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All posts tagged "hardware"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roxio Easy VHS to DVD

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 10:00 AM

"Roxio, a division of Sonic Solutions, has announced the immediate availability of Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac, a combination of software and hardware that provides consumers with a quick and trouble-free way to convert and transfer personal video and entertainment stored on VHS tape to DVD. Roxio Easy VHS to DVD for Mac is available in retail stores and directly from Roxio for a suggested retail price of $79.99."

Almost a month ago we posted about Elgato's video converter and now Roxio has come out with their version. Both do basically the same thing, but they focus their marketing on different aspects of conversion. Roxio is selling this as a way to transfer your analog video to a DVD in a painless solution, something that anyone will be able to do with no experience. It seems they are focusing on the right to DVD mode versus the Elgato focus on uploading or transferring to another device. Roxio is selling this for $79.95 USD versus the Elgato device, which sells for $99.95 USD.

Microsoft Announces Zune HD*

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 09:00 AM

"Microsoft Corp. today announced the evolution of Zune, the company’s end-to-end music and entertainment service, to a new platform and new markets. Zune will extend its video service to Xbox LIVE internationally this fall. This marks an important development in the Zune strategy and brings the Zune brand to more than 17 million international Xbox LIVE subscribers. In addition, Microsoft confirmed the next generation of the Zune portable media player, Zune HD. Available in the U.S. this fall, Zune HD is the first portable media player that combines a built-in HD Radio receiver, high-definition (HD) video output capabilities, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) touch screen, Wi-Fi and an Internet browser. “The Zune music player is an integral part of the overall Zune experience, and we’re proud to be growing and extending our offering beyond the device,” said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Microsoft TV, Video and Music Business Group. “Delivering on Microsoft’s connected entertainment vision, this news marks a turning point for Zune as it brings cross-platform experiences and premium video content to living rooms around the world.”"

If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's not to worry too much about specs and wait until the device is in hand to test it out. Microsoft releasing their iPod Touch competitor (finally, after almost three years) doesn't impress me. Microsoft's labelling of it as "HD" doesn't impress me because there's nothing "HD" about it. The resolution on the screen isn't HD (Not even close), and for the most part, if radio stations are multicasting their "HD" station, the quality is nearly indistinquishable from standard FM radio. The only thing HD about the Zune HD is when you hook it up to a dock to play your HD content on an HD TV.

Oh yeah, and buying one locks you into one OS and, in the case of the marketplace, a very limited number of countries. In the year 2009. How quaint.

I'll wait until I see one in person because specs are specs and rarely translate into anything meaningful in the real world. I'm just disappointed that Microsoft went the "HD" route with it because the Zune HD has as much relevance to HD as the Radio Flyer has to radio.

Of course, if you're a fan or think you might be, our sister site Zune Thoughts will be providing exhaustive coverage so head over and check them out!

Apple Updates White MacBook

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 07:00 AM

"Apple released a stealth upgrade of the entry-level MacBook this morning. The white MacBook, still priced at $999USD, now has a 160GB hard drive, a 2.13GHz processor and a slight increase in RAM speed -- 2GB of 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM."

The MacBook White is still a solid deal for anyone in the market for a new laptop and is quite the capable little machine. Apple may not compete in the low end, but when it comes to the mid range, the White is still a solid performer. At $999 it would probably satisfy a good majority of the needs of the people who need a new laptop.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Palm Releases Talking Points on Pre

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"Curious to know what Sprint is telling their own about the Palm Pre? Come on in and take a look from this leaked PDF sent in to us by a couple of very friendly tipsters. There's very little you don't already know if you're a Pre-fanatic (including what plans work, Exchange suport, etc)."

The "talking points" comparisons are always interesting if not a little skewed. You probably can't read this in their graphic (so you have to go register; I don't want to direct link their big scoop... It isn't nice!) but there are some real gems in this comparison. Amongst the killer features and ways the Pre "smokes" the competition are NASCAR content, live TV, and a camera flash (which I'm sure isn't just a pure-white LED and is a real Xenon flash like on the Nokia N85).

