buy

It looks as though we've been accepted for Sun Microsystems' "Try and Buy" program. Yep, a free Niagra Server, as explained and updated by Jonathan Schwartz.

We received a quote today from Doris Hamel of Sun.

Here's a quote of the Try & Buy T2000, should you decide to purchase after the trial period.end quotation

Here's the specs and the price:

1 Config ID 4296652 Configuration: T20-104A-08GA2C 1 $8,295.00
1.1 T20-104A-08GA2C Sun Fire T2000 Server
4 core 1.0GHz UltraSPARC T1 processor,
8GB DDR2 memory (16 * 512MB DIMMs),
2 * 73GB 2.5" 10K rpm SAS hard disk drives,
1 DVDRO/CD-RW slimline drive,
2 (N+1) power supplies,
4 10/100/1000 ethernet ports,
1 serial port,
3 PCI-E slots,
2 PCI-X slots,
Solaris 10 and Java Enterprise System software
(Standard Configuration)
1 $8,295.00
1.2 X311L Localized Power Cord Kit North 2 N/C

We'll be using the Sun T2000 for testing of open source solutions for Business Intelligence, in support of our research both for our book project and for our strategic consulting services. We'll be reporting the results of our testing on this blog, the wiki and lens. We'll also be using Linux and Windows platforms as part of the testing. In addition to the performance and functional testing, we're also providing background information on the OSS BI projects. An example of which can be found in the series of podcasts that we just published with the folks at Pentaho. Part 3 also contains links to Part 1 and Part 2.

I also asked if Doris knew when the T2000 will be shipping? It will help in
our planning to know when to expect it. And it will help me contain my excitement at getting this new toy. :>> Clarise is pretty excited too.

Update: It looks like we'll have the machine by the end of March. April and May are going to be very busy.

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New Laptop for the Old Folks

My parent's laptop died this weekend. It's a five year old Sony, so no real complaints. Dad is going nuts without access. I spent the day setting-up an old Dell that we kept as a spare, even though it has intermittent video problems. I thought this was a quick fix, while I decide what to get for them. But Murphy was against us. On logging into an account, it can no longer find the harddrive - so odd seeing a message, please insert disk into /dev/.../harddisk/DR-2; like it's removable media. /sigh

I'm considering getting them either an Apple or a TabletPC. The Apple for its reliability, simpleness and iLife software - all they use a computer for is email, web, IM and photo storage. The TabletPC has appeal because they can use it anywhere easily, and they really liked the touchscreen on their old 3Com Audrey. Of course, with the Apple, I can test web designs on Safari without going to an Apple store. :-)

What they really need is a Palm LifeDrive with a 10-inch screen & a 40GB harddrive. I think that should be our next venture.

Any thoughts?

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889



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