June 2006 - Chris Ullrich dot net
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June 2006

New iMac, Bootcamp and playing games


after moving into the new place i realized that it was a great opportunity to get rid of stuff i really don’t need and could do without or could substitute something else for. so, out went the big g5 tower (to my bro, sam). out went the big pc tower (to my friend shaun) and in came the new 20″ intel iMac from Apple. not just any new 20″ intel iMac mind you. i sprung for the extra video ram (doubled it to 256 megs) and maxed out the ram to 2gb. a must, really. ram is pretty cheap these days and is a great way to improve performance for not that much money. if you have the means i definitely suggest maxing out the ram in any Mac you purchase. you won’t be sorry you did.

what does this all mean and why should you care? you might not unless you enjoy the occasional game of half-life 2 or other pc only game. or, you want to run outlook or some other pc app that has no mac counterpart. like the macbook, i decided to install bootcamp and use the iMac as my new windows machine on the desktop. i did this mostly to see if it would replace my pc tower as a gaming machine. the short answer is yes. absolutely.

in fact, using the iMac booted into windows xp provided a superior gaming experience than i previously had on my windows gaming box. the iMac performed very very well. so, it has replaced two machines for me and now i have much more room on my desk to pile up other stuff i need to get to. so, if you are looking for a great gaming machine and want to play pc games and mac games, the intel iMac is a great choice. it also does other stuff like check email, browse the internet and normal computer things.

i have not tried it with very many other pc games yet. i felt that half-life 2 was a good game to start with given that the system requirement of the game are quite high. it a beautiful game to see and it looks great on the 20″ monitor of the iMac and its even in widescreen 16 x 9. very cool. i won’t go into the whole installing boot camp procedure here as its kinda boring. suffice to say that i installed it and used it in the normal way without any changes. installed windows xp w/sp2 without a problem and was in windows and running soon afterward.

the one change that turned out to greatly improve things was that i ditched the ati drivers that bootcamp puts on the driver install cd and instead used other video drivers from the super genius over at omega. these drivers rock. much better than the lame ones that bootcamp wants you to use. after making this change i got greater frame rates and no freezes or anything.

to be honest, i had no freezes prior to replacing the drivers but i did see the increased performance from these drivers that i hoped. so, if you go to all the trouble to do all of this, be sure to get the omega drivers and use them. one other note. you can’t install drivers that you get from the ati website so don’t bother downloading them at all. even though the video card in the 20″ imac is technically an ati x1600 it doesn’t mean you can actually use the drivers from ati. you can use the omega ones and you should.

so over the last couple of months i have cut the number of computers i have at home in half. two laptops into one: the macbook. and two desktops into one: the iMac. not to mention that the iMac runs so much quieter and cooler than the g5 tower its not even funny. the g5, while a great machine, is really hot and really noisy. now i can actually enjoy music in my office again and not have to turn it way up to drown out the sounds of the g5 tower. i am much happier now.

in other news, i made a couple of posts at Laist lately and will also be heading down to san diego in july to cover the big san diego comic con. i haven’t been in several years and this will be my first time in a long time mostly as an observer and attendee. the last couple of times i was there with a film project or something and was too busy to really look around.

so this time should be fun. although, its not all fun. there will be a little business too. i will be making a few notes for Laist as well as meeting with a few people regarding some upcoming projects that i can’t talk about at the moment. very secret and all that you know. suffice to say that i might be going back into yet another business i was in a long time ago. at least a little bit. or, maybe more than a little bit. what can i say? i like to keep busy.

Mac OSX 10.5 Screenshots, Global Warming and more


ok, this could, of course, be a fake. as many like it have been in the past. however, this looks more real than anything i have seen so far on the web so . . . you never know. could be real.

in other things around the web:

here’s a list of the 50 worst video games ever. at least according to the folks at game revolution.com

in 1939, Disney openly discriminated against women becoming animators in a circulated memo. having worked at Disney with the animation department i can tell you i don’t remember meeting very many women animators at all. and that was pretty recently.

our planet is the hottest it’s been in 2000 years. i wonder if there’s something to that global warming stuff? of course, the brain-trust that is the bush administration maintains that global warming is just a theory and isn’t a real threat. hmmm.

and, the FBI arrested 7 people who may be involved in a plot to blow up, among other things, the sears tower.

last but not least, they are watching you so don’t do anything weird. your tax dollars at work.



the theme of this blog, of late, has been change. i did other jobs. went back to former careers. loved and hated them at the same time. changed the coloring and theme of the site and a bunch of other things. all under the heading of change. to some, change is bad. i don’t think it is either good or bad. i think it depends upon how you change and if you really want to change. in other words, it depends on the person.

anyway, as you have seen this site has changed themes about once or twice a day for the last few days. i don’t really know what i want it to look like exactly. if i had more skills in the web design department i could probably get it to do what i want. sadly, those skills i do not have. so, i am left with mucking around inside the typepad themes and some “advanced” themes of my own to see what works and what doesn’t. until then, it will just be a bunch of stuff thrown against a wall to see what sticks.

so what’s going on in the world. let’s see, shall we:

Apple’s market share could blow up soon thanks to the ipod and the switch to intel, mostly.

MacBooks can now come in many of your favorite flavors. i still like black but have at it.

