A Peek At the Past and Peerless Prognostications ... as a tech writer you are required by Section XXIX, Paragraph 11, Sub-Paragraph iii of the Techno Geek Union (T.G.U., Local 34) Guidelines, to publish at least one article at this time of year containing predictions for the coming New Year.
A Digital Lifestyle Christmas Morning ... So, let’s assume you’ve arranged your techno “big ticket items” under the tree. Are you fully prepared for life after the area around the tree is littered with hastily torn wrapping paper and the tech toys are unboxed for the first time?
Windows Vista: Eye Candy or Eye Opener? ... By the way, this kind of powerful desktop search, which has been around for almost two years in Tiger, will finally be available to Windows users when the five-years-in-the-making, repeatedly-delayed, feature-depleted, Windows “Vista” hits consumer shelves on January 30th.
“The Social” Just Ain’t What It Used To Be ... A couple of Zune TV commercials depict perfectly diverse groups of happy-go-lucky “Gen Y-ers” hanging out in the park or at the town gazebo, break dancing, frolicking with their designer dogs, making out, all the while brandishing their white, black, and brown (yes, brown) Zunes.
Choosing the Right Digital Video Camcorder ... In today’s market there are four variations on the camcorder theme. They all have their pros and cons, but, depending on your goals as a fledgling cinematographer, some have more cons than others.
Rumors of Apple “iPhone” Running Rampant Again ... Rumor websites hungry for hits, tech reporters looking for the spectacular scoop, financial analysts trying to manipulate stock prices, and wishful-thinking bloggers fan the flames, sometimes on the flimsiest of evidence.
The MacMaineiac’s Digital Music Shopping Guide ... By the time you read next Friday’s paper you may have already braved the mall parking lot demolition derby on the first official day of the holiday shopping season, so I figured I better get my iPod holiday gift guide out there this week.
MacBooks Get the Core Two, Too, and Zune Gets “Social” ... Whether its a computer, an iPod, a TV, or what we used to call a “stereo”, you can bank on the fact that very shortly after you buy “the next big thing”, the next big thing will come along. The new thing will have more capability than the old thing, probably at the same price or cheaper.
Hands-On With a “Monster” iMac ... As it turns out, a recent study has shown that larger screen space increases productivity in virtually all facets of computing. Even exciting endeavors like spreadsheets and word processing.
Apple’s New MacBook Pro a Portable iMac ... A pro notebook, on the other hand, should have features that give the user a “near desktop experience” - powerful processors, lots of RAM, huge hard drives, big bright displays powered by dedicated GPUs (graphics processing units), optical drives, etc.
The Wired (and Wireless) Home Theater of the Future ... “Digital convergence”, loosely translated, describes the coming together of the five causes of DVD death I’ve described above to replace the physical delivery of entertainment media (via CD or DVD) with electronic delivery, through the home’s broadband internet connection.
A Eulogy For the DVD As We Know It ... “But, Pete”, you say, “Wait a minute! My local discount superstore has aisles upon aisles (upon aisles) of movies on DVD. I just signed up for NetFlix to get movies on DVD delivered to my home. In fact, I just finally got a computer that will record DVDs. Whaddya mean DVDs are dead?”
Microsoft’s “Zune” iPod Killer Dead On Arrival ... Zunes will come in today’s “hot” colors - black and white (now, who else makes black and white players?) - as well as the color everyone’s clamoring for these days brown. No, that’s not a misprint. Brown. Not even a nice brown. The color of, well, never mind.
Windows to iMac a Walk In the Park ... Back in July I told you about my experience helping a friend set up her new Apple iMac. I talked a lot about the hardware end of the deal. I described the iMacs’s all-in-one, computer-built-into-the-widescreen-display styling.
iTunes Store Not Just For Music Anymore ... All movies are encoded in Apple’s h.264 codec (the same codec used on both coming high-definition DVD formats) and are 640 by 480 pixels in screen size. This is the “native” size for standard resolution TV.
iTunes Gets More Than a Makeover in Version 7 ... This week Apple revved iTunes to version 7, in conjunction with their announcement that the “iTunes Music Store” would be renamed the “iTunes Store” (hereafter referred to as “iTS”), because it’s not just about music anymore.
