Apple can’t measure stuff properly

 I noticed the other day that every single image of products in the apple store is actually computer generated. There isn’t a single photo in there. The great thing about making up how the product looks is that you can blatantly lie about the size of the thing. For example the iPod touch:

iPod Touch

Guide to buying a Mac Pro

So you want to buy a new Mac Pro, here is a simple guide to help you get the best system for your money.


At default the system comes with two dual core 2.66GHz processors. Select the 2.0GHz processors and quickly save yourself £190. Don’t worry; in the next section I will describe how you get your four cores of 2.66GHz goodness back. In the meantime you can throw the 2.0GHz Xeons away.


1GB is no where near reasonable amount of RAM for a power computer. You need about 4GB which would set you back an extra £449.00. Don’t buy this from Apple, instead throw the ram that comes with it and can get 4 x 1GB FB-DIMMs for less than that from crucial (Get two 2GB kits for at £152.74 each). FB-DIIMMs are rather expensive but by using a different motherboard you could use standard DDR2 ram (Currently selling at £34 a Gig).


Four core computing is no longer the reserve of the expensive Xeon/Opteron systems. You can now get a four core CPU to fit in a standard board and use standard RAM. Take the board out of your Mac Pro and throw it away. Replace it with a standard Socket 775 board and plug into it a Quad Core QX6700 and 4 GB of DDR2 5400.


The range of available graphics options seems to be “how many GeForce 7300 GT 256MB would you like”. Additionally to these there seems to be an X1900 (I didn’t know they still made these, they were replaces with 1950s ages ago) and a rather extreme NVidia Quadro (at £1,049.99). Lets be sensible and say we want to do crossfire with two 7300 GTs. Instead of paying £100 for each additional card just get one yourself for £50. In fact get two nice fan-less ones and throw away the one that came with the box.

Hard Drive

250Gb is quite low for a system like this. Instead of paying £288 for two 500Gb drives, get them directly yourself for £148. Throw away the one that came with the Mac.

Optical Drive

Instead of paying £70 for an extra optical drive, throw it away and buy two matching DVD/RW drives for half the price (£35 for the pair).

Keyboard and mouse

Get a wireless keyboard/mouse set for £7 (splash out get a £10 set) and throw the wired versions away. Seems more sensible than paying £40 for the Apple set.


The overall picture is the following:

Instead of spending £2,645.99 on a reasonable Mac Pro,

1: Buy the absolute basic Apple Mac Pro for £1,509.01

2: Throw it away

3: Replace it with something better

Total: £2,627.74


-                                                                          Price  #          Total
Basic Mac Pro	                                                        £1509.01  1       £1509.01
Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 Quad Core (2.67GHz) Socket 775 8MB Cache     £607.56  1        £607.56
Ebuyer 1GB DDR2 667MHz PC2-5400 240pin Extra Value Ram                    £34.02  4        £136.07
PNY Verto GeForce 7300GT 256MB DDR2 DVI HDTV out PCI-E                    £51.71  2        £103.42
DFI Infinity 975X/G SKT SKT775 conroe Core2Duo ready DDR2 Crossfire ATX   £81.94  1         £81.94
Seagate ST3500641AS 500GB Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache - OEM      £73.99  2        £147.98
LITEON DVD8900/DW1670 16x DVD±RW/RAM Bare Black - OEM                     £17.39  2         £34.78
X-Tensions Silver RF Wireless Keyboard & Mouse - PS2                       £6.98  1          £6.98
Total:                                                                                    £2627.74


  • Two 2.66GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
  • 4GB (4 x 1GB)
  • 2 x NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 256MB
  • 500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • 500GB 7200-rpm Serial ATA 3Gb/s
  • Two 16x SuperDrives
  • Apple Keyboard & Mighty Mouse – British (wireless)


Instructions per clock

I sat down and figured out the Instructions Per Clock of a set of x86 architectures. You can use it to compare the raw single threaded performance of any architectures.

e.g. a 2.5GHz Core 2 ia about the same as a 3GHz Athlon 64 x2

Pentium 1	1.1
Pentium MMX	1.2
Pentium 3	1.9
Pentium 4 (Wil)	1.5
Pentium 4 (Nor)	1.6
Pentium 4 (Pre)	1.8
Pentium 4 (Gal)	1.9
Pentium D	2
Pentium M	2.5
Core 2		3
K6 II		1.1
K6 III		1.3
Athlon B	1.9
Athlon C	1.9
Athlon XP	2
Athlon 64	2.3
Athlon 64 X2	2.5
Via C3		0.85
Via C7		0.9

DVD Fridges

These fridgesTDVD-8180C 45-250.jpg look sort of fun (although ultimately useless). They accept flash cards and play more formats than most DVD players. I think it would be nice to use the 96KHz dolby digital sound to recreate the sound of a real fridge.

The other thing I found from this manufacturor (who are going to be making the PS3s very soon) are these monitor glassesGLT-M9201-250-1.jpg. The models have 640×480 or the reather strange 800×225 resolutions. The other question is how quickly do your eyes strain from looking at something so close.

AIM again kills bots it doesn’t own

For a while now I have been running a bot to serve out RSS feeds. The bot runs on four networks (AIM, MSN, Yahoo and Google talk) and is subscription only. A few weeks ago I noticed that it was having problems connecting to AIM. It was reporting the username and password were incorrect. I was puzzled as I hadn’t changed these since I created the account. I tried mailing AOL to attain why they killed the account with no reply. So I created another account to serve the bot and again it was killed, and again no warning or response from AOL. This is somewhat insulting as AOL added its bots to the friend list of all their users yet they kill other peoples bots without any explanation.

The death of the old blog

iPod DronesI am slowly getting used to this new blog. It is certainly easier to add entires than editing the html and running scripts of the old one, but I do feel a little sad leaving it behind with all its posts. So basically here is a quick catchup of my fav entries in the old blog:

I love Icons, iPod drones, Unix compression tools, Coding under Influence and Overclocking chairman Miau.

Credit cards for girls

I decided to cave in and get a credit card. Since I now own a mobile phone I thought I might as well carry on my silliness and decide which card to get not on silly things like interest rate or service but rather on which one looks nicest. Took me a while to decide but along the way I made a nice page of most credit card designs available in the UK. To be honest this isn’t as silly as it sounds as at the end of the day I will never use the interest rate but I will have to flash the card wherever I go.

Website Time-lapse

I made some animated gif images of popular websites showing how they changed over the years. The old versions of the sites are taken from The Wayback Machine. Unfortunately some images were blocked from being spidered by and are shown as gray boxes. So far I have done a time-lapse of Google , Yahoo and AltaVista.