Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grid Computing: Folding@Home vs BOINC Part 2 (BOINC Guide and Conclusion)

In this part of the review I'm going to go over how to install BOINC as well as its operation and configuration. One think that I really like about BOINC is that there's an unoffical wikipedia for it, one that is up to date and is generally helpful. Here is the download link for the client and here's a short list of instructions. The install instructions are straight forward, and are identical to that of folding@home (Extract, put in applications folder, run).

Though, there are differences, and when you start running the client you have to choose a project to run. In BOINC, you have to make a username/password for every project you choose. This allows you to manage the preferences online. For just all of the projects you can create a new account from the client, except for world community grid where you need to go to their website in order to sign up. After you have signed up you "log in" using the client. I'm not going to try to persuade you to join a project in this post, as I'm sure it depends on your interests.

Here's how it looks once more, where only the active tasks are available. I have changed around some of the projects since last time. Just a bit more on this, this is the advanced view. I highly recommend the advanced view over the simple view (you can change it by going to "view" in the menubar and clicking "advanced view."

Preferences (Processor usage)
So after you have signed into a project it starts chugging away. Now for the preferences, there's actually a very detailed explanation of all of the settings here, or you can just click the question mark on the botton right (next to "ok" and "cancel"). On Mac if you have an ATI processor the GPU option won't make a difference. For more information there's an article on the wikipedia here. An important setting is going to be the % of the processors and % of CPU time, as you will be using this to control the temperature of your computer. Just a note, for the % of the processors if you have say a quad core processor with hyper-threading and say 100% it will give you 8 logistical processors and not 4 due to the hyper-threading. For example if you use 50% it should only use your four cores (and thus should not use hyper-threading). I personally have my CPU time set at 15% (at most). This is low because I want to preserve my fan speed. I could theoretically schedule BOINC to only run during the night but I still want it run without the fans being too involved (at 2000 rpm as I stated earlier). With these settings I can set BOINC to calculate while I am out and about, as long as my computer is plugged in.

Preferences (Network/Disk and memory usage)
For network I didn't change anything, though just a note. If you select "network activity always available" in the "activity" menubar item the preferences won't affect it. Only thing I changed in memory usage was to decrease the maximum memory usage of active use to 40% (which may still be high depending on your computer's total amount of memory), and I left it at 90% for idle since memory use for me at that time is not a concern.

What I liked/didn't like
One thing where BOINC is ahead of folding@home is its GPU support. At the moment it does support Macs that have NVIDIA GPUs, however my computer has an ATI version, which is not currently supported. However, the current beta version will be able to detect the ATI GPU. In fact, right now for the primeGrid project, already in the preferences there are options use of the ATI GPU. It's just the client that's lagging behind (apparently due to the lack of mac testers). On folding@home there is no support at all for Mac GPUs.

The settings for throttling the CPU is also far more varied, and allows me to set up a schedule where it can run. This was far from true for folding@home. I also enjoyed the fact that these work units are far smaller than that at folding@home, and at time it's interesting to see what tasks are available and active.

One word of caution, one time I shut off the client and closed the lid on the laptop too early. This caused errors in the client (specifically "task x exited with zero status with no 'finished' file) and made me abort a task and reset a project. So be careful when you shut off the client, and allow it to have time to fully quit or else there might be errors.

An update on that error, it came up again after I waited for the app to shut down. I'm going to experiment with just ignoring the error and see whether it'll continue processing.

So in conclusion, BOINC does everything folding@home does and more. It gives you more overall configurable options for the client, has a more intuitive and refined interface, and gives you access to a far greater reach of projects than that of folding@home.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grid Computing: Folding@Home vs BOINC Part 1 (F@H Guide)

I'm going to do a two part segment on my experiences using Folding@Home and BOINC. Last night I was revisiting an old subject, that of grid computing. What are they you might ask? Basically it's having many computers work together over the internet to form models from data, for things such as protein folding (folding@home) or modeling the milky way (milkway@home). Folding@home gives this definition, hopefully it clarifies it a bit for you
Distributed Computing is a method of computer processing in which different parts of a program, or different portions of data, are processing simultaneously on two or more computers that are communicating with each other over a network or through the Internet.