Leopard’s “Spaces” for the Multitasker in All Of Us ... The dilemma for multitaskers is: now that you have, say, five or six applications open and running with windows scattered all over the desktop, what do you do with the windows you’re not using at the moment, so they don’t get in the way?
Time Is On Your Side (Yes It Is) ... Ask people who don’t back up frequently, and the number one reason for their recalcitrance will be “It’s too inconvenient. I have to decide what to back up, when to back it up, what to back it up on”.
My Two Bits on 64-Bit Operating Systems ... What is 64-bit computing? To answer this question without putting on our black-rimmed glasses and pocket protectors, we’ll need to set up a little metaphor. Think of your computer’s processor as a city with roads leading into and out of it. On each road, data arrives, is worked on, and leaves.
Prelude to a Real Developing Story ... By this time next week (and most likely well into the following week) I’ll be extolling the virtues of Apple’s next major upgrade to their Mac OS X operating system, version 10.5, codenamed “Leopard”.
Podcasts: A World of Information at Your Fingertips ... Note that even though the term “podcast” contains “pod”, you don’t have to listen to or view a podcast on an iPod or iPod pretender. You can also view it on your computer, which is how/where you got the podcast in the first place.
In a PC Rut? There’s an Easy Way Out ... Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking of (or have been forced into) getting a new computer, there’s never been a better time to consider making a more drastic move than just buying new computer and getting wrapped up in the same old stuff.
New Education iMac Ready for Back-To-School ... So where does the education iMac cut corners to shave $300 off the price? It doesn’t have the DVD-burning SuperDrive, the Apple Remote control, or built-in Bluetooth networking. It also lacks a graphics processing unit with lots of dedicated memory, instead relying on what’s called Intel GMA 950 Graphics to handle the graphics chores.
Declare Your Independence from Windows Maladies ... Let me suggest a tech-oriented declaration of independence you yourself can make this year. You don’t need a big table, or a powdered wig, or a feather pen to do it. I’m talking, of course, about declaring your independence from Microsoft Windows.
Tips to Speed Up Your Surfin’ With Safari ... One of Safari’s best features is its page rendering speed. It’s fast. However, after long periods of use, Safari can bog down a little. Here are some easy do-it-yourself maintenance tips to keep Safari running at full speed.
iWeb: Your One-Stop Shop for Classy Web Sites ... So, although I have some professional tools at my disposal, for my event project I decided to try out Apple’s iWeb design tool, included free on all new Macs as part of the iLife digital lifestyle suite.
Just Another Summer Day on Washington Street ... Last week I promised to reveal a method to legally remove Digital Rights Management “protection” from music purchased and downloaded from online music stores, like the iTunes Music Store or Urge. Here it is.
Microsoft and MTV Get the “Urge” to Sell Music ... Due to the sheer weight of Microsoft and the cultural influenza, er, I mean, influence, of MTV, most industry analysts believe that Urge will be the first serious contender to try to wrest market share from the iTMS/iPod dynasty.
The Cube: Ahead of It’s Time ‘Til the Right Time ... This year, in fact on Monday of this week, Steve Jobs stood on the sidewalk on Fifth Avenue in New York City and introduced, with great pride, a “flagship” Apple Retail Store in the shape of (you guessed it) a cube.
So Long, Fair iBook. So Long. ... Anyway, on Tuesday of this week Apple unveiled the replacement for the 12-inch and 14-inch iBook (and, as it turns out, the 12-inch PowerBook as well), calling it the “MacBook”.
More Money for Them, More Spam for You ... Here’s how it will work. Mass emailers who can afford it will pay AOL big bucks in return for a guarantee that their spam will bypass AOL’s spam filters and make it to each AOL member’s mailbox.
A Layman’s Guide to High Definition Video ... Now you get to find out how and why HDTV is better than Standard Definition TV (SDTV), and know the right questions to ask when the blue-shirted Orcs come around to ask if you “need any help”.
