Like many others, my first Apple product was an iPod, the first style nano; having got the Apple bug, I then upgraded my iPods and eventually purchased my first MacBook. Several years ago, my black Macbook with 2.2GHz and maxed out at 2GB of RAM was one of the best purchases that I had ever made. Apple apps ran a dream, and my little computer always did what I asked of it. However as time went by, and the Apps that I used became more demanding, my little MacBook was running out of steam; Aperture was sluggish and running EyeTV, writing an essay and having a web site open wasnt nearly as responsive as I would have liked. Sadly I couldn’t upgrade my RAM (as this would be the first step), so I upgraded to a MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo maxed out at 4GB of RAM. Now this was a perfect machine, Aperture ran like a dream and it served me well for over two years, however upon purchasing an iPad I realised something. I hadnt unplugged my laptop for a couple of months. I had always owned a laptop, for the simple reason that when I went to school/university or went away for the weekend (and needed a computer), a laptop was the only solution. Laptops are great, they are portable and can handle most day to day tasks, however these tasks were now being fulfilled by the iPad, so was there any need to keep a laptop? Even tho I am a student, I have am very demanding of my technology. My computer needs to be able to record programs off EyeTV, edit photos on Aperture, play music in iTunes as well as have several other programs open at the same time. This worked beautifully with my MacBook Pro; to a point. However over time I had to quit one application after another just so that I could complete one task in Aperture, a task that I had to complete without music playing. It was time to upgrade. As mentioned previously, I had always had a laptop as I needed portability, however my portable needs were covered by the iPad, so I decided to take the plunge and look at buying a desktop. I have always wanted a MacPro, and being the tech lover that I am, I wanted the 12-Core 2.93GHz version. However being a student I couldn’t afford £5,000+ investment, and even if I had the funds, my family would have had me sectioned under the mental health act for spending that amount on a computer. So that left me with the Mac Mini or iMac. My brother has a Mac Mini and he loves it; it is fast, responsive and does everything that he asks from it, however his demands and my demands are slightly different. Looking forward the current Mac Mini can be maxed out at 8GB of RAM. Considering my previous Mac had 4GB of RAM, it made little sense to me to purchase a Mac that I would max out in RAM right from the off; I wanted room for expansion. The iMac was the only choice left. We have two iMacs in our house; my sister owns one of the original white iMacs, and my mother one of the newer 24-inch aluminum iMacs. They both love theirs, however compared to the MacPro I had lusted over it seemed a poor relation. By comparing the iMacs to the basic MacPro I could receive a newer processor, and a 27-inch screen for a much lower price. So another day dawned, where I was verging on a mid-life crisis, I wanted a new mac I just didnt want to admit it to myself. Upon confessing that I wanted to buy one, my housemates confiscated my wallet for my own safety and would only return it upon verbal confirmation from a woman who speaks sense (my mother) that it was acceptable. I rang up my mother who instantly knew why I had rung, and confirmed to my house mate Harry that buying an iMac was a much better idea than spending £5,000 on a MacPro. Which one to choose? Well there was only really ever one choice, the biggest and the best. I rang up the Manchester Arndale store and reserved an 27-inch iMac with the upgraded i7 processor. Having paid for the Mac, and AppleCare we suddenly realized how heavy it was. The plan of getting the bus home went out the window and instead got a taxi back. Transfer of data was a dream. I plugged in my time machine backup, selected it from the introductory setup screens, came back an hour later to find my old Mac setup on my new Mac. Data, applications and settings were all as I left them, it was a walk in the park. Since I have purchased my iMac, I have upgraded the 4GB of RAM to 8GB with memory from Crucial, and attached my 20-inch Apple Cinema display to it, giving me a massive 47-inches of screen real-estate. Performance is AMAZING, applications open with not even 2 bounces on the dock, photos render in Aperture within the blink of an eye, and I never get the spinning pizza wheel of death. My total cost was £1,635.92 for the iMac and the AppleCare, it may not be the MacPro I have dreamed of but I am still very happy with my purchase and will be for some time.
