Sunday, October 28, 2007
Money no object? Then how about a 24-carat gold-plated MacBook Pro for your next laptop computer? US Mac dealer Powermax has begun offering just that.
The machine is Apple's 15.4in model with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, which would customarily set you back $2499 - less than half what Powermax is asking to disassemble it, plate the aluminium surfaces with gold, suitably colourise the keyboard then put it all back together again.
The exterior is buffed up to a shine, while the interior is left with a more matt-like "satin" finish. Powermax reckons the process will take a little while to complete - it warns that orders will take 4-5 weeks to fulfil.
The machine's lid of course retains the familiar light-up Apple logo. For an extra $3000, you have have Powermax pack the stencil with two carats worth of diamonds - "H/I in color and SI1-2 in clarity", the company said.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Hitachi Ltd. announced that its hard drive division is going to push way past today’s storage limits to 4 terabytes for desktop computers and 1 terabyte on laptops in 2009, with first products available in 2011. Researchers at the company created the world’s smallest disk drive heads in the 30-nanometer to 50-nanometer range, or about 2,000 times smaller than the width of an average human hair. In fact, the entire industry is reverting back to the giant magnetoresistance, or GMR hard drive head technology it used about ten years ago. The initial application of this physical effect maxed out and the industry had to replace it with tunnel magnetoresistance read heads, or TMR. “We changed the direction of the current and adjusted the materials to get good properties,” said John Best, chief technologist for Hitachi’s data-storage unit.
The company, which bought IBM’s hard drive division recently, will report at the Perpendicular Magnetic Recording Conference in Tokyo that it has made heads 30nm and 50nm wide that had signal-to-noise ratios of 30-40 dB. The technology builds on GMR (giant magnetoresistance), a physical effect that manipulates the charge and spin of electrons, allowing an increase in density and storage on hard drives. The GMR effect won two European scientists, Albert Fert and Peter Grunberg, a Nobel Prize in physics this month.GMR was discovered in 1988 and commercialized by vendors such as IBM, which used the technology to increase the capacity of its drives every year. Now that’s what I call a fine storage capacity!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Danny Williams, of Douglasville in Georgia, was carrying his iPod in his trousers when he noticed a burning sensation and looked down to see flames shooting out of his pocket.
The Nano had caught fire, he said, and the results could have been a lot worse given his job at an airport.
"I am still kind of freaked out that after only a year and a half my iPod caught fire in my pocket," Williams told WSBTV.
"So I look down and I see flames coming up to my chest. If [the US Transportation Security Administration] had come by and seen me smoking, they could have thought I was a terrorist."
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but Apple has requested the unit back and has promised to replace it.
The Nano range uses lithium ion batteries that have been the subject of overheating problems in mobile phones, digital cameras and laptops.
Problems occur if the battery is contaminated with metal fragments that cause short circuits and ignite the battery's flammable fluids.
Since the Armani phone appeared last week, a new feature has come to light, proving that the Samsung handset is aimed squarely at the female market: A rape alarm.
It works thusly: hit the volume button four times, and an emergency message is sent to five pre-programmed numbers. Apparently the switch is easy to find and activate even through "leather or denim", which presumably means it'll also be easy to set off by accident, sending your loved ones into a panicked frenzy.
I have been a die-hard Windows user since I started computing. If you had told me I would switch to Mac at any point in the future, I would have laughed at you. There was nothing that could ever make me switch! Well, that didn’t exactly last forever, but as a recent Mac “switcher,” I have a unique perspective on both worlds. Experienced Mac users may not have the perspective that it takes to see what makes Windows users stay with Microsoft, and let’s face it, some Mac users (not you or me, of course) are just downright zealots who think that anyone using Windows should be cast into the fiery pits of Mount Doom and forgotten for all eternity. (Nerd alert!)
So allow me to take an objective look at what keeps some Windows users from switching, from the perspective of someone who has resisted switching to Mac for a long time and was looking for any excuse to stay with Windows. And once you’ve read this article, check out “8 Reasons Windows Users DO Switch” (coming soon) to learn what is working.
Ignorance is merely a lack of knowledge, and when it comes to Macs, most Windows users, myself included, are extremely uninformed. My experiences with Macs were mostly pre-OS X, before the really good stuff began to happen, and I made a decision that Macs were not for me and never looked back. Many Windows users think they’ll have to “re-learn everything” and that nothing will be familiar. While this is partly true, Macs are so much easier to use; many beginners find it easier to do most tasks intuitively, without having to be taught or open a manual. As someone who has spent long hours teaching family and friends how to do simple tasks like email attachments, I can you tell that the same cannot be said about Windows.