Why Would You Want to Do Such A Thing? ... The question is: why would you want to do it? There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “People use a Mac because they want to. People use Windows because they have to”.
Telltale Signs that Your iPod is Not an iPod ... And, finally, if it has a name like “Zen”, “iRiver”, or “Napster”, or has a “Plays for Sure” logo on the box, steer clear. These players are not counterfeit, they just require you to use Windows and its Media Player. And that, of course, should be a crime.
The Best $8.25 You’ll Spend This Month ... .Mac is a set of internet-related tools that Apple maintains and packages for $99 per year (yes, that’s only $8.25 per month, which is a little more than a month’s subscription to PC virus definitions).
Apple Takes Windows XP to Boot Camp ... Boot Camp creates the driver CD, then a partition on your hard drive (at least 10 GB) for Windows to live on, without affecting the Mac data already on your drive. You then follow the normal Windows installation procedure, update the drivers, reboot, and you’re ready to receive your first spyware, adware, virus, or worm.
Oh, To Be Thirty With The Energy of a Teenager! ... There were days when Apple wasn’t mentioned in the same sentence without the word “beleaguered” tossed in there somewhere. Sometimes the evidence was made to fit the premise - there were more “maybe-s”, “probably-s”, and “possibly-s” in each report of Apple’s “imminent” demise than in a Nova special on global warming.
Two. Two. Two Computers In One ... Anyway, back in January a self-professed Mac lover offered a monetary award for the first person to figure out how to boot Windows XP on an Intel Mac. He put in $100 of his own money, and built a web site offering others the opportunity to add to the prize.
Spotlight On Entourage in Office for Mac Update ... Entourage can also synchronize its contacts with Address Book and .Mac, synchronize its events with iCal and .Mac, and synchronize its Notes with .Mac. There’ll be a whole lotta synchronizing going on. The update also includes all of the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates.
There’s a Hole in the Side of My New Laptop! ... Apple’s new pro notebook offering, called “MacBook Pro” (MBP), has been getting a lot of press lately, primarily because it was chosen to be the first Apple notebook to have “Intel inside”. And, no, there are none of those hideous stickers on either the box or the notebook itself.
A New Brand of Chip for Mac Couch Potatoes ... In what most pundits see as the real opening salvo in Apple’s entry into the war for what I’ll call the computer “deskcouch”, the new Mac mini gets the “FrontRow” media interface (and accompanying remote control) already available on the iMac and MacBook Pro.
Sorry, But No Crow On the Menu (Yet) ... reports of new nasties affecting Microsoft Windows appear almost daily. So, it should come as no surprise that, when the inevitable first bug affecting the Mac appeared, it would make a big splash - at least in the media, where one drop in a bucket can become a tsunami overnight.
Note to Bill: You’ve Gotta Lead a Moving Target ... Why would the founder of Microsoft, a technological soothsayer of the highest order, need advice from a humble techno-columnist in a market barely big enough to support an office products superstore?
Getting It Right and Getting It Wrong ... What’s amazing about all this is that there were digital music players around before the iPod, and Media Center PCs and portable video players around before Front Row and the video iPod.
Life Without Windows: Imagine the Possibilities ... What if you could fill your entire computer screen with the photo you’re working on? What if you could then “invoke” opaque tool palettes with mouse movements or keystrokes, the palettes hovering above the photo only long enough to serve their purposes?
iLife: Getting Older, and Getting Better ... Jobs’ modern-day vision of the digital hub plays out in the iLife suite of applications. While iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, GarageBand, and the newcomer iWeb are all separate applications, they are in a sense all joined at the hip.
Tale of Two Keynotes: Two Years Late and Six Months Early ... Jobs announced a new iMac, and a laptop-formerly-known-as-15-inch-PowerBook, now called the “MacBook Pro”. Both use intel Core Duo technology two processors built into a single chip, which provide high levels of performance while consuming less power.
Would You Rather Fight Than Switch? ... Some of you just felt a shudder propagate down your spine. Your mouth is suddenly dry, your hands clammy. The very thought of that adware scan you did last night being your last has brought that nervous bounce back to your right knee.