Having just come back from the latest Harry Potter film, I thought I would put key to keyboard and give you all my views on what the latest blockbuster was like. Before we go any further I would like to make clear that I have neither read the book of this film, or of previous Harry Potter films. I would also like to make clear that I will not be spoiling the plot, making this review perfectly safe for those who have yet to see it. I was lucky enough to get a seat in the IMAX, the large cinema screen. Normally I refuse to pay extra for either the IMAX or 3D experience, however with this film receiving so much hype I thought why not. Having seen both Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up on the silver screen, in parts it is hard to believe the teenage roll the now mid twenties actors are playing. There is action with wizard battles, comedy with the Weasley Brothers, and a lot of romance (a bit X-rated in places) which all adds to the film. Speaking to some Harry Potter purists, they do believe that it deviates from the book, however having not read the book I wouldn’t be able to comment on this. I do know that having split the final book up into two parts is probably a wise move, as part one was over two hours twenty minutes long; meaning that if part two was to follow suit, there would be the need for a toilet break half way through. Overall I did enjoy the film, however I do feel that it fell far short of the hype and praise that had been drummed up in the press. The majority of the screen time is shared by Harry, Ron and Hermione, and whilst they are the stars of the show, the humor of the sexual tension between Ron and Hermione wears thin, as does powerless acting of Harry. Magic was a little thin on the ground to. Having seen Hollywood at its best in the first handful of films, only a fist full of spells were cast; after all they are magicians, so a little bit of magic wouldn’t go a miss. Not being a Harry Potter fanatic I left the cinema wanting to know what I gained from part 1, what I would not gain from part 2. There were lovers tiffs, which I expect to see in part 2 and the hunting down of Horcruxes, which I expect to see in part 2. Ultimately whilst the story splitting into two parts was necessary from a time point of view; from a story point of view I feel that nothing which wasn’t said in this part, wont be said in the second. To give Harry Potter And The Dealthy Hallows – Part 1 a rating, I would have to say 6.5 out of 10. Special effects were good if few and far between, humor was good if not a little thin, but the biggest draw back of all was that I didn’t feel any element of Harry’s story being told that wont be mentioned in a years time.
As the great Tom Jones said “act your age not your shoe size”, I couldn’t agree more. In today’s world there are of course two sides to every argument, so I am going to attempt the impossible and argue with myself. “Holding onto ones youth”, “Being young at heart” all common phrases for someone who simply refuses to grow up. Now I personally love to ‘play the kid’ at times, by this I don’t mean trying to get into a child cinema ticket, I mean playing the odd occasional joke; a joke that both parties can laugh upon. An example of this would be walking into a shop that sells egg timers, setting them to go off in five minutes, then walking out of the shop. No one was hurt, and both parties can laugh. In my opinion, one joke is acceptable; if I were to re-enter the shop and play the same joke, the funny side would wear thin quite quickly. I can see why the youth of today want to remain young. The fear of growing up in todays world can be a daunting experience. Not knowing if they will get a job, having the worst country finances of a generation etc etc, however holding on to the bubble wrapped childhood that they experienced several years ago is only going to make matters worse. The reason why this is so, is simple. High school and university provide the forum of being able to showcase the qualities that each person has to potential employers. Whilst some employers may look for the ‘class clown’ this post is being dropped in more businesses as they look for people who can demonstrate the ability to work well in a team and communication skills. Personally I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who found it ‘funny’ to constantly test people nerves or patience, after all; they should be focusing on their job, not acting the fool. Would you? Ok so to sum up. everyone has a little kid inside them, wanting to act the goat and try to make people laugh, and in my opinion there is nothing wrong with this. When the humor wears dry is when the same joke that once was funny is repeated over and over and over again. That is when holding onto ones youth, simply becomes acting childish.
