What’s on my N90?

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Date: Thursday, March 30th, 2006, 23:08
Category: Uncategorized

nokia-n90.jpgI’ve been using a Nokia N90 S60 smartphone for almost a month now. I have the full unlocked 3G version from Europe, not the crippled cracked out one you can buy at Ritz Camera in exchange for a new contract with T-Mobile.
I routinely change things up, get new devices, but I always seem to come back to S60. I think this is largely because the devices are just so damned usable and functional, especially when compared to BlackBerry devices, the Treo, UIQ devices such as the Sony Ericsson P910 and the like.
Some of the built-in applications on the N90 are quite good. For example, the email client is fantastic. It supports IMAP, IMAP-IDLE, and email gets pushed to me as fast as my BlackBerry ever got it. I have no complaints there, really. The input device doesn’t even bother me that much because a lot of my email when I’m mobile is consumption anyway, and I rarely have to type out a huge edict or anything unless I’m at a desk. Even the built-in browser is quite good. I have also installed Opera and Opera Mini but honestly I use the built-in browser most of the time.
But like any smartphone user, I have managed to accumulate some favorite applications over the last month that I feel are very useful, so I’ll be outlining them in this post.
This post is a doozy. Get comfortable.


Dell Latitude D820 with Intel Core Duo Processor

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Date: Thursday, March 30th, 2006, 20:07
Category: Uncategorized

Engadget’s got a review of the new Dell notebook with a Intel Core Duo processor. The cool part is that it has 3G networking (and an optional fingerprint reader). I’ll stick with my MacBook Pro, thanks.

PC Magazine has taken Dell’s entrant in the 15-inch Core Duo laptop category for a spin, and although it doesn’t knock the IBM Lenovo Thinkpad T60 from its Editor’s Choice throne, it still manages to grab four out of five stars and a "very good" rating. As you’ll probably recall from our previous coverage of this model and the D620, the D820 is a Core Duo-packing replacement for the Latitude D810, and its 2.16GHz T2600 bested the older model by an impressive 59% in PC Mag’s benchmarks. Also noteworthy were the pixel-rific 1920 x 1200 widescreen display (remember, those are packed into just a 15.4-inch screen), 5 hour battery life, and built-in WiFi sniffer that not only works when the machine is shutdown but helpfully informs you when security-disabled networks are in range. Overall, the theme for this $1,300 desktop replacement seems to be choice; you have the option of: a fingerprint scanner or SmartCard reader for security, trackpad or pointer nub for navigation, PC Card or Express Card for expansion, and Verizon EV-DO or Cingular HSDPA for 3G. Wow — this one’s already looking like a contender for one of the coveted 2006 Engadget Awards (only to get voted down in favor of a MacBook, we’d imagine).




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If You Can’t Join them, Beat them

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Date: Thursday, March 23rd, 2006, 10:18
Category: Uncategorized

Rumors are flying about an iPhone being manufactured in Taiwan. What are the pitfalls of an Apple branded iPod phone? Clearly, the biggest problem is that the mobile phone providers think they can sell songs over their networks at prices much higher than the iTunes music store. I doubt it, but that does not stop them from thinking that way. Most people get their phones heavily discounted or free from their service provider in exchange for a service contract that typically lasts two years. Very few people pay retail for a phone, even though doing so gets you an unlocked, uncrippled phone with no multiyear commitment to any particular service. An iPhone will not succeed without subsidy and branding from Cingular, Verizon, and T-mobile.
Read on…


Microsoft bombshell: no EFI support for Vista

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Date: Friday, March 10th, 2006, 11:27
Category: Uncategorized

Digg: Microsoft revealed today that it will not support EFI booting for Windows Vista on its launch. The news will be a shock for owners of Intel Macs who had hoped they would be able to dual-boot between Windows Vista and OS X. Intel Macs only support booting via EFI.
Click through to Digg for the links…


Preview of Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) Thanks to the USPTO

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Date: Friday, March 10th, 2006, 11:01
Category: Uncategorized

Apple can be cagey but they can’t hide, thanks to the wonders of the badly in need of reform U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Hrmph.com has posted some interesting details (more deets) from some patents that Apple filed for Spotlight. They expose aspects of the Finder previously unseen.

Apple is expected to release the next version of OS X – 10.5 “Leopard” by the end of 2006 or early 2007. Little information has leaked about Leopard but rumours suggest that the Finder of OS X 10.5 (code named ‘Chardonnay’) is going to depend heavily on Spotlight (Apple’s metadata and search tool).
Improvements to the Finder include:
- New Spotlight User Interface
- Hierarchical Nested “Smart Folders”
- (More) Human Readable Search Queries
- Better metadata creation- OCR, voice recognition

Expect a preview of the new OS at WWDC 2006 which runs from August 7-11 in San Francisco.


Ask PowerPage: Universal Binary Browsers

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Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2006, 22:21
Category: Uncategorized

Dear PowerPage:
I’m just wondering about Firefox on the new MBP. Does Firefox have to use Rosetta, or is there a native version available. If there is no native version yet, what speed does it seem to work at?

Hello Chris,
Currently Firefox is a PowerPC application which means that it must run in Rosetta emulation on the Intel Macs. However I have found an excellent alternative in Deer Park an alpha release of the next generation Firefox browser which runs natively on Apple’s Intel Macs.
Unfortunately, my favorite browser Flock isn’t yet Universal Binary.

