Boulevard of Dreams

Yesterday I received an email reminding me that a domain name that I’d registered last February expires soon. Logging in to renew presents me with a list of all the domains I have.  It’s a bit like walking down memory lane, the online equivalent of visiting somewhere you used to live. The domains range from my first domain registered back in the late 1990’s, and still live though not updated in a couple years. Most are in use and supporting live web sites for myself or for clients that I’ve consulted with.

More interesting are those just sitting there at the moment. I’ve learned to register a domain name when I get an idea after finding one no longer available when I went back a few years ago. Some are registered for projects on that someday/maybe list.  These are the ones I’ll get to when time and priorities allow. Others remind me of projects that never came to pass. There’s a photography project that didn’t come about, but I later reused for something entirely different.  There’s a side business that didn’t work out.  Most are sitting there waiting for the day when they’ll be needed.

Some I wonder if I’ll ever use.  A project I investigated a few years has little chance of coming to anything, but I still keep the domain name just in case.  I’ve been surprised sometimes when an old name suddenly becomes useful.  As I mentioned, a photography project that didn’t work out left me with a domain name that sat idle for a couple years before working perfectly for a completely different project last spring.

I also don’t let domains go because of a lesson from a friend. She owned a domain that she let expire. It was immediately snapped up by someone else and she’s not had the chance to get it back. There are ways to get them back, but the time and cost are not trivial and she’s never felt the urgency to pursue it.  Still not having the domain limited her options and I don’t want to wind up in that same place.

In the end those unused domains are options.  Having them gives me options and I like that.

Six Months with a MacBook

Back in July I started using a MacBook Pro as my laptop. A month later I’d become pleased enough with it to move over to it full time. Now that it’s nearly six month into the change I thought I’d add a few thoughts on the current state.

Not all was perfect. In fact I found that, as with most basic laptops, the included hardware didn’t last too long for my needs. Memory was my first problem and 4GB just wasn’t enough.  I’m surprised how much RAM the computer uses in just normal use with a few of my normal programs (Firefox, Outlook, etc.) running. I really wanted 16GB in the laptop, but the cost of that back in September was too prohibitive. I settled on upgrading to 8GB which works well most of the time. In fact even with 8GB I sometimes see the computer bog down when running a 3GB virtual Windows computer.  Memory prices on 8GB chips have finally dropped to the range I decided to buy that to put in.  The upgrade will be here in a few days so I’ll not later how it works.  That would also open up Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere among other apps I still have to rely on my desktop for.

I still need to run Windows applications on the go making VMware Fusion a necessity. I migrated my old laptop to a virtual machine which worked great, except that my old system was already slow and in desperate need of a reinstall. As always a virtual machine works slower than native hardware so the resulting VM was painful to use. I did a few test installations of Windows and finally found a decent sweet spot. It turns out a 3 GB VM running 32bit Windows 7 gave me enough to run Visual Studio 2011, my plugins, web servers, and other tools pretty snappily. I actually feel comfortable  

I also found hard drive space getting tight after a few months. So right before Christmas I took advantage of a good sale (especially surprising given the recent price increases) to upgrade to a 500GB drive. I chose one of the Seagate Momentus XT drives that includes a small amount of flash memory giving you a bit of a hybrid between the high speed SSD and high capacity storage. The speed jump is noticeable after a couple weeks usage. I would have liked to look at the larger (and faster) 750GB Momentus, but couldn’t justify the cost difference.

Overall I’m quite happy with the Mac hardware.  I’m still undecided if the price difference between it and a similarly configured PC is worth the change.  I still believe Windows 7 is  as good of an operating system as Mac OS.  The hardware is well designed and the upgrade of both the hard drive and memory were easier than in many PC laptops I’ve dealt with.  I also notice the reactions when you pull out a MacBook in a coffee shop are noticeably different than with a PC and mostly in a better way.  I’ve had people start a conversation with me about the MacBook while sitting and working.

One thing I’ve been less pleased about is the software situation on the Mac, but that’s another post.