Last weekend I got a new black 13" MacBook:

Black MacBook 13

I didn't get a MacBook Pro because 15" or 17" is just too big. I like smaller laptops that you can actually fit on your lap. If they had smaller MacBook Pros like the old 12" PowerBook I used to have, I would have gotten one of those.

The MacBooks are also a lot cheaper than the Pros, so it was much easier to justify financially since I my old laptop (now dead) was only about 2 years old. The $100 UW student discount didn't hurt either (the Microsoft employee discount was also $100 so I could have used that too, but it just seems weird to use a Microsoft discount to buy an Apple laptop).

Fortunately it has 2 GB of RAM so I can run XP on it OK. I am using the 30-day trial of VMware Fusion and so far I am not impressed. I might try Parallels Workstation to see if that's better, but I doubt it will be.

Fusion's "Unity" mode runs Windows apps as native Mac OS windows, like so:

Overlapping windows

This all works fine and dandy until you try to do anything fancy, such as activate Exposé:


Doh! Look at the Notepad window overlapping the Calculator window. This is obviously due to limitations of the GDI rendering model (namely, windows cannot paint themselves when they are obscured by other windows), but I think VMware might be able to work around it in a future patch. In the meantime, however, it looks really bad. There are a lot of other weird bugs like this that make the overall experience very poor.

The other main adoption-blocker for VMware Fusion is that when you boot up your Boot Camp partition, Windows detects that your hardware has changed, and prompts you to re-activate. You can eventually get it activated, but every time you switch between Boot Camp or VMware, it forces you to re-activate. VMware has instructions in their support forums for supposedly fixing this problem, but they do not work. This essentially makes it unusable, which is really too bad.

Windows XP WGA Activation

Oh WGA, how we hate you

Posted on August 26, 2007
Filed under: Electronics, General Comments

Willows Lodge

This week I'm on another corporate brainwashing training retreat at Willows Lodge. So far the accommodations are a lot better than last year since we get catered food at a 5-star resort hotel instead of having to fight over cots and cook our own food.


Jacuzzi, bed, fireplace

Jacuzzi, bed, fireplace (this pic looks it's out of a brochure for some reason..)


Fold-out concave shaving mirror


Fancy sink


Shower with on/off buttons and temperature controls. What temperature water do I usually use? I had no idea until now


Some bizarre statues outside the window

Posted on August 21, 2007
Filed under: General, Random, Travel Comments

Now I'm scared that you predicted me as a Kafka fan. Am I really that obvious?

Zero stars

Whenever I see this apartment ad on the way to work I think, "wow, zero out of five stars, why would they advertise that?"

Fairwinds Redmond advertisement

Obviously they're trying to say that it's a "five-star" apartment, but in the age of Amazon starred reviews and iTunes ratings, the "outlined star" symbol has come to mean "empty star" or "missing star". Interesting to think about..

Amazon stars

Posted on August 8, 2007
Filed under: General, Random Comments


Today I finally got a "Thank you for enrolling at the University of Washington" letter, which was a bit of a surprise since I was expecting a "Thank you for applying" letter first, at which point I would decide whether or not to enroll. I guess they made that decision for me :). I'm sure the next thing I'll be getting will be a big bill.

Now I have to send in "proof of measles immunity". I'm sure I got the vaccine when I was 5 years old, so I have no record of it, and of course neither does my current health care provider (no doubt due to general incompetence, or laws prohibiting automatic transferring of my medical records without my consent or something like that). This will be fun to track down. I'll be mad if I have to get another shot, but sadly that might be the easiest thing to do..

UW Grad Student Registration Guide

Posted on August 4, 2007
Filed under: General, Random, School Comments



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