I first wanted to try folding@home, in fact I had no idea BOINC (by the way folding@home started out first, from a team at Stanford, and BOINC later on from a team at Berkeley). So I went to their website and was utterly confused as to what to do. Now I'm using a Mac, and I'm not sure how it's like for windows, but for Mac the user experience just wasn't very good. I wanted to make this guide, to hopefully encourage other mac users to participate in this project. I know that your computer will probably have to run for long periods of time, I personally think it's worth it for the result. Plus, as I said, it for me was very hard to find enough help from the help forums for folding@home, and the website FAQ layout was not very intuitive for me. By the way BOINC stands for "Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing."

To start out I'm going to post how folding@home looks like from InCrease and the BOINC client.

Folding@Home (via InCrease)


This webpage is a good overview of what clients are available. In the process I discovered this, you can either download a command line, or console version, of the software, a preference pane, and a screensaver. I shall discuss the first two methods, as I don't think that the screensaver method is still available.

I first started with their client (I clicked the middle link, for mac OS 10.5), and as I mentioned before it is a preference pane. Now that I've tried it though, I do not recommend this option. Instead I will spend far more time on an option that overlays on top of the command line version. This is because this method is the most configurable out of three, and gives you far more details as to what your computer is actually doing.

First of all, increase can be downloaded here, where you just click "universal binary," the first link. Then put it into applications folder like you would for any application (after you've unzipped). Now it doesn't run out of the box "automatically" and there will be things you need to configure. First of all, go to preferences (command + ,) and click on the "local group" tab. Make sure you change the name of the folder to something that is not "folding@home" or "foldingathome."

This is because the preference pane client uses this name, and confuses InCrease as to who is controlling the process. While you're there also click the "New Units" tab and put in a username, and it allows you to check whether your name has been used. You can also choose a team ("1971" is TeamMacOSX but it really doesn't matter). After this has been done click the "groups" on the menu bar and click "create local group." After this just click start and it should start downloading data and computer should start chomping away. One more thing, if you don't like your fans revving up there is one mechanism decrease this, in preferences again click the "pause" tab and you can throttle the time for which the software uses the CPU for. For me I set it to 50% (the lowest possible) but I was still not satisfied with the result.

Cores (1 or 2)
Just a bit more information on this. So you are downloading data and you might have one core or two. For me you see that I have two because I have 8 threads (from a quad core 2.0 GHz intel i7), but you can set that in the preferences. If you set your processor number to say 4 I believe it should only give you one set instead of two. But I realized in the process that it doesn't matter, because if you have one set running it uses the same amount of CPU cycles as if you had two.

What does this mean
So back to what I was going to say, I am just going to briefly go through what this whole thing means, with the projects, points, points/hour (oh yes, you can change the column headings by going to "view" then "columns" and selecting which ones you want). For every block that your computer finishes processing you gain points. So for me you see that if I finished the two blocks i would have gained 481 points each. But they are red in this case because I stopped the project the whole night and at that rate I was going to miss the deadline. What is the deadline? When your computer gets issued that segment there is also a deadline issued as well. If you miss the deadline, say you've been pausing your computer a lot or downthrotting the CPU too much you will miss the deadline and the hard work your computer did will be erased. So just a word of caution. Also, be sure to set your computer to never sleep (at least when it's plugged in) so that this software can continuously run. And that's it! You're set!

What I liked/didn't like
I really like that this application uses multi-threading. Here's a screenshot of my cpu history. From what I see this application is all about power. It's pretty good from a desktop point of view, where the fans are noisy anyway and they're easily replaceable. On the laptop I prefer them to run at their minimum speed (about 2000 rpm), as it costs a lot more for them to be replaced. As well, its mac client to me seems a bit neglected. On windows there are additional projects where they use CUDA on GPUs to run tasks even faster. This is only on windows, no support for Mac OS X or linux. Though it can also run on your PS3.

