Review: Pure Digital Flip Mino HD

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:32
Category: Review

By David Klein

For many of us, purchasing a digital video camera is similar to purchasing a digital camera: a stressful experience. Am I buying the best one in my price range? What about the competitor’s? Is that enough megapixels? Is that enough storage? Endless questions and confusion. Most settle for average quality in the US$100 to US$200 range, and they are surprised by the above-average results. They get something compact and light with an LCD screen, a decent lens, and clear pictures.

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Fortunately, we now have a comparable experience with digital video: the Flip Mino HD. It’s compact, stylish, sleek, and light. It has a 1.5″ screen, and it records in 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution. Yes, that’s high definition and it’s shocking for such a small package. However, the other surprising part is the audio. Even with lots of ambient noise and jarring interruptions, the Mino HD manages to pick up close-range audio. For example, it clearly records the holder of the camera who may or may not be narrating (something I enjoy doing with my Flip).

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Charging the Flip and downloading videos is easy using the built-in USB connection that pops out of the top after flipping a switch. You have two options for accessing your videos. You can either copy them from the Flip, which mounts as an external hard drive on your desktop, or you can use the free software which is ready to install when you connect. My recommendation is to avoid this software. Although it allows you to organize, edit, and upload your videos, the interface is questionable. I prefer to use iMovie on my Mac when editing is actually necessary.

Click the jump for the full review…

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Xumii – Social networking portal for the iPhone

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:05
Category: iPhone, Software

Last week saw the release of Xumii for iPhone, a free social networking application for Apple’s heralded smart-phone. Xumii is not new to the mobile community. It can run on many of the mobile phones capable of running Java-based applications. It was only a matter of time before a version came out for Cupertino’s pride and joy.
Xumii professes to be “your mobile, social addressbook” and intends to be the default location for keeping track of your social contacts. By adding your account login for networks (also known as “communities”) such as Facebook, Google, or MySpace, Xumii can list all of your friends and display their current status messages or chat status. Tapping on a contact allows you to see their full status message, online status, an option to invite them to use Xumii, and lastly, a method of sharing media stored on any of your added “communities”. If you select a contact who also has a supported chat account, and is online, the option to initiate a IM chat will also be listed.


Xumii has some other nice features, such as a separate page for recently updated status messages, and a rudimentary listing of top news stories, but it’s greatest strength is probably the media sharing feature. By clicking on the Share tab at the bottom of the screen, Xumii presents you with a list of photo albums from Flickr, Yahoo, or Facebook, to mention a few, which you can browse and then Share with your contacts, even across social networks. So, if you have that friend who is still a MySpace hold-out, you can still share your Facebook pictures with them. Xumii also mentions being able to view YouTube video on their web site, but apparently that feature is not yet available on the iPhone. Perhaps Apple feels this would be duplicate the function of the iPhone’s YouTube app.
I have a few criticisms of the app presently, which are likely due to the fact that it is a 1.0 product. On other mobile devices, you have the option to change the status message on any of your “communities” individually, or choose to post the same message to all your networks simultaneously. Currently with the iPhone app, it is all or nothing. If it had to be one or the other, I would rather have the ability to change individual messages. While I expect this feature to be added, it does keep me from truly considering this a one-stop solution. Since I rarely post across all my networks, I will still have to use the Facebook app or AIM app to do this individually. Also, another minor quibble is that contacts that appear on more than one “community” are listed separately, and in the case of AIM accounts, listed alphabetically by their AIM handle rather than their real name, making searching less convenient then I’d like.
With the addition of some missing features, I think Xumii for iPhone can do a lot to reduce the clutter of individual networking apps and offer a convenient interface. There is a lot of competition out there, but Xumii has a lot of experience in the mobile space to leverage and will hopefully develop a strong, feature-rich solution.

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Possible Footage of Next-Gen Mac Mini Emerges

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 10:42
Category: Rumor

A quick video has been leaked over to MacRumors displaying what could be the next generation Mac mini. The new unit appears to include FireWire 800 (which swaps out FireWire 400), a fifth USB 2.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort.
Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a look:




Mac Mini 2009 Edition – video powered by Metacafe


As always, let us know what you make of this in the comments or forums.

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Hack Demos Apple iPhone Using Apple Wireless Keyboard

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 09:11
Category: Hack

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This could be interesting, provided you’re willing to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod touch handset.
Ralf Ackerman has just posted a blog entry demonstrating a jailbroken iPhone using an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Details are still sketchy, but it’s an interesting proof of concept that makes one wonder when Apple will officially support this?
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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How To: Get Around Unibody MacBook Pro Freezes During Screenshots

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 08:30
Category: How-To

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As exciting and cool as your new unibody MacBook Pro may happen to be, there may be some bugs to sort out.
According to MacFixIt, a number of users have posted to the Apple Discussions board complaining that the screenshot function on their late-2008/unibody MacBook Pro notebooks cause the system to freeze for a few minutes.
Apple Discussions poster ikarus79m described the situation as follows:

“I have noticed a super weird bug with my new MacBook Pro. At least while running the integrated graphics chipset (not yet tried in power mode.) When I snap a screenshot using Shift+Command+3 (or 4) my computer takes the screen grab, however, then freezes for a minute or two. After that it comes back to life.”

There are several potential causes for this problem, the first being a driver issue, where the screenshot utility is more prone to problematic behavior when running with the drivers for the newer computers. This may be supported by some users having the problem only when running on the GeForce 9400M GPU.
Potential fixes are as follows:

Repair permissions: This problem seems to be influenced by some permissions problems for core system files. Fixing permissions using Disk Utility seems to help the problem. Alternative to Disk Utility, users might wish to do a more in-depth system cleaning using a third-party utility such as AppleJack or OnyX. These utilities can fix multiple problems beyond just permissions, since they can clear many caches, run built-in maintenance scripts, and run a variety of other tasks to keep the computer running optimally.
Reset the SMC and PRAM: While it’s unlikely that hardware settings in the SMC and PRAM would directly affect the screen shot utility, some users have seen improvement after resetting them. It is possible that some faulty setting could interfere with driver function. To reset the PRAM, hold the options-command-P-R keys down all at once after restarting, allowing the computer to reset s couple of times before releasing the keys and allowing the computer to boot normally. This Apple Knowledgebase article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411) contains the steps for resetting the SMC on various MacBook models.
Workaround: Because this problem is with the internal screen capture utility, users can bypass it by using a third-party screenshot utility.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know in the comments or forums.

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