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Blockbuster Online launched a new design today. The look isn’t bad but there are some things that concern me. First, each new page I go to I see a welcome back message at the top of the screen under the navigation. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but every time I go to a new page it welcomes back a different name. I’ve been Ken, Brandy, Daniel, Walter, etc. I just hope personal information isn’t readily available to other users during this design launch period.

The second thing that bugs me is Blockbuster launched the download service. You can buy and download or rent and download movies now. They are late to the game with this. Netflix has allowed streaming for a year now. Blockbuster seems to have more new releases available to download than Netflix but you have to pay for them, even if you’re already an Online subscriber. With most plans on Netflix you get unlimited streaming as part of your plan. Like Netflix, Blockbuster’s download service only works with Internet Explorer on Windows. I’m tired of major companies not supporting other browsers and operating systems. I want to watch on my Mac and I want to watch using Firefox. With Apple systems gaining in popularity and Firefox having a 20% market share, it’s time to show some support. Netflix is rumored to support Macs by the end of 2008 so maybe I’ll switch back to them when that time comes. For $1 more a month than Blockbuster I’ll have unlimited streaming, which comes in handy at work.

I’ve been really frustrated with my Windows Vista box. When I first got the machine, last summer, I loved Vista. Now, with each day, I tend to loathe it more and more. This is due to many frustrations I have with it.

Things seem to freeze all the time. Whether it’s Internet Explorer (yes, I use it to check the compatibility of websites I work on), Windows Explorer, Windows Sidebar, or pretty much anything else. I don’t run a lot of programs at once and have 2gb of RAM (which Windows while idling uses about 44% of) and these things still freeze.

Things just don’t work. Windows Media Center is a piece of crap and can’t play DVDs without freezing or taking forever to load. I went to burn a cd this morning using Nero and clicked “Burn” forgetting to put in the cd. No problem, Nero notified me and I put in the blank disc. What’s that? Windows decided to drop the drive altogether? Nice. So then I had to reboot the machine so it would pick up drive. All to burn the cd.

Another factor weighs in on my continuing hatred for Vista. My MacBook. While I do find some faults with OSX, for the most part, it’s a good OS. It’s fast on my MacBook, there’s good software, and the look and feel is great. And I never run into any of the problems I run into on Windows. My next desktop computer is going to be a Mac. Too bad that won’t be for a while.

I could install Linux on it, which I do have Ubuntu installed via Wubi, but I don’t want to have to do a lot of work to get something to just work. I don’t want to go around the bend to get my ATI card to work to it’s full potential all while sacrificing other aspects of an environment I like (If I want to use the ATI drivers for desktop effects I can’t play games or have a screensaver because the screen flickers while doing those things). Too bad OSX won’t work on PC hardware (without mass amounts of hackery).

I love letting other people see what tracks I listen to and I love being able to find artists similar to what’s on my playlist, that is why I love last.fm. Even though I don’t use my MacBook for listening to music much, when I do I still like to scrobble, or submit, the tracks. My problem has always been finding a good Mac client to do this. I used to use Menuet, but every time I right click the icon in the menu bar it crashes. So, I’m saying goodbye to that. I downloaded and installed the official client from last.fm and that was deleted almost instantaneously. The client gives you the option to place an icon in the menu bar but doesn’t give you the option of hiding it on the dock when it’s open. I don’t want it on my dock. At all. Deleted. So, right now I’m trying iScrobbler. We’ll see how I like this one when I’m actually able to listen to music. Does anyone have a suggestion for a last.fm app? Do you use something you think is better? If so, let me know.

I love my MacBook. I love it more than my previous Compaq laptop. It’s so much lighter, thinner, and well, OSX is much better than Windows. The reason I went with a MacBook and not a MacBook Pro was because I didn’t want a laptop that was as large as my old one. I wanted it lightweight and compact. The problem I see now, and it’s not so much a problem as a minor annoyance, is that I miss the larger screen. My old laptop had a 17 inch widescreen. My desktop has a 21 inch widescreen, and the MacBook has a 13 inch. The only time I really need it is when I’m working on website stuff. I like to have multiple windows open, along with IRC and instant messenger, and be able to move stuff around. More screen space equals more productivity for me. With a 13 inch screen Firefox or Smultron or Transmit take up the entire screen. Oh well, I still prefer working on my MacBook to my Windows Vista machine 99% of the time and I have no regrets in buying this over the MacBook Pro. I really can’t wait for my next desktop. I do believe that will be a Mac too.

Let me start this post by saying I love my MacBook. I use it every single day and am not disappointed in my purchase in the least. In fact, unless the next Windows blows me away (or the current version of Linux out there) my next desktop computer will probably be a Mac. That being said, I just love how Apple’s mantra is (or was) It just works. I’ll give you an example that I came across yesterday of it not working.

We all know that OSX Leopard update 10.5.2 came out on Monday. I upgraded, welcoming all the new fixes and updates. They changed Stacks a bit, which is good, but I still wish they would make Stacks how it was originally supposed to be. I want to create a stack on the dock for, say, all my communication apps: Adium, iChat, Colloquy. I want to click on that stack and have it expand to show those apps. The video for stacks before Leopard came out did exactly that, then the feature was removed. This post isn’t about that though. Stacks worked for me, even if it isn’t how I want it to work. My problem was with Time Machine.

I don’t keep my MacBook hooked up to the external drive at all times. In fact, I only hook it up when I want to make a backup. After updating to 10.5.2 on Monday I decided to make a Time Machine backup. The only changes that really occurred since the last Time Machine backup were adding maybe two files to the Documents folder. So I run Time Machine and it said Preparing backup. 30 minutes later, it still said the same thing. After about 45 minutes I decide to cancel the backup and try again later. Tuesday (on my snow day) I try again. It sat at Preparing backup for an hour before I canceled it. I go do some searching on the Apple forums and find numerous other people having problems backing up since 10.5.2. One solution that a user found was erasing the drive and starting over. I figured, why not, everything is still on here, it won’t hurt to erase the disk so I can backup again. So, I do it and what do you know? Time Machine works again. So, Apple, you release updates to fix the broken and you wind up breaking more stuff. Seems like a lot of Apple things don’t just work lately. Keep it up and I’m going to start calling you Microsoft. ;)