Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Time Capsule

Apple quietly updated their Time Capsules over the past week, expanding the sizes to 2 TB and 3 TB drives. This is an increase from the previous 500 GB and 1 TB options. Overall the product is still the same. In a recent teardown of the product, it was found that the drives actually put inside the Time Capsule were Wester Digital Caviar Green drives. You may find this to be nothing special, however; Apple advertises server grade drives, and the Caviar Greens are not rated as server grade drives. This may not seem a big deal, but in a sense it is false advertising. That is not to say that you shouldn't buy a Time Capsule, you should if you need a wireless network and a way to backup your computer. In the shift prices stayed the same. After this refresh, it would seem supplies of Macbook Airs and Macbooks are dwindling, which may hint at another possible refresh right around the corner when Lion is released.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SSD Upgrade

Image from OCZ
With Lion just around the corner, I went hunting for a new SSD for my desktop computer. Thanks to Gizmodo's "Daily Deals" I found one. An Agility 3 60 GB for $100 after mail in rebate. There was a small catch to this, my motherboard, a Gigabyte EP43-UD3L, does not support SATA III connections. My board only supports SATA II connections. So there was one more thing I had to pick up, and that was a 6 Gb/s adapter for my computer. I went and bought the Highpoint Rocket 620 adapter, which was $25 and came with two SATA III connection ports, as well as two SATA III recommended cables. Something to note, there is no difference between SATA III and SATA II cables, they do the same thing. This new drive will be for my hackintosh installation. My next drive, which I plan on having between 90 and 120 GB, will be for my Windows installation. I was very pleased that after all the toil I went through to get the drive installed I was able to boot up with out any issues, and have it recognized by OS X off the bat. In addition, I formatted the drive to make it ready for OS X. I will, however, not be installing OS X on the drive until Lion comes out. Currently, Snow Leopard is not perfect in the Hackintosh community, but Lion will be much much better. Instead of writing to the SSD now, I will save a few weeks of writing to install. I want to be able to get the most out of my SSD, and installing an OS can take quite a bit of reading and writing on the SSD's part. So to not wear it out, I am just going to wait.


Monday, June 27, 2011

And...I am back

After a two week break, I have returned. So much new information since my last update, so I won't even attempt to squeeze it into one post. From SSDs, to Lion, and much more, I have quite a bit to talk about. As for my last update, about the phone, there is still no one I have found who can repair it. To be fair though, I haven't really been looking. There are some antique shops in the area, which I may stop by in the next couple of weeks. Either that or find someone who can do old fashion wiring. No matter what, I plan on getting this phone fixed this summer. So as not to get into any of my planned write up, let us just stop right here.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Small Summer Project

I was rummaging through some stuff in my basement yesterday, and I came across an old 1940s telephone. The wood was in good condition, and the phone was all wired. The thing is, the wire itself is broken. This summer I have decided to try and find someone to fix this aging phone, and see if I can actually use it. I don't know what it is about older technology, but I absolutely love using it. Being that this is an antique, I have to find a way to properly reconnect the aging wood. Some of it has bent up, so I need to find a way to attach it without damaging it, or the phone. If I can get this refurbished I would be truly happy. However, I still have to find some place to put it. Unlike modern phones, this phone is pretty large, and it must be hung on the wall.  What is nice about the phone is that it has a panel of wood which is positioned so that you can take notes on it while you are on the phone. For this reason, I would have to put this somewhere that is waste level, so that it would be easy to write on if necessary. Sometimes I believe the thought process of the previous generation was much greater then that of the current. Honestly, who would have thought of a note pad area on a home telephone? Ingenious!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nintendo's Big Announcement

And the race begins for the next generation console wars. Nintendo unveiled their new console, the Wii U, earlier this week at E3. Surprisingly, this console was not focused around motion control, but a combination of motion control and a game pad. The console is suppose to be more powerful then both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. But that is not all, the console will also offer the ability to have expandable memory through an external hard drive. In addition, this console supports up to 1080p HD output. 

