The G5 is Alive!

At work I’m still using a PowerMac G5, and it’s still a good machine. I mean, it’s had it’s share of problems since 2004, including having the logic board replaced after a lightning strike (and lack of proper UPS) and having the optical drive replaced, but it’s worked well over the years…

So when I came in on Tuesday and found it was not powered on, I pushed the power button. Nothing happened. I pushed it again. And Again. And 10 more times… and then plugged it into another socket, and tried a different power cord. And then got worried. I pulled out all the RAM, I crossed my fingers, tried again. Nothing… no fans, no whir, no beep… totally dead.

PowerMac G5 At this point, I pulled out my Eee PC and started doing some searches. I assumed it was the power supply, as absolutely nothing happened when the power button was pushed. I found the old G5 power supply replacement program, but the serial numbers did not match up. At this point I figured the only thing to do was to rip the thing apart, so I did.

Luckily, the Powermac G5 Take-Apart Guide was extremely useful. The model G5 did not match exactly, but it was enough to get me going. Let me tell you, getting the power supply out of a G5 is a bitch! I’ve worked on a lot of Macs, but getting the power supply out of this one was a nightmare involving two trips to the hardware store, and multiple “hold your breath” moments along the way.

In the end, I had the power supply out, and tested it for the trickle voltage and found nothing. So at this point I was reasonable sure it had to be the power supply. I called the Apple Store to ask about power supplies for a G5 and as always, they are useless for this sort of thing. I did some searching and found some on ebay for $150 or so, but needed one fast. We ended up finding one from AllMac for $199 and managed to do a little live chatting with them to confirm things, and I ordered the power supply before 3PM California time, and had it in Wisconsin the next day before noon.

By 2PM the next day I had the machine back in action. Less than 24 hours between my testing the power supply, finding it to be dead, getting a replacement ordered and shipped, and having it in place. Damn! 5 gold stars for AllMac on that one…

And while much of the world is running on Intel, the old dual-processor G5 Mac still does a decent job. (At least for now!)


Multipurpose equals Slow

I’ve heard that multitasking burns more brain cycles due to switching between things, and even though you may think you are getting more done by multitasking, you really aren’t.

You know how your computer seems really fast when you get it, and then after a while it seems like it’s not quite so fast? It’s because of all that crap you add along the way. Those widget, and music scrobbling clients, and Twitter clients, and calendar agents, and notifiers, and on and on…

Video editing is resource intensive, and what I’ve found is that if I’m going to do just editing, I will log out any other users on my Mac (damn you fast user switching!) and then reboot, and then launch Activity Monitor, and quit (or force quit if necessary) any process not directly related to my task. So with a fresh reboot, and no silly little processing doing silly little things, I can go about my work. Alternately, I suppose I could create an account dedicated just to editing, and boot into that, but that’s more of a pain to me…

The reboot and quitting of processes is probably a five minute process, but saves me well over five minutes of time within an hour of editing.


The 48 Hour Film Project

If you’re available for a whole weekend of production, and you love filmmaking, you might want to get involved with the The 48 Hour Film Project.

The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie—write, shoot, edit and score it—in just 48 hours. On Friday night, you get a character, a prop, a line of dialogue and a genre, all to include in your movie. 48 hours later, the movie must be complete. Then it will show at a local theater, usually in the next week.

It’s a neat idea, and a cool project that forces a burst of creativity in a short amount of time. While it is happening in Milwaukee the weekend of June 20th, 2008, I sadly, cannot take part… at least not for the entire weekend.


The Office / Behind the iMac

Yup, that’s right… RasterWeb! World HQ has once again move into a new office. Since this blog started (in August 1997) we’ve probably moved the office seven times now. Moving is always fun! This time, even though we moved to a new building, we managed to maintain our IP address, probably because we experienced less than an hour of downtime.

The Office

The main workstation is set up, as is the server, though we still have about two other machines to set up. And hey, there’s even a window, and it’s got blinds so I won’t be blinded. I may do some funky time-lapse stuff out the window, who knows?

All in all, I am totally digging the new set up so far. Organization, FTW!

Of course there is the dark underbelly… the “Behind the iMac” of this lovely little set up.

Behind the iMac (Redux)

I think this is a major improvement over the old mess that I had (below) mainly because the power is now all hidden under the desk, and there’s not quite as much going on back there.

Behind the iMac

The challenge will be to keep things neat and tidy as we get into working like hell again. This office is bigger, and has a closet, so hopefully it will remain calm and collected.


Does HDMI work?

DVI-D to HDMI During the move, the ceremonial setting up of the TV happened a bit earlier than I expected, due to the cable guy coming three hours early. No matter, I was ready, and while he was finding signal loss, I was trying to use the HDMI cable again.

You might remember that I got a DVI-D to HDMI cable back in January 2008. I tried to use it, but I just did not see a difference in signal quality, and there was this nasty lag when changing channels.

So when Gabe was over, I asked him about his experience with HDMI and he said he couldn’t stand the DRM wrapper it put on the video. I wasn’t sure what he was talking about until I mentioned the lag I was experiencing in changing channels, and he said “Dude, that’s the DRM wrapper I am talking about!” or something like that.

Component VideoSo I am back to using component video cables, because as Gabe pointed out, the ability to quickly go through the channels is of great importance. The component video cables allow that to happen, and like I said, I just am not seeing any difference in image quality. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s my 3 1/2 year old HDTV, I dunno… but for now, we’ll do it this way.