Saturday, May 27, 2006

iTunes: Star Wars Cartoons Available

The Emmy Award-winning animated Star Wars TV series is now available for download on iTunes. Each episode is priced at $1.99 USD with the entire first season available for $10.99 USD.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Review: MacBook 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo

Just picked up the new MacBook and it's awesome. I'm upgrading from a first-generation iBook G3 that has served me well, but has been dropped, repaired (myself, and have extra screws to prove it) a loose "J" key (my son's name is Joshua), and overall sluggish performance.

The spacious 13.3 inch screen is glorius. It is super bright and crisp. There is ample screen real estate. The glossy screen (new for Mac laptops) is great. I don't see why some people are concerned about it. I think it provides a much better image.

The keyboard is a bit funky to look at with its wide-spaced keys, but I've had no problems typing whatsoever. The keys are firmer than the previous iBook and much more responsive.

Performance is top-notch. Everything is speedy and responsive. Even programs which have not been updated for Intel run fine in every day tasks. I'm using this primarily for web surfing, word processing, light graphics work and such.

The only downside so far is that the bottom of the case runs a bit warmer than the iBook it replaces. Not hot enough to burn, but a bit uncomfortable on bare skin (which isn't recommended when using laptops anyway). Not something I'm overly concerned about though.

I also installed Windows XP via Boot Camp. Leave it to Apple to even make Windows look good. Installation took about an hour, with about 55 minutes of that coming from the Windows installer. I have no plans (or need or want) to run Windows long-term, but agreed to install it for a colleague at work who is considering a MacBook so he could see the performance of Windows on a Mac. It's a bit crazy to see Windows running on my Mac, but Windows functions fine and haven't had any issues with it. If you're a Windows/PC user who is considering a Mac - the time to switch is now.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Apple and Nike Do It

IPod and NikeHere's hoping Apple and Nike don't get lazy in their marketing and utilize the crappy Aerosmith "Walk This Way" as a theme song:

The two companies announced Tuesday they are jointly developing a wireless system so some Nike shoes embedded with a sensor can communicate with Apple's iPod Nano music player to track a runner's performance and help choreograph songs to the moment.
Fascinating idea. Might get some of us less active iPod fans to actually leave our computer desk for a bit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sony to Sell Walkman Cell Phones in Japan

Sony will start selling Walkman Cell Phones in Japan next month. Japan is a huge cell phone market where the populace pretty much lives on their cell phones. Text messaging, television, music, currency and more. They've already sold some 5 million Walkman Cell Phones in the rest of the world.

Let's hope that Apple's iPhone comes out soon!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Microsoft Finally Gets It

Today Microsoft will be launching Windows Media Player 11 Beta. Of its many features, it is tightly integrated with the new Microsoft/MTV music service URGE, includes a much improved and iTunes-inspired interface, and much more. It also has tight integration with Plays For Sure compatible MP3 devices.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Apple Adds Fox to iTunes

Apple just added Fox TV shows to iTunes. Shows include 24, Stacked, Prison Break, Unan1mous and classics Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly and Lost in Space. TV shows from Fox-owned FX Channel have also been added - The Shield, Black & White, Always Sunny and 30 days. All of which I've never heard of except The Shield.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Apple vs. Apple - Apple Wins!

Apple Computer was judged today not to be infringing on the Apple Corps trademark. Of course Apple Corps is filing an appeal.

To me it's an absurd case. Both companies have a very distinct business model, logo and corporate culture. iTunes is so associated with the iPod device that no one would ever confuse Apple Computer with Apple Corps. iTunes offers over x million songs; Apple Corps a few hundred. Apple Computer is in the music sales business, Apple Corps is in the music creation business. The differences are obvious, even to the most oblivious of people.

Thanks to my fellow Apple fan Camille for the update.

**Update** Yahoo! News has better coverage of the ruling.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Camcorder-To-iPod Recording

This just in from IPTV - The Bella Catapult enables users to capture video directly from their DV camcorder to their iPod, bypassing the need for clunky and expensive DV tapes. It works with the iPod (or any other USB 2.0 compatible device).

What's really cool is that it encodes the video directly into a DV stream, eliminating the need to transfer from the video tape - just transfer the DV file from the iPod. It also opens up other features such as timelapse recording.

Very cool.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

iTunes Songs Stay At .99

When you own about 80 of the online music download market, you can play hardball with those greedy bastards at the record companies. Apple successfully renegotiated its contracts with the big four record companies and individual songs will remain .99.

Monday, May 01, 2006

What would you do for an iPod?

Seems SpyMac has a unique social marketing idea. Users offer up their iPods for something they want or want done. For example - get a 2 GB iPod Nano for drywalling and mudding a basement. Want an iPod? Post what you're willing to do for one and you might just get it.

New Software Product - Instant Handbrake

Getting DVDs transferred to your iPod isn't always smooth sailing. For Mac users, Handbrake offers some strong tools and flexibility to do so. But it still takes some skill and knowledge to do it successfully.

Enter Instant Handbrake. It is currently available in beta form.

Simply pop in a DVD, launch Instant Handbrake, and it immediately figures out what tracks you're likely wanting and if you agree, click go and wait. No need to worry about encoding format, bitrates, etc. It will encode for iPod as well as the Sony PSP.