No price point has been set for the console, nor is there been an exact release date set. All Nintendo has said is that they are aiming for 2012. The console is sporting a new controller. This controller has two analog sticks, a D-pad, and four buttons. It also has left bumper and right bumper buttons, as well as speakers, a 6.2" display, a camera, a microphone, an accelerometer and a gyroscope, and last but not least, a stylus. 
This new controller allows for the Wii U to stream what is on screen to the controller itself. Here is a video that gives a demonstration of how this will work. More after the video:

As you can see, there will be plenty of uses for the new controller.
Another thing to note about the Wii U is the fact that it will be backwards compatible with old Wii games, however there will not be any scaling up of those games to enhance the look or feel of them. 

I for one am hoping there will be a promotional program where I can trade my Wii in for a Wii U. I won't have to buy new controllers, since the Wii Remotes will work, and I won't have to sell my old games.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Apple Announcement Roundup Part 3/3


Finally in the line up of new things announced by Apple is iCloud. iCloud is the product that will replace MobileMe, and in addition it will be completely free. iCloud provides you with 5 GB of storage, and in the future you will be able to buy storage. No pricing has been announced yet, but I would assume it is like DropBox where you would pay a yearly fee to have more then 5 GB of storage. 

So what does iCloud do? Well, it wirelessly syncs content through all of your devices simultaneously. In other words, if you buy the Abbey Road album, it will sync from your phone to your iPad, iPod Touch, and Mac all at once. This way, when you get home your music will be there. However, what happens if you deleted a song you bought off iTunes? You don't want to have to pay for it again right? Well, you no longer have to. With iCloud, iTunes now has the ability to allow you to download pre-purchased music.

Let's talk photos. People use their smartphone more then cameras now a days, and Apple realized this. If you take a photo with your iPhone, it will be sent to the cloud and distributed to your other devices, just like music. However, there is a catch to this one. All your photos in the cloud will start to be deleted after 30 days because Apple needs to keep space for you. In addition, your computer will keep all the photos permanently, where as your mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch etc.) will keep the last 1000 photos you have taken. This is known as "Photo Stream". If you want to keep any of the photos located in the stream, all you have to do is save it to an album and it is permanently saved.

There is also documents, which is essentially the same as music. The only slight difference is that with documents, you will not be limited to Apple developed applications in the future. You will be able to use 3rd Party apps to utilize this feature.

Remember that "post PC world" that I mentioned yesterday. Well this is really geared to work with iCloud. You will be able to setup your device with out connecting to iTunes, and in addition you will be able to restore your device information from a backup made in iCloud. All you have to do is be connected to WiFi and sign in with your Apple ID, then you just wait for all your information to download to your device. Of course, you can always do it the old way if you wish.

With this service of course comes the integration of Mail, iCal, and Contacts. With each of these synced to the cloud, you don't have to worry about adding an event to your home computer, and then syncing it to your device. When a change is made, it is made through out every device. There will even be something call "iCloud Sharing". Here is how it will work. Let us say Bob and Marry are married and both own iPhones running iOS 5. If they setup iCloud sharing for their calendar app, then when Bob makes a change to add an event to his calendar, Marry will be able to see it and vice versa. How this will work exactly I am not sure, but that is the gist of it.

Well that is it, an entire round up of everything coming later this year from Apple. iCloud is already active, if you have iTunes 10.3 you can see it in action with the pre-purchased music I spoke of.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Apple Announcement Roundup Part 2/3

OS X Lion

Nothing particularly new has been announced since last summer. Lion is still coming with multi touch gestures, mission control, launch pad, versions etc. It was however priced at $30 and will be released this summer for download only through the App Store.

Let's talk about some big features though. Mission Control will be coming out with Lion, allowing you to be more organized with your applications. It is essentially a much more glorified version of spaces. It can be activated with multi touch gestures, unless you have a computer which doesn't support that in which case you just have to map a hot key to it or something. Mission Control is sort of like a "central hub" so to speak.