So, as I said, I use a laptop, and I am not very happy to hear my fans revving up at all, which has been the case even with maximum throttling from InCrease. Since the throttling is done via a time interval the temperature of the CPU goes up and down which may induce the fans to rev up. For me I have seen the temperature go to about 84 degrees celsius, and at that point the fans usually rev up. I looked at the settings on the windows client and it's slightly easier to throttle it (it throttles by percentage not by time interval), but the interface is still not as configurable as it could be. If you're looking the installation guide for windows is here. I think that much could be improved on when it comes to customizing things, both on windows and mac.

So I hope you got something from this, and in the next segment I will talk about BOINC.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Updates and Wallpapers

Hello, just a quick update as I'm still trying to type up reviews of the targus backpack and the OS, but in the meantime here's a small collection of wallpaper I've collected from the website simple desktops. I browse the website occasionally for wallpaper that I like and hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Upcoming Reviews

I've gotten the backpack for a number of weeks, and I'm in the process of writing a review for it. As well, I recently acquired a nokia C6-00 phone, so I'm also hoping to do a review of the symbian system installed on it and my thoughts on the actual phone (so a software and hardware review).

I know this isn't a good explanation cause it's so repetitive but things have been busy, I hope to have reviews up soon (tm).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Targus A7 Backpack

Previously to yesterday I never considered this, but yesterday it dawned on me that last year I carried around my 15'' macbook pro quite regularly during classes. I realized that when I put the computer into my backpack the straps just didn't provide the back support I needed. Plus, the layout of my current backpack just wasn't as effective as I had hoped.

I went numerous websites to check out laptop backpacks, and this particular one struck me on redflagdeals. I read some reviews and decided to get it, it arrives in a couple of days so this is a heads up. The specific website that I bought it was from Dell, the discount was $50 off (coupon is from redflagdeals) so total price is $22.59 CAD, here is the dell link. I hope to do a review of this backpack after several days of usage, just a quick heads up post beforehand. Oh, and the discount ends Sept 30. I'm not sure whether I'll like the brown color but we shall see.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Weathereye Mac App Review

I haven't been a big proponent of the mac app store, but one feature that I really like is that it updates all your apps for you (so long as the app is in the app store, that is). I have been using a widget from weather network for a while now, but today I went to the site to realize that it was no longer supported. For a while now, they have been "beta testing" a new desktop application, which I downloaded for the first time today. I also made my first review on the mac app store, regarding the app. Here's a screenshot of the review. Fortunately I didn't take any screenshots of the actual app (it's hideous), but if you are the curious type just go look it up in the mac app store, there are about 4-5 screenshots of it there.

I really liked the simplicity of the mac widget, it would even have weather warnings at times, but since it is no longer being developed RIP. I'm going to use it as long as it functions. Hats off to the developer for making such a streamlined, aesthetic, and functional widget. For those of you wondering why I didn't use the built in apple one this is far more accurate, and as I mentioned earlier has weather warnings, plus additional (yet useful) features.

Edit: The font on the screenshot may be too small, so here's a quick transcript for easier reading. I also realized I said "a nice touch" two times in a row, hope weather network doesn't mind.

I have been a longtime user of the weathereye widget for mac (currently at version 2.1.1), which appears has been discontinued as it is no longer available for download. I will conduct this review in comparison with the mac widget, as it is the successor to the widget.

First of all, a bit of background information about the widget. The mac widget had no ads. The mac widget loads very quickly, as it is a widget, and it displays all the pertinent information needed. Current weather, short term weather, and long term. That's it, no "videos on demand" or "viewer photos." The point of the mac widget was to allow the user to quickly glance at the current weather conditions, period. There was no need for added functionality, as all of this could be viewed at the weather network site if needed.

On the other hand, the speed of this desktop application is sluggish, and its layout disorienting. Almost a third of the whole window has been taking up by an ad, and overall the app has a huge memory footprint. I'm just reading this information off from activity monitor, but right now just with the app open it is using 76.8 MB of memory, even more memory than itunes, quicktime player, or adium (on an individual basis).

The application does display the current weather information, as well as five day, hourly, and 14 day trend. The video on demand quality is good. One advantage that this desktop application has over the widget is that you can add multiple cities. A nice touch was to have the current temperature show up on the menubar, for quick reading. The application is 64 bit, which is a nice touch.

