Downside to Wireless Philadelphia?

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Date: Monday, May 8th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Uncategorized

philly-wireless.jpgIt looks like wireless Philadelphia is on track for Q3 2007 but no one is looking at the potential downsides.
I am a long time Philadelphia resident, which means I am cynic by defintion. I also currently run my own in-home 802.11b/g wireless network (done so for 5+ years). Is this new “Wireless Philadelphia” project going to drown out or interfere with my current setup?
Information about the actual technology that is going to be deployed is hard to come by since “Wireless Philadelphia” is a private company. At last report, it was going to be 802.11b. A signal strong to cover an entire city block would surely cause some interference problems. And, if I can’t maintain my current network under those conditions, what is my recourse? Not the city for sure (eminent domain kills that approach). The FCC? Will Verizon or Comcast join the fray? Who knows?
I tried looking into the gift horse’s mouth to find out more. The server never responded. Is this just a sampling of the service that is to come?
Some would say “stop being a grouch and just use the new city-wide wireless network.” I’m fairly sure that I won’t be able to maintain a decent game of Quake 4 with the amount of traffic and bandwidth available on that network. Think of it like you would public transportation. Yeah, it works but would you ride it if you had a stretch limo and driver?
I’m just worried that the whole thing was fast-tracked to promote something positive for the City of Philadelphia. I don’t think all of the technical aspects have been explored. And, Earthlink wants it because this is just another way for them to perpare for their inevitable exit from the dialup arena.
I’ll continue to track this and provide more insight when I can.
Contributed by: smaffei


The Apple Core: Next generation Intel processors coming to the Mac

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Date: Monday, May 8th, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

intel-core-2-duo.pngAccording to DailyTech, Intel has provided names and dates for their next generation of core processors. The new chips may ship under the Apple logo in as soon as a few months.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Has Apple Reached Their Design Zenith?

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Date: Monday, May 8th, 2006, 07:00
Category: Opinion

powermac-g5.jpgFollowing the Apple’s Intel transition it has occurred to me recently that most of their form factor design have stayed solid and they have simply have had to slip in the new intel chip. While this make much sense financially it has been a while since something new came out of the design studio. Remember the phrase “reworked from the ground up?” When did you last here that at a keynote?
Granted, there have been a few add-on products to come out of Cupertino, but hey, does anyone really love the design of the iPod Hi-Fi?
Thinking ahead it’s really the MacBook and MacPro’s turn next. With Jobs’ recent comment that the new products are the best yet (I know he always says that) could we be in from some fireworks from Mr. Ive? It’s been awhile since we heard from him – don’t you think?
How about some innovation in the upcoming MacBook:
– A full magnetic closure with no hook
– Refined night glow white encasing with possible shades of color
– 13.3-inch “true black” screen
– 20% slimmer
– Possible ship date of May 19, 2006 with the new 24/7 New York City store opening by SJ himself?
The Mac Pro (Intel tower) looks to ship 2007 but could also be seen at the WWDC developers conference in August. There has been little if no thought as to what this would look like or have inside. Do customers like the current “Power Mac” enclosure are we up for another redesign or another simple Intel chip switch.
iBook and Power Mac users of the world, it’s time you made yourself heard!


Alpine iPod Interface

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, May 6th, 2006, 13:53
Category: iPod

alpine9852.jpegThe Alpine CDE-9852 head unit with KCE-422i interface cable is probably the best integrated iPod automotive solution in the $200 price range. I received my unit from Crutchfield with a custom bezel and adapter plug to fit my car, making installation a breeze. This unit will support a subwoofer and I will most likely add one, but the Bass Engine equalizer control allowed me to add significant bass emphasis without the mid-bass tubbiness that you get with a simple tone control. I replaced the paper cone factory speakers several years ago with same size Polk speakers and they sound significantly better with a bit of equalization and the loudness contour turned on. What is there not to love? Great sound, direct control of my iPod and 2,000 plus songs at my fingertips. The display will scroll through Artist, Album and Song Title along with elapsed time. Sounds like heaven. Well I do love this unit and hate it at the same time.
Read more…


The Problem with Airplanes and the MBP

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 4th, 2006, 09:00
Category: MacBook Pro

airplane-seat.jpegStanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig has started an excellent thread on the Apple Discussion forums about the lack of a good airplane charging solution for the MacBook Pro. It looks like Apple needs to take some action on this issue or risk losing a lot of frequent flying potential MBP sales. Click through to read the rest of the thread.

I’d be interested in whether people think this problem is specific to my machine, or general.

