Monday, December 24, 2007

A good read: Inside the Machine

I just finished reading the book Inside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture, by Jon Stokes, and it was fantastic. It is an extremely thorough, yet very approachable, explanation of microprocessor architecture, and it uses popular Intel processors and PowerPC processors as the examples. It even covers up through Intel's Core 2 Duo chips.

It's probably too late to put this on your holiday wish list, so I'd recommend that you just treat yourself to a new geeky book.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New iPhone

About a month ago I noticed the WiFi on my 8GB iPhone starting to get a little flakey. My iPhone would no longer connect to my home network, which is basically an AirPort Extreme closed network using WPA2 and MAC address filtering; just the standard wireless stuff. I didn't want to believe that the phone was broken because then I'd have to send it in and spend a week without a phone, or talk to a "genius" and beg for a new phone or something, so I just kept putting off digging into the problem any further. If I tried a restore and it didn't fix it, then I'd be forced to go through all the hassle that I desperately wanted to avoid.

Over my two week Thanksgiving holiday trip in Chicago and Ohio my iPhone took another turn for the worse. During our flight back to California we ended up stranded in Chicago—sitting on the plane—for 9 hours before finally taking off for the 5 hour flight. (My wife and I also had our 4 month old daughter with us during this most enjoyable time.) Then it happened. About 1 hour into our 9 hour wait (14 hours total) my iPhone battery died and I had barely been using the phone! Now I was unable to get weather updates, catch up on Family Guy, or use the free O'Hare WiFi that I could still reach from the plane. It was terrible.

When I got back I realized that something was really wrong with my iPhone. With a full charge it would only last for about 6–8 hours with no use! Now I had no choice but to take it in to the geniuses at the Apple store.

Anyway, to make a long story not too much longer, I brought my broken iPhone into the Apple store, talked to a genius and she cheerfully grabbed a brand new 8GB iPhone for me, switched out the SIM card, and sent me on my way in a matter of minutes. I was so pleasantly surprised about how fantastic and easy the iPhone support was. It was great. I should have done this a month ago! Thanks Apple.