Disney and Pixar

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Date: Thursday, January 26th, 2006, 08:17
Category: Opinion

Disney absorbs Pixar and Steve Jobs moves to the Disney board. This could not have happened with Eisner. The clash between Eisner and Jobs was a problem that went beyond just personality. Eisner did not appear to have a strategic vision and did not do well for Disney during his tenure. According to Jobs, Bob Iger has one. If he does, this could be a good marriage. Disney benefits by having one of its strongest assets in-house with a guaranteed future relationship. Animation is fundamentally important to Disney. God help Iger if he does not have vision and one that is compatible with Steve’s. Look at what the Next acquisition did for Apple. Great things, but Gil Amelio did not survive the deal. He had no vision and he got Steved.
Read On

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Intel Mac Benchmarks Suspect

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 10:09
Category: Intel

snail-inside.jpgI, probably like you, couldn’t re-load the Apple Store fast enough to place my order for a MacBook Pro after they were announced on 10 January 2006. But I have to admit to being concerned about the spate of reports that the Intel iMacs aren’t benchmarking anywhere near the advertised “twice as fast” promised by Apple.
A story on Gizmodo (via RegHardware and Macworld) claims that the new Intel iMacs are only about 25% faster than the G5 version when running non-native applications in the Rosetta emulator.
So does this mean that the MacBook Pro will only be 50% faster? Please, Steve, say it ain’t so! If the new MacBook’s aren’t anywhere near the “two to four times faster” than the PowerBook G4 (running native apps), be prepared for an angry mob of Macophiles with sticks and torches to march on Cupertino. And if the MBP battery won’t get through a full-length DVD on a charge matters will be even worse.

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The Apple Core: Apple Plasmas and bad Intel

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

I think that it’s time to address the elephant in the room: the Apple plasma story that I floated in the run up to Macworld Expo. The story was based on a tip that I received from a source that was reliable in the past and after checking it with a few other industry peers it seemed plausible albeit a little out of the scope of Apple’s traditional products.
After further research with some publishing peers I discovered that others had also been leaked the plasma display story but that it was from someone that they didn’t know. The story was based on some bad intelligence that I received (sound familiar?) and I made the decision to run with it. Perhaps it was a little irrational exuberance on my part or my perennial optimism, but either way, I was sold. While Apple hasn’t released anything in this category, it could easily be an extension to the iMac line. The cottage industry built around Mac mini home theaters further fueled the fire. I also got swept up in the excitment of plasmas shipping with Intel ViiV digital home technology. The timing seemed perfect with Intel having just announced ViiV a few days prior to MWSF.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Tune Into Your World, Tune out all Others

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 08:00
Category: iPod

An article in The Orlando Sentinel by Linda Shrieves (“Tune into your world, tune out all others“) asks if the iPod generation has effectively isolated themselves from society and potentially done irreparable harm to their communication skills.

When he left his home in Orlando, Fla., to attend New York University, Dante Lima quickly discovered a terrific use for his iPod, the portable music player that he and most of his fellow college students wear.
While walking down the streets of New York, Lima has found that when he wears his iPod headphones — known to iPod aficionados as “ear buds” — he can walk past the throng of sidewalk hucksters without being bothered.
“If you want to get away from them, just start listening to your iPod,” says Lima, 20. “They don’t approach people with headphones on.”

Read the rest of the article in The Orlando Sentinel.

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iPod Audio Tours Gaining in Popularity

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Date: Wednesday, January 25th, 2006, 06:43
Category: iPod

A story in the Washington Post by Anne McDonough (“Hear Here!“) discusses services by SoundWalk, AudioSteps and TalkingStreet that offer museum and neighborhood audio tours in MP3 format for between US$12 and $35 each.

Soundwalk tours include familiar neighborhoods, which become even more so after walking them with an insider. A walking tour of Little Italy, for example, is narrated by “Sopranos” cast member Vinny Vella. Writer Paul Auster narrates a walk through Ground Zero. Auster augments the walk by talking with historians, a poet and Mohawk ironworkers who helped build the World Trade Center. A woman talks about the phone message she received from her husband there; standing not far from where he died, you hear him saying goodbye.
Outside the tourist haunts, you can, for example, follow the voice of hip-hop veteran Jazzy Jay through the Bronx. Or tour Williamsburg’s Hasidic community in the company of Joseph Piekarski, a Lubavitcher.

