Tags: consumer whore

rock on

At long last

Your Apple Account has been successfully
set up for use on the iTunes Music Store.

You can now buy music from the iTunes Music Store.

I registered my credit card. Now, let's see how quickly I can max out my £400 limit...

Cool Cat

I've been fairly lucky with Mac OS X since the first Public Beta was released upon the public in the last quarter of 2000. At the time, I almost couldn't bring myself to purchase this beta for the £25 ($42.41) asking price, but I went ahead with it anyway.

In March 2001, Mac OS X 10.0 was released. I had been invited to a "seminar" on this new product, which was being held at a hotel not 15 minutes walk from here, so I went along to see OS X demonstrated in all its glory. When I registered my presence I was invited to enter a raffle for a free boxed copy of Mac OS X at the end of the seminar, so I wrote my name on the back of the supplied business card and dropped it in the glass bowl.

The presentation was entertaining, not least because I knew the guy hosting the seminar. I last met him in June 1999, when he worked for Apple's then Education unit Xemplar. It was during my post-exams month in my final year of "high school", while I was working in my almost exclusively Mac-based school's IT Support department, that this guy paid us a visit to demonstrate a pre-release Mac OS X. There were numerous interface glitches present, and Aqua hadn't even been introduced yet, but the Classic model was in place and a lot of it worked.

As the presentation came to an end, the raffle was held. One card would be drawn out of the bowl, and the person whose name appeared on the card would win themselves a boxed copy of Mac OS X. I sat in shock... as my name was read out. I still can't believe my luck to this day.

After the crowds had dispersed, I stuck around for a small Q&A session with the presenter. I don't think he recognised me, but I at least scored one of about five Mac OS X "The Future Is Here" T-shirts which the organisers had forgotten to give out as raffle prizes earlier. I left on a high, with a bagful of goodies to take home.

As Mac OS X 10.1 came out, free copies were offered to those who had Proof of Purchase coupons supplied with Mac OS X 10.0. Fortunately, three of these came included with my free boxed copy, so I got 10.1 for free too. When 10.2 "Jaguar" rolled around, it was a while before the "Mac OS X for Teachers" promotion was introduced, giving those teachers in Higher Education who went through the application process a free copy of 10.2 upon application. Dad mercifully (I should probably say "duly" by now) brought this promotion to my attention via the promotional material sent to his school. Yay: free, genuine 10.2 installation discs.

Believe it or not, there was an upside to receiving my new PowerBook weeks later than I had previously expected. Because I didn't receive my new computer until after Apple's October 8th announcement of Mac OS X 10.3 "Panther", I apparently qualified for the upgrade program which let me buy Panther for £14 ($23.75). Sweet!

After I took delivery of all the gubbins on Thursday, it took me hours to realise that I didn't have to wait until I could get at the computer to locate its serial number, and that the serial number was printed on the outside of the box. I took a note of the serial number, and promptly used it to purchase my discounted copy of Panther.

Much as I'd have liked to immediately tweak every little detail to my liking as soon as I started up my new computer, I've been forced to do as little configuration on this computer as possible simply because I ordered this completely new OS on Thursday. I plan on wiping and re-partitioning the drive once Panther arrives, so any unnecessary configuration would be wasted. Fortunately I won't have long to wait, as the TNT tracker tells me it's due to be delivered any minute now...

I sold my soul in return for a free popcorn maker

It's true.

The past few days have been manic, as Freshers' Week brings lots of Societies Fayres and the annual drive to recruit fresh blood to my local society/radio station. On Wednesday I spent some time in the studio before being booted over to the main societies fayre to do a lot of talking for four hours, and on the Thursday I spent five hours in the studio answering questions from the people who actually bothered to turn up.

Today was my own uni's fayre, so I took a break from manning the stall to browsing the others, whoring for freebies. I walked away with, among other things, a free popcorn maker. I was entitled to this large freebie because I signed up for a student credit card.

Yes, a credit card. My first.

My reasons for applying for a credit card are simple; some web sites don't accept my debit card, and I don't want to keep borrowing my folks' credit cards when I have money in the bank and the option of having my own card. It'll never leave the house, so there's no real security risk, and I'll never spend more than I can afford.

