Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mixed bag

First of all, let's hit Apple's product announcements from earlier today:

The Mac Mini and iBook lines both received upgrades today. There are now three base models of Mini - priced at $499, $599, and $699. The $499 model is unchanged, except for an upgrade to 512MB of RAM as standard. The $599 also gets the extra RAM, plus AirPort and Bluetooth are now standard as well. And the $699 model adds a SuperDrive to the mix. Nice incremental upgrade, but nothing major. I was kind of hoping Apple would also bump up the VRAM on the Mini series to 64MB, which would have made it a little better for low-to-mid level gaming. I don't think we'll see an explosion in Mini sales as a result of the upgrade, but it will improve the user experience for buyers. 256MB was woefully inadequate for running Mac OS X. And the low-end model includes a modem - but it is now an option on the two fancier models. So basically a modem was swapped for AirPort and Bluetooth.

The iBook now just consists of two base models. a 1.33 GHz 12" model, and a 1.42 GHz 14" model. AirPort and Bluetooth 2.0 are now standard, as are the scrolling trackpad and shock sensors from the PowerBook line. 512MB RAM is also standard across the line (the eMac is the only Mac left that ships with 256MB in any configuration), and the hard drive on the low-end iBook is now 40GB - an upgrade from 30GB. At $999 with all those features, the 12" iBook is now a pretty sweet value.

I think we'll see one more revision to each of those product lines along with the PowerBooks before the first Intel Macs start shipping next year. Expect a PowerBook tweak in a couple of months.

Now, for a quick visit to our home life, David is going through the "one step forward, two steps back" phase of development. On the plus side of the ledger, he's been learning to swim, and has gotten progressively braver in the water most days. He also is capable of drinking well from a normal cup, and we usually give him one at dinner. His tendency to destroy things is also down. And he now is getting to wear pull-ups ("underwear") during the day if he wants to. On the minus side, his table habits have gotten generally worse to the point where we have to threaten him with the baby seatbelt to get him to sit, he can be downright nasty verbally at times, and last night he pooped in the tub (which resulted in a one-day revocation of the underwear privilege).

It's called "being three", and he will outgrow it in a year or so. But it can be maddening at times.

In other home news, Gracie lost her final fang last week - she tried to follow Jane into the cellar, wandered up onto a ledge, and fell down, knocking it out. So she's going to have to rely on her claws to take out any mice that might come around. Our vet pulled the tooth Friday night - assuming it heals right it will be no biggie, but if it gets infected he'll have to go in for the root. It looks OK so far.

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