Est. 2007

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Kathmandu Neoprene Sleeve for Macbook

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

With my purchase of a new MacBook I have had to look for something to carry it around in. Most folks like neoprene sleeves as they are able to slip it into their bags which they already have; I would prefer to have a backpack, but most people would like a satchel or messenger type. Basically, if you have a Mac the likely choice would be one of the ones offered at the Apple store. STM, Incase and a few others are available. STM is quite nice with it’s bags but those for the 13″ computers are kinda small in size and won’t carry much around apart from the computer itself. I quite like the Alley because it is vertical and doesn’t give that feeling that you are carrying a notebook computer.

Due to the fact that those bags were too small, I went out and had a look at what else was available. Belkin and Targus make quite nice bags, but it is difficult to find one that’ll carry a 13″ notebook. Most are for 15″ and the MacBook would just float around in there. Also, note that messengers start around $70 while backpacks around $130. Sleeves around $40-$60.

So Easter came about and I saw an ad for Kathmandu, they were having their Easter sale, no surprises there. What was a surprise was that they sold bags that could carry laptops. They have a backpack and a messenger and one of those business oldschool type ones as well. The disadvantage is that they take 15″ computers. They were basically half price so around $60-$65 each. I still don’t know whether they are a good deal or not as the sale hasn’t ended and I haven’t bought one yet. I have bought a neoprene sleeve though which might give a bit more protection and bulk so that it is more slug.

The deal with the neoprene is that, it is versatile and can be used with any bag and it is quite popular. However, I would never buy one for $40. I got this one for just $21.54. That’s a bargain and plus the computer fits really snug, not loosely like some of the cases. It has a very basic print on the front of some mountain ranges which is not too intrusive. Also good to note is that the old styles are available all year  round when they have the stock at $25. That’s still pretty good, cause it means you can spend a bit more on the bag if you want one.

All in all, a good buy indeed.

The Spray Can

2Talk Max

In Life on April 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Well, there are a few things that nobody can live without. One of them is obviously the internet. Ever wondered what you would do with out it, or what you do when there is an outage.

Anyway, I have chosen 2Talk max to be my ISP and VOIP provider. Beamed wirelessly from the sky tower not too far from my apartment, it gives a similar experience to that of Kidanet in Fiji. The fact that it is Wimax by Alvarion is understood but the Consumer premises equipment is more like that of Unwired- self install, indoor variety. I personally have the $65 a month plan which gives me unlimited traffic on the internet; something that nobody else will rival. They also give a phone line with two local numbers and 500 minutes of calling to landlines in most popular destinations, though this does not include Fiji. Other providers give a 5GB capped connection and landline with local calling only for $80 a month.

The service is excellent for the most part with close to 6 mbit downstream and around 3 mbit upstream speed. Something hard to find in most DSL services. On the other hand, I have had a few outages in the past few days for which I’m not all too pleased about. On the whole though, the service is quite good and cost effective.

The Spray Can

Cell Phones- Cheap like chips; Cheap on quality

In Life on April 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Having moved back over to New Zealand I had to buy my self a new phone. The one that I had from Fiji was obviously locked and wouldn’t work here. I got one of the starter packs for prepay from Vodafone like most folks do; it cost me $35! I then slowly looked for a handset.

There were many models, but my observation was that the market mostly liked phones from over $200 to about $1000. I just wanted something that texts and calls and none of the fancy stuff, but I suppose it was hard but I finally managed to buy the cheapest at the time. I got myself an LG flip phone that cost my $99 and also included a starter pack. The starter pack was basically put aside. I liked the phone, it wasn’t bad though it wasn’t like my old (more like my other) Nokia 1680c.

There is just one problem. After about a week or two, the sound quality deteriorated and finally I would not be able to hear the phone ring or hear the other person over the phone if I called someone. So naturally, I went over to have it sent away to be fixed. I had to use Vodafone so that I would have a loan phone in between, since the store I bought it from wouldn’t give me one. The phone came back after about two weeks.

Here’s the bad news, the same problem occurs again after it is fixed. This time I’m furious. If it happens once, it is ok just a faulty part. When it happens a second time, that just means that the phone is just no good and it is likely to occur over and over again. I took it back to vodafone and thought that I wold have to accept that they would send it over to the repairing folk again, but I was so furious at the time that I took it over to Dick Smith and had a great big fuss with the manager. He finally agreed that if he had one in stock, he would swap the handset only. He apparently had none. He checked if I had everything from the box and lucky for me I had not used up the starter pack. I inevitably, ended up choosing to go with a Samsung slide phone which was $109. It is dearer by more than $10 since I lose out on that additional starter pack, but at least I have a working phone now with two more years of warranty.