Wow. You had to dig that deep to find advantages, Palm? Scary...

I hope Palm isn't too much of a victim of a completely incompetent launch. Between Sprint not knowing what makes it attractive and Palm having "trouble" supplying enough Pres for a good nationwide launch... Well... I'm not holding out a ton of hope. This isn't going to be an iPhone launch, folks.

John Gruber And His Thoughts on a New iPhone

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 08:00 AM

"With WWDC09 now just weeks away, rumors and predictions regarding what Apple may reveal at the highly-anticipated, sold-out developers conference in San Francisco are sure to spread like a California wildfire. Anyone interested in being on the right side of such talk would do well to consider the logic and analysis out Thursday from John Gruber, the well-placed author of the blog Daring Fireball, who isn't prone to talking about things he doesn't know a little something about."

Gruber thinks the for sure things are a CPU nearly double what it is now, better camera with video capability and increased memory maximum from 16 GB to 32 GB. After that, it isn't concrete as to what will happen. His sources have given him some possibilities though, and he writes about them on his Daring Fireball blog.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Apple Sales Figures Not Stellar, But Good Enough

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple News" @ 09:00 AM

"NPD has released initial sales figures for the month of April, and Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster sees the year-over-year sales declines as generally good. According to his analysis, the declines should meet or beat Wall Street's expectations for Apple's third fiscal quarter."

In keeping with the financial news this morning, even though there were declines, it isn't anything that took anyone by surprise. The overall Mac sales numbers, US only, were pretty much flat for the "year-over-year" for April coming in at about a 1.8% decrease. The laptops were down 3.5%, but the desktop sales were up about 11%, based on the "line refresh", and the analysts say Apple will still sell about two million or so Macs. Sounds like a nice number during these times, but it will still mean a decline of anywhere from 8 to 16 % from last years numbers. Piper Jaffray doesn't seem too concerned though, they say it all falls within the Wall Street estimates. They must be confident, they predict a target share price of $180.00 USD for Apple.

iPhone Market Share Doubles from 2008 Figures

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 08:00 AM

"Apple saw its share of global smartphone market more than double on a year-over-year basis during the first quarter of the year but still has much work to do before catching BlackBerry maker Research in Motion and market leader Nokia."

Doubling their sales and market share in years time isn't too bad, but 10.8% isn't the highest market share Apple has seen in the smartphone category. Back in 3rd quarter 2008 they had 13% market share on sales of 4.7 million. Still, this is nothing to sneeze at, although it is expected that the next quarter of this year won't be quite as stellar. Why is that? The expected announcement of a new iPhone of course!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Palm Pre Debut on June 6th At $200

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 02:00 PM

Smart move releasing it before WWDC 2009. Not so smart move making the price contingent on a rebate, although we all know how rebates go, right?

So what's the deal, folks? You rushing out for this one?

Shocking News From Apple

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Articles & Resources" @ 08:00 AM

"Everyone loves shocking Apple news, and today, we have it -- admittedly, not in the sense you might be thinking. You know those white earbuds everyone and their mother wears these days? The ones that let you rock out with your... uh, iPod out? Apple now says they could shock you. Literally."

I guess there was enough complaining that they actually had to issue a support article on this at Apple. I've had other earbuds shock me, mostly when I've been in dry, low humidity environments, which seems to be the case here. Static electricity can build up for a variety of reasons and give you a mild shock. I guess when its in your ear it sure seems more than mild thus the support article. So if you are concerned, they have several suggestions such as wearing more natural fibers or my personal favorite of spraying anti-static spray in the air prior to using your ipod. I'm sure your fellow commuters will love that one. You could also avoid wearing your earbuds if you are in an environment prone to static electricity, or at least touch some ungrounded metal before putting them in your ears, but that would be too easy I guess.

