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All posts tagged "hardware"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Collins America Readying Cinema Display Competitor

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

"While the elegance and substance of our displays are incomparable, our prices are affordable. What use is the most marvelous product in the world if nobody can afford to own it? CinemaView displays are made to perfectly complement any Apple system, whether a Mac Pro tower, a frequently moved MacBook, Macbook Pro, or MacBook Air or a Mac mini."

Collins America is doing a very smart thing here. There are many of us that are looking for an Apple Cinema Display, but aren't willing to shell out the insane amount of money they're asking for them. The $899 tag on the 24" Cinema Display, in my opinion, is ludicrous despite how great it looks on the shelf. Collins America is going to be releasing a 19" model at $299, a 21" model at $399 and a 24" model at $499. Quite reasonable if the quality matches up to what Apple is offering.

They don't feature the integrated MagSafe of Apple's 24" beauty, but they do have integrated USB and a MiniDP connector so no adapters are going to be needed. In other words, they're designed for Macs from the beginning. I know it's silly to reserve a monitor sight unseen, but I may just do that with these. Anyone else?

AT&T Hopes to Extend iPhone Exclusivity

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 11:00 AM

"When Randall Stephenson became AT&T Inc.'s chief executive, the company had just started offering the iPhone. The blockbuster device has since reeled in millions of new customers and helped revitalize the telecom giant's brand. Shane Kislack for The Wall Street Journal AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, shown in his office, aims to lock up the iPhone and overhaul Ma Bell's marketing. But AT&T's exclusive deal to carry the iPhone in the U.S. expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter, and Mr. Stephenson is now in discussions with Apple Inc. to get an extension until 2011."

I have a feeling that extension will happen. Apple's options are semi-limited. Part of the success in the iPhone has come from thef fact that they've only ever had to make two skus at a time, a low and a high capacity version of the same phone. Same internals, same OS, same everything, just different capacities. If Apple were to produce another phone, a CDMA version, they'd have to succumb to Verizon's control-freak attitude about the phone's OS and theme and it would have to have all of Verizon's additional overpriced services on the menu. Sprint would probably want their mobile TV and other silliness on their home screen, and T-Mobile, if the iPhone went to another GSM carrier, would insist on it having a T-Mobile theme with My Faves on the home screen.

Part of the reason the AT&T partnership with Apple worked so well was that AT&T got out of Apple's way and let them do their thing. I don't really see any of the other carriers doing the same right now. Maybe dangling the iPhone under their nose might get them to change their ways, but that's not something I'd hold out hope for. AT&T will probably end up with the exclusivity as long as the agreement continues to work for both parties.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

20 inch iMacs Bump 17 inch From the Education List

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

"Apple this week quietly announced plans to begin selling an aluminum 20-inch iMac configuration to qualified educational institutions for just $899, effectively closing the book on the white 17-inch legacy model that had previously assumed a similar role. Buyers authorized to make purchases for their educational institution can begin pre-ordering the new aluminum systems today for delivery in about a month. Each $899 20-inch iMac includes a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 1GB of memory, 160GB hard drive, 8x double-layer SuperDrive, and a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics subsystem."

So that is that for the white iMacs. This is only available for educational institutions, however. Individuals who meet the educational discount requirement don't get the same deal, in case you were looking and couldn't find it listed.

Quickertek's New MB Air Battery

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 11:00 AM

"QuickerTek has released its latest notebook accessory, a new external battery for the MacBook Air. The external pack powers the device while simultaneously charging the internal battery. The company claims users can achieve 12 to 16 total hours of run time, or around 6 to 10 extra hours of power."

Myfirst reaction, of course, was "How do they do this? Did Apple let them license the Magsafe adapter?" Nope, you have to have the one QuickerTek will modify for you. The battery retails for $349.95 and adds an additional six to ten hours of battery life. If you don't have a modified Magsafe, they'll sell you one for $100 or you can have yours altered for $25.

A bit pricey for some more juice, but in the end, that's a ton of time you're gaining for that long flight. If time is money, this might be the move for you.

