Apple Plasmas too Good to be True

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006, 10:38
Category: Macworld Expo

Apple Plasmas?I just received this obvious Photoshop-job of “Apple plasmas” being loaded into a store window. While fun to look at, I’m increasingly of the opinion that the whole thing could be a massive misinformation campaign by Cupertino to get us off the scent.
The PowerPage has been receiving suspicious IMs from people claiming to have all kinds of facts on the new plasma Macs but they simply don’t add up. Part numbers of the alleged TVs don’t match what other Mac Web sites have been told, so there’s a good chance that Steve, Phil and Avie are simply testing the loyalty of their staff by giving out false info and looking for it on the Web. They simply match the specs (in this case the PNs) to the leak and BAM, they’re fired. It’s a crappy way to down-size but it may be happening.
You have to take all this pre-Expo reporting with a grain of salt. Remember that no one except Steve himself and a handful of engineers, PMs and execs know the exact details of the products being announced today. Cupertino is pretty stealthy leading up to Expo and it wouldn’t surprise me if the whole plasma thing turned out to be a smoke-screen. We’ll see in 60 minutes.


FoxTrot Comic Pokes Fun at Steve Jobs and MWSF

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006, 10:42
Category: Macworld Expo

Check out this funny FoxTrot comic strip by Bill Amend:

FoxTrot and Steve Jobs

It’s no longer on the front page of the FoxTrot Web site, but you can find the whole strip here. (Thanks Calvin Choy)


AirFoil 2 Fills Gaps in AirTunes Software

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006, 08:35
Category: Software

Rogue Amoeba Software’s Airfoil 2.0 fills some major gaps left by Apple’s AirTunes software for broadcasting music to the Airport Express base station. The original Airfoil enabled any audio (not just iTunes) to be sent to the device. Airfoil 2 makes it possible to send audio to multiple AirPort Express units simultaneously and in sync.

Using Airfoil and multiple AirPort Express units, it’s possible to “wire” a house for audio, wirelessly, for a fraction of the cost of more expensive audio players. To add audio to a room, just plug in an AirPort Express (and speakers, of course), and Airfoil can send the audio there. Heck, not even iTunes can do that, but Airfoil will work with iTunes!
New Features In Airfoil 2:
* Support For Multiple AirPort Express Units
* Support for sending audio to password-protected units
* Audio Effects, including a 10 band equalizer, as well as volume and
balance controls
* Support for sending audio to password-protected units
* Send audio from new sources, including USB radios, Dashboard widgets,
and audio devices
* Send all audio playing on the system
* Support for sending audio to password-protected units
* Includes and supports Smart Crash Reporting
* Fully Applescriptable

Airfoil 2 is immediately available as a free demo from the Airfoil Web site. Version 2 is a free update for licensed users, new users can purchase Airfoil through the Rogue Amoeba store for US$25.


The Apple Core: It was the night before Expo…

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006, 01:34
Category: The Apple Core

… and all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for Steve’s mouse.
“Quick, change that keynote slide, he’s got it all posted.”
“And you’d better do it quick, before you’re ass is toasted!”
The night before Expo is kind of a weird time, there’s a kind-of quiet before the storm type of feeling but it’s hard to take advantage of because the ether is buzzing with everyone’s predictions and conjecture about what his Steveness is going to announce.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Aluminum PowerBook 15-inch Battery Update

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2006, 00:44
Category: Software

Apple Software UpdateWaiting in your software update is the “Aluminum PowerBook 15-inch Battery Update.” Which according to Apple’s hyper-vague description “aids the 15-inch Aluminum PowerBook battery in performing at full capacity.” The software is 820kb and I’d recommend waiting at least 72 hours for the dust to settle before installing ANY software update from Apple. I mean, you didn’t need it yesterday, did you?
And what’s with the descriptions? C’mon Apple, these lame, super-secret we’re-not-going-to-tell-you-what-it-fixes software updates are starting to piss me right off. Tell me what it fixes already! Is this update going to permanently disable the other RAM slot in my PowerBook?
Are the lawyers at Apple really such tight asses? Maybe if Apple stopped suing their fans (*cough* RIAA *cough*) their fans would stop bringing class-action suits against them.


Exclusive: Apple Plasma Displays to Rock MWSF (is this the Apple television?)

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 12:22
Category: Apple TV, Macworld Expo, Television

[Note: This post was originally published on January 6, 2006.]

A funny thing happened when I walked into the convenience store this morning: as I was grabbing my usual breakfast sandwich (sausage, egg and cheese on a english muffin if you must know) from the warming rack at Wawa (a favorite shop for those in PA/NJ) the guy re-stocking the rack whispered something to me. I was wearing my Apple logo’d sweatshirt, so he says “so you like Apples, huh?” to which I replied “yeah…” not knowing where he was going.

He went on to tell me that he had a friend who had a friend who knew something about a new and special Apple announcement that was going to be made on Tuesday’s Macworld Expo keynote address in San Francisco. Sandwich Man (not his real name) elaborated that this was an announcement that he hadn’t seen reported anywhere on the Web. Intrigued, I asked him for more…

Sandwich Man proceeded to tell me that Apple was about to rock the consumer electronics world again with an entirely new product line that they’ve never sold before. After some prodding he told me that Apple would announce two new widescreen HDTV plasma displays at Tuesday’s keynote address at Moscone.

