Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And the next step online has been taken. I've finally decided that the much deliberated upon podcast will become a reality.

Living with Wires is the project that my good friend Neil and I have been batting around for some time now, and we have taken the first steps towards making it a reality. The name has been settled upon, the domain purchased, and the intro episode recorded, and available via iTunes. and for the few people that have tried to get to the site already have noticed that it is up, but there is a DNS issue with the "www." being in front of the

We're looking for questions that you would like answered for the upcoming "User Questions" shows, that we'll be doing every few weeks, along with the weekly shows focusing on specific topics. The email address is

Our plan is to create a show that deals with the everyday issues with living with all of the wired, (and yes, wireless) devices in our lives. We'll be starting off with a show on what needs to be done upon booting up your windows PC for the first time, including some must have software, and some "best practices"... to use some corporate speak.

I hope you'll enjoy listening to the show, and I eagerly await your comments and questions.
Also available via the iTunes music store, under "Podcasts"

Until next time...


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What a few weeks it has been...

So let me first say that I'm happy to finally have my PowerBook back. Nearly a month, and a hard drive later, (once again - the RAM was fine), but it seems to finally be over.

I must say that I am a little disappointed about the announcement of the new macbook pro during Jobs' keynote at macworld. Not just because I got my (already-serviced) 15" pb a little more than a month ago, but also because there are some key things missing in this release.

Everyone should know that I think it's a sexy looking thing because I already bought one that looks pretty much identical to the casual observer, but that's beside the point. The name MacBook Pro, everyone thinks it's silly, but in a few months we'll all be used to it.

First of all let's look at a few new things to the device; First off there is the new Intel "CoreDuo" processor, which is looking promising from the first few benchmarks thrown it's way, and that even includes the battery life seemingly not taking a hit, but I'll reserve judgment on it until I get my hands on one.

I'm glad to see that the screen resolution is still the same as the current "high-res" displays on the 15" pb's, although I hope that the little fine line problem is gone with the move to 15.4, from 15.2. The claims about the display's brightness have me a bit concerned. Hopefully they are achieving this new 67% increased brightness by using something like white LED's that draw far less power per lumen, than even the very efficient fluorescents that are currently used. But as long as they don't kill my battery while I'm just typing up a document, and the keyboard scratched up displays of past don't return, I think they will do just fine.

The Mag-Safe connector is a signature Apple "Nice touch", that most companies just don't think about, much like the color-changing leds in the power connectors of current models.

The fact that the MacBook ships with Front row is one of those "It's about time" kind of things, and is one reason that I think that despite this being called the MacBook PRO, I get the distinct impression that it's really being marketed to individuals, and actually meant to keep professionals away. The remote that ships in the box is the same as the one for the iMac, and therefore works the same, I just hope that when I close the lid to watch movies on my big display it won't go to sleep.

Now the ports, here is where I'm a little less than enthusiastic. For the ports there are the 2 USB 2.0, 1 GigE, 1 Dual-Link DVI, 1 Firewire 400, ExpressCard/34 slot, and 1 IR port for the front row remote, that I hope can be used to sync other devices. The reason that I'm not a fan of these port options is because of what isn't there, and is also the reason that I think this version of the new offering is meant to scare off professionals for the time being. There is the lack of another USB 2.0 port, which could be overlooked, if not for the complete lack of a Firewire 800 port, and with the number of content creators using macs for video/audio this is truly a deal breaker, since FW400 just isn't enough when working with the huge files that video editing uses. Also missing are the S-Video out, and the modem, two things that aren't huge for most, but a mobile professional, will find that not being able to hook up to whatever display rig they find at the destination will be frustrating; as will the inability to dial into the corporate VPN, or (God-forbid) the internet when broadband is not accessible.

I do however like that the scrolling trackpad is now widescreen to match the form factor of the display. I also like the integrated iSight camera into the impossibly small bezel around the screen. This is a far more attractive way to do video-conferencing, although I doubt that the quality will be nearly the same as the full sized iSight, if for no other reason than the constraints placed upon the mbp version by the space available in the lid.

Essentially my saying by this is not for the professional, comes from the fact that there is only the 15", too big for the road-warrior, and too small for the graphic pro. There is no FW800, and no modem (surely, so they can sell it as an option), and the ExpressCard only factor. I know Apple is probably trying to pressured manufacturers into making the superior cards available, but since there are so many who require PCMCIA cards, even if just to add separate bus FireWire ports, many will wait even if only because they need the G4's to do their jobs.

Now, a couple of my co-workers have asked me "Why would they push away those people, they are the ones that buy all of those", and my answer is simply that Apple just isn't ready just yet. Steve-O in his keynote said that the professional apps from apple will be ready in March, and that's when I expect the new versions to come out, in another One-More-Thing type announcement. That's just fine with me since I'm planning on waiting until around September to upgrade, since there are some things, like the FireWire8 that my pb has, and plus the screen is essentially the same, and there are only a few intel native app's available.

I only hope that Apple, and MS get together to have a dual-boot OSX/WinXP option available on new mac's. I mean MS is a software company, and really other than the classic rivalry between the two, it would only benefit both companies. MS gets an install base on apple machines, and Apple would win over the fence-sitters who want a cool looking new machine, but still need windows. MS=software company, Apple=hardware company... At least that's what Mr. Jobs still says.

That's all for now,