First post from the iMac

Cheryl and I went to Stratford this morning to go and buy an iMac. Cheryl has been saying she wants one for quite a while now, and I think that some sort of desktop computer would be preferable for writing code on because I need screen real estate.

We decided to go and buy the 27-inch one with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB SATAII hard drive, and a bunch of other cool bits. Luckily Cheryl’s student card still passed the inspection by the staff in the Apple store, so we got 12% off.

We did ask the guy to give us the keyboard with the numpad section, and he said yes, but when we got home we found he hadn’t swapped it at all. Oh well, not a huge problem.

Getting the thing home was a massive effort. I had to carry it through the Westfield shopping centre as it was getting busier and busier. Then I had to carry it down escalators and through the tube gates and then find a place to stand with it on the tube. It was quite awkward at times, but luckily the trains leaving Stratford were considerably less busy than the ones arriving there.

At the moment it’s been set up on the dining table. It’ll probably be here for a while because there’s nowhere else suitable for it. When we get rid of the Christmas tree we’ll hopefully put some sort of big desk thing in its place and the iMac can live there. Then I’ll get a nice computer chair and everything will be nice.

Since we got it back here I’ve been configuring it to work more like a Linux installation. I’ve got my terminal set up, installed git, ports, Chrome, Spotify, Xcode, and all the other crap you need to make a computer feel personalised. It’s starting to feel pretty nice. It’s basically the most well-designed Linux distribution out there.

So yeah, I now have Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX running at the same time, as well as an Xbox 360, a PS3, and a Wii. I guess I just don’t believe in brand loyalty.

Subscription TV over the Internet

I recently signed up for Lovefilm again when I saw that I can stream a bunch of stuff via my PS3. They’ll also send me DVD/Blu-ray/PS3 games in the post and I can send them back when I’m done. I pay £14 a month no matter how much I watch, which seems like a good deal to me.

I pay for an Unlimited card at Cineworld so that I can go and see as many films as I like at the cinema for £13.50 a month. Cheryl and I tend to go to 4 or 5 films a month, which makes it considerably cheaper per film than not having the card and seeing the same number of films. We get to see all of the latest films as they come out in awesome quality complete with surround sound (and idiots with their phones on).

I pay £10 a month to Spotify so that I can stream whatever music I like (with very few limitations) to my work and home computers, and also my mobile phone without any advertising, at a high quality.

When I want to watch a TV show I have to watch it as it plays out on TV with advertising, or record it with a DVR when it’s on so I can watch it later. Other than sometimes on Virgin there seems to be no concept of an on demand catalogue of shows. Why? I would quite happily pay £15 a month or so for an archive of TV shows to be available at the press of a button on a variety of my devices in different locations. If LoveFilm had rights to more shows I would definitely go there for them, but sadly they don’t.

An additional problem is that I am a fan of shows on Facebook, so I get all sorts of updates as the latest episodes of How I Met Your Mother or House get shown over there, and then I get to wait 6 months for the episode to air over here on a channel (as part of a package) I have to pay Sky to watch even though I only want 1 or 2 shows.

Why would I do that? Why should I do that? If I want I can download the entire episode within hours of it airing in the US with ads removed and play it on my PS3, my phone, burn it to DVD and play it basically anywhere, etc..

It is obvious that the subscriber model works, I subscribe to almost all of my media these days. If you guys make it available in a sensible way then I will happily give you my money for it. If you continue doing it this way then people will continue to make it freely available. If you want to succeed you have to make your stuff as available as TeH pIrAtEz do, but legally and for a decent price.

Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums

For a few years now I’ve had a goal to listen to Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums in full.

When I discovered Spotify I realised that it could help me out a lot, so I listened to a few albums here and there to start increasing my count. Then, for some reason, I stopped listening to them. I think I got a bit disillusioned by all the albums I didn’t like, so I just stopped.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve restarted my efforts. When I first started I could only definitely remember having heard 13 of the albums in full. I have now heard 158 of them! It feels good to be making progress, and I don’t seem to be getting too bogged down with albums I don’t like.

I’ll get there one day!