You can call me sick, messed up, mentally ill or indeed a combination of all three; either way I enjoy seeing morbid things on screen, and think that when the time calls for it, nothing can beat a good horror/thriller film. There is no doubt that when you speak of horror films, the one franchise of films that spring to most peoples mind are the Saw films by Twisted Pictures. Now if you think I am messed up by enjoying watching the films, how ill are the people who write them? The Saw series released their first 3D venture in their seventh film, and even though I am strongly apposed to paying the 3D tax, I thought that if there was a film that 3D summoned, it would be Saw. The fact that I like seeing the story pan out is good in any dimension, where the third is useful is feeling the horror, pain and suffering that you see on screen. I am quite immune to the pain that is displayed before me. Having Crohn’s disease means that I know the true meaning of discomfort and as such found the previous 6 films, not a pleasant experience to watch, but I didn’t run for cover nor cower behind my popcorn. Saw 3D was different. Trying to touch the storyline as little as possible, 3D allowed you to be part of the action and get involved in the film. I wasn’t scared of the horror that I saw before me, I did however jump and wince on occasion. Now touching the storyline briefly. The Saw films are good for one thing, for being gruesome, and there is plenty of it, you see blood, guts and hear people screaming; what it isn’t good for is a great storyline. For those who watched the first six you will know that Jigsaw is no more, the seventh film is about continuing the game to rehabilitate people. In my opinion the ‘chosen one’ and the connection to the ‘victims’ is wooly at best, and only solves as an excuse to show gory torture. To sum it up, I dont think that this is the last Saw film that we will see, as it is not only gets peoples heart racing but is guaranteed a loyal following. The only thing that I feel this film fell down where the others didnt is the level of mystery was lacking. Previous Saw films had you saying ‘ahhhhhh so thats how it happened’, this film I left with the feeling ‘what was the connection’. Ultimately I give it 6.5 out of 10; great horror and gore, but lacking the story lines and mystery that the previous Saw films had given us.
I wouldn’t class myself as a car fan, the fact that I have only owned one car in my life time is proof to that fact. My only claim to car fame is the three penalty points I received for speeding two years ago. Now this is where I go off on a rant for a bit. The minute people say speeding, their mind is automatically cast to cops with cameras, or police interceptors and they see people traveling 120mph outside a school. Now i am a believer that people who do speed outside schools should feel the full force of the law, however I was not. I was doing 46 in a 40, on a main road, at 11 o’clock at night. The police car was sat in the dark, in a back street waiting. I have a huge amount of respect for the police, however I challenge anyone to try and defend that this isn’t a money making scam. Returning to Top Gear, for those of you who are unaware of what this is, it is a British car program, however its entertainment and comedic value is very high. The worlds most powerful cars on the world are test driven, cars that most of us wouldn’t be able to afford the insurance on, let alone the car itself. I do however know what I want, and when I have made my money (either through a lotto win or) through incredible hard work, I know what cars I want to be in my garage. I am a huge Aston Martin fan, in my opinions Ferrari’s are all to common. Virtually every millionaire or rap artist owns one, that is not say that I don’t want one, I’m just saying that the first two cars I own will be Aston’s; they are beautiful yet classic, and you can see why some cost over £100,000 The show was amazing, it was hosted at the NEC in Birmingham and took the form of two parts. The exhibition, where car manufacturers and gadgeteers showcased products, and the Top Gear Live performance. It involved pyrotechnics, millions of pounds worth of cars and over 280,000 watts of sound equipment. Several stunts were performed which were breathtaking. As some of you know, I attended Gadget Show live in April, where I met the very gadget which I am writing this very post on. That was an amazing experience, however I do feel that out of both shows the live show of Top Gear Live was more action packed. We did have gold seats meaning that we were so close we could taste the tyre smoke. If I had the choice to go to one of them again, it would be Top Gear, without a doubt. Every show would not be complete without selling the obligatory c**p that will change your life. Gadget Show I managed to resist, however I did cave. I didn’t buy some driving gloves, no I didn’t buy an ice scraper, I didn’t even buy a set of tiers, oh no, I bought 20 paint balling tickets. Before you ask they were very well priced and I got a very good deal. So I am hoping to use these over the next year.
