Tuesday, March 22 2016

Apple talking smack about six-year old machines
[23:18:17] matt [wronka.org]/Psi+ Watching the "Loop-in Event" yesterday, Apple had a segment where the speaker made derogatory comment about people who owned computers that were six years old. At the time I was working on an EeePC that was from mid-2008 (about seven years old). It works for me, and frankly computers frive five years ago should work fine for 99% of computer users; but that's not the oddest thing about the statement.

My work laptop is a 15" Macbook, based on an Intel Haswell chip (two generations old) and is from 2013. In nearly three years since it was released (mid-2013), the current model has barely changed (the CPU speeds have changed from a base 2.0GHz to a top 2.6GHz, the currently line starts at 2.2GHz and tops-out at 2.8GHz). That means that buying a brand-new Macbook Pro Retina 15" gets you a three-year old machine right now. The previous model of the Macbook Pro Retina 15" was based on Intel's Sandy Bridge chip, and was essentially unchanged since the Macbook Pro Retina was announced in mid-2012, nearly four years ago. Feeling nostalgic, or simply want to replace your aged nearly six-year-old comptuer with something nearly four-years-old? The good news is that the mid-2012 Macbook is still available new from Apple today for $1099.

In general, Apple's on a 2.5-3 year major upgrade cycle on the Macbook Pro depending on how you define a "major" upgrade (I'm looking essentially at the chipset and processor generation). What a six-year old machine means in Apple-speak is at *most* two generations back. Chances are, a non-Apple PC purchased at that time would be closer to the upcoming generation of Apple computers, so most users with a six-year old computer are on-par with a previous generation Apple computer, or on par with the currently shipping non-Retina Macbook Pro.

Monday, January 6 2014

Ubuntu 13.10 and Darktable
[15:15:31] matt [wronka.org]/Trip Unfortunately, the Darktable developers package the latest versions for Ubuntu, which means it's simply easiest to use that distro. Installing 13.10 at home at least avoided the issues 13.04 had at work with filesystems not being mounted during init (like /tmp), but oddly switching from 12.10 to 13.10 30-bit dual-head became unstable and lost acceleration. 13.10 seems to work alright (or at lesat with accelration) when connected do one output to the Haswell card, but connecting two leads to instability and a lots of acceleration. The same computer, swaping the boot drive, works fine with dual-head 30-bit on 12.10 so this appears to be a software regression as opposed to a lack of general support for the configuation.

Otherwise, upgrading to Darktable 1.4 from 1.2.x has been positive. (Back on 12.10), it feels much faster, especially when turning-on level and curve controls (it seems to have already calculated the luminosity distribution which used to take an annoyingly long time to appear), and more controls can be instanced—this is particularly useful for levels to be used like an ND grad (better than the default ND grad control) and spot removal which can now blend to just affect spots when cloning dust.