Blue Ray, one of the much-hyped HD DVD formats debuts next week. i’m trying to get excited about it, i really am. no really. maybe i’ll wait and see what HDDVD looks like. i’ve heard that neither one of them makes watching “XXX” or “Basic Instinct-2” any better. i’ll stick with normal dvd for the moment until more titles that i really care about are released.

Google Calendar now has two, count ’em, two more new features. get yours today!

NASA will explain how black hole’s work on june 21st. i’ll be listening. maybe they will have something about it on discovery hd theater. they have a lot of NASA stuff there. don’t have discovery hd theater? well, get directv then and you will. if you do get directv, please mention that i sent you so i get my kickback. thanks.

And talk about changes. Microsoft big cheese Bill Gates has decided to step back from his post as big cheese over the next two years to devote himself full-time to his foundation. well, at some point money doesn’t mean much so you may as well help people with your billions.

fortunately, nutcase steve ballmer will not be in charge. and by nutcase i, of course, mean great guy who is just misunderstood. (in case there are any microsoft lawyers who read this). meet the new boss, ozzie (no, not this ozzy) this one.

oh, the picture at the top is just to show that no matter how much trouble you get into early in life you still have a chance to, you guessed it, change. bill didn’t do too bad for himself now did he?

Site Design

i will be messing with the design of this site again so please don’t be offended if things change a little (or a lot ) here and there. this is the first change in about a year or so and i think change is good most of the time. anyway, on with the changes.

at the moment i think i am kinda in a minimalist kind of mood. simple and not too many colors to distract the reader/ viewer. i wonder if the text is too small to read? not for me but you never know who might be reading this thing (someone must be).

Flocking it again and some LAist news

i am trying the new version of the pretty cool browser called flock. flock combines many of the tools that i use (blog software, image browsing, search, news, etc.) into one easy to use interface. it’s really come a long way since the last beta i used. a really long way.

its tough though because i am now a big fan of camino, especially on the mac book. it really flies and loads pages very quickly. flock doesn’t seem quite as fast but it does offer many more features that are built into it so its got a lot going for it.

i will keep using it and make a few more notes down the road a little. in the meantime, i am still putting the mac book through its paces and more and more it is performing very well. even on my lap it is still a pleasure to use. not too hot. nor am i experiencing the swollen battery issue or any yellow stains, as some others are reporting. search and you will find the deets.

still not in love with the keyboard although i am getting used to it more each day. broken record, i know. sorry, i type on it quite a bit so it means something to me. also, i still wish it wasn’t quite so big. i wonder if there is any way to get a big screen experience on a small form-factor laptop? maybe some day.

last but not least some interesting news. tony pierce is the new editor-in-chief over at laist. i have read his blog for a long time so working with him now should be a great experience. i anticipate some nights of hard drinking and tall tales. or, maybe just one drink and a quick story. who knows?

so, check him out at laist. i am going to start posting more there as well. in fact, just did one a few days ago so if you have a spare minute, head on over an take a read. comments welcome. i especially am interested in anything constructive. simple abuse is not really helpful and makes you look like an ass. so there.

More with the Macbook, Windows and Bootcamp

And now, a little more on the very cool macbook. now that i have had chance to use it for a little time i have come to like it even more. i put in the 2gigs of ram and that made all the difference. it is now one heck of a machine. i got mine from other world computing but you can get it almost anywhere. i recommend owc or new egg or crucial.

i managed to get all my info transferred over from the powerbook and now most of the apps seem to work. some are, of course, not universal such as microsoft office or photoshop, but even those still open pretty fast and are able to be used with no problem. although, as i said before, more memory does help.

the first time you open them it does take a minute but after that they run just fine. as well as they did on my previous laptop, the 12“ powerbook with 1.5 ghz g4 processor ( a great machine that i will miss). fortunately, the powerbook found a good home with my friend zach from laist and the oaks so i know its being put to good use. he will treat it well.

so, a few more thoughts on the macbook:

the black is starting to show more crap from my fingers. mostly on the track pad but some on the rest of it too. not so bad but a little annoying. it can be cleaned and the stuff seems to come off pretty easy by just rubbing it with a soft cloth such as the kind you used to get with every sony ericcson cell phone. soft is the key here as i don’t really know how much this thing could scratch if i pressed harder.

also, i am still not in love with the keyboard. although, as i use it more i find that it gets easier. it might be because i am a lazy typer and was very used to the keys being so close together so now that they are not, i am getting more typos. i think apple will realize that this keyboard isn’t very good and perhaps make some changes to it. i wonder what steve jobs thought about it when he used it for the first time. i bet he didn’t love it either and just thought it looked ”cool“. which it sorta does so there you go.

i have also installed bootcamp on the macbook and yes, windows xp. now that it is up and running it works just like an xp laptop when i am booted in windows and its a mac when running osx. installing boot camp was sort of a pain and here are the two most important things to realize when you are going to try to do it:

you must an installer cd with windows xp pro or home with service pack 2.

you cannot use the actual windows installer cd because it is too shiny for the cd drive in the macbook. it won’t work. at least it didn’t for me.

i had to make an exact copy of the windows installer cd onto a cd that was not shiny and then the install went off without a hitch.

now, my best windows machine is a mac. go figure.

more later. but a hint. i am going to install final cut pro studio and see what happens when i run it with the shared video memory. i bet it won’t make that much of a difference but we’ll see.