It would appear by my lack of blogging recently that the iPhone 4 had eaten me as I haven’t blogged since 27th June 2010, and my appearances on Twitter have been sporadic to say the least. Now I can only but apologize for this, life has been very hectic to say the least, so I am hoping to condense the last 4-5 months down into one blog post, with areas of significance receiving their own dedicated post within the next few days/weeks. Since the last time we spoke was during the summer holidays, and me working, I shall briefly fill you in. As per previous years my role within the company I worked for wasn’t fixed, with this years role being an ‘efficiency consultant’. I experienced life in several departments, and at the end of the summer period presented a report to the management where efficiency (and hence costs) could be improved upon. Sadly I do feel that this year was the last year that I will be working for said company – however more about that later. 1st September 2010 saw the announcement of the new AppleTV. For those of you who have read my blog and twitter feed, will know that I am one of the biggest Apple fan boys going. So it would come as to no surprise to learn that I pre-ordered one for my home in Salford. First thoughts are that it is an amazing piece of kit, one that has changed my TV and media consumption habits for the better. I will be writing a separate blog post on the AppleTV at a later date to cover unboxing, methods of managing/updating my iTunes content and more in-depth thoughts on Apples latest gadget. September also saw the moving into my new house in Salford with 5 of my closest university friends. Since my first two years of university were spent in private, catered halls, having to ‘fend for myself’ was a little daunting at first. However I think I have got it all covered. Ok, I dont do student life like a typical student, I do have food delivered rather than shop, I do have a glass of wine when I have a bath, and I dont eat pot noodle on toast. Once again, you shall be updated properly in due course. University life kicked off with a bang, with International Welcome and Freshers Weeks. I was hired as a student host by the University, which involved taking groups of tours round campus as well as on trips round the north of England. My love of photography was re-kindled as the photographs that I took were not only featured in the student newspaper, but were purchased by the University itself to be used for future advertising. You can see photos taken on my new Flickr feed: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jisaacs/collections/72157625219835662/) The University also commissioned a report on me, that was published on the student channel, you can see that below: October was not only the month I turned 21 but also me going down to Oxford for a BMAF Seminar. Each head of a business school at universities are asked to join the Business Management Accountancy Finance team, and each year they hold conferences do summarize what they are doing right, and what can be improved upon. I was selected as one of 20 student representatives to go down and express my views on certain issues. The trip involved 1st class train travel, and seeing some of the most beautiful architecture I had seen. Since the first trip I, with a fellow student have been invited back down to Oxford in the new year, to take up a seat on the BMAF board. Finally, Wednesday 10th November 2010, incorrectly described by Sky News as “A National State of Emergency”, was the student demo down in London. I attended as photographer for the student newspaper, and as a student (who is a Tory party member) can honestly say that from where I stood the protest occurred peacefully. Yes I am a Conservative party member, but that doesn’t mean that I need to agree with every policy, and even tho there was violence at Millbank tower, both the police and NUS agree that it was not started by students rather anarchists who were simply ‘along for the ride’. The student demo was attended by 20,000 more protesters than organizers thought, so police were unprepared, however that was no excuse for fire extinguishers to be thrown from buildings to officers below. Overall I feel that the majority of students protested peacefully and made their views know to both Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP’s that student cuts are not something that they are willing to accept. So that is the past several months summed up into one blog post. I am back in Leeds for the weekend, as I am seeing Top Gear being filmed down in Birmingham on Sunday, so will update you all accordingly. Apart from that, I hope that my appearances on Twitter will increase and thank you for both reading my blog, and continuing to follow my movements. Jonathan