I know people make such promises and break them almost immediately, but I've never truly been in debt before and I don't particularly want to start any time soon.

Knuckle down...

A big thank you is owed to those of you who helped me decide in the purchase of my new PowerBook. In the end, the 15" PowerBook captured exactly half of the total number of poll votes, with the remaining either undecided or deciding on the 17". While this was a contributing factor in my eventual decision, I also had a hard time justifying the decision to spend an extra £300 on the marginal processor and screen improvements the 17" offered, considering almost everything else was identical. Finally, a special thank you to foxmagic, whose insightful philosophy helped tip the scales in favour of the 15".

The 15-inch PowerBook G4

As an unemployed student, I needed a secondary source of income in order to apply for the 0% interest financing deal on this new PowerBook, so I had to wait for Dad to get home before I could call up the Apple Store and place my order. After a short wait where we listened to Enya hold music (those crazy Irish folks), I placed the order: a 1.25GHz 15.2" PowerBook G4 with the one 1GB DDR333 SO-DIMM SDRAM chip, the 5400rpm 80GB HD, the ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with 64MB RAM and the rest as standard, plus a 3-year warranty. When the guy read out the total order price, it was much less than the price quoted on the "Education" Apple Store web site; the "sales agent" explained that this was because I benefitted from the extra Higher Education discounts. Sweet, I thought; so I bundled a wireless mouse, and still came up with an order cheaper by £155.75 ($250).

"Sales agent" peep then handed me over to the "finance agent" peep, who asked to speak to Dad. Numerous personal and financial details were read out, and a slight misunderstanding over the monthly price occurred when the finance guy tacked on £205.70 ($330) as insurance on the finance without my prior knowledge. Oh well, at least I'm not accruing any interest. A short wait while the financing decision was made, and financing was approved. I think what happens now is we get the finance forms in the post, which Dad signs and returns, upon which my order is processed, built and dispatched.

If I can extend my current feeling of disbelief over the two or three weeks it'll take for the thing to arrive, I won't suffer from a massive amount of anticipation and I'll be really psyched when the thing gets here.

Thanks again, guys and gals!

Update 03:06: seventy-five frames per second on a 1024x768 "high quality" fly-by in UT2003, and a hundred and two fps on the Quake 3 demo running at 1024x768 "high quality"? Oh, hell yeah.
frustration, computer problems, oops

...EEEEEEE — ugh.

Guess what? I'm torn between the 15" PowerBook and the 17" PowerBook.

It wasn't so long ago that given unlimited funds I would have chosen the 17" over the 15" in a heartbeat, but now the 15" PowerBook has been brought almost up to par with its 17" sibling I'm finding it a lot harder to choose. I had a twenty-minute window earlier between Dad finishing his dinner and the store closing to decide on the model I wanted, and I couldn't decide. I hate being indecisive.

My main concern about the 17" PowerBook is it's just too large and unwieldy, even though it's not unreasonably heavy. I would definitely like the extra real-estate though, and it's not as if I can't afford the extra cost if I purchase the PowerBook under a finance plan as intended. If I get a 15" PowerBook, I probably won't be able to help thinking what could have been had I bought the 17" PowerBook.

Looking at the feature comparison table, there really isn't that much in it:
Model:15" PowerBook G417" PowerBook G4
Specifications:1.25GHz PowerPC G4
512K L2 cache
80GB Ultra ATA drive (5400rpm)
AirPort Extreme Card
Backlit Keyboard & Mac OS
AppleCare Protection Plan for PowerBook
15.2-inch TFT display
1280x854 resolution
ATI RADEON Mobility 9600 - 64MB DDR
56K internal modem
Power Adapter
1.33GHz PowerPC G4
512K L2 cache
80GB Ultra ATA drive (5400rpm)
AirPort Extreme Card
Backlit Keyboard & Mac OS
AppleCare Protection Plan for PowerBook
17-inch TFT display
1440x900 resolution
ATI RADEON Mobility 9600 - 64MB DDR
56K internal modem
Power Adapter
Cost:£2,522.76 ($4,006.90)£2,819.78 ($4,478.66)

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djw has advised me against buying any of the Aluminium model PowerBooks, because of its supposed lack of support for foreign UNIXes and I forget what else. I've also talked with rahaeli, and I'll probably consult her again tonight, as she is already the incredibly proud owner of a 17" PowerBook and loves it to bits. As a last resort, I can probably go into John Lewis tomorrow and test out the 17" before I make my final decision. Any help and advice would be appreciated, however, which is why I'd like you to fill out this poll if you could.