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The Apple Core: Disney Board Approves $7B Pixar Acquisition

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Date: Tuesday, January 24th, 2006, 20:12
Category: The Apple Core

Its official. The Walt Disney Company today announced the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios, the blockbuster animation studio majority owned by Apple’s Steve Jobs, for $7.4 billion.
Jobs will take a seat on the Disney board and Pixar President Ed Catmull will serve as president of the new Pixar and Disney animation studios. Pixar’s creative genius, John Lasseter will serve as chief creative officer of the animation studios, and will report directly to Disney CEO Bob Iger.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Retractable iPod Sync Cable

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2006, 20:18
Category: iPod

radtech-retractor.jpgWhen it comes to accessories, I’m all about saving space. Cables are the bane of my existence and I try to carry as few as humanly possibly. One of the few that makes the cut is my iPod sync cable because, unfortunately, I’m addicted to bass and have to update my iPod music frequently.
One of my favorite new doodads is the Retractable iPod sync cable (US$10) from RadTech. It’s available in USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and to quote Swingers this thing is money, baby. It’s quite simple, you grab either end and pull when you want to use it and pull again when you’re done. No more pesky winding! And when you’re a cable freak like me, this is no small feat.
Oh, that sweet case on my iPod nano is the new Iconz (Bart Simpson edition) US$25 from ExtremeMac. They’ve got a couple dozen cool designs ranging from Star Wars to Batman to Scooby Doo and they’ve got them for the iPod video too.

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Overnight HDD Upgrade for your 'Book

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2006, 19:18
Category: Hardware

Momentus_5400_3.jpgTechRestore, Inc. (a PowerPage sponsor) is now offering 160GB overnight hard drive upgrades for PowerBooks, iBooks and PC notebooks.
The service includes overnight pickup of your notebook from any location in the continental U.S., installation of the new 160GB drive, data transfer and return overnight shipping for US$490. Your old hard drive is returned so you’ll have a backup of your data.
The same service for other drives costs:
- 120GB (5400RPM) US$330
- 100GB (5400RPM) US$280
- 100GB (7200RPM) US$400
As an option you can have your old hard drive installed in a portable case for US$20. All upgrades are covered by a 1-year warranty from TechRestore and a 5-year warranty on the hard drive from the manufacturer.

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Airport Express Update Allows Multi-Room Streaming

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2006, 07:00
Category: Software

airport-express.jpg
Lost in the hoopla of all the Macworld giddiness is a cool new feature available to users of Apple’s Airport Express.
Previously, you could only use the AirTunes feature to broadcast music to a single AirPort Express base station, but in the AirPort Express Firmware Update 6.3 Apple has quietly added the ability to stream iTunes to multiple AirPort Expresses simultaneously.
Can anyone tell me why there’s no mention of this on the AirPort Express Firmware Update 6.3 page? It’s a major freakin’ feature!
After upgrading your ‘Express to the 6.3 firmware there’s a new option for “Multiple Speakers” in the AirTunes drop-down list in the lower right edge of the iTunes window. When you select it you can then select the multiple speakers to stream to, including “Computer.” That’s right, in addition to multiple AirPorts you can also hear the music out of the computer’s speakers at the same time – another major feature! The new 6.3 firmware also syncs music on the computer and the remote speakers.
On caveat: the multiple speaker function uses UDP and you’ll need to allow it in the Mac OS X firewall (you do have it turned on, don’t you?):
System Preferences > Sharing > Firewall > Advance > Uncheck “Block UDP Traffic”
While it’s not the upgrade I hoped for in my Macworld predictions article nor is it as full-featured as Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil 2.0 software (US$25) it’s a step in the right direction and it’s free!

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The Apple Core: Steve Jobs in mouse ears?

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Date: Monday, January 23rd, 2006, 07:00
Category: The Apple Core

There’s a ton of speculation swirling that Disney is set to announce a buyout of Pixar Animation Studios for somewhere in the range of US$7 Billion. The acquisition would make Steve Jobs the largest individual shareholder of Disney according to a story on AppleXNet.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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