Friday, January 23, 2009

Geek Heaven

My new iMac arrived yesterday, so since then my butt has been glued firmly to my seat and I have been in geek heaven as I mess around with it.

It has a 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, 750GB hard drive, a hardware-accelerated NVIDIA GeForce 8800GS graphics card with 512MB of VRAM (1920x1200 resolution with 32 bit colour) 5 USB ports (3 on the back of the screen and 2 on the keyboard), a FireWire 800 port and a FireWire 400 port. The screen is 24" of digital wonderfulness - I love it.

For those of you who are only used to Windows, I can make you green with envy by telling you that it takes a matter of 5 minutes of user interaction to set up a new Mac, followed by a few hours of disk activity depending on how much data needs copying from your old machine.

I connected my old MacBook to the iMac via FireWire and booted both. The iMac asked me a couple of simple questions and then I went for breakfast and to watch some classic Doctor Who episodes as the iMac copied over all my data, mail, account settings, preferences - literally everything which personalises your machine. Less than 3 hours later the new machine is ready to use and is indistinguishable in operation to the old one- seamless. Also - the OS itself is full updated in one hit so no need for the usual Windows Four-Days-Of-Downloads-And-Updates rubbish.

Spore - a Christmas present from Lynne - proves more difficult to install and requires that I unplug all external drives and close down all processes before it will update itself successfully. Why is games software still so flaky? I can see why dedicated consoles such as the PS3 are so popular!

However, Spore is not available on a console, so I persevere - and what a spectacular game it is. You control a single-celled organism from the moment it arrives in the tidal pool through all its stage of evolution from simple organism through to space travel, having a hand in designing the look and capabilities of your creature as it evolves. Very engrossing.

Pardon me while I get back to it - we just invented fire.....

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