Hmm, maybe I spoke to soon in my previous blog where I stated that the Apple TV doesn't work on standard definition 'square' TVs (like mine). According to this article, it does work. The article even includes a picture to prove it. Apparently it supports a '480i' resolution, which is the resolution of a standard definition TV. It looks like I'm going to have to research this some more.
Well this sucks.
I've been interested in the Apple TV ever since they first announced it back in January. I'd always seen it as simply an iPod that uses your TV as a display. Turns out I was only partially right. After reading this review of it, I find out that it's actually just an iPod that uses your widescreen TV as a display. It also outputs high definition video. All the TVs in my house are of the 'old fashioned' standard definition, 'square' kind. This means I basically can't use the Apple TV. What a bummer! I was seriously considering getting one of these things.
Now, I have no real plans to upgrade to HDTV anytime soon. All my 'old' TVs work perfectly and I think the DirecTV picture quality is quite acceptable. I'm perfectly happy with my current TV situation. I've thought that maybe I'll upgrade to HDTV around the end of this year or early next year, but that is by no means certain. Upgrading to HDTV is a low priority for me.
Oh well. I guess I'll have to do the old 'sneaker-net' way of watching iPod videos on my TV... Plug the iPod itself into the TV. This is far from an optimal way of doing things though.
Last night, I saw the movie '300'.
'300' is the story of 300 Spartan warriors who are sent out, with their king to hold off a massive army that is massing to attack Sparta. This is an army likely in the millions, compared to only 300 Spartan warriors. They are obviously vastly outnumbered and likely to die, but they go out to defend their country anyway. Why only 300 soldiers? Because apparently there was a lot of political arguing over whether or not the enemy was going to attack them. The king believed they were, but the politicians didn't. Since the king couldn't get approval to send the entire army, he secretly collects a small group of 300 warriors to go off and hold off the enemy until the politicians can decide on whether or not to send the rest of the army.
Now these 300 soldiers are not just any soldiers. They are Spartans - the best soldiers in the world. This small group of 300 Spartans is able to hold off an army of thousands for a long period of time.
I have to say I was surprised by this movie. I was expecting a typical 'gladiator style' blood and guts type movie. While it did have it's share of blood and guts, it wasn't as graphic as I expected. The movie had a very stylized look to it. All the fight scenes tended to have almost a 'comic-bookish' feel to them. They were violent, but not in the typical way. It's kind of hard to describe, but the movie kind of reminds me of the 'Sin City' style of movie. This is not surprising, since this is another comic book inspired movie, like Sin City was.
All in all, I have to say, the movie was quite good and I enjoyed it. Definately worth catching if you have the time.
Well, I've had a Wii for a while now and I've never seen anyone show up on the Wii Parade. I thought it was automatic. Guess not. Anyway, if you want to chat with my on the Wii, my Wii number is:
4981 4304 5607 7915
Ok, so HD sharing on the PC side with the Airport Extreme seriously sucks. The question is, how well does it work on the Mac? I'm happy to report that it works much better on the Mac side (not surprisingly). While it still only maintains a 3-4MB/sec transfer speed when copying files to the shared HD, at least it works. Unlike Windows, it doesn't seem to die in mid-copy like it does on the Windows side. It works reliably. This is a good sign. Because of that slow transfer speed, it's not practical to run programs full time off the shared HD, but it is still practical to use as a backup HD.
Ok, I have to amend my previous comments that the HD sharing on the Airport Extreme works. While it does technically share the drives, it is effectively useless.
If you copy any more than the smallest files to the AE, it just doesn't work right. Last night I tried to copy a large amount of data (50GB) to the shared HD. It copies VERY slow. I was seeing about 1-3MB/sec. This is on a direct, wired connection to the router! At that rate, 50GB will take forever to copy. Plus, while this copy is going on, Internet access through the AE, even if it's just web browsing is horribly slow. To make matters worse, every now and then, the copy will just fail in mid copy.
All this testing was done using Windows Vista. Whether this problem is exclusive to Windows, I'm not sure. I'll have to try this on the Mac to see if it also happens. Irregardless, this is unacceptable and Apple needs to fix this immediately
Ok, this truly sucks.
Last night, I was playing with Objective C. I had written an O-C class and tried to include a C++ class as a member variable of the O-C class. Now, you would think this would be possible, since you can create Objective-C++ classes that take advantage of certain C++ features. Apparently, this support of C++ in Objective-C is incomplete at best. I discovered that when I added that C++ class as a member variable, it compiled, but it gave me a warning telling me that the constructor and destructor of that member class would not be called! If the constructor and destructor don't get called, C++ classes are basically useless! What else won't get called on the C++ class in this case? This really sucks. This means that I had to basically rewrite that C++ class as a full Objective-C class in order to use it properly.
This, in my opinion is a glaring hole in the current implementation of Objective-C. It seems inconceivable to me that you can easily include any C code you want, but only certain parts of C++ work in Objective-C. I really hope they fix this in Objective-C 2.0, that is coming Real Soon Now, in Leopard!