2. The Office
No, I’m not blaming Steve Carell, I’m talking about where you work. Most office environments run Windows, period. While this is beginning to change, the reality is that the majority of people are using Windows at the office. If you need to bring your work home and get things done, it makes sense that you should run Windows at home, right? Not really, but the average Windows user doesn’t know about Office for Macs, or that their files will still be compatible. They don’t realize how easy it is to work across both platforms, or that they can even run Windows on their Mac when all else fails. Even if they do know these things, they figure that it will be more difficult to work on two platforms than it is worth. Apple is doing a great job lately of educating people on these misunderstandings, but it is still the prevailing thought among Windows users. Even if the Mac doesn’t get a strong hold on the business market, it’s important that people know they’re capable of it.
I have always been a bit of a hardware geek, and used to enjoy building my own machines. Every few years, I would upgrade the motherboard and processor, and re-use the case, the hard drives, and power supply, and could make a significant upgrade for $400-500. I can never do this with a Mac. Hardware geeks are hard to convince for this very reason, and even average Windows users may scoff at something like an iMac because they don’t want to pay for a new monitor every time they upgrade their computer. Mac Minis are popular with Windows switchers because they can use their current monitor, mouse, and keyboard and not have them bundled as with an iMac. This is becoming less of an issue as the price of Macs have come down considerably, and technology moves so fast nowadays, you’ll likely to want to upgrade almost every component every few years anyway. As a former system-builder, I’m now at a point in my life where I would rather pay a little extra for a system that works right out of the box and has great support than save a few hundred dollars at the cost of countless hours of being my own tech support.
The perception by Windows users is that Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs. This may have been true in the past, but the new Macs are very comparably priced to similarly equipped PCs. Unfortunately, the perception remains. Budget PCs may undercut Mac prices, but budget PCs sacrifice quality parts and support. Apple has shown that they are not interested in competing in the budget computer market, and it’s a smart move, as the margins in this area are extremely small. Windows users should consider what they’re getting for the extra money. Apple’s support is top-notch, the included software, such as iLife, is stellar, and the quality and design of the machines is always first-class.
Let’s face it: Apple tends to bend the truth once in a while, especially about Microsoft and Windows. One of the “Get a Mac” ads states that Windows is for spreadsheets and pie-charts, while Macs are for “fun stuff” like photos, movies, etc. To Mac users, this seems both funny and true. Windows users, however, are thinking of the aisles and aisles of games that are available for Windows, while there is a half-shelf devoted to games for the Mac. I don’t know about you, but I can only have so much fun playing with photos. Things like this just sound like lies, and they sometimes present Apple as a company that has to lie about its competitors to get business. Other ads point out flaws in Windows that are so true it hurts, especially letting people know that Macs don’t get viruses, or that Macs include a lot more useful software and less bloat than Windows. Don’t get me wrong, I take the commercials as a light-hearted jab, as they are intended, but some of them bend the truth so much that it creates mistrust.
6. Windows Bashing
Apple and Steve Jobs are constantly making jabs at Vista and Microsoft, and Mac users follow suit. That’s understandable, but when Steve Jobs is constantly berating Vista and Microsoft instead of touting the features and advantages of Apple’s own products, it makes Windows users think that Macs don’t have much going for them. I remember watching the 20 or 30 minute Vista-bashing session at the WWDC conference and wondering why Steve Jobs is so insecure that he has to berate the opposition. Can you imagine shopping for a car and having the salesman only talk about what’s wrong with the competition’s cars? This always reminds me of John Kerry, whose entire campaign was about bashing Bush instead of telling you why he was a good candidate himself. It didn’t work for him either. Apple, your products are the best in the industry. Act like it.
I’m going to let you in on a dirty little secret, but you need to sit down first. Windows Vista is actually a good operating system! There. I said it. The ugly truth is that Vista is the best operating system Microsoft has ever released, and for many users, it is good enough. That’s right, good enough. I really like Vista. It fixes so many of the little issues that have plagued me for years, and if I had to use Windows, it’s the version I would use. But now that I have spent time with OS X, I could never go back. For Windows users who have never touched OS X, or are resisting Macs for any of the reasons listed here, Vista is the best operating system they have ever used. I know, I pity them too, but all we can do is hope that they see the light eventually.