Also I guess this is somewhat of a temporary modification but it appears that the desktop application has an added fireworks border, just for Canada day. As if the app isn't taking up enough space already, with its huge ads and random weather stories. Another thing to note is that it has the usual mac traffic lights on the upper left, but only the "red stoplight" does anything, the other two buttons are useless, just like the application itself.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Current Desktop

This is going to be a somewhat random post. I'm just going to post a picture of my current desktop layout, but what I really wanted to convey with this post is that I read an article on lifehacker talking about cool mac apps that are available in the appstore. Personally, I'm not really that excited about the mac app store, especially since you have to sign in with an apple ID (I just made a new one that's not tied to any billing services). I can see why you would need an account if you were buying an app, but all I wanted to do was browse and download free apps. Why do you need an apple ID for that? Anyway, hopefully in the coming weeks I can review a couple of free apps, yeah.

A quick note about the macbook pro, it's been performing pretty well. Though, at times for some reason the screen freezes, usually expose and then the computer starts lagging and seems glitchy. If I restart the computer it'll work fine again. I hope apple fixes these bugs with the new macbook pros (early 2011).

Note that my dock is usually hidden, I just have my mouse hovered over the dock so it pops up.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Firefox 4 Clear History Solution

I said in a previous post the shortcomings of firefox 4 when it came to clearing the history but through searching forums and the like I have found a solution.

In short, I was talking about how firefox 4 no longer has an entry in the about:config that allows you to automatically delete history after X days. In this new method instead of limiting the history by the dates I now limit it by the number of entries. So in about:config I made a new entry, called places.history.expiration.max_pages entry, and I made the integer be 2500, so now it will delete the older entries if the total number of entries exceeds the number entered in.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Macbook Pro (Early 2011) First Impressions

I know this isn't really that interesting a post, but I'm just going to put down some of the things that intrigued me when I started using my new macbook pro, and what I found was different compared to the early 2008 model that I used before.

First of all, they keyboard is quite nice, I think I prefer this keyboard to the old one, but I think that this chiclet is louder when typing compared to the older keyboard. The keys are very responsive, and I like how the spaces under they keys are smaller, so I would think that it's harder for dust to enter (compared to my older macbook pro).

Another thing is obviously going to be the glossy screen. I love how the colors just "pop out" at you, and the display seems vastly better. But the glossiness can be annoying sometimes, especially when it's in the daylight. I think it might be a bit easier to clean the screen now, though there are still crevices where dust can accumulate.

I love how the speaker grill holes are smaller, one pet peeve I had with the older macbook pro was how the dust would accumulate in the holes of the speaker, which would make it look clogged. However, with this new model since the holes are so small I don't think this will happen. Speaker quality is better as well in the new macbook pro.

For the USB ports I do sometimes wish that they would be opposite to each other (so one left one right of the computer). Sometimes I would have a really big USB device and it wouldn't fit, since there isn't that much space between the USB ports.

Superdrive/Firewire 400
I personally like the superdrive on the right side compared to at the bottom of the computer (facing you) since it fits my setup, but it could go either way. I am somewhat sad that there is no firewire 400 port, but I guess times have moved on (I have a firewire 400 drive, but I just use USB on it now since it had USB as well).

Line in port
I had a headset (where there's a headset and microphone component) which worked perfectly with the older macbook pro, but when I started to use this new one it didn't work at all (the mic part). I later realized that the mic port is actually a line in jack, something along those lines, so it no longer supported my headset mic. I luckily had those USB sound cards on hand so it now works (since it's powered). Somewhat disappointed at that

HD Webcam
I definitely see a difference in the video, seeing that this is a HD webcam, but the photo quality didn't seem that good (as you could see with the previous pictures). I'll continue to use it and see how it goes.

Display adapters
In the new macbook pro there is no longer the dual DVI port, but rather there is the minidisplay port. I think that apple should seriously consider giving out minidisplayport to VGA port adapters, since very little projectors etc. use minidisplayport. I don't really want to buy a $40 adapter, whereas for my older macbook pro it had a DVI to VGA connector, so I didn't need to buy anything.

