The Apple Core: Boostaroo Revolution Headphone Amplifier

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Date: Friday, December 16th, 2005, 11:55
Category: The Apple Core

boostaroo-revolution.jpgI first wrote about the Boostaroo Headphone Amplifier back in 2001 as a way to easily split the audio output from a PowerBook or iPod and share it with a friend. Boostaroo has improved upon the original with the Revolution, a new model now shipping.
The airplane is undoubtedly one of the best places to relax with an iPod or to watch a DVD on your PowerBook. The only potential problem is when you want to share them with a companion. Sure this is easily remedied with a simple $2 mini headphone splitter from Radio Shack, but splitting the signal tends to lower the volume and degrade the audio quality.
Read the rest of my review on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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New Small USB charger from Japan

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Date: Friday, December 16th, 2005, 09:08
Category: iPod

mini-charger2.jpgMy stocking-stuffer for 2005 comes from Japan. A truly pocket-sized USB charger which can be used to top up your iPod’s battery, cellphone or anything else that takes USB as its power source.
The unit, made by a company called Filco (not be confused with Philco who made radios back in the 1920s and ’30s) sells for about $10 in Japan. I found several other brands with essentially the same design, but Filco is the price leader. The unit is about half the size of the one you can buy from Apple. Input voltage is 100 – 240V so it will work anywhere in the world with the right plug adapter. The AC plug is not removable, but folds in as you can see in the picture. Hopefully some US-based supplier will import these soon.
(Contributed by Ole Jacobsen)

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mini Blockbuster

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Date: Friday, December 16th, 2005, 08:00
Category: Mac mini

mac-mini-200.jpgBlockbuster, Hollywood Video, Netflix, GreenCine, whatever the movie rental competition, I predict that Apple will eventually challenge these services. The Video iPod and iMac G5 were just testing the waters. The iPod screen is tiny and the iMac, even with the biggest screen is too small to be a home entertainment system. I wouldn’t have predicted it would start by selling TV episodes, but at some point Apple will need to rent feature length films at HD quality.
The Mac mini is the real deal. The size is right and video via Apple is poised to be the next big thing. The next mini is going to have to be a digital video recorder capable of decoding surround sound right out of the box. Think Secret is saying that video will reside on the user’s iDisk and never reside on the computer. I don’t think streaming feature length films or HD content can work that way any time soon, but I can envision a number of solutions that are far more robust than the DRM used to lock iTunes songs.
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