Why I May Not Buy Another Mac

June 10th, 2013

After reading news about apple’s WWDC, I have been pondering the future of Apple’s MacBooks.  I just watched in horror this video of a tear-down of a MacBook Pro Retina how locked in everything is.  All 3 of the  most commonly swapped/upgraded components are glued in or proprietary.  What if I want to replace it with a larger one, what If Apple does not offer the sizes that I want?  What if I don’t want to pay Apple’s price?

I used to be a PC fanatic, and for some reason had an unreasonable hate towards Apple products.  Perhaps because they reminded me of a communist regime.  But once you look into the light, you really can’t turn away.  They really are beautiful and reliable machines.  The thing that won me over to Apple was my frustration with my Asus G73 gaming laptop that was supposed to be “state of the art” at the time.   Poor display drivers caused blue screen crashes, and an impossibly annoying touch pad that never really worked right.  The first time I tried a Mac, I mean, really gave it a chance was playing with one while in a Apple store.  The precision of the touch pad alone had me sold, especially after fighting with my Asus G73.    Soon enough I had one in my home office, running visualization for Windows 8 to do my day work and learning about OSX each day at the same time.  Over time the MacBook really grew on me.  I loved the feel of the keyboard, the clean and solid aluminum design, no creaky plastic, beautiful bright glass screen etc…

But, all is not well.  I am extremely put off by the trend of soldering in and using proprietary components such as RAM and SSD drives.  Yes I can see the argument that 95% of people will never really upgrade their machines after purchase.  And this is true.  By the time they would actually upgrade, they would want to buy a whole new machine with faster processor and generally taking advantage of newer features.   But that is not the point.  This is about user maintainability not just about upgrade ability. When I purchased my 17 inch MacBook Pro, I immediately swapped out the hard drive for a 512 GB third party SSD drive and upgraded the RAM to 16 GB.   That saved me an arm and a leg since I wasn’t forced to buy from Apple, or pay for their technicians to actually do the work of swapping out the components.  Also just the simple independent feeling know that I can do this without begging Apple is extremely liberating.

At the same time on the other side of the fence, I am fascinated by Microsoft’s redesign of  Windows 8, running on touch hardware that is really meant for windows 8.  Yes some people are confused by the user interface, but I feel it is the perfect combination of both worlds.  I use the desktop with the mouse and keyboard for creating, doing precision work, and I use the touch (Metro) interface when I want to do some causal browsing/reading, things I would normally do on a iPad.  Windows 8 is greatly misunderstood.  I could go on, but that isn’t the point of this post.

If the industry can produce well designed, upgradeable (at least memory, RAM and battery), coupled with Windows 8 on a touch capable laptop, Microsoft and the PC may just win me back.   There are rumblings of re-structuring Microsoft, repositioning itself as a Hardware manufacturer in addition to Software.  This is very encouraging to me, so long as Microsoft stays true to what a PC is supposed to be, user maintainable and be able to buy compatible components on the open market.  They could produce fantastic machines and free of crap-ware that is typically present on the likes of Dell and HP.

This trend of proprietary hardware and increasing lock-in angers me.  I think I’ll be voting with my wallet this time.  If you feel the same way, I encourage you to do the same.  Apple, you won me over with your beautiful designs and precision touch pad, but you are losing me now with your silly proprietary hardware.

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Save wear & tear on your iPhone’s Home button without jailbreaking.

November 1st, 2011


I love the physical home button on my iPhone, it comes in handy during those times on the go when I can’t be fiddling around, it just has to work.

But the rest of the time I am using my phone, I want to save the wear and tear on the phone by avoiding use of the physical home button.  I discovered that iOS has an Accessibility feature that lets me do just that.

To enable it, turn on AssistiveTouch from the Accessibility menu in Settings –> General –> AccessibilityScroll down to Physical & Motor section and enable the AssistiveTouch feature.