The trackpad also feels different, because there's no longer a button at the bottom. I think that I personally like the old trackpad more, but I think the glass makes it harder for the trackpad to rub off (since I think for my old computer since I used it for so long sometimes a part of the plastic would rub off, and it would look more shiny). For some reason it feels like that the trackpad is not as sensitive to my old computer, but I'm pretty sure I'll get more accustomed to it over time.

Edit: I know I said I might get used to the trackpad sensitivity over time, but I never got used to it. Rather, by googling I realized that a lot of other people perhaps have been experiencing the same problem (though looks like their problem may be more hardware oriented). In light of this, in a specific post someone mentioned a software called Better touch tool, which is a free piece of software where you can freely augment many sensitivities settings with the trackpad. After downloading it, it may be just me but I think I'm enjoying the sensitivity of my old macbook pro trackpad. Bad thing is that it's another piece of software to run at startup, which doesn't really make me happy but what can you do? It's up to apple to provide good drivers for the trackpad and I have found this lacking.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Applecare History 5 (The End?)

So a few days ago I began to have another problem where the right USB port would randomly disconnect the device (though when I used the hub there was no problem for some reason). So then I was thinking, hm, this could prompt a replacement of the motherboard (I didn't really know, I assumed since the USB port was connected to the motherboard there was a chance it would be replaced). So right away I booked an appointment for the "genius" bar at the apple store and when I got there I just told the apple "genius" the problem. He then took out one of the testing USB drives that the store had and plugged it in, and it indeed did have this problem. He then told me that the logic board would have to be replaced.

I reminded him that the logic board had just been replaced once last year and also in January (a pretty recent replacement). He took about a minute to think this over, looking through the past records this computer had (there were numerous problems, mind you). Then he told me I would be eligible for a replacement computer, to my utmost excitement. So there you go, he even replaced the power adapter with the new one and said that the new computer came with a one year warranty, and I could even go for an added applecare plan (I probably won't, but we shall see). So here I am at the apple store, he said I would have to transfer files here or come back later with all the files transferred. I initially asked him whether I could have my old hard drive back (since it's not broken or anything) but he said that it wasn't possible since a technician would have to open up the computer.

So here I am sitting on the side transferring my files. It's been transferring for about an hour now, and it says it's going to take 16 more minutes. I looked at winclone threads and I don't think it's able to resurrect my bootcamp partition in the new computer due to the new hardware. So I guess I will have to reinstall, but this time I will reinstall windows 7 (since I only have windows xp 32 bit). I am, again, just delighted at this and I will spend the next few days retweaking aspects of Mac OS X. I'm glad I came to the apple store as soon as possible. So I guess this is a "the end" (unless under some circumstance the new computer has massive problems). Thanks for reading!

Dec 29 2008 Both fans replaced for clicking noises
Jun 09 2009 Battery replaced (couldn't charge up properly)
Oct 07 2009 Right fan looked at (made clicking noises again)
Feb 28 2010 Power adapter 85W replaced
Apr 11 2010 Logic Board Replaced
Jun 21 2010 Battery replaced (81.6% charge left)
Jan 05 2011 Logic board Replaced
Ma 31 2011 Macbook Pro Replaced (Logic board problem, USB port faulty)

Edit: By the way all of the applecare history posts have been labeled as "macbook pro" for easy viewing.

Edit 2: Here are some last moments of my previous mbp. Now I read the forums saying that people have been having overheating problems with the new mbps lol. Luckily seems like it's the 2.2 GHz model that is affected, while I have the 2.0GHz. Though personally I haven't really had any freezing problems with this machine.

It was in a way a test of the facetime HD camera, though the pictures didn't turn out very well...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Firefox 4 Clear History

Clearing history "automatically" in forefox

So as I continued to use firefox 4 I realized that my history kept accumulating. Then I googled it up and realized that in firefox 4 you can't set a number of days to keep your history. Either you keep ALL your history, or it deletes your history every time you leave your computer. This in my opinion is an extremely bad move. Why can't I keep my history for 1-2 days? By deleting my history every time I leave the browser does it improve performance THAT much? Where is the intrinsic choice involved in this? Why did you take out this often-used feature mozilla? I feel somewhat disappointed, and may have to use an addon to supplement for this feature which is unacceptable.