At the end of the day, the moral of the story is that everything is cheap these days but it is also cheap quality. Though, even the best of them are just as bad (or as good). You just have to be assertive about standards.

The Spray Can

My New Macbook White

In Tech on April 5, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Well it has been a while since I last wrote any new post; I have moved to New Zealand since then. More importantly, I bought a new computer since then. I was thinking to buy one of those net-books that everyone is raving about especially since I had been using linux for a while. I had thought they would cost around $600-700 but when you really look at the shops here they usually just have the Windows versions with HDDs instead of flash memory and often are in the $800-1200 range. It really isn’t worth it at that price point. I naturally would have bought a desktop to go with it but for me in my studio accommodation I had to be considerate of desk space plus weight in portability. Eventually as the title suggests, I bought a new Macbook white.

What I eventually figured in to my decision was the space it took up, the price, what operating system it really ran as it had to be stable and robust. also, the new windows 7 is about to rear its ugly head, so I would not like to be stuck with an old system in a year or so and finally it’s portability and battery life.

The net-book (linux) and desktop (windows) combination would have worked out well, but the desktop would have been too bulky and take up too much space. Added to this is the fact that it would have taken me a while to build one if I really wanted to get a good deal. The other side of the story is that the net-book may not have been more than a fancy gadget with it’s relatively small screen although quite portable and they do have long battery lives up to 8 hours. Having vista on the desktop would mean changing the operating system in a year or so and this would just be a pain. The other fact is that buying two computers is okay but a little over the top in terms of cost plus files have to be synced up all the time.

The other most obvious choice is simply to buy a nice sized laptop(windows). The standard size these days is 15.4 or 15.6 wide screen. Usually available cheap and for as little as $900, but the ideal price is around $1500 for decent one with a T6400 processor and if you really want the latest processor then around $2000 for a P8600. This is not a bad price range and usually they would be more than enough. The two down sides here are obviously the size as it is not ideal to be lugging around a laptop that big all day. It would have a short battery life and also that problem of being outdated quickly.

In the end I picked a Macbook white. Why? Well for starters it is a laptop and it is portable. It has a 4.5 hour battery life. It is a compromise between the 9 inch of a net-book and the 15 inch screen of a normal laptop with its 13.3 inch screen. It is about an inch thick so that is good as well. It runs a brilliant OS for day to day productivity and it is a robust and reliable being a unix based OS. It sits well in terms of price at $1749 NZD. It is also an excellent opportunity to see how good Mac really is. At this price I could also add a bigger display to make it more desktop like if I wanted to and still be under $2000. I can also always buy  another computer later if I want to like a desktop and still have this one which is a perfectly functional machine.

Take note that the Macbook white itself is a great deal because it can be relatively compared to windows laptops and it won’t be so bad. It will have a smaller drive, 250-320gb in a windows one while this one has just 120gb. It has comparable ram as it has DDR2 2gb, which will be around the same in a windows one. On the other hand, it has much better graphics processor, a Geforce 9400M; many windows ones will have a lower one or an integrated one. Also, the new Macbook white has the new P7350 processor which is a bit better than the T6400 of the windows ones. Generally the macbook is still dear but by just a margin, but consider that if you bought a 13 inch windows one specifically then it would be dearer than the Macbook. On a side note, the new macbook is really nice and all with its unibody design DDR3 ram and LED display, but I’m not so sure it is worth the additional 550 dollars and it does break that $2000 barrier.

I have bought my Mac from the Campus reseller which gives the educational discount, in my case 100 dollars. Plus a 100 off Microsoft Office 2008, so that made that 160. Apple also offered a 219 dollar rebate on a purchase of an ipod nano or touch. That meant that I could have got my ipod for as little as 30 dollars, but I’m not so cheap. I got the 16GB iPod touch. The rebate will basically be 40% of the purchase price. I have sent in the rebate from, but I’m not so sure they have got it and whether I will get my money. The other disappointment was that the Laptop they had given me initially had scratches on it and looked like it had been double sealed. I obviously got it replaced and have had no problems since then.