Sick As A Dog

March 15, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

I’ve been sick as a dog the past week. I’m actually still quite sick and this is the first time I’ve sat up this long to type in an entry. What a time not to be connected huh?

Apple unloads the new iPod Shuffle with nary a clue. There was very little inkling that it would come out. So imagine my surprise when I saw the Apple announcement in my inbox.

Add to that there’s iPhone 3.0 which is scheduled to be previewed on March 17. I just hope I’ll be well enough to check that out as it happens.

As we can see, Apple seems to be doing fine in the absence of Steve. There’s just a little less fan fare but the slew of new products in recent weeks assure as that Apple continues ensuring it provides us with the products we’ve grown accustomed to.

It would still be better to see Steve back but as it is with everyone, including myself, life goes on even if we’re on sick leave.

Computerworld Reviews The 17 inch MacBook Pro

March 9, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

According to Ken Mingis of Computerworld, the new 17″ MacBook Pro rocks! Well granted, he got the top of the line, 5,000 dollar version with the 256GB Solid State Drive and 2.93 Ghz processor.

Still what he writes is nothing short of amazing. He particularly loves the screen of the new MBP.

The integrated battery is also great but battery life is dependent on the usage. The author got about 6 hours of battery life out of it. Not bad for this monster.

Read the full review here.

Apple Updates The Mac Pro: Beauty and A Beast

March 3, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

macpro_2009.png

[image courtesy of Apple Inc.]

Sporting Intel’s new “Nehalem” processors, Apple has updated it’s pro desktop. The Mac Pro. It’s still a beauty but also a fierce beast able to tear through the most demanding of applications. According to the press release.

The new Mac Pro includes Intel Xeon processors running at speeds up to 2.93 GHz, each with an integrated memory controller with three channels of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC memory that delivers up to 2.4 times the memory bandwidth while cutting memory latency up to 40 percent.** Every Mac Pro comes standard with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory, a high-performance graphics card with nearly three times greater performance when compared to the previous generation system.*** An optional ATI Radeon HD 4870 is available for even more performance. With both a Mini DisplayPort and DVI port, the new Mac Pro provides out-of-the-box support for the 24-inch Apple LED Cinema Display, the 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display, or other DVI based displays.

The Mac Pro has 2 standard models with BTO options also available to configure to your heart’s delight. The models are:

The new quad-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US), includes:

* one 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 3500 series processor with 8MB of shared L3 cache;
* 3GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory;
* 640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) for video output (adapters sold separately);
* four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
* five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire® 800 ports;
* Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
* ships with Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Mighty Mouse.

The new 8-core Mac Pro, with a suggested retail price of $3,299 (US), includes:

* two 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5500 series processors with 8MB of shared L3 cache per processor;
* 6GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC SDRAM memory, expandable up to 32GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory;
* 640GB Serial ATA 3Gb/s hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort and DVI (dual-link) for video output (adapters sold separately);
* four PCI Express 2.0 slots;
* five USB 2.0 ports and four FireWire 800 ports;
* Bluetooth 2.1+EDR; and
* ships with Apple Keyboard with numerical keypad and Mighty Mouse.

Read the complete press release here.

Apple Updates the iMac: More for Less

March 3, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

imac_2009.png

[image courtesy of Apple Inc.]

Apple announced the update of the iMac, it’s all-in-one desktop. Apple is offering more iMac for less money. The 24″ model now starts at just $1499. According to the press release.

The elegant, full-featured iMac line starts with the 20-inch iMac for only $1,199 with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 320GB Serial ATA hard drive and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics. The 24-inch iMac features a beautiful 1920-by-1200 pixel widescreen display that offers 30 percent more screen real estate than the 20-inch model, and starts at just $1,499. The 24-inch iMac includes up to a 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory, a 640GB or 1TB Serial ATA hard drive, and a variety of graphics technology from NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics to the NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 or ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics for ultimate performance.

There are 4 standard models available for the iMac.