So, regarding my previous post about deleting history it no longer works (where you have to tinker with about:config).

Edit: One small tip, if you want the old reload button back right click in the tab bar, choose customize and then where you see the reload button is just drag it back to the left, and it'll become its own button.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Firefox 4 Quick Review

I think I had a quick firefox 4 post in the past, but from then I was already a skeptic. I tried the firefox 4 beta for a short while and I really didn't like the interface, where everything just seemed to take up so much room. It just didn't seem like an improvement from firefox 3, but today I thought, why not try the new firefox 4? If I don't like it I can always switch back. I checked for compatibility for all my addons and all I needed to do was update my 1password to the latest version, and I downloaded firefox 4. I am was not really an early adopter of firefox 4 as I was pessimistic about its performance. However, as I started to use the browser I quickly changed my viewpoint.

Note that this isn't really a review on the more technical aspects of firefox, just an opinion piece about various new features and things that I liked or didn't like about the new firefox. I'm sure if you're looking for technical reviews of firefox (say exactly javascript benchmarks, memory usage) there should be a plethora of reviews out there (I bet most people are going to do reviews of firefox 4 anyway). So going back to my original point, I'm just going to comment on aspects of firefox that intrigued me, whether in a good or bad way.

Just to start off this is how I set up my firefox 4, and it's fairly similar to the setup to my firefox 3.6 layout, just that the interface has changed slightly.

I filled over part of the toolbar, it just includes a number of bookmarks and my bookmarks folder. There was a built in button for bookmarks but I thought that it was too general, as it showed all of the categories just like the bookmarks manager. I would rather have a folder favicon with the name "bookmarks." If you are that curious I assure you that these bookmarks aren't to any "naughty" sites. SO you might say, "Hey, this looks so similar to safari," which is true. It appears that firefox now has many similarities to safari (a la reload button on the right of the "awesome bar," opera/chrome, due to the tab placement. By the way, the tabs were originally on the top, but it was fairly easy to bring them down (all you do is right click on the tab bar and deselect "tabs on top"). I find that I'm not a very big fan of the new square block icons firefox 4 utilizes, I would prefer the old icon set (so now borders, just have the icon as is), though not that big of a deal.

In firefox 3 I had the original huge back button but when I used 4 I just saw it as too bulky and used up too much space, so I rather had the smaller buttons, which look identical to those in safari. The two icons next to the URL bar are for noscript, one to temporarily allow all scripts on page and the other to selective activate or deactive scripts temporarily or permanently. Then there are the bookmarks I talked about earlier, and lastly there's the icon for my webmail checker. I found it interesting that they took out the spinning circle, that indicated a site was loading. Rather, the have a new spinning circle as part of the space normally taken up by the favicon in the actual tab. I actually prefer this.

Since it's firefox I'll just mention addons, here's a screenshot of my addons, nothing special. I also disabled a number of plugins. Some people have been complaining that the addons page is now in a tab (like chrome) but I personally don't mind. I've been having troubles previously in greasemonkey where when I go to the extensions manager I would see a huge icon for greasemonkey scripts, messing up the height of the tabs in the extension manager. Having the addons in a separate tab fixes this. One thing that I don't like about this new format is that I have to click on the cog at the top to change settings, which I found to be annoying.

I will delve into some of the technical aspects of firefox 4 on mac, one thing is that it's a 64 bit browser, with plugin isolation (but not tab isolation). It uses far more memory now (in fact, right now it is using about 650 MB of RAM, which makes me wish I had more memory in the first place- I have 2 GB). Here's a screenshot of the isolation process shown in activity monitor. I have read reviews of firefox 4, but I didn't pay attention too much to the isolation processes that firefox uses, so I won't be able to give a detailed description of how this works. The firefox plugin process is highlighted. I personally like the feel of a 64 bit browser (which is more important now that it uses so much more RAM), though at times I get messages telling me that a plugin doesn't work in 64 bit mode and requires a restart to 32 bit mode. I'm not sure whether this will be a huge problem over time, but for me it was when I was using hotmail so I just disregarded the message (I really don't like the silverlight plugin in hotmail).

