The Return of the Daily Blog Post…

Nothing like making a rod for your own back!

I set myself up a few months ago to commit to a daily blog post for 30 days. I’m glad to say that this worked extremely well and I did in fact blog for much longer than the 30 days. More recently, the blogs posts have fallen off and I’m lucky to manage one or two a week.

However, the discipline of trying to write something every day was quite stimulating and I did receive lots of positive feedback, so I’m going to give it another go.

The posts may not be long and lengthy essays every day but at least I’ll try and keep to a regular schedule of creating a post once I’ve completed my morning emails. As usual, I’ll post a single tweet each morning once it’s done, so you can keep track that way, or of course subscribe to the RSS feed (badge is in the side bar) for the more traditional approach.

OK, that’s the first one done.



Who said “cheat?” ;-) 


New iPhone blog presentation…

If you’re reading this blog via an iPhone, you will have noticed a few changes!

All down to a rather smart WordPress plugin called WPTouch (available from Brave New Code)

Thanks to Legion for the suggestion.

It took all of ten minutes to install and configure and I think adds a lot to the readability of the blog on the iPhone or iPod touch.

If you don’t like it and would rather have the original theme, you can switch it off at the bottom of the page.

Time for a re-think…

Well, if you follow my blog (or watch the show), you’ll know that I picked up a second Intel based Mac Pro when the new Mac Pros came out a few weeks ago. I just had to take advantage of the great savings available by getting one of the “End of life” Mac Pros, basically picking up a non “Nehalem” 8 core plus 16GB memory for the same price as a new iMac.

The master plan was to use the second Mac Pro as a dedicated video editing machine, keeping the existing Mac Pro as my general purpose desktop machine but combing both machines as a virtual cluster when encoding. In order to make the best use of my 30″ monitor, I setup a KVM to share the monitor between both machines.

After a couple of weeks, a couple of observations…

The KVM works well but has proved to be extremely disruptive to my workflow. Although the idea of a dedicated editing machine is fine, I’ve found that I don’t work that way in reality. When editing, I still need to do other tasks and found myself switching to the desktop machine much more than I anticipated.

I ended up with just using the KVM to switch the monitor but still ended up with 2 mice and 2 keyboards (yes I know about Teleport and Synergy) and really, it’s become more of a pain than I anticipated.

I really missed the three monitor setup I had with the original Mac Pro and found reverting back to a two monitor setup (albeit, two monitors on each machine due to the KVM) to be a retrograde step.

So I’ve had a re-think about the current setup.

What I think I’ll do is to revert to a single desktop for both my normal day to day computing and video editing, and go back to the three monitor setup. However, I still want the second Mac Pro for encoding duties so that’s going to replace the current G5 tower used by my wife, and I’ll probably sell the G5 tower.

Just a slight change to the mix is the introduction of the new MacBook Pro, ordered to replace the MacBook Air. I’ll configure the new laptop to do all podcast publishing duties including publishing my RSS feeds (via Feeder) and publishing my ScreenCastsOnline website (using Rapidweaver). This will enable me to make sure I can still publish when travelling without having to transfer all the settings from my desktop machine to the laptop each time if I know I’m going to be away. I’m also hoping to do a lot of work over the next few months updating the ScreenCastsOnline website so if it’s on the laptop, I can do it from anywhere (even the living room!). Updates to the blog are covered as that’s based on WordPress so I can update that from any machine.

I’ll probably also change the configuration of my iPhone so it synchronises with the MacBook Pro rather than the desktop machine, again, that’s always been a pain when preparing to do any travelling.

Another big area of change is in my backup strategy but I’ll save that for another blog post!

What an effort…

Just a short one today!

It’s Good Friday here in the UK and I forgot all about it. So instead of taking a day off (with it being a public holiday) I’m scrambling to get todays show out of the door and kick back a little. Another big family party tomorrow and I said I’d help my wife help out with the arrangements.

I’d just like to extend a huge congratulations to the MacHeist team, and to everyone who took part in the promotion, for the amazing total raised for charity – $850,000

Hopefully my screencasts helped along the way, but what an amazing achievement overall.

MacHeist 3 Charity Breakdown

New kit..

Remember that new Mac mini I told you I was going to get ages ago (well, when the models came out anyway). Well, I finally bit the bullet and bought one of the base models from the Liverpool One Apple store last night. The base configuration is:

  • 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 1GB memory
  • 120GB hard drive
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics

Shame on you Apple for selling a machine with 1GB!

Seriously, would it have hurt to cram in another 1GB stick for the same price?

Ah well, based on my experiences with my older G4(?) PowerPC based Mac mini, it’s no big deal to upgrade the memory and a 4GB upgrade kit is only £50 from crucial.

At least, that’s what I thought!

Gazmaz from ForMacEyesOnly sent me a PDF (see his Mac mini page) and video he’s put together and the memory upgrade looks to be significantly more fiddly now :-( I may just leave it with the 1GB but the extra RAM is really needed. We’ll see!

Before you ask, why have I acquired yet another Mac, well this one is for several reasons connected with the show. I’ll be using it this week to demo a new piece of hardware that’s just been released and I needed a standard Intel based machine with multiple USB ports. I didn’t want to use the Mac Pro as that might “colour” the real life performance of this new gadget.

I’ll also be doing a show or two in the near future about using the Mac mini as a replacement for the Apple TV for all your media playback.

Besides, you can never have too many Macs.

And before anyone else comments that I get a new Mac every month (boy, getting defensive aren’t I), I went a whole year between buying the MacBook Air and the Mac Pro so cut me some slack ;-)

So what if I’m making up for it now!