“Plasma HDTVs?” I yelped.

“Not so loud,” Sandwich man replied.

“The shift manager is the former Asteroid PM from Apple and I don’t want him to hear me!”

We shuffled over to the coffee bar where I pressed him for more. He went on to say that Apple would release 42 and 50-inch widescreen plasma HDTVs loaded with DVI-HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) and VGA Inputs.

Most will shiver at the thought of built-in HDCP because it limits the capabilities of their products. Sandwich man tells me that “High-definition digital video content is restricted to DVD quality on non-HDCP video outputs.” Bummer.

“But why?” I ask.

“Because it’s more than a run-of-the-mill plasma” he says.

Walking over to the prepared foods area he mumbles that the new plasma displays are powered by Intel’s newly announced Viiv multimedia technology as he pretends to re-organize the salads. Picking up a chicken, cherry and walnut salad (my other favorite Wawa item) he mentions that it will run Mac OS 10.4.4 for x86.

Almost dropping my Ken’s salad dressing, I exclaim “No way!”

“Way” sandwich man says.

I can tell he’s getting nervous telling me so much, especially now that a few of his co-workers notice that he’s been talking to me for a while. Nervously he asks me “Would you like me to ring that up for you, sir?” I play along and walk with him over to the register.

“How much will they be?” I ask.

“$25.99 and $32.99” he mutters.

“For a sandwich and a salad?!” I practically yell.

“No. Ahhh, just forget it man” he says in disgust.

“You don’t get it, do you?”

Mildly confused I ask him if there’s anything else he can spill about the new plasmas. Sandwich Man nervous stuffs a few soft pretzels into my bag and tells me that the new sets will feature built-in Bluetooth and Airport technology. “… and the new 12-button remote with LCD display will blow you away” he says.

“Will it include a keyboard and mouse?” I ask.

Rubbing his thumb and index finger together tells me that these will cost extra, in Sandwich Man code.

Not wanting to wear out my welcome, I thank him and grease him with a little New Year’s present (the least I could do). As I walk away he says something really bizarre:

“Hey AirMac, I’ll see you on Tuesday!”

Whatever that means…

Apple television mockup:

Update 2006-0106: The story has been has 1,000+ Diggs and 140+ Digg comments!

REVIEW: Garmin StreetPilot 2720 Portable GPS (Updated)

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 11:34
Category: Consumer Electronics

Garmin StreetPilot 2720As an unabashed gadget geek, there’s one toy that I’ve managed to resist for years: GPS. You see, I have this weird thing about commuting – I don’t like it. No, let me make that clearer, I detest it. Sitting in traffic or spending a lot of time driving across creation is one of my least favorite things to do. So much so that I’d rather move closer to the office than commute.
Because of my short commutes (usually between 10 and 20 minutes) I’ve never really had the need for a GPS system. I know where I’m going because I drive the same route every day. But reading Rob Parker’s review of the Quest 2 from Garmin on 14 November got me thinking that maybe there’s something to this whole GPS thing after all.
Read More…


REVIEW: Motorola ROKR E1 iTunes Mobile Phone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 6th, 2006, 09:53
Category: Mobile Phone

Motorola ROKR iTunes PhoneThere was a point in time where I carried around three plus electronic devices at a time and loved it – and that was before the invention of the portable MP3 player. Sure, I could be described as a geek, but at times it was part of my job.
Like may people, I have greatly simplified what I like to carry around and an MP3 player has quickly zoomed to the top of that list. Carrying a mobile phone has become a necessity. Carrying around a Palm organizer/PDA has slipped down the list, but staying organized with my calendar and contacts is still a priority. Am I really supposed to carry around three devices in my bag? Arguably, I am a good candidate for one of these devices that combines phone, music, and organization, in that order.
Read More…


Brenthaven Adds Color and Style to its CORE Product Line

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Date: Thursday, January 5th, 2006, 09:27
Category: Cases

Brenthaven Metro in Light BlueBrenthaven has announced new Metro and Fusion MB laptop bags, adding to their CORE protection system line.
The Metro Shoulder Bag (US$69.95) provides stylish protection and heavy protection in a lightweight bag (2.4 lbs). The front pocket features a pass-through and storage system for headphones or cell phone headset. A simple back pocket fits files or a daily newspaper. The Metro fits both iBooks (12-14-inch) and PowerBooks (12-15-inch) and is available in black, brown and light blue.


Pete Tong: Apple's Gone Wrong?

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 5th, 2006, 09:18
Category: DJ

Pete TongThe phenomenal British DJ swears by Macs and believes iPods have changed the planet. But as Apple conquers the music world, Tong worries the company may be going all Microsoft on us.

Wired News: What about the iPod, music and Apple?
Tong: I’ve always been a Mac user, but as Apple grows more powerful I get the sense that there’s a little bit of Microsoft in there. The way it’s so controlled from the center. It’s phenomenal what it has achieved. Success in digital music gives Apple the chance to control things again, but will it keep that friendly image?

Read the Wired News interview by Jonny Evans.