Forrester Says IT Should Support iPhones

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

"In the early days of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, when corporate IT managers were taking their first close look at the device (and wondering whether it would find a place in their organizations alongside Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry), few documents were more influential than the Forrester Research report entitled "The iPhone Is Not Meant For Enterprises.""

This report ought to generate howls of outrage and a contention that Forrester doesn't know what they're talking about, unlike when they said the iPhone wasn't right for businesses. The reasons, as listed, are things iPhone owners have known since day one. Employees like them (obviously), collaboration is easier (I'm not 100% sure about that one, but they do mean internet collaboration; I'm guessing site deployment and web app testing in this case), they need less hand holding (this is definitely true; most iPhone folks are self sufficient or help each other), and they can be cheaper in the long-run (All I know is that my BlackBerry is significantly more expensive on a monthly basis than my iPhone is).

Of course, no $750 report (no, I'm not kidding) is complete without caveats and there are a few of those, too, including the lack of a full VPN solution, lack of cut and paste, etc., but the article notes that a lot of the quibbling little issues should be fixed in 3.0; something we're all waiting for.

Overall, I see no reason to keep anything out of IT or the enterprise. As long as expectations are clearly set with those that go outside the prescribed equipment, nothing should be too big a problem to handle. We have iPhones, G1's, and BlackBerry handhelds in our enterprise and we've set the users' expectations for what they'll get and what they have to get on their own. Its made the process relatively smooth since day one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

HP MediaSmart Streams Video to iPhones Now

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

"HP's MediaSmart Server just got smarter. Thanks to a free software update, the Windows Home Server-running PC automatically converts video files for easy playback on an iPhone. HP also unveiled iStream, a free dedicated iPhone app, available on the iTunes App Store later this month, that can access your server from far afield, playing back those converted videos, photos and music files. If you have fairly fast broadband uploading, that video on the iPod might actually look pretty good."

I've always had the feeling that Windows Home Server was one of the coolest products Microsoft ever came up with. From its core functionality to the ability of developers to make plugins for it to extend its functionality, it's one of the neatest products I think they're kicking out right now. I'm actually surprised it hasn't caught on more, honestly.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Microsoft Unleashes New "Laptop Hunters" Ad

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

Yep, they're at it again. Meet Lisa, a mom who thinks Apple computers are "popular at that age" (as she points to her whatever year old kid) and her son, Jackson, who wants a big hard drive, speed, and a computer that's good for gaming. What do they look at? Why, a Vista 64 laptop from Sony, of course! Doesn't everyone?

Unlike in the Giampaolo ad (surely you remember him? he's the "picky" and "technically savvy" guy who walked out of Fry's with an utter piece of slow heavy crap after saying he wanted speed and portability), these guys actually got a halfway decent machine. Of course, you'll never find that machine listed on the Laptop Hunters site; they don't put the machines there anymore, so you can't make fun as easily as you used to!

Either way, it has all the features of a typical "Laptop Hunters" ad. The stupid dig at Apple, the revelation that they need a PC, and the purchase of a PC at a big box store where your options are grossly limited to whatever they have in stock on the shelves. Should be interesting to find out, down the road, how well Jackson's gaming is going on a laptop (!?) running Windows Vista 64 (*sigh*), with a graphics chipset that's roughly 2 generations old (nice move). But hey, they have Blu Ray! On a 16.4" screen! With a remote!

Here's the machine they bought.

iPhone 2.2.1 Update Breaking Wi-Fi?

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

"This is news to me, and scary news at that, but it seems as though firmware update 2.2.1 has been causing some problems with Wi-Fi for many iPhone users. I've not had any problems, but then again, I use Wi-Fi only sparingly, and even when I do, it's never for an extended period. Also, I've updated to the 3.0 beta firmware, so I might have dodged a bullet there. If you have been having issues, and were hoping for a quick software fix, it looks like you may be out of luck."