Well, I've been living with the Apple Airport Extreme for a bit over a week now, and I wanted to give a few updates on how things are going.
One thing I hadn't tried yet when I wrote about it previously, was to see how the admin tool works on the Windows side. I mostly use the Mac these days, but I do still have Windows running on another machine (and Vista at that!) and I wanted to give it a try. I'm happy to report that the Windows version of the admin tool is basically identical to the Mac version. It has all the same controls, icons, features etc that the Mac version does, all in the same places. This makes it very easy to switch between the two since they are nearly identical. The only difference is that the Windows version doesn't have the little search box in the upper right hand corner of the window. This is a handy feature for finding things in the app and it's loss on the Windows side is unfortunate. The admin app also appears to work perfectly in Vista - a very good sign.
I do have one complaint about the UI of the admin tool though, both in Windows and in the Mac. The problem is, when you go to the manual setup, there is just so much stuff in there, that it's hard to find things. Some features seem really buried in the UI and they can be hard to find, and once you do find them, it can be hard to get back out from them. One example of this is the DHCP client list. This list shows you all the computers that are currently connected to your router, along with their MAC addresses. It's a very handy list to have when you are trying to set up DHCP to always assign the same IPs to certain machines. The problem is that this list is buried underneath a 'logs' button. Once you click this 'Logs' button, the UI changes to allow you access to the logs, but there is no clear way back out of the logs section, short of clicking on one of the main tab icons on the top. On the plus side, this DHCP static IP feature seems to work well on the AE. It seems to be setting the IPs properly as I configure them. I could never get that to work properly for all devices on my old router. The admin app really needs to be reorganized a bit, to make some of these more buried features a bit easier to find.
I've also had a chance to work with the HD sharing using the Airport Extreme, since my last blog. This feature seems a bit 'iffy' so far. It works, but not perfectly. Sometimes when you plug a HD into it, it automatically detects the drive and prompts you to connect to it. Sometimes it doesn't. Even though it doesn't prompt you, the drive is there. You can actually see the drive as a share on it, if your browse through your network. This means you can easily connect to the drives, even if they aren't autodetected and mount them in Windows or the Mac. Basically, your AE shows up as just another computer on your network that happens to be sharing a couple of 'folders'. These folders are actually the entire hard drives themselves, but it is a logical approach to handling it. I've also noticed that my external HDs tend to get quite hot if left running for a while... I don't think this is a problem with the AE, but with the external enclosures I have them in... They have no ventilation, so the drives are getting too hot. I'm probably going to have to investigate getting some better designed enclosures for those. I don't like how hot those things are getting.
All in all, I still like the AE. It works well, and it looks great. I love that it doesn't have any ugly antennas sticking up all over the place, like all the other wireless routers out there.
Yeah, yeah, I know. I spend most of my time using OS X these days, but on occasion I do some 'slumming' in the Windows world. I do program Windows for a living, after all. Yesterday, I downloaded Microsoft's new Virtual PC 2007. I wanted to try it because it supports hardware virtualization. This means that the virtual PC that you run should run nearly as fast as your main PC. I wanted to give my first impressions of it.
So far, my first impression is not good. I downloaded Ubuntu Linux as an ISO image. Once installed, I launched Virtual PC 2007 with the ISO image mounted as the CD ROM drive. The virtual machine booted up and Ubuntu seemed to install properly. Once Ubuntu rebooted however, things got bizarre. The virtual machine window expanded to a little wider than my screen size of 1600x1200 and less than half of my screen height. (1600x400? what kinda resolution is that???) I tried everything to get it to work with no luck.
Once Ubuntu failed, I decided to try another Linux, so I downloaded Open Suse. I created a new virtual machine for it, mounted the ISO image again and 'rebooted' the virtual machine. Open Suse came up, got to the splash screen and just stopped. I rebooted several times and trie again with no luck. Finally I rebooted and forced Open Suse to 800x600 resolution. That seemed to do the trick. I left it installing when I left for work this morning. We'll see how it goes.
Another odd and really annoying thing about Virtual PC 2007 is that if you choose 'other' as the type of operating system to install, it defaults to only giving the machine 128MB! That is way too little amount of RAM! Can you imagine trying to run any relatively modern operating system with that little amount of RAM? It'll never happen.
My current theory is that VPC is having some kind of problem with virtual screen resolutions... If you let it 'autodetect' the resolution, it doesn't seem to work right, but if you force it to a certain resolution, it seems to work better.
Why did I call this article 'Bleeding Edge Virtualization'? Because not only am I using a brand new virtual machine app, I'm also trying to run it on Microsoft Vista - a brand new operating system. Maybe the two don't 'get along' very well. I didn't check this, but since Virtual PC 2007 was supposed to be a part of Vista Ultimate Edition, naturally I assumed they would work together. I'll have to try installing a version of Windows in a virtual machine and see what happens... Somehow I think that will go much better. :(