Gizmo Project 2.0 Released

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Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

gizmo-sm-ear2.jpgVoice Over IP (VOIP) software Gizmo Project has released version 2.0 of their free software with smoother and more reliable calling. It’s like having a phone in your computer. New features include:
- Integration with the Asterisk office PBX
- Improved buddy list presence display
- Support for “Growl” notifications (Mac)
- Call-routing improvements for greater reliability
- Conference-calling improvements
- New low rates on International calls
- Improved audio quality for home networks

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What’s Right With this Picture?

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Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Digital Camera

casio-EX-Z1000.jpgCasio has recently announced their latest compact camera. The EX-Z1000 manages to cram 10 megapixels into a 92 x 58 x 22mm case (think of an inch-thick credit card).
Along with the usual slew of features and special effects, there is one option called ‘best shot’, takes a 3 megapixel shot of the area you are focusing on, while simultaneously recording a 10 megapixel image of this area, plus the area surrounding it. This is designed for people who have a tendency for ‘chopping’ the heads off people, or steeples off churches, allowing them to re-crop the picture in image-editing software later on.
Now, this made me think about my recent blog about Stephen Wiltshire, and a less-recent one about aerial panoramas. Stephen remembers every detail of the scenes he looks at, and is able to ‘stitch’ them back together again later. What if the cameras of the future had a lens apparatus that took a gigapixel picture similar to the panorama pictures.
Of course, getting the lens 100-feet in the air might be a problem, so maybe we’ll have to settle for a 360-degree horizontal view (cue a new ‘hold mobile phone above head when taking shots’ craze).
Later you could browse through the ‘flattened’ picture, and choose the portion you wanted.
And while we’re being silly, why not throw in an HDR imaging system (High Dynamic Range) which takes three identically framed pictures, one under-exposed, one correctly exposed, and one over-exposed, then blends them together to create a picture with far more detail than would be possible using conventional photographic methods?
Now, I can already hear howls of protest from ‘proper’ photographers saying that it takes all the skill out of photography. However, people will still need to choose the ‘best bits’… and the HDR method can lead to bland and uninteresting images without the right ‘eye’ to decide how much light and shade to mix in.
There was a time when only someone with photographic equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds could take professional-looking images. Now someone with a camera costing under �500 can record an image good enough to grace the cover of a glossy magazine.
Is this a good or bad thing? Discuss.
Contributed by: Brett Jordan

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Laptop Explodes at Conference (It was a Dell)

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 09:00
Category: PC Notebook

dell-laptop-explodes.jpgIf you thought that the legend of the PowerBook battery catching fire was bad…

AN INQUIRER READER attending a conference in Japan was sat just feet away from a laptop computer that suddenly exploded into flames, in what could have been a deadly accident. Gaston, our astonished reader reports: “The damn thing was on fire and produced several explosions for more than five minutes”.

Dell laptop explodes at Japanese conference

(Thanks CNet’s Apple Blog.)

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Mystery Insulating Laptop Sleeve

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Accessory

mystery-insulating-laptop-c.jpgA while ago someone sent me this insulated notebook case. The cool thing about it is that it’s lined with sand-like substance that works great as an insulating blanket between a hot notebook (like the MacBook/Pro) and the lap. It’s heavy and kind of reminds me of the lead blanket that the dentist lays over you before taking x-rays.
I use it and a Podium Coolpad when using my MacBook Pro on my lap – despite Apple’s warnings to the contrary. The problem is that I don’t know who the manufacturer is. If you do, get in touch with me and I’ll update the story.

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Swollen MacBook Pro Battery

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: MacBook Pro

mbp-swollen-battery.jpgMacFixIt has posted some pictures of their swollen MacBook Pro battery:

We’ve extensively covered an issue where the MacBook Pro’s battery gradually swells, — apparently due to overheating. In mild cases, batteries swell but remain functional. In these cases, keyboard and/or trackpad functionality is sometimes affected by the rising of internal components.