I updated and this is the first I've read about it. I use the Wi-Fi connection at work and at home and haven't had one problem, neither have the other iPhone users in my family. So at least you know of 3 users that are good to go! All kidding aside, there are some posts in the Apple forum about the issue and some users have said they were told to bring the iPhone in for full replacement. Apple hasn't officially come out with anything on this however. The issue is affecting 2G and older 3G models, as well as some iPod Touch models. Speculation is that it is related to overheating with the Wi-Fi chip.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Apple Acknowledges Case Problem on White Macbooks

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Laptops" @ 08:00 AM;title

"Apple has apparently begun to acknowledge the existence of small white cracks in older plastic MacBooks, according to a report. AppleInsider says Apple service providers started receiving notices last month that the plastic chassis on the white 13-inch MacBook released in 2006 can crack in four different spots. Apple had previously helped out users who had noticed hairline cracks around the trackpad on the top of the notebook, but did not acknowledge cracks in other places as a design flaw, according to AppleInsider."

AppleInsider also has a nice collage of cracks on various white Macbooks. Apple is advising their repair folks to repair the Macbook even if it is outside the warranty date. That is, if it is determined that the owner of the Macbook is not responsible for the cracks. Interestingly enough, the black Macbooks aren't experiencing the same type of cracking, and are not granted the repair consideration outside warranty dates.

Woot: 8 Gig 4th Gen Nanos = $99.99

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 05:30 AM

"But now I come back from a measly six-week getaway to my private island in the Bahamas and what do I find? We’re selling the latest iPod Nano? Seriously? Not the second generation? Not an off-brand copycat mp3 player? What’s wrong with you all? You should have seen the fit I threw in the executive spa. Lotions and balms were flying everywhere. I’m pretty sure I cracked a couple 17th-Century Delftware tiles. You know how Poppa gets when he’s upset. One of my personal assistants—the short one who wears the funky glasses, I forget names—finally calmed me down a little by assuring me that AT LEAST these Nanos are refurbished. But what meager comfort that is! I mean—Crom on a crutch, people, look at these things! They’re really nice."

Not a bad deal, really. If you've been holding off on getting one, you might as well save a few bucks. It's nice to see Woot offering something that's relatively new from Apple, rather than their typically "few years old" iPod rehashes and knockoffs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Apple Updates Xserves

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

"CUPERTINO, California-April 7, 2009-Apple® today announced an updated Xserve® that delivers up to twice the performance of the previous system.* Using Intel "Nehalem" Xeon processors and a next generation system architecture, the 1U rack-optimized Xserve delivers up to an 89 percent improvement in performance per watt.** Xserve is available with up to two 2.93 GHz Intel Xeon processors and industry-leading storage options that include a low-power solid state drive (SSD) and up to 3TB of internal storage. Starting at $2,999, Xserve includes an unlimited client license for Mac OS® X Server version 10.5 Leopard®."

Yep, even the Xserves get updated once in awhile. I've never actually seen one in use anywhere, but I hear they're pretty nice. I mean, really, you can't expect your humble Executive Editor to know every Apple product back to front, right? Don't expect a review either; Apple doesn't like giving review units to us smaller guys and I ain't layin' out $2,999 for one (although if I had that kind of bread, I'd consider it!).

In all reality, though, the specs are pretty impressive and if you can't bear the thought of letting a Unix / Linux / Winders server onto your network, here's your option!

Tags: hardware, xserve

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lose Your iPhone? Security May Be in Future iPhones

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 01:00 PM

"A patent application shows that Apple is considering adding a security mechanism to the iPhone that would cause it to automatically phone a security agency after being stolen. Upon detecting a force exceeding a predetermined threshold, the device would enter a prevention mode, causing it to send a security transmission in the form of a telephone call or email containing it's GPS coordinates."