The new 20-inch 2.66 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US), includes:

* 20-inch widescreen LCD display;
* 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
* 2GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
* 320GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* four USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
* the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 2.66 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:

* 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
* 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
* 640GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* four USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
* the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 2.93 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,799 (US), includes:

* 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
* 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce GT 120; with 256MB GDDR3 SDRAM memory;
* 640GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* four USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
* the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

The new 24-inch 3.06 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $2,199 (US), includes:

* 24-inch widescreen LCD display;
* 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache;
* 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 8GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce GT 130; with 512MB GDDR3 memory;
* 1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* built-in iSight video camera;
* Gigabit Ethernet port;
* four USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port;
* built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
* the Apple Keyboard, Mighty Mouse.

Read the full press release here.

Apple Updates Mac Mini: Little Green Machine

March 3, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

mac_mini_angled.png

[image courtesy of Apple Inc. ]

Apple updated today it’s entry level consumer desktop model, the Mac Mini. It’s touting it as a faster, greener machine than it’s predecessors. Quoting from the Apple PR release.

Starting at $599, the Mac mini is an innovative, tiny desktop measuring only 6.5 by 6.5 by 2-inches. Available in two models, Mac mini features a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory, up to 320GB Serial ATA hard drive, five USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800 and a SuperDrive®. The Mac mini features NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics for up to five times better graphics performance than before* and now with dual display support can drive two Apple or third-party displays with Mini DisplayPort or DVI connections. Using less than 13 watts of power at idle, up to 10 times less power than a typical desktop PC, the new Mac mini is the most energy efficient desktop in the world.**

Apple is offering two standard models for the Mac Mini.

The new 2.0 GHz Mac mini, for a suggested retail price of $599 (US), includes:

* 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache;
* 1GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable up to 4GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
* 120GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort and mini-DVI for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 BASE-T);
* five USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port; and
* one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog.

The new 2.0 GHz Mac mini, for a suggested retail price of $799 (US), includes:

* 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache;
* 2GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable up to 4GB;
* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
* 320GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 5400 rpm;
* a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW);
* Mini DisplayPort and mini-DVI for video output (adapters sold separately);
* built-in AirPort Extreme wireless networking & Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
* Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 BASE-T);
* five USB 2.0 ports;
* one FireWire 800 port; and
* one audio line in and one audio line out port, each supporting both optical digital and analog.

As with its other computers, BTO options are available.

Read the complete press release here.

My MacBook Pro, A Month After

March 1, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

It’s been a month after I’ve upgraded to the Unibody MacBook Pro. I know a lot of people have wrote about it and really it’s been out in the market for months, so it’s nothing really new. However I just wanted to really give my take on it.

Build Quality

Easily this is the most well built (from structural standpoint) computer I’ve ever owned. Nothing about this says it a cheap ass computer. It shouldn’t! As prices of computers plummet Macs have dropped slower than others. It’s still quite expensive. That being said, it’s worth the money.

I love the engineering on this thing. It’s sleek and it’s sexy.

Glossy Screen

I really thought this might be an issue but it’s not. I’m loving the screen on this baby. I work mostly in a controlled environment so I can minimize the glare, so it doesn’t really bother me. Colors are vivid, the LED screen makes the whole display even. Colors on the edge of the screen don’t get darker unlike my previous MacBook Pro.

Keyboard

Some people like the previous keyboard, I like this one. Plus, the keys are inset on the body itself, leaving less room for dirt to go into. The black keys also hide dirt better so the keys don’t look as dirty as they really are when you’ve been typing on them a lot.

Battery Life

This one sucks. At least from my experience. I thought I’d be getting decent battery life on this but I don’t. I barely get 2 hours on this machine.

Although I’m not sure if there’s something wrong with my machine because other people get 3 to 4 hours on theirs. Although most of those who get that long a battery life use the 2.4 ghz version.

I’ve tried using both the integrated video card and the dedicated one and offer only a slight improvement.

Here’s some comments at the Apple support thread.

Performance

One thing I truly, truly love about this is the performance. It’s a step up from my 2.33 Ghz 17″ MBP. The one I’m using right now is the 2.53 Ghz. The .20 Ghz addition plus the 4GB Ram and the 512MB video card really bumps up the performance.

I’m now able to run Parallels without really having to worry about if I have other applications running and it doesn’t take much of a performance hit.

All-in-all

With the exception of the dismal battery performance, I’m quite happy with the Unibody MacBook Pro. It’s a worthy successor to the previous MacBook Pro. In terms of design, performance, etc..