Oh, and never ever use the top step on your ladder, especially when wearing earbuds that shock you!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fueling the New iPhone Rumor

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 12:00 PM

"We've received news from a Best Buy insider about some new phones that may be on the horizon for the electronics retailer. Taking a peek into Best Buy's inventory system reveals three AT&T phones that have a "Project Charlie" codename."

Charlie 1, 2 and 3. Each with an individual SKU. All from AT&T. Screams new iPhone doesn't it? The only thing that I see that could possibly be lending credence to this addition to the rumor mill about a new iPhone, is that they are using code words and being very secretive, something Apple has been known to do in the past. But that isn't to say that other companies also do this and this could be a regular occurrence in the cellular phone industry, anyone know?

Cameras in the Next iPods?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 09:00 AM

"We guess this has been a long time in coming - iPods of the next generation could possibly make do with a built-in camera if Apple knows what's good for them. After all, since the device already holds a veritable tome of information, why not make it able to capture images on-the-fly?"

On one hand, I can't think of a good reason to have cameras on an MP3 player, but on the other hand I also live by the axiom that the best camera on the market is the one you carry with you. Seeing as a lot of people are perpetually plugged into their iPhone, this would put a camera within reach at all times.

Not the greatest of ideas, but not a terrible one either. Your thoughts?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Create Your Own Mobile Hotspot

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 10:00 AM

"Someday, we'll tell our grandchildren how we had to drive around town looking for a coffee shop when we needed to get online, and they'll laugh their heads off. Every building in America has running water, electricity and ventilation; what's the holdup on universal wireless Internet?"

And so begins the review David Pogue wrote for the New York Times on a clever little device called the MiFi, which allows you to create your own wireless network. This Novatel device creates a wireless network with a range of up to 30 feet, and will allow up to five users access. Verizon will be offering this in mid-May, and it will be available in a variety of pricing levels, from daily pay as you go usage to the $60.00/month USD plan for up to 5 Gigs of usage. Anything on the monthly plan will require the obligatory two year commitment of course.

Microsoft Drops Puzzling New Laptop Hunters Ad

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 09:00 AM

Oh brother, they're at it again...

Okay, Microsoft is obviously getting better at being truthful because, for the second time, I don't really have any big problems with this one. I just have one question: Why did she look at the 15.4" MBP and then buy a 13" Dell? Of course the 15.4" isn't in her budget (I've even said that it's expensive), but the 13" is and that more than suits her requirements of being portable, light and powerful, and easily fits into her "budget."

Yet again, the basis for comparison just doesn't make any sense. It would be the equivalent of me going car shopping, looking at the Chevrolet Traverse (which I bought) and saying it's too expensive, then buying a Honda Civic. That comparison is too much, but if I compare the Chevrolet Aveo or Cobalt, the price is much closer and they're similar class cars.

Other than that, the ad seems fine. Not as inflammatory as the prior ones and not as chock full of crap. Maybe MS realized that while no one expects gospel truth from ads, it wouldn't be a bad idea to "honest them up" a bit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What Does $37,518 Get You? A Platinum iPhone, of Course!

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 01:00 PM

Buy Your iPhone Online at Apple, Under One Condition

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 12:00 PM

"At long last, you can now buy an iPhone 3G via the online Apple Store and have it hand-delivered by your local FedEx guy directly to your domicile-presuming you meet certain criteria."

In yet another policy change, you can get your iphone shipped to you, if you are a new customer to AT&T. Current AT&T customers still have to come into the Apple Store or AT&T to get theirs. They can, however, reserve one online, they just have to pickup at the brick and mortar store of their choice. This is sure to be added to the "clearing the inventory" theory in the anticipation of a new iPhone announcement.