What Universal Binary browser are you using these days? Why?


REVIEW: Griffin TuneFlex Car Mount and Charger

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Date: Tuesday, March 7th, 2006, 21:57
Category: Uncategorized

griffin-nanoflex.jpgGriffin Technology’s TuneFlex is a combination auto charger/flexible docking cradle for the iPod nano. It’s perfect for jamming to your nano in the car especially if you don’t have a good place to leave it (i.e. a cup holder) while driving.
TuneFlex has a flexible steel neck that adjusts to any angle making it visible from any vantage point. A light at the base of TuneFlex’s neck shows power status and a fuse keeps your iPod safe from spikes.
TuneFlex features a built-in 1/8″ stereo line-out connector (for attaching cassette adapters or cables) and it also includes a pass-through dock connector that lets you attach any accessory (including the iTrip, AirClick or SmartDeck cassette adapter among others.
TuneFlex is available in black for the iPod nano for US$40 from Griffin Technology.

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Update on the Nokia E61

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Date: Friday, March 3rd, 2006, 18:43
Category: Uncategorized

Well this is a bummer, man. A major bummer.

The Nokia E61 that I mentioned earlier? Well it finally got FCC Approval but I’m told that the device is set for a limited launch outside of the US for the first few weeks while the final bugs are ironed out.

Part of me wonders if this talk of bugs are legit, since Sony Ericsson and Nokia have both been very timid about releasing devices that support BlackBerry Connect in the United States while RIM and NTP go at it tooth and nail in courtrooms across the United States.

Further updates as events warrant.

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Intel Mac Mini Graphics Surprise

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Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 15:04
Category: Uncategorized

The change from ATI Radeon 9200 graphics card to integrated Intel Graphics is more than a bit puzzling to me.

Ok, so the integrated Intel has 64MB as opposed to the Radeon’s 32MB. But Apple has thrown us a curve. Not only is the Intel Graphics “shared”, Apple states “1. Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.”.

Am I reading this right? Minimum graphics usage requires more than Apple has provided for with their Intel integrated graphics? So, the most system memory you will ever have available is 432MB instead of the 512MB advertised.

Can someone explain to me how this is an improvement and why the same Mac OS X that worked with a 32MB graphics card now requires at least 80MB?


Response to PowerPage Counterpoint

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 28th, 2006, 13:49
Category: Uncategorized

Scott raises some interesting points. By Apple continuing to control all Mac hardware unilaterally, one weakness in the Mac platform is that all CPUs come from one source: Apple. Unlike the Windows domain, if Apple doesn’t see fit to produce it, it likely will not be made.
Case in point: look at all the funky tablet-style laptops with twist-around LCDs. While one could argue this is an unproven niche market (or worse, quite possibly a fad), the fact that all Mac hardware comes from one source means if Apple doesn’t devote the resources to entering such a niche/fad, Mac users will never see it. Of course, there are some really weird niche products in the Windows domain that Mac users can live without: notebooks that still weigh over 8 pounds come to mind.
Perhaps Apple would argue that cloning didn’t work in the mid-1990′s. Maybe it simply wasn’t in Apple’s best interest to allow cloning to continue. As for the notion of a laptop “nano”, I could see Apple entering that market IF flash memory catches up with hard disks to the point where laptops don’t need HDDs anymore. I’m still dubious about a computer without an optical drive, though.
One point where I will disagree with Jason is on FireWire. I do not see any evidence of that technology’s “death”, immediate or pending. I would think the evidence Jason points to (iPods going USB-only, MacBook Pro with only one FireWire 400 port and no FW800 to be found) can be interpreted very differently. iPods and FireWire are nice, but Apple’s key to wooing users of cheap, crappy PCs to buying the little music players was the advent of USB 2.0. As for the MacBook Pro, I can tell you that those who use multiple FireWire peripherals have discovered the hard way that it is best to “split the bus”, in other words, if a notebook user has a digital camcorder and a FireWire hard disk that (s)he wants to use at the same time, the card slot on the MacBook is a welcome means of having an extra FireWire input that isn’t competing for bandwidth on the same bus as the MacBook’s built-in FireWire port.
On Scott Shephard’s “Inside Mac TV” video podcasts for Jan. 5, 2006 (“Getting the Mac Ready for Video Editing”) and Dec. 23, 2005 (“Gary Adcock’s Dual FireWire Bus Tip”), Scott discusses ways to use either separate FireWire buses or both FireWire and USB to improve performance during video editing. This makes both FireWire and USB indispensable to amateur video editors.
So what does all this suggest about FireWire vs. USB, and why is there no FireWire 800 on the MacBook Pro? Simply put, Jason is right and wrong at the same time. The absence of FireWire 800 on the MacBook Pro is a statement about FireWire. Apple is just not saying what Jason concluded. The lack of additional FireWire ports (or FireWire 800) was Apple’s way of saying “if you need more ports or if you need FireWire 800, buy a card and use it on the card’s bus.”
I am doubtful that FireWire 400 will die any time soon. Too many camcorders, hard disks, and high-end peripherals use it, some of them exclusively. If FireWire is to be replaced with a new standard, you will hear plenty of noise being made by a broad coalition of big-name players in the camcorder and computer peripheral manufacturing industries.
Just my 2 cents. You can wake up now.