REVIEW: Futura Laptop Desk

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Date: Friday, July 20th, 2007, 10:42
Category: Review

Anyone who uses a PowerBook or MacBook for any extended period of time know the amount of heat that they generate. If you plan on using a MacBook on your lap (which is forbayed by Apple) you need to use some sort of a stand to protect your, ahem, nether region from all the heat and EMFs that it generates.

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A cool new stand that I’ve been using is the Futura Laptop Desk from LapWorks. Similar to its Laptop Desk 2.0 and UltraLite siblings, the Futura has a dual-purpose design: a) to provides an ergonomically-sound workspace across the lap, and b) to fold into a wedge-shaped stand for use at a desk. Pictured above is the Futura in the opened configuration which leaves enough room on the side for a mouse pad and a mouse.
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Although it looks more like a futuristic mountain biking helmet, make no mistake, this is an excellent notebook stand. I don’t really use mine much in the opened configuration but instead prefer to use it in the folded “stand” position.
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Futura features several open ventilation slots which allow air to enter from underneath and rubber pads create an extra 1/8-inch air space to let air circulate under the notebook. Visible in this third picture is the adjustable “kick stand” leg which allows you to adjust the amount of angle in the stand to suit your needs.
My favorite feature in the Futura stand, hands down, is the weight and slim profile. It weighs just 16.25 ounces and folds in half to 11 x 10.75 inches and half of an inch thick so you can easily stow it in your bag with your MacBook and you’ll barely notice that it’s there.

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Top Three Notebook Drives Duke It Out

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Date: Friday, July 20th, 2007, 10:51
Category: Hardware

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The guys over at Bare Feats have ran a full comparison between the Western Digital Scorpio 250 gigabyte 5,400 rpm drive, the Seagate Momentus 7200 160 gigabyte 7,200 rpm drive and the Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200 gigabyte 7,200 rpm drive.
The full rundown is available here and if you’re interested in upgrading your MacBook or MacBook Pro’s SATA hard drive, take a look.
If you’ve come across a killer hard drive or have thoughts or opinions on this, let us know in the forums.

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Recent Apple Patent Filing Describes Backlit Touchpads and Click-Wheels

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Date: Wednesday, July 18th, 2007, 11:55
Category: Hardware

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A recent Apple patent filing submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office published earlier this month discusses the concept of illuminated touchpads and click-wheels as a means of providing constant visual feedback.
According to AppleInsider, which pointed out the 34-page filing, Apple cited that visual stimuli could be used to both alert the user via feedback to a touch event as well as be used in low light conditions.
The patent filing also stated that such devices could change intensity or color based on motion characteristics or pressure. Visual characteristics could also be used to highlight events, especially before and after an event occurred.
Click the jump for the full story…

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Myvu “Solo” Now Available Through Web Site

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Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007, 07:56
Category: Hardware

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In other news, one of the cooler accessories for the iPod just became more accessible. The Myvu, an eyewear system that attaches to the iPod and simulates a 27″ video screen being viewed from about six feet away, is being introduced in a more affordable “solo” edition.
According to Macworld News, the Myvu solo retails for US$199.95 and arrives without the power pack and premium travel case found with its “fully loaded edition” cousin. The Myvu solo edition includes the eyeglasses, in-ear noise-reducing earbuds, inline audio and picture controller and microfiber protective sleeve and lens cloth.
Myvu has states that the “solo” edition is now available from its web site (which still lists it as “coming soon”) and is available through the Apple Store and ZoomSystems-based automated retail systems found in airports and Macy’s department stores.
If you’ve tried the Myvu system and have comments about it, get it off your chest in the forums.

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Reports Surface of Santa Rosa-Based MacBook Pro Overheating

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Date: Thursday, June 21st, 2007, 11:31
Category: Hardware

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Your Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pro just arrived in the mail. And after showing it to your spouse, kids, pets and co-workers, you settle down to work with it.
If it feels a bit too warm, that might be Apple’s contribution.
A report over on Engadget is citing how dozens of users on MacRumors and Apple discussion threads are mentioning that their newly-acquired MacBook Pros are running hot.
An intrepid reader pulled his laptop apart only to find about 40 times too much thermal paste having been applied to the logic board. Other readers have echoed similar complaints and offered similar logic board pictures.
A recent firmware update issued by Apple seems to have helped somewhat, but no official comment as to the issue has been released.
If you’ve seen this problem on your new MacBook Pro or have a solution, idea or workaround, let us know.