Captain Obvious Warning: 10.5.7 Breaks Hackintoshes

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"According to this thread at the MyDellMini Forums, the just-released Mac OS 10.5.7 update breaks hackintoshed machines like the Dell Mini 9/Vostro A90 netbook. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise and most self-respecting hackintoshers know better than to install any old update on their netbook willy nilly."

This is one of those things that make people not want to play with a Hackintosh, but the struth is it just means you have to be a little patient and can't pounce on every upgrade as soon as it comes out. I think deep down, for many people, this is the reason they want to see a Netbook of some kind from Apple themselves; no more worrying about updates.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Elgato's Analog Video Capture for Mac

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 10:00 AM

"Elgato announced the release of Elgato Video Capture on Friday, a device that allows users to transfer analog video - including home movies on VHS tape - to a Mac. Videos can then be uploaded to the iPhone or iPod Touch."

This is a much cleaner design than the converter box I use now to convert my analog video, and at $99.95 USD is also much less than what I spent a few years ago. It connects a variety of sources such as DVD players, camcorders, etc via USB 2.0, and includes software to record the video in either H.264 or MPEG-4 formats. More info is available at Elgato.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Paper, Pen, Tape Recorder, iPhone: J-School Requires iPhone

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 09:00 AM

"An iPod Touch or iPhone is now considered necessary equipment for journalism students at the University of Missouri. As of fall 2009, an iPod Touch is the minimum requirement (an iPhone is a plus) for incoming freshmen to j-school, providing orientation information and course materials. It’s not the first time universities have adopted Apple devices, but it may be the first time they approach something like mandatory. (Would-be Woodwards and Bernsteins won’t have to flash their iPods at the door and there will be no penalties for not having one, the requirement stated.) The journalism school has also required students to have laptops with wireless capabilities since 2005."

I can definitely understand the power of the iPhone as a journalism device. I've been playing around with FiRE and the idea that my iPhone can substitute very well for an actual field recorder, the fact that I can post to any of my sites from it, and if I have an unlocked phone, I can even broadcast video from it, means that if journalism is your thing, you have a veritable press kit at your fingertips with the iPhone.

We live in awesome times.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"Laptop Hunters" Agency is Mostly Macs... Duh...

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 01:00 PM

"Here's something that should get Mac fan boys foaming at the mouth. Pictured above is the office of Alex Bogusky, the brains behind Microsoft's new Laptop Hunter commercials. Sure enough, those are two MacBook Pros sitting on his desk."

Sure this doesn't say a whole lot. I mean, I'm sure there are companies that produce ads for Honda that have employees driving around Dodges. It's just really funny that the company making one of the most hated strings of ads ever is using a product they make a point of bashing in each and every one of them.

I've always thought Microsoft was missing a huge opportunity with these stupid ads, and that's the opportunity to show that the ad itself was made on a Windows PC. If you go to any site created with Apple's iWeb, you see a "Made on a Mac" logo on the bottom of it. Microsoft should've employed a company using Windows for their ads, and made a huge deal about how the ads were made on Windows PCs. If nothing else, it would provide some fodder for the Windows folks who insist that everything done on a Mac can be done on a PC. They could've even hired Sheila! I hear she wanted a laptop that could cut video and that's what she got at Fry's...

Cooling Stick For Your Macbook

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Laptops" @ 12:00 PM

"Brushed aluminum and black screams Apple design. What is it? It's Just Mobile's answer to the heat issues many of you may be experiencing with your MacBook. But is it just a bar of aluminum, or is it something more? Fortunately, it's something more. Yes indeed, you can use it as a weapon when needed. Seriously, this thing is a solid bar of aluminum. You could really mess someone up with this thing, not that you find yourself in that sort of situation all the time...or do you?"

This looks like a pretty slick device in case your Macbook gets hot, very Apple-like. It has rubber spacers so you don't scratch your Macbook, along with a slot for your power cord. At $40.00 USD or so, it is a bit spendy for a piece of metal, but it sure looks good doing what it does, and isn't that all that really matters?

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