It’s a good evolution of the previous design which I thought was really hard to top.

It’s only been a month so we’ll see how well it holds up.

Apple Announces The World’s Fastest Browser: Safari 4

February 24, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

Today, Apple released the public beta Safari 4. Apple is touting it as the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser for Mac and Windows. Safari 4 is powered by the Nitro Engine which runs Javascript 4.2 times faster than Safari 3.

Quoting the press release:

“Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications.”

As a person who works in the web design business, I can appreciate Apple’s wanting to adhere to web standards. It makes the world wide web that more accessible and easier to build for.

Read the complete press release here.

AirPhones: Wireless Headphone Software Solution

February 20, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

airphones.jpg

Wireless is the way to go nowadays. Cables are just so ugghh.. 20th century. Unfortunately wireless headphones do cost a lot of money. Especially stereo headphones.

AirPhones is a new app available for iPhone/iPod Touch that will allow you to stream music from your computer to your device, essentially making your iPhone/iPod Touch a wireless headphone.

It’s able to stream audio from iTunes, VLC, etc.

You need to purchase the app for $6.99 and download the server for your Mac. Currently it supports only Intel Macs. A universal binary as well as support for Windows is coming according to the creator.

You pair your device with your computer and it will stream your computer’s audio to your device.

I got my review copy of the AirPhones, installed it on my iPod Touch as well as install the AirPhones server on my MacBook Pro. It was quick and easy. I had it running in a few minutes.

First impressions were mixed. I was able to listen to music from iTunes, stream the audio from the tv show I was watching with VLC. However when I was using the DVD Player app it wasn’t streaming audio properly. I could barely hear it.

In some cases there’s also audio latency. The TV Show I was watching was out of sync. The audio and video didn’t match.

I understand that this is a first version and improvements will be made. I can understand and appreciate the concept. I see the instances wherein this app would certainly be useful. Example, if I really have a big audio library or if the music I wanted to listen to was in our family computer and my iPod was not sync to that. I could use this to listen to it while walking around the house. Stuff like that.

I’m being honest though when I say that the price is a little bit high. Now, I know that apps shouldn’t be dirt cheap and developers should be properly compensated for their work. However, for my needs, I would be hard pressed to spend $6.99 on this app.

That being said, it’s a good concept, it needs work to get some bugs out and I’m pretty sure that some people would gladly pay the price tag for this app.

I do hope that iTunes will allow demo versions to be downloaded because apps like this which are priced higher would benefit greatly from demo versions first. This is so that a lot more people can try it first and then decide if it’s worth paying money for. With the current system customers will be scared to plunk in money for an app that they haven’t tried. It’s a shame too for developers who can’t get people to try their products.

For more info on AirPhones visit their site here.

Download the app from iTunes here.

Puzzlicious: Endless Fun for A Buck

February 19, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

puzzlicious.jpg

[image courtesy of Information Appliances Associates]

Sometimes the it’s the simple things in life that give the greatest pleasure. That also translates to apps. Great apps don’t have to be complex.

This is true with the new game from Information Appliances Associates. Puzzlicious is a simple puzzle game but it’s quite addicting. Basically, the app grabs a picture from Picasa or your iPhone/iPod Touch’s photo library and creates a jigsaw puzzle out of it. You drag the pieces around until you complete it. There’s a time limit so you’re racing against time. It’s that simple and yet, it’s one of the enjoyable games I’ve played lately. The game lends itself perfectly to the iPhone interface.

It’s perfect for relaxing because it’s not terribly difficult to play. It stimulates your mind and so it’s not just a mindless game. Since it’s grabbing pics from Picasa, the images are a plenty. Chances are you will have a different image every time you play.

You can adjust the number of pieces and the time limit to make it easier or difficult.

Puzzlicious is 99 cents, there’s a lite version which has some limitations. But really, at 99 cents, you can’t go wrong. Go out and buy the app. It’s definitely worth the 99 cents.

For the next versions, I’d like to see puzzles that are cut in different shapes, not just the rectangle/square one currently available. Also I’d like to be able to rotate the pieces to fit them together. Now that would be challenging!

Download Puzzlicious from iTunes

Transferring Your iTunes Library From Windows To Mac

February 17, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

[via instructions on LifeHacker.

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