In the patent application, it discusses how this would be activated such as sudden movements beyond a certain vibration threshold, pre-determined standby time, etc. Seems to me it should be a lot simpler than that, like logging into a website that you have registered with previously and activating it that way. Or perhaps by calling your phone and punching in a code. I just think this sounds too complicated, but I'm glad they are at least trying to come up with something like this since I've been the victim of an iPhone theft previously and this would have been handy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shuffle Sales Surged 50%

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

"Sales of Apple's most affordable iPod shot up more than 50 percent a week after the company unveiled new, more compact models that shift the push controls from the player itself to the included pair of earphones. Barclay's analyst Ben Reitzes relayed via a report earlier this week data from market research firm NPD showing that sales of iPod shuffles grew 51 percent the week of March 21st, the first full week the third-generation players were on the market. Sales continued to gain momentum the following week, rising another 10 percent."

Sounds like they have a winner on their hands, and from what our very own Vincent has to say, I'd think he would agree. Combined sales for all ipod models were a different story, showing a 38% decline from the same time last year, which is right along with the industry average for all digital media players. So while some of the decline could be due to the new shuffle, it is more likely due to the economic factors. One caveat, however, is that these figures don't include sales from Apple's online store or distribution centers outside the U.S.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

APRIL FOOLS: Stepping Down; My Apologies

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Other Apple Hardware" @ 04:00 AM

I don't really know what came over me. I've been doing this Executive Editor thing here since November and I've been ignoring the amazing Microsoft product line all this time. What was I thinking?

Yesterday I was in Best Buy and it was as if the voice of God Himself guided me into the computer section and showed me where I needed to go. I saw this copper and bronze beauty and had to have it. Now I finally understand what Lauren was talking about. This is the ultimate in computing values.

For years and years I've been tricked by Apple fanboys and Kool-Aid drinkers into thinking I need to have a Mac to get anything I wanted to do done. What they didn't tell me was that I could've saved $1700 over the cost of my MacBook Pro and got this 17" monster! I mean, look at it! It has a numeric keypad! And I can do HD video just as good as I can on my former MacBook Pro. Yeah, the Turion processor is a bit slow, but that just means I have more time for my wife and cats.

And sure it's a bit heavy (more than my newborn godson was, to be precise) but that just means it won't slide around on my desk when I'm working on it.

I've seen the light, and hopefully you all will too. Welcome to Microsoft Thoughts, the new home of all things Microsoft. I'm going to turn the site back over to Jason and hopefully he'll find someone fitting to run it.

Thanks for the memories, fanboys!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Microsoft Plays The Too-Expensive Lie. Again.

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 12:00 PM

"A series of Microsoft ads are aimed at budget consumers worried about price tags, further perpetuating the pricey Mac myth. Associated Press reports the ads were shot by recruited unwitting subjects by posing as a market research firm studying laptop purchasing decisions. It picked 10 people who answered a call for volunteers on Craigslist and other websites and sent them out with a camera crew and budgets ranging from $US700 to $US 2,000. If they found a computer that fit their criteria, they could keep it. In the first 60-second ad, a red-haired recent college grad named Lauren is on the hunt for a speedy laptop with a 17-inch screen and a “comfortable” keyboard, all for less than $1000. She strides into an Apple store; then, the scene jumps to her walking out empty-handed, telling the camera that the only laptop in her price range has a 13-inch screen. Back in the car, she sighs and says, “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.”"

It isn't that you're not "cool enough," Lauren. It's that you're not smart enough.

Just because two laptops have 17 inch screens doesn't make them comparable.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

17" MacBook Pro Owners Get Graphic Relief

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 04:00 PM

"Apple today posted MacBook Pro Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 (770kb) which addresses the appearance of vertical lines or distorted graphics on the notebook display. According to the about page there are two parts to this process: Installing the firmware update application onto your hard drive. Using the firmware update application to update your graphics subsystem firmware."

Any of you folks have a 17" MacBook Pro? Any of you have any luck with this update? It'll be nice to see if it works because the accusations have been flying that the nVidia 9600 chip is actually defective. If this fixes it, I guess that argument becomes moot. Let us know in the discussions if yours has been resurrected.

(It should be noted that this update does not apply to the 15" MacBook Pro and is only for the 17" model.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Proporta Offers Protective Crystal Case for Unibody Macbooks

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 12:00 PM

"The Impact Protective Crystal Case (13" MacBook) is designed to keep your MacBook safe and sound at all times. Crafted to the exact specifications of the device, its scratch resistant top shell adds almost no bulk, yet offers unrivalled protection against knocks, impact damage, and any other surprises that life might have in store."