After you have it enabled it, you will have a transparent “dot” on the screen that you can move around.  You can see the “dot” in the screen shot below located in the top right hand corner.

The dot can be moved around and it will automatically snap to 8 different locations on the screen shown by the red arrows.  (You would want to move it if it was in the way of something you want to press)






Touching the “Dot” will bring up 3 new buttons. Gestures, Device, Favorites and Home.  Touching Home will do the exact same thing as your hardware Home button.

There are some other interesting features you can play with from here but I mainly use the Home button and don’t have any need for anything else.







If you want to explore around, there are a few more useful actions under the Device menu:




Consolidating Multiple VMware VMDK Disk Files into One

October 29th, 2011

I have a lot of VMWare machines lurking in my storage.  For whatever reason that made sense at the time, I created them with disks that were split into multiple files.  I didn’t know this until recently, you can actually consolidate all of them into a single file without breaking the VM.  I want to do this anyway, since I have heard somewhere that it can improve performance especially on non SSD mechanical drives.

In command prompt, navigate to where you have VMWare installed.  For me it was

C:\Program Files (x86)\VMware\VMware Workstation

In that folder you can use the vmware-vdiskmanager.exe program to perform this operation

vmware-vdiskmanager -r MyVirtualMachineDisk.vmdk -t 0 SingleDiskFile.vmdk

Replace MyVirtualMachineDisk.vmdk with the full path and file name of the first file of your split VMware disk set.

The “-t 0” means to turn it into a “single growable virtual disk“.  If you would rather pre-allocate all the storage for the disk, use “-t 2” instead, which means “preallocated virtual disk.

You can view more command line options by running the vmware-vdiskmanager.exe with no parameters.

After the operation is complete, you will want to delete the original VMware disk set.  Then rename the output SingleDiskFile.vmdk file to whatever the original name was for the first file of your original VMware disk set.  Also make sure it is moved to the same folder where the original files were before so that the VMWare machine can find it again when it is started back up.

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Car ran over iPhone and it still works

May 16th, 2011

My friend found this iPhone 4 on the street, it appears as if a car ran over it.  The screen is totally crushed with bits missing from it.  The the thing that amazes me is that it still works.  The bottom half of the touch screen though was badly damaged so that part was not touch sensitive anymore.  …Read more…

Videos ,

Laser printer leaving dots

May 15th, 2011

Every time I want to print something I always have some problem.

…Read more…


Explaining confusion around Usage Based Billing

February 6th, 2011

Reading people’s tweets about this subject, I felt the need to clarify the situation around Usage Based Billing (UBB). There are people on the sidelines, who are saying things like “what’s so bad about UBB”. The same people also argue that companies such as Bell and Rogers have invested large amounts of dollars therefore they need to recoup their costs by implementing UBB. They appear to fear that if we don’t pay up our networks will get “clogged up” and will therefore end up with slow internet service.  This is simply propaganda in my opinion.

…Read more…

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Mercurial team workflow

October 15th, 2010

I find this Mercurial workflow made by SecretGeek very convenient.



Tweaking VMWare Workstation & reducing Disk Thrashing

October 15th, 2010

I use a VMWare virtual machine for development.  Lately though, I have been having issues with my disk thrashing uncontrollably, slowing everything to a crawl.   This especially seemed to happen right after suspending my VM.  The disk thrashing seemed to go on for a good 10 minutes before it came back to normal.  This made my host machine completely unusable during this time. …Read more…

VMWare, Windows ,

This is amasing

May 31st, 2010

My Must-Have JailBroken iPhone Apps

May 26th, 2010

I’ve got a tonne of apps that are installed in my iPhone.  But there are a few that I use regularly, and deserve special attention.  I have downloaded all of these apps from the un-official Cydia store, where you can find a lot of free, and payed apps that will only work on JailBroken iPhones.  For those who don’t know, out of the box, your iPhone is restricted by Apple so that your apps cannot do things like run in the back ground.

On with the list.

…Read more…