One of the more touted new features in firefox 4 (other than speed and performance upgrades) was a project originally known as "tab candy," which is a new way of tab management. An example of it is shown below. The shortcut for it (at least on the mac) is command-shift-E, and then you see this window.

Some other reviewers have said that it's clunky and hard to use, but I personally like it, since I always have many, many tabs open (especially when I look for research articles). It allows me to sort through the tabs easier, though I can see how this process could be more streamlined and efficient. So basically once in the window you can rearrange tabs, make new tab groups. When a tab group is selected the other groups aren't seen. So for example if one group just has hotmail and gmail, while the other groups have yahoo and bing open and I select the first group, I will only see the tabs for hotmail and gmail, and not the tabs for yahoo and bing. I like this as I always have many windows open. By default I think every window is its own tab group. One flaw that I saw with this new system, is that when I'm in the tab management mode and I click on a tab the animation isn't exactly smooth, so I'll see block text until LI reach the actual page. Hopefully they'll fix this in the next release

In conclusion, even though firefox uses much more memory I think it's worth it, since I gain speed and many new features. I would highly recommend this browser for those who are using firefox 3 and internet explorer, and I assume that those who use chrome and opera are diehards anyway so (jk). Over time as I use firefox 4 more maybe I might add more to this, or create a new entry altogether.

Edit: Some additional thoughts, I miss having a reload button (there is one, but I wish there was a real icon for reload next to back/forward buttons, but I looked through the icons and it was not there). To those saying "just press control-R" I just want the choice, seeing it's not that hard to add a reload button. Also, flash seems to crash more often than before. Regarding the silverlight problem, I downloaded and installed the newest version of silverlight and I haven't had any problems it (I'm having more problems with flash now, in fact...).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Applecare History 4

Well, I guess this is the continuation of the saga "what could break next" as part of my absense in the past month or two was due to schoolwork, and the other part due to my computer being fixed yet again. It was on January 5, 2011 my logic board had to be replaced yet again. Prior to that for some reason my computer would just turn off by itself, which was indeed perplexing (reminds me of my old IBM thinkstation, which I might add is still running after many years of service). The first time it happened I let it go, thinking it was some sort of fluke. The second time that it happened, I was just mad and just a couple hours later I was at the apple store discussing this new found problem.

I made sure to go there as soon as possible after the problem, since I was hoping that there would be a clue in the logs. So the genius went over the logs and said there was a problem with the power rail, which was part of the logic board, and that the logic board had to be replaced yet again. He also said that the problems with the battery and power adapter should also be due to the problem with the power rail. For me one part that I disagreed with, regarding the diagnosis, was the part about the power rail being responsible for the battery and power adapter failures. I'm not sure whether he noticed this, but I got the logic board replaced just last year (so in less than a year it had been replaced twice). I also mentioned that just recently (a couple weeks ago) I reinstalled the whole operating system from scratch, and only moved back files from a time machine backup, which rules out a lot of other possible causes for the problem.

During that time I also asked him whether a replacement was likely and he said no (he didn't mention that logic board replacement at all, perhaps I should have reminded him). I do wish that before the applecare is over (May 23), that the logic board or a main component of the computer will break. However, I am not sure how likely that is going to be. I guess I have 2 months remaining for some sort of problem to happen.

In the end, the most aggravating part for me was when I had to wait for the computer to be fixed. He initially cited 5-7 days as the time it would take for them to fix the computer, though turns out that they took 9 days to fix it. It was during the school year as well, so I didn't have my computer for a lot of the classes in the first week. So yeah, a (somewhat) short summary of what happened for this repair. In my opinion, I would indeed say that I am using my applecare quite effectively. By the way, I hope to have more frequent entries now, though exams will be coming up soon.

Dec 29 2008 Both fans replaced for clicking noises
Jun 09 2009 Battery replaced (couldn't charge up properly)
Oct 07 2009 Right fan looked at (made clicking noises again)
Feb 28 2010 Power adapter 85W replaced
Apr 11 2010 Logic Board Replaced
Jun 21 2010 Battery replaced (81.6% charge left)
Jan 05 2011 Logic board Replaced