Regal RPX (Regal Premium Experience): TDKR

Jessica and I went to go see The Dark Knight Rises for the umpteenth time in Regal’s new (to us) RPX theater near us.

The Picture

The screen is bigger than a regular movie screen, but probably only about 2/3 the size of an IMAX screen.  They (allegedly) use a 4k digital projector.  The picture was not only fuzzier and more blocky than the IMAX showing we saw; it was also lower quality than when we saw it at our local Alamo Drafthouse – on a regular sized (or maybe even smaller) screen.

It was also a bit too dark, making some things tough to see.  Not impressed.

The Sound

Regal purports to have a 100,000 watt sound system installed in the RPX theater.  IMAX only claims to be pushing 20,000 watts.  IMAX is WAY louder.  They also process the audio better (in the IMAX), so that dialogue is easier to hear, the soundtrack is properly placed in the soundstage, and explosions/gunshots actually feel like they’re punching you.

RPX did none of that.  At times, it sounded too quiet.  I almost couldn’t make out some dialogue, but thankfully, it was my fourth viewing, so I pretty much have the script memorized.

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]It really just sounded like one of those obnoxious cars with too much bass, and nothing else.[/box]

The Seats

The seats were awesome!  They were leather clad, and once the back reclines to a certain degree, the seat bottom starts reclining with it.  It makes for a rocking chair like experience, and they were just dead comfy.

However, comfy seats don’t save a visually lacking, sonically deprived experience.  I’ll stick with my Drafthouse, thank you very much.

Why I like Firefox more than Safari

I have been a Mac user for about 6 years.  There have been a few Mac bandwagons I haven’t jumped on (I’m looking at you, iPhone), but the main one is Safari.  I just don’t like it; however, ‘just don’t like it’ isn’t a good enough explanation, so I’ve taken to using it for the past 2 weeks to find out just exactly what it is Firefox does better than Safari – and just maybe, what Safari does better than Firefox.

Recently closed tabs

This is number one.  El Jefe.  When I’m in Firefox, I can press CMD-Shift-T, and the last tab I closed will re-open.  Doesn’t matter how long it has been since I last closed the tab, I can press CMD-Shift-T until every single closed tab has been re-opened.

Safari has CMD-Z functionality to re-open accidentally closed tabs, but it only works just after you’ve closed a tab.  If you wait too long, it won’t work any more.  I close tabs to keep computer performance up and re-open them when I need them again.  Perhaps not efficient, but it’s the way I do things, and Safari can’t keep up.

LastPass

LastPass is the most important extension I use.  I’ve changed every single password I have to extremely ridiculous passwords that I would  never be able to remember, and LastPass keeps track of them all.

For a while, I liked LastPass better on FireFox than Safari.  I commonly test my site builds in multiple browsers, so it’s important that I’m able to access the back-end of each site in any browser.  LastPass in Safari used to look like an iPad dropdown window, and I just didn’t like it.

Safari vs. Firefox - LastPass Safari vs. Firefox - LastPass

However, there was an update a few days ago for both browsers’ extensions.  LastPass in Safari is now better.  I can click the LastPass icon and type in a few of the letters of the site I want to go to.  I press the down arrow to highlight the site I want and hit enter – and voila: site launched and auto-login activated.

The one area Firefox has the edge, though, is right clicking form fields.  Inside the right-click menu is a LastPass option for auto-filling, copying, and generating passwords.  Yes, you can access these from the LastPass button in Safari, but I like being able to also access them from the field itself.

Safari vs. Firefox - LastPass

Firebug

In Safari, your only option is Firebug Lite.  It’s not bad, but it’s not as powerful as Firebug for Firefox, and it’s a bit ‘buggy’.  Pun intended.

H.264

Safari supports H.264, and Firefox does not.  Shame on you, Firefox.  I don’t know why they can’t support HTML5 video AND H.264.  It makes no sense.  This is actually the main reason I switched over to Safari for the past two weeks – because I wanted H.264 support for a Vimeo embed site I’m building.

I’ve deleted Flash on my MBP, so I rely on web video standards, and it really is a shame that Firefox won’t support H.264, yet.

Keyboard shortcuts for address bar and search

CMD-L gets you the address bar.  Try it!  It’s probably CTRL-L in Windows.  CMD-K gets you the search bar, just like in Thunderbird.  It’s easy, and after you’ve used those shortcuts for a day, you get used to them easily.

CMD-L is pretty universal in getting you the address bar in any browser.  The search bar, however, is a different story.  In Safari, I have to hit CMD-option-F to get the search bar.  This forces me to bring my left ring finger down to the option key, which isn’t easy and often results in mistakes.  It’s not a power-user key combo.

Buy.com Dropdown Links don’t work in Safari

This is just one of the many websites that for whatever reason don’t work well with Safari.  I don’t know if the designers built it for IE6, and Safari is too advanced or what – but it doesn’t work, and Firefox does.  It’s little things like this that I don’t have patience for.  When I can’t click “My Account” in a dropdown menu, I’m switching browsers.

Which port should you use? USB2/3? FW800?

I’m often torn between external hard drives.  Should I get a USB3.0 drive?  Should I shell out a ton of money for a Thunderbolt drive?  Will the speed of the hard drive itself bottleneck the speed so much that the connector won’t make a difference?

This post will be a simple one.

My Goal

  1. Examine the speed of my current laptop’s internal drives
  2. Examine the speed of a portable hard drive, using all the laptop’s different ports

The Equipment

Bottleneck

The goal here is really to see if USB3.0 via the ExpressCard slot in my MBP is really that much better than simple FireWire 800.  The ExpressCard slot is limited to SATA2 speeds, which is a 3Gbps theoretical max.

[box type=”info” border=”full”]3 gigabits per second (Gbps) = 384 megabytes per second (MBps)[/box]

So the max speed I will see is 384 MB/s, but since that’s just theoretical, it’ll likely be lower than that.

The Tests!

Internal SATA2 Intel 320 series 120GB SSD

SATA2 SSD internal MBP - caseyfriday.com

Internal SATA2 Toshiba 750GB Toshiba HDD – 5400 rpm

SATA2 HDD internal MBP - caseyfriday.com

Seagate Backup Plus via USB2.0

Backup Plus USB2 - caseyfriday.com

Seagate Backup Plus via FW800

Backup Plus FW800 - caseyfriday.com

Seagate Backup Plus via USB3.0 via ExpressCard 34

Backup Plus USB3 via Expresscard34 - caseyfriday.com

Class 10 SDHC card via ExpressCard 34

Class10 SDHC card expresscard34 - caseyfriday.com

Conclusions

Using the Seagate Backup Plus via the cheap USB3.0 adapter I bought gives me about 59% faster write speeds than my regular, trusty FireWire800.  If I were doing a backup of 300GB, it would take about 88 minutes on FW800 but only 55 minutes on USB3.0 (via ExpressCard 34).  If you look at all the results, you’ll see the speed of this drive is nearly identical to the HDD plugged into the SATA connection inside my MacBook.

It’s not a massive speed jump, but it’s enough to make backing up a bit less painful.  When I’m writing to or reading from an external hard drive, it’s most usually to do a complete backup (over 500GB) or a complete system restore.  When it comes to huge numbers like that, these incremental increases in speed will gift me some valuable time.