Category: gear

Apple: “It’s almost here”

I love the Apple invites and the instant deconstruction of meaning in every bit of them. Check out the shadow of the 12 is a 5… as in “iPhone 5”? I would have put cash money down that the next iPhone would follow the iPad lead and just be “the next iPhone.” Premonition or head fake by Apple? We’ll see on the 12th…

How does your iPod’s illegal tracks stack up against the average teenager?

The Times of London reports a study regarding the amount of illegal tracks on the typical iPod:

Teenagers and students have an average of more than 800 illegally copied songs each on their digital music players, the largest academic survey of young people’s music ownership has found.

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The average digital music player carries 1,770 songs, meaning that 48 per cent of the collection is copied illegally. The proportion of illegally downloaded tracks rises to 61 per cent among 14 to 17-year-olds. In addition, 14 per cent of CDs (one in seven) in a young person’s collection are copied.

So, how does your iPod stack up? A quick poll here is definitively “under” but we’re a squeaky clean kind of operation…

MacBook Air: A downside to the ever-shrinking technology

From the latest Newsweek… Gone, Without a Trace

On Sundays in my apartment, the coffee table where the Air sat becomes the final resting place for the bulky New York Times. It is not unusual for other magazines, and newspapers from previous days, to accumulate there as well. My wife, whose clutter tolerance is well below my own, sometimes will swoop in and hastily gather the pulp in a huge stack, going directly to the trash-compactor room just down the hall from our apartment, dumping the pile into a plastic recycling bin.
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As humiliating as it sounds, let me repeat: the MacBook Air is so thin that it got tossed out with the newspapers.

Yikes. For the record, my girlfriend has a MacBook Air, and I can totally see something like this happening…

Apple’s offerings: 2008 MacWorld Keynote

I’m blogging this as we go along… here’s Apple’s new stuff as announced by elJobso this morning in San Francisco:

9:18 AM – Time Capsule, a new network attached storage device that merges the Airport Extreme with a big old hard drive. Wireless backups for your notebooks… $299/$499 (500GB/1TB)

9:22 AM -iPhone and iPod Touch get a a lot of new goodies, most notably the ability to find yourself on a Google map automatically. Nice feature. The Touch will now include a lot of apps from the iPhone, most notably Mail. Weird part? Apple’s throwing in a $20 fee for upgrading current Touch owners… kind of surprising there.

9:36 AM – iTunes Store now offers rentals… most surprisingly it includes ALL studios, including Universal. Universal owns NBS and we all remember that they yanked TV shows from the iTunes Store this season. You have 30 days to start watching it, and once you start you have 24 hours to watch and finish it. Movies are all transferable to iPods and iPhones. $2.99 for older titles and $3.99 for new titles. HD is also now available for a buck more.

9:44 AM – Apple TV Take 2 – an upgrade of the current allows movie and TV purchases & rentals from the screen. The YouTube offerings have increased as well (presumably for iPhone owners too). All purchases sync back to your computer. More HD podcasts as well… good news for those of you who jumped on this! Also new: Flickr integration. That’s pretty nice… definite upgrades to a product that was coolly received so far. Existing owners get the new software for free, and new units ship in 2 weeks (with a price drop to $229).

10:08 AM – What we’ve all been waiting for (and by “we” I mean me) – the MacBook Air. Jobs describes it as the world’s thinnest notebook… .16 inches thick at its narrowest point, .75 inches at its thickest (!?!). Fits in a manilla envelope. It has a backlit 13″ LED display (that’s lower power consumption… nice touch). The screen trackpad has multi-touch just like an iPhone too. It can be skinny because it’s using iPod hard drives in it. “Ships with 80GB drive, option of 64GB SSD.” So, not a notebook for storing a ton of stuff, but they didn’t compromise on speed… its got a full Intel Core 2 Duo in there that’s slower than the other MacBooks, but it’s probably because it’s 60% smaller than the ones in the MacBook line.

USB port and a headphone jack on one side, but no internal optical drive. Apple has an interesting new system that allows the MacBook Air to “borrow” an optical drive wirelessly from other Macs on network. External USB drives are available too for the people that need to spin a DVD or CD. 5 hour battery life… this sucker ships in 2 weeks… $1799.

MacWorld keynote tomorrow

What’s in store for us tomorrow? The dribbles of rumors suggest some new hardware and perhaps even movie rentals, but the most intriguing bit of info comes from the sneak peeks at banners showing us that “There’s something in the air.” Lots of speculation from expanded wireless features to (get this) wireless charging of new notebooks. I think I agree with the good folks over at the Apple Blog: “I’m guessing no one really has a clue.” We’ll see… I plan on skipping a regularly scheduled meeting to follow a bunch of live-bloggers’ accounts beginning tomorrow at noon ET/9 PT. Check back here on the blog for thoughts on the revelations…

Best of CES

A lot of talk at CES this week about the battle over HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray (hint: go with Blu-Ray, it seems) and a lot of robots. Beyond that, I’d say the best product was one I first heard about on Leo Laporte’s show a month ago, that’s apparently one of those rare “too good to be true” things that actually delivers.

The Eye-Fi wireless SD card sits in your digital camera like any other storage card. However, it also automatically sends your photos via wi-fi to a host of storage sites like Flickr. Yeah, automatically… no syncing, no looking for that USB cable… nothing. I was skeptical when I first heard of this, but apparently it works like a charm.

RIAA: Rip your CD? Thief!

The Washington Post reports:

In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.

So, is Apple aiding and abetting this theft with iTunes? Will Fake Steve Jobs be led off in cuffs, ranting and raving about person responsibility? All I have to say is that this Scottsdale guy was probably picked out of a huuuuuge list of people who rip their CDs for personal use. Talk about winning a reverse sucky lottery…

UPDATE: Turns out dude was using these files in Kazaa, a popular file sharing program. Moral… RIAA not as evil as we thought, Washington Post, much worse reporting than we thought.

MicPort Pro

Just got a new product…the Entrance MicPort Pro. The cool aspect of this is that it takes a high end XLR input mic and makes it into a USB mic. It works in Windows and Mac , and I can confirm that it works in Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard). I will caution that this was with my setup only, and it did not work when plugged into a powered USB hub (only through the keyboard USB port and directly to the iMac).

Good news for portability… no need to lug a whole mixer or a substandard mic!