8. Mac Users
Okay, I’m not talking about you or me here, but there are some Mac users out there who have just a little too much love for Apple. When they are shouting (or typing in all caps) about how much better Macs are, they’re not convincing anyone to switch, they are scaring them away. Even well-intentioned Mac users can sometimes get a little carried away. I’ve had many friends lecture me for hours on end that I was stupid not to switch, and all it did was push me further away. In contrast, when I got a chance to sit down and quietly use a Mac, I began to enjoy the experience, and luckily, a friend was smart enough to answer my questions and just let me play for a while, and it made all the difference.
Apple is doing so much right these days. I am sometimes awestruck by their constant stream of good decisions, but there are still so many Windows users unwilling to take the bait. I think it helps to know what we’re up against when we’re trying to convince Windows users to join the Mac side, and I hope I have provided some insight
Dimension - 109 x 55 x 16 mm
Weight - 119g
Specs of W960i highlighted
1) 240X320 pixel 256k colour 2.6" Touch screen
2) Symbian OS 9.1 with UIQ 3 Interface
3) Opera Mobile
4) 8 GB Storage
5) 3.2 mega pixel with Auto Focus.
6) GPRS EDGE 3G HSDPA WiFi
7) USB 2.0, USB Mass storage device. No drivers needed & it will work with any OS out there. Just copy paste your files to the correspoding folder
8 ) Bluetooth 2.0
9) Video recording at 320X240 with 15fps in mpeg4 for Video & AAC for audio.
10) It has led flash just like K750i but not Xenon flash like K810i or K790i.
11) Push Mail support.
12) Bluetooth A2DP supported wireless earphones & handsfree bundled in the box.
W960i is the Ultimate SE Multimedia Phone to buy
Using standard TCP, the team successfully transferred data in the single and multi-stream categories at a rate of 7.67Gbps, the equivalent of 230,100 terabit-metres per second (Tb-m/s).
Not satisfied with these results, the next day the team used a modified version of TCP to achieve an even better record.
The announcement at the annual Internet2 Spring Member Meeting marks the ninth and 10th time that a University of Tokyo-led team has achieved an I2-LSR.
As an open and ongoing competition for the highest-bandwidth for end-to-end networks, the Internet2 LSR awards recognise the fastest rate at which data is transferred multiplied by the distance travelled.
The Tokyo team collaborated with Wide Project, NTT Communications, JGN2, SURFnet, Canarie, Pacific Northwest Gigapop and other institutions.
The network path covered over 30,000km in distance, crossing six international networks, and equalling three-quarters of the circumference of the Earth.
Using the same 30,000km path, the network was able to achieve a throughput of 9.08Gbps, equivalent to 272,400Tb-m/s for both the IPv6 multi and single stream categories.
In doing so, the team surpassed the current IPv4 records, proving that IPv6 networks are able to provide the same, if not better, performance as IPv4.
"These records are final for the 10Gbps network era because they represent more than 98 per cent of the upper limit of network capacity," said Dr Kei Hiraki, professor at the University of Tokyo and LSR team leader.
"Through collaboration with a number of institutions, we have demonstrated the ability to overcome the distance and achieve this newest mark."
Sunday, October 7, 2007
The “SuperSpeed” USB Promotions Group was announced Tuesday at the Intel Developer Forum. The promotions group will get together with contributors over the next year to finalize a USB 3.0 spec that will, they hope, take care of our wired peripheral and syncing needs for another five years or more. USB 3.0 is built upon, and is backwards-compatible with, the USB 2.0 “High Speed” spec. It would be generous to even call the specifications “early” at this stage, but the group still had lots of information about how USB 3.0 will work and what features it will provide. The spec should be finalized sometime in the middle of 2008, with initial devices available in ‘09, and broad deployment by 2010.
The main two goals of SuperSpeed USB are to provide a 10X boost in transfer rate (from 480-Mbits/s in USB 2.0 to 4.8 Gbits/s in USB 3.0), while dramatically lowering power consumption. One example of their speed goals is to transfer a 27GB HD movie to a portable device in 70 seconds. The same thing would take 15 minutes or more with HighSpeed USB (2.0). The SuperSpeed devices will use the same connectors and the same programming and device models as existing devices. Consider that it takes maybe one or two tenths of a second to transfer a typical 4 Mbyte song to a portable music player with today’s USB 2.0. That’s “fast enough” for some users, but just try to fill up that 80-Gbyte iPod and you might as well walk away and cook dinner while you wait: 3,000 songs would take perhaps 400 to 600 seconds – up to 10 minutes. Anyway, that’s still a good time considering today’s speed, isn’t it.
