Ask the PowerPage: PC or Mac Notebook?

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Opinion

Dear PowerPage:
I remember the first time I bought my first laptop, a Sony Vaio laptop with Intel Centrino technology. The first time I opened the box to my laptop I was really excited to use my Sony Vaio because it was a Sony Vaio. After two years of using the Vaio I have realized the benefit of the MacBook’s longer battery life and am now deciding to switch.
I often ask myself, should I really do this? Switching would mean changing operating systems from Windows to Mac. Should this be of concern?
A bigger concern for me is battery life. I normally use my notebook for long periods of time and it only runs for two hours on a charge. If I am sitting in the library and I need to use it for a long period of time, the PC is no good. From everything that I’ve heard this is where the Mac shines.
Apple’s notebook comparison chart states that the battery life of the MacBook is “up to 6 hours” and that the MacBook Pro is between 4.5 and 5.5 hours, but recently I went to a local store and the member of staff told that it only is really more like two hours. Is this true?
Thank you for any help with this important decision!
– Confused

Dear Confused:
The first thing to note is that if you buy a Mac you’re not only limited to using Macintosh software, you can still run Windows and Windows software by installing Apple’s free Boot Camp software, or by installing Parallels Desktop (US$49) – just remember to keep your WinXP CD.
On the issue of battery life, manufacturers always inflate their battery life estimates on notebook computers to the point of it being almost fraudulent. Their battery estimates are usually based on a “perfect world” environment: brand new cells, monitor dimmed and little or no disk or CPU access. This is not reality. I usually take Apple’s battery life estimates and half them for something closer to reality. For example: Apple claims that my MacBook Pro should run for “up to 4.5 hours” but about two hours and 15 minutes is more like it.
That said, jump right in and grab a MacBook or a MacBook Pro and you’ll never look back.
Readers: What are your thoughts on this buyer’s quandary? Should he go with the Mac or stick with a PC notebook?


Alternative use of iPod Ratings Stars

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 09:00
Category: iPod

The original iPod was a triumph of form and function. It looked great, its interface was simple and intuitive, and it stored and played thousands of songs in an attractive, portable unit.
My first iPod was a ‘third generation’ 20GB model. It was the first model that I considered to have enough memory to carry around a library of songs that represented my CD collection. I then upgraded each time there was an increase in hard drive capacity. As a result, I now own a 60GB iPod Photo which I listen to through my car, studio and home stereo system.
I love elegant, simple design. The problem is, when a designer simplifies things, they have to leave stuff out. And one designer’s ‘disposable’ is another person’s ‘essential’. I think there should be a couple of programmable buttons on the iPod, allowing you to bypass the menu system for your most-used functions. I would employ them to switch between shuffle and sequential mode, and to allow instant access to the ‘Contacts’ list, but I’m sure a wide range of uses would be found for them.
In an ideal world, I would also like to be able to edit data that is contained on the iPod, but I do understand that this would clutter the interface. One of the reason’s for the iPod’s success is that it does one thing very well. It is an entertainment unit, not a PDA.
However, there is a function on the iPod that allows you to input data while on the move – the ‘star-rating’ system. I find the conventional use of the ratings system doesn’t work for me. I like all the songs in my iTunes collection, that’s why they’re there! And how much I like them depends on mood and context, not on any kind of permanent ‘star’ rating.
Read More…


Voodoo Envy u:909 – Insane Gaming Notebook

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 09:32
Category: PC Notebook

voodoo-ENVY-u-909.pngThe Voodoo ENVY u:909 may be the most powerful notebook yet – too bad it only runs Windows. The u:909 features a 19-inch monitor running at 1680 x 1050 resolution powered by dual NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GTX 256 MB graphic cards. The brains behind the machine is an AMD Turion 64 processor.
All that gaming muscle doesn’t come without a price however, the u:909 weighs in at a hefty 16 pounds and will set you back US$7771 when configured with a 2.4GHz ML-44 processor, dual video cards, 2GB RAM and a 120GB HDD. The ENVY u:909 is pictured above in imola pearl orange.


The Apple Core: Apple Premium Reseller Program

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Date: Tuesday, May 30th, 2006, 08:13
Category: The Apple Core

Last week I reported that there was a movement afoot in Amsterdam forcing Apple authorized resellers to change their names from “Apple Centre” to “Apple Premium Reseller” and how it may be a sign that Apple is planning to open their own line of Apple Stores in the area and essentially compete with their own channel. It appears that Apple’s global assault on retail is larger than just the Netherlands.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.