I do too much travel on planes. I therefore couldn’t begin to use my MPB until I could buy 3 batteries (about a month after I got the machine), and I also had to buy an inverter, since I couldn’t find any iGo like tip to connect to the new magnet connection.

The first inverter I got was a Targus. It promised 90w – above the reported 85w drawn by the machine. Four flights, never would it work. Everytime, it would trip because too much power was demanded. I then bought a "CyberPower" inverter, promising 120w. That worked for a good 3 hours on an internatinoal flight, but then it began flaking as well. I then discovered that if I had a fully charged battery (so it wasn’t trying to charge), it worked fine. So the obvious "solution" is either to have a fully charged battery, or to remove the battery — though that’s obviously a bit dangerous, since the cord disconnects from the laptop so easily.

This is a big problem with the machine. Is it just mine, or is it general? And is there any useful way to control how much power the unit draws? Notice, the processor speed control has been removed from the Energy Saver panel.

Apple – Support – Discussions – the problem with airplanes and the MBP …

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The Apple Core: MacBook Temperature Monitor

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Date: Thursday, May 4th, 2006, 08:00
Category: The Apple Core

speedit.jpgThere is now a way to read the internal temperature of the MacBook Pro, something no other software has been able to do to date. A creative developer has figured out a way to get data from the internal monitors via a kernel extension (kext).
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Save $400 on a 17-Inch CoreDuo Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 09:02
Category: PC Notebook

17-inch-mbp.jpgA price comparison of three 17-inch Core Duo notebooks: two Dells and the new 17-inch MacBook Pro. The results may surprise you:
1. MacBook Pro – US$3,148
2. Dell Inspiron XPS M1710 – US$3,642
3. Dell Precision M90 – US$3,601
Read More…
Contributed by: Kenn Marks


New Apple Television Ads

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: Uncategorized

apple-tv-ads.jpgApple has released a new set of TV ads. Featuring two guys, one representing a PC (and who just happens to bear a passing resemblance to Bill Gates), and the other a Mac (who looks a lot like Steve Jobs would probably like to!), they are short, humourous, and worth a look if you have a few moments to spare.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the lady is a digital camera.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan.


Tiny Stocks’ Stock Manager for Palm OS

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Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

stock-manager.gifStock Manager (US$25) is a best-selling stock portfolio program for mobile phones and is a must have for Treo-toting mobile technologists with a stock portfolio.
If you have a smartphone with a mobile data plan you can get up-to-date stock information over the Internet. Stock Manager also comes with a desktop synchronization module that automatically updates your portfolio when you synchronize your device with your computer.
Stock Manager retrieves the current stock price, the day’s high, low, change, volume, bid, ask and 52-week high and low values. It’s also multi-currency enabled and features customizable alerts based on current price, profit and profit percent.
If you’re looking for a way to keep tabs on your portfolio while you’re on the go, Stock Manager is a perfect solution. It’s a must have for Treo smartphone users IMHO.
Tiny Stocks’ Stock Manager (US$25, free trial) is available for Palm OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC and Windows Mobile Smartphone.


Is there Something to this 1.5GHz PowerBook Drive Death Story?

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006, 08:00
Category: PowerBook

I was reading Mark Standen’s story from yesterday entitled 1.5GHz PowerBook Drives Dropping Like Flies and if it hadn’t just happened to me also (yes, seriously) I would have looked at the piece as a story of a couple of coincidental drive failures.
It was the morning of April 19th when my PowerBook locked up and, upon restarting, I got the endless spinning startup Apple. I managed to reset the PMU and get my 1.5GHz Aluminum PowerBook to boot. I was ill equipped to back up at the time and used what I had at hand: Apple’s Backup. Not ideal but it did preserve all my data to an external FireWire drive.
I really didn’t think the drive was failing. I thought the handle just needed a jiggle but, on the morning of April 20th, the drive officially packed it in. I went to my local authorized Apple Service location and arranged for a drive replacement. By the weekend, the job was done and I went about negotiating with Apple Backup for the release of my preserved data.
I finally got up and running again and made a resolution to be more diligent with my backups and purchased Synchronize Pro X. Backed up every evening like clockwork…. well, for a while anyway. Wait, I’ll explain.
The following weekend I recorded an episode of the Spoilers podcast and guested on The Wizards of Technology podcast using the PowerBook and Skype in both cases. Mere hours after wrapping up on Wizards of Tech, a Software Update alerted me to my PowerBook’s need to restart.
…that was the last I saw of my desktop. It is now in for its second hard drive replacement in under a month. Thankfully I have full confidence that, once a new drive is installed, SyncPro will bring me back to full productivity in no time.
Contributed by: Rick “RickMacMerc” Yaeger