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Macworld Offers Full Review of Santa Rosa-Based MacBook Pro Laptops

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Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2007, 08:54
Category: Review

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Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops have been out for a few weeks now and, true to form, have become the tech maven’s objects of desire. Macworld’s Henry Norr recently sat down with the new laptops, the magazine putting them through their paces and discovering the better ends of Intel’s new Santa Rosa hardware architecture, which was used in the creation of the new units.
The review highlights the better points of the new laptops such as improved display technologies, brisk speeds, upgraded RAM capacities and improved frame rates on many games. Norr also brings up shortcomings such as slower frame rates than the previous generation of MacBook Pro on Unreal Tournament 2004, only modest gains on battery life improvement and current lack of PCMCIA and eSATA ports.
For the full review, click here.
If you’ve picked up one of the new MacBook Pros and have feedback about it, let us know.

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REVIEW: Future Sonics Atrio Earphones

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 11:02
Category: Review
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Like you, I’m an iPod lover.
I find that there are two main applications where I use my iPod with earphones: doing yard work or while working out at the gym. When I’m in my vehicle, I connect my iPod to an Alpine iDA-X001 head unit via a docking cable in the center console. When I’m at home my iPod is usually attached to one of a few speaker systems that I use.
That being said, I’ve been testing Atrio series (US$199) headphones from the gang at Future Sonics. You’ll recall that I’ve been a huge fan of their FS1s and especially their SoftWear custom fit sleeves, so expectations for the new ‘phones are high.
More than three years of R&D went into developing the Atrio and it shows in the sound quality. The tag line for the Atrios is “bigger sound at lower volume” and it’s true. The benefit with higher quality earphones is that they sound better at a lower volume than a cheaper earphone at a higher volume, which saves your hearing. You shouldn’t have to crank the volume all the way up to enjoy your music. It’s better to invest in a quality pair of earphones and listen to your music at a lower volume.
More after the jump…

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First Impressions: Apple TV

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Date: Friday, March 30th, 2007, 09:39
Category: Review

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With Apple TV mania at its zenith, PowerPage associate editor, Philadelphia PowerBook Users Group co-creator and Emmy award winning NFL videographer Rob Parker sped out to the King of Prussia Apple Store location to snag a unit.
Here are his first impressions:
I’m a gadget freak and I usually buy cool new stuff immediately after it becomes available. Apple TV is just this kind of toy. However, it has limitations that I decided I wasn’t willing to deal with. I did want to see one in the flesh though so I headed to the King of Prussia Apple Store to see what’s up.
The Hardware:
Apple TV is supremely thin and attractive. I personally would rather it be a little thicker and include a DVD player. While the Apple TV’s chipset and QuickTime itself is capable of 5.1 surround sound, the unit is currently not able to do it. Let’s hope for some improvements in version 2.0. The two store units on display were connected via HDMI to a pair of Sony 32-inch HD LCD Televisions. Both units were noticeably hot. And by that I mean that you could iron your boxers or make a nice panini between them. Where’s my spray starch?
Click the jump for the full story…

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Review: No Love for the iLuv

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Date: Thursday, February 8th, 2007, 00:00
Category: Review

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As an iPod with Video owner, it doesn’t take long to realize that watching a full-length movie on that tiny screen just isn’t realistic. Yes, it’s cute. Yes, it draws attention from my kids’ friends (and mine too). And, in a pinch, it does the trick. But after a year with it, mainly what I’ve found is it’s simply an easier way to carry around movies and TV shows to watch someplace else (of course, besides a music player). Where I used to carry around 20+ DVDs, I now simply plug my iPod with Video into the video-in of most TVs (using Apple’s iPod AV cable – $19) and off I go. My kids love it, especially in the van using the built-in video player.
This past weekend, while shopping for myself for my big 4-0, I happened across the Sonic Impact SI5 at the Apple Store. Basically, the SI5 looks like a portable DVD player, but the iPod sits in a tray to play the movies. For $200 it plays the movies, but little else. So I went searching for other options when I came across the iLuv Portable iPod player AND DVD player.
I picked it up at Micro Center for under $150. I thought “what a great idea – a portable DVD player AND a large 7″ screen for my iPod.” I unpacked it, excitedly thinking I could get caught up on some last-season episodes of Lost before this season starts in February.
Click the jump for the full review…

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REVIEW: Micromat TechTool Protege

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Date: Monday, January 29th, 2007, 10:24
Category: Review

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Like many of you, I’ve done Macintosh support for years. In fact, I used to support several newspapers in Philadelphia and was the guy that arrived on site with two bags. One bag contained a bootable SCSI hard drive with the latest version of the Mac OS installed and every conceivable recovery, repair and diagnostic tool under the sun installed. The other bag contained my PowerBook and a selection of tools.
With this setup I could diagnose and fix most Mac problems on the spot, the problem was that it was heavy and, well, SCSI. Enough said. Today, I don’t do as much field support, but still carry a bootable Firewire hard drive and the original silk-screened Mac OS DVDs that came with my machine.
There’s a new tool that I’ve been using that has the potential to save me the hassle of carrying around that external hard drive: The TechTool Protege from Micromat.
Read more…

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