I've wanted something like this for my MBP since the day I got it, but if I had a MacBook I'd surely snap one of these up. Aluminum cases look great, but they dent like nobody's business, so every extra bit of protection helps, and at $43.95 (USD) it's something you may want to consider. After all, your notebook is a $1300 investment!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rumor: New iPhone Coming in June

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

"We can’t tell you where or who, but pretty high up in AT&T’s food chain, the following was reported to be said: New iPhone announcement around mid-June (duh) New iPhone will be faster and have a more seamless experience unmatched by any device (could be just talking about 3.0, but we think it’s also a new iPhone) U-Verse iPhone application; will allow control of your home DVR (play, pause, rewind, etc.) The annual iPhone launch is “becoming a tradition.”"

It's not surprising that in the wake of the 3.0 announcement rumors would start swirling about a new version of the phone itself. I'm not sure I buy it, though. They had everyone's attention with the 3.0 announcement. To come out a mere two months later and announce a replacement phone when they easily could've done the same with a captive audience doesn't make sense to me.

Luckily, we won't have to wait long to find out of there really is any meat behind this rumor. June is definitely not that far off!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Palm's Revenue Collapses

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

"Palm Inc (PALM.O) on Thursday said its upcoming Pre phone needs "more polishing" but that it was on track to start selling the high profit device in the first half of the year as it looks to grab back smartphone business from rivals. The company gave the update while it reported a wider loss and revenue that fell 70 percent from a year ago, in line with its recent warning for a weak fiscal third quarter. Its shares fell 4.7 percent after the report as some investors may have hoped for a specific launch date for Pre. The Pre is seen as Palm's best hope to fight rivals such as Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Research In Motion (RIM.TO), which have hurt Palm's smartphone sales in recent years. It said it is working hard to have Pre ready for a launch before the middle of the year at its exclusive U.S. carrier partner Sprint Nextel (S.N). "There's no showstoppers," said Chief Executive Ed Colligan in a call with analysts. "We plan on delivering on the time frame we said we would."

My apologies for the long quote, but I wanted you all to get a perspective on the kinds of issues Palm is facing because they announced the Pre so far ahead of when it would actually be ready for launch. I have serious doubts, considering how Palm has continued to falter in recent weeks financially, that even the Pre can drag them up out of the basement. It's being launched only on one carrier that has exclusivity, mediocre coverage outside of major metro areas, and a history of awful customer service. That's a lot of pressure.

And before you compare that launch situation to the iPhone's in 2007, remember that the iPhone wasn't necessarily the future of Apple, and if the iPhone failed, Apple was in no danger of going out of business. The Pre? Well, I think that's a different story altogether.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sony Wraps Blu Ray Firmware ISO in Windows EXE

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 12:00 PM

Let's face it. One of the harsh realities of having a Mac is that sometimes some dopey companies make decisions that, to say the least, defy all semblances of logic. Take for instance, Sony. A friend of mine has a Sony BDP-S300 Blu Ray player. Of course it won’t play some newer movies, and since he doesn’t have an ethernet jack on his, that means he has to burn a disc with the firmware update, drop it in the player, and let it roll. He had some issues with burning the disc, and he tweeted that he needed a Windows PC to do it. No problem, I have Parallels, so I decided I would see if I could help out. I went to Sony’s page for the firmware update and was surprised to see the downloads were only for Windows-based PC’s.

Since I have parallels, this isn't really an issue for me, so I grabbed the file, and extracted it, and lo and behold what do I see? An ISO file! That's right, Sony packed an industry standard ISO file inside a Windows self-extractor. For what reason? Darned if I know, they just decided that only Windows users should be able to update their Blu-Ray players, I guess. Linux and Mac users? Well, despite the fact that the firmware is inside an industry-standard ISO, you can't play because you didn't succumb to the Redmond Kool-Aid.

I'm sorry, but does this really make sense to anyone?


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