Motorcycle season coming up

Two days ago, I prepared the Suzuki for use by Tanja for practice, for her driver’s license. Despite standing unused for a few years (since I got my Buell), the only thing wrong with it, was that the gas in the tank had deteriorated some, and that the front brake had gotten stuck. I spent an hour or so taking the brake apart, and giving it a good massage.
I’ll book a time for the legally mandatory checkup and switch insurance companies to one that’ll give us a good price, and the bike’s ready for the road.

Travel diary from Thailand

Thai beachI started typing up something like a travel diary from the notes I took during our vacation in Thailand. For now it can be found under Life Ramblings -> Travels -> Thailand, and I’ll add an entry for each day. I’ll type up som general hints for cheap (not to be confused with uncomfortable) living in this wonderful country too, as I find the time for it.

Mac Mini getting even better as HTPC?

Apple Insider has an article on next-genĀ Mac Mini computers featuring an HDMI port instead of the current DVI. Since HDMI essentially is DVI + sound, the obvious application for this new version is in the living room, where, incidentally, I was planning to put a Mac Mini anyway. If this article is right, it might become just a little bit less messy/more professional-looking, with just one cable to the HDMI switch in the receiver, and thus single point input selection, instead of having to choose the correct input port on both the TV/projector and on the amp.

I’ve been thinking of setting up an HTPC since the time when AdvMame was actively developed (I think my first serious experiments were made when AdvMame was in version 0.97, which puts it in 2005), and when Plasma and LCD TVs were prohibitively expensive. My plan back then, was to output video at PAL or NTSC resolution from an ATI graphics card, via a VGA to SCART converter that essentially “combined” the horizontal and vertical sync signals in addition to providing the necessary connectors, and so send the resulting signal to my living room CRT TV. This would, was my plan, allow me to watch media files in their original resolution without scaling, and also play my favorite side-scrolling arcade games without the then-obligatory ripping and tearing that originates in differences in sync speeds between the original game system and the current screen you’d be viewing it on.

My current plan sticks to a slightly higher budget: Between my other hobbies and have-tos, I’m building a casual home theater. Nothing fancy as a dedicated room or anything like that, but a functional big-screen (by projector), nice-sounding (by a good amp-speaker combo), movie- and game system, with a Mac- or Linux based solution at the core. As of yet, I see no point in getting a current- or next-gen game console for this system, simply because I don’t usually play the kind of games that are available for the consoles.

Like all other of my hobby projects, this is subject to change, of course. We’ll see what happens in autumn when I’ll feel more like spending time on these kinds of indoors projects again.

Waiting for updated MacBook Pro series

I’ve been following four iterations of the Waiting for Arrandale subject on the forums on Mac Rumors. In short, the subject began as a set of more or less interesting speculations, and quickly deteriorated into one of the most comical displays of desperation I’ve seen since the Amiga period.

So what would I like to see?
I’m looking for something to give the Lenovo T/W-series a match as my choice for my next computer at work, at least in the following areas:

  • Good battery time
  • Increased screen real estate: Much of my work consists of remotely administering servers. I know Cord does a good job in scaling, but please give me a 1080p screen @ 15″, or at least a 900 pixels height @ 13″, so I’m productive even when not docked.
  • A nice and fast processor and ability to address lots of memory. I’m regularly running virtual machines for all kind of things.
  • Stability above all else. My current Thinkpad (a T60, model 2007) can’t stand the heat, literally.

When will they release it? Actually, I don’t really care for speculation – but if they don’t do it this spring, I’ll opt for another Thinkpad, and it’ll be another three years or something until Apple has the chance to see my money in the laptop department again.