Poll #180833 Decide on my new PowerBook G4

Considering both the provided comparison table and my opinions on the matter, which model of PowerBook should I choose?

15" PowerBook G4
17" PowerBook G4
You'll probably hate me for this, but I suck at choosing just as much as you do. Choose whichever you like best


I spoke to a really nice Irish bloke at the Apple Store just now, to confirm a bunch of stuff about the finance promotion in light of this morning's PowerBook announcements. (All of Apple UK's sales and support operations are based in Cork, I think.) So far, this is what I know:
  • Yes, I can apply for 0% interest finance over ten months on the new PowerBooks;
  • Yes, I can build to order (so that'll be a 15" PowerBook G4, with a 1.25GHz G4 processor, one 1GB DDR333 SDRAM chip, and a 5400rpm 80GB Ultra ATA HD then);
  • No, I can't bundle peripherals into the order, just a three-year protection plan (no £120 rebate for bundling an iPod, then);
  • No, there's nothing stopping me from ordering these peripherals separately (Airport Extreme, here I come);
  • Yes, payments start when the order is dispatched, giving me a little leeway given the estimated 4-6 week build time on the 17" PowerBook;
  • They close at 6pm tonight.
So, my intentions are as follows:
  • Buy the PowerBook and protection plan over the phone ASAP before the promotion expires at the end of the month;
  • Buy the Airport Extreme Base Station separately at a shop, if I can get a deal on it;
  • Whore myself for a 40GB iPod for Christmas.
Sounds like a plan!


This morning, the following products were announced during Steve Jobs' keynote at Paris Expo 2003:
  • An updated 12" PowerBook G4, which falls in price, has a faster 1GHz processor and a "Digital Video Interface (DVI) port for connection to any of Apple's flat panel displays";

  • An updated 17" PowerBook G4 which gets a speed bump to 1.33GHz with 1MB on-chip level 2 cache, supports a maximum 2GB RAM, a Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics card and a 2x DVD-R/CD-RW drive;

  • A NEW ALUMINIUM 15" PowerBook G4. If that wasn't enough, how's about a backlit keyboard similar to the 17" model, a 1.25GHz processor with 512KB on-chip L2 cache, an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 graphics card with 64MB DDR RAM, and support for up to 2GB of 333MHz DDR RAM and an HD of up to 80GB capacity? Dude. Sweet;

  • A new, wireless Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, with adaptive frequency hopping to keep a better connection reliable up to thirty feet away, and 128-bit encryption in data transfer. The keyboard uses four AA batteries which last nine months between them; and the mouse uses two AA Lithium batteries that last three months between 'em.
All the new PowerBooks come with OS X 10.2.7 pre-installed, and the 15" and 17" models are available right now. If I can get one of these on the special finance deal, the promotion of which expires in less than two weeks, I would be so unbelievably happy.
frustration, computer problems, oops

My shopping list

...a new PowerBook G4.

The 12" is too small, the 15" too old and the 17"... hasn't yet had the lap test. You can bet I'll be going into an AppleCentre on Tuesday to perform the lap test on the 17" PowerBook, if they have it on display.

Assuming I go for the 17", I'd configure it thusly given the given choices:
  • Processor:
    1GHz PowerPC G4

  • DDR333 SDRAM:
    512MB (+£192.81) 1GB

  • Hard Drive:
    60GB Ultra ATA

  • Optical Drive:

  • Airport Extreme Card

  • Airport Extreme Base Station:
    None (+£136.30) Base Station (no modem) (+£37.60) Base Station (with modem)

  • Extra (fallback) battery (£90.48)

No additional laptop case, second AC adapter, iSight, iPod or.Mac subscription, since I can buy those separately for the same price should I need those. Discussions regarding any additional or existing peripheral choices are more than welcome.

And the educational subtotal? £3,037.72. (US$4,850.63)