In severe cases, the swelling is visually striking, and users are eventually left with non-functioning batteries. Sudden shutdowns while charge remains are usually precursory to such failures.

MacFixIt – MacBook Pro: Pictures of our own swollen battery

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BC vs. Parallels Shoot-Out: WinXP Performance on the Mac

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

In this article for News.com Daniel A. Begun pits Apple’s Boot Camp against the agile rival Parallels Desktop at running Windows XP:

Apple’s own Boot Camp Public Beta allows you to install Windows XP SP2 onto an Intel Mac, giving you a dual-boot system. Parallels takes a slightly different approach with its Parallels Desktop for Mac, a virtual machine application. Instead of Boot Camp’s dual-boot approach, Parallels Desktop runs Windows XP directly on the Mac OS desktop (in what Parallels calls “near-native performance”)–allowing you to run both OSs simultaneously and switch back and forth seamlessly.

Heresy: Windows XP performance on a Mac – Alpha Blog – alpha.cnet.com

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Apple Removes the Word “Lap” From Web Site

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Legal

AppleDefects.com has the scoop on Apple’s further expunging the word “lap” from marketing materials for their “notebooks.”

Do you remember our story last week regarding Apple’s hypocritical marketing and website suggesting to use the MacBook on your lap? Here is a clip from their Student Orientation site to refresh your memory:

onyourlap.jpeg

Well, they no longer have the “On your lap” suggestion. Instead it has
been changed to the more vague, but less condemning “Anywhere you want”…

AppleDefects.com > Apple Covers Up “Lap” Suggestion

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The Apple Core: 10.5 speculation runs wild; Photoshopper field day

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Date: Monday, June 26th, 2006, 07:00
Category: The Apple Core

leopard-ss.jpgLast Thursday a mysterious blogger named Trinity Rubicon posted some terrific screen shots he alleged were from Apple’s unreleased Mac OS 10.5 (a.k.a. “Leopard”). The two shots, posted on a blogger account with no other posts, sent the Mac world into a fit of speculation and debate.
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.

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Faker Comes Clean on 10.5 Leopard “Screen Shots”

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Date: Sunday, June 25th, 2006, 19:00
Category: Software

leopard-dock.jpg

Trinity Rubicon admitted Saturday that the “screen shots” he posted for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard were actually just clever Photoshop-jobs. “The Jig is up” he says…

So in case you didn’t just hear me admit it, those screenshots are 100% fake. They are entirely Photoshopped, done merely for fun out of lots of free time and about 6 cans of Diet Coke.

And now that he’s come clean, he posted a feature request on things he wants to see in Leopard.

After making those screenshots and mentioning on making fake ones exclusively for evaluation/feedback, I’ve decided to make a small list of the things I want to see in Leopard (that I could make screenshots out of). I probably gave everybody a good idea as to what I want the Finder, Desktop Switching and Virtualization to look like, but here’s a list of everything else so far…

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Summer 2006 PPUG Meeting

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Date: Saturday, June 24th, 2006, 08:00
Category: User Group

ppug-logo.jpgJust a reminder: Today is the Summer 2006 PPUG meeting. If you live in the Philadelphia area you’re invited to attend.
The Philadelphia PowerBook Users Group (PPUG) will hold its summer 2006 meeting today (Saturday, 24 June 2006. ) The meeting will take place from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant. We usually have lunch (or a brew) while we talk mobile computing. I will be on hand to talk about the latest happenings in the MacBook-o-sphere along with Bob Snow and Rob Parker. Feel free to bring items to sell or swap as well.
Join us for a great meeting, it’s free and open to you and all your guests.
Be advised that the Manayunk Arts Festival is going on at the same time, so parking and traffic will be tight. Please plan accordingly. The Festival begins at 11 a.m. and runs through the early evening. This would be a great day to bring your family into Manayunk and then meet after the meeting for a fabulous afternoon.
Manayunk Brewery and Restaurant
4120 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127
(215) 482-8220
For information and directions go to PPUG.net.

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