Users running pirated copies of Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 can now download Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft announced Thursday. From the moment it released IE7 almost a year ago, Microsoft has restricted the browser to users who can prove they own a legitimate copy of the operating system. Before Microsoft allows the browser to download, it runs the user’s PC through a Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) validation test, a prime part of XP’s anti piracy software. When it instituted the requirement in 2006, Microsoft said rights to IE7 was one of the rewards for being legal. It changed its mind Thursday, saying the move is in users’ best interest.
“Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users,” said Steve Reynolds, an IE program manager in a posting to a Microsoft company blog. “With today’s ‘Installation and Availability Update,’ Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation and will be available to all Windows XP users.”
Users can download IE7 from Microsoft’s site immediately or wait for it to appear in Windows Update as a high-priority item. It will take several months for Windows Update to roll out IE7 to all XP customers, and anyone dissatisfied with the new browser can downgrade to IE6 by using the Add/Remove Programs control panel applet. A blocking tool kit is still available for companies and organizations that don’t use Windows Server Update Services and want to permanently prevent IE7 from automatically installing on PCs equipped with IE6. Not that it would be a big news or anything because there exist many workarounds and cracked versions of IE7 but it’s a nice move from Microsoft.
Way to go Microsoft
Friday, October 5, 2007
Monday, October 1, 2007
"Tom Cruise is planning to build a $10 million bunker underneath his Colorado mansion in preparation for the end of the world, according to a bizarre new report. The Top Gun star and Scientology nut is said to be taking the costly precaution in order to out-smart an evil intergalactic ruler called Xenu who, he believes, will attack Earth. A source told Star magazine: "Tom is planning to build a $10 million bunker under his Telluride estate.""
Remember Nokia’s NGage that failed miserably because it had nothing extraordinary to offer. Yep, that stupid looking gaming device / whatever Nokia hoped it would be. It seems like Samsung was really inspired from NGage and has released a version of its own for its Korean userbase.
Other than the timid design, the phone packs Bluetooth integration, 2.0-megapixel camera and MP3 player capabilities. But hey, wait… that’s not all. You can now watch TV on the device, play games with the included joypad and 3D graphics and output the visual galore with a TV output port. Wowzie! Is there anything this phone can’t do? I mean seriously, Samsung is just kicking it these days.
No word on price, availability or battery life. But I can almost bet the battery life on this is going to be a dud.
They appeared to be chubby, clunky and anything but sexy. Was Apple losing its touch with reality? Who would want an out of shape iPod? Certainly not us. But we were wrong. Boy, we were wrong. Just like with a lot of other Apple products, you can't truly get a feel for them with text, photos, audio and videos. You have got to see them in real life to truly appreciate their beauty. With that said, there are certainly some interesting features that the updated Nano is loaded with. To start off, the exterior design with a slew of suave colors is impressive. It carries a matte, aluminum faceplate that makes it lightweight and durable for occasional drops. However, be careful with those drops, though. The display, as gorgeous as it is with its 2-inch display and 320x240 resolution, is fingerprint and scratch prone. Ouch! What was Apple thinking? Really, hasn't the company learned anything? Scratches = bad. We don't like it.
On the UI front, Apple added a plethora of new functions that look amazing, thanks to the wonderfully bright display. One such feature is the added video capability. It can play H.264 or MPEG4 in either MOV, MP4 or M4V formats. Although we didn't expect it to blow us away with its quality, we were surprised yet again. The video quality is amazing, and if the only video device you own is the iPod Nano, you could possibly survive with full scale movie watching on a 2-inch display. But hey, don't get too excited and think about replacing your dedicated portable video players or notebook computers in lieu of the Nano. It's excellent, but it's not a replacement for a dedicated video device. If for nothing else, then think about your eyes and the migraines you will get after hours of squinting on a tiny display. Also, the device is smart enough to skip the unnecessary DVD chapters and start right off with the video, and it also remembers to start the movie at the point you stopped it the last time. How nice is that!
In addition to video playback capabilities, there's now Cover Flow for better visual navigation with Album Art. Remember Cover Flow? The quick way to zip your finger across the display on your iPhone and zoom past your music collection in a seamless, liquid flow. It's here, and it works, albeit not as well, especially if you have a multitude of albums. But it's cool and interesting, if nothing else. Besides, Click Flow doesn't feel quite the same with Clickwheel navigation. Ah, well, at least Apple tried. Thanks, Apple. We still love you.
So ThumbsUp! Apple...