Then of course there is Launch Pad, a simpler way to open applications. Launch Pad looks and acts like an iPad, your apps are shown and you click on them to launch. In addition, when you download an app from the App Store, it goes straight to Launch Pad. Uninstalling also occurs from Launch Pad, just click and hold until the icons wiggle. Click on the "x" to uninstall.

Next, and one of my favorites, is called Resume. Resume allows you to shut off your computer and turn it back on with all your applications where you left them. It allows you to "resume" work with out having to re-open everything.

Also very neat is the addition of Versions. Versions is like a more exact Time Machine. It allows you to select and restore a certain version (older save) of a file which you have been working on. For example, say you are working on a presentation, but you have made a couple mistakes a long the way, and you have saved those mistakes. To undo all them would take too much time, but with versions you can travel back to an older save file and restore that, overriding the one with all the mistakes.

These are just some of the big features being added to Lion, for a full list of features and what they do you can visit


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Apple Announcement Roundup Part 1/3

As a precursor, it did take me a day to fully understand a majority of the things announced at WWDC '11.

iOS 5
 As expected, iOS 5 was announced at WWDC, bringing a slew of new features to the boards. Apple did exactly what was speculated, and revamped the entire notification system. When I say revamped, I mean they just copied Android. If you have ever used an Android device, you know that all the events on your device are stored at the top in the drop down menu. Any time you receive a message, it can be read on the drop down menu. Tapping on it takes you to the application (messages, mail, etc.). The difference between the iPhone and iPad version though is the iPhone version has weather and stocks, which is odd because you would think with the larger screen the iPad would get the same, if not more. 

In addition, Apple introduced iMessages. Essentially, this is Black Berry Messaging for iDevices. If you own an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can message another iDevice owner over wifi or 3G. And it is free of SMS since iPod users don't have SMS. This means that, hypothetically, if all your friends had iDevices, you could own an iPhone and message them with out having to pay for a SMS data plan. Also, when you first send a text to someone, your device will check and see if the number you are texting is an iDevice with iMessages. If it is, your send button will turn blue, and your contact for that person will update so you know that he/she owns an iDevice. If not, the send button is green, and nothing is updated in the contacts.

Apple didn't stop there though, they went further with the new Reminders application. Reminders is a simple little to-do list application. It allows you to add to-dos, check them off, and update them. They are also synced with Outlook, iCal, and iCloud (which will be talked about later). You can even set locations for each to-do, so you know where you have to go to get the reminder done.

Apple also jumped on the social networking trend by adding full Twitter integration into iOS 5. You can add as many accounts as you want, and it fully integrated into the new messaging system, as well as all the applications. This makes it easy to tweet photos, information, and more at the tap of a screen. You can also add your location if you want. 

But wait, there's more! Apple has added the ability to take a picture from your lock screen. This is suppose to save the user time when getting his/her camera ready. However, as far as I can tell this circumvents the reason you have a lock screen. If you activate the camera, it unlocks the device, therefore undoing the purpose of having the lock screen, which is to keep your device locked. A nifty addition they added to the camera was the ability to take pictures by pressing the volume buttons. This is suppose to make it easier to take pictures, as before the only way was to tap on the screen. Another feature added was minimal ways to edit your pictures. You can crop, and remove read eye from with the application.

Post PC Activation.
Other additions include the ability to use Reader in Safari, and the ability to utilize the new Reading List within Safari. Reading list allows you to add a page to a list which you can then "read later". Plus, there is also the ability to activate your device without having to connect to iTunes. As it is now said, "We live in a post PC world, where not everyone owns a PC." For this reason, you can now activate your device out the box, and have it ready to go in minutes without having to sync and connect to iTunes. Also, there was the addition of rich text formatting for mail, wireless mirroring for iPads to TV, Wireless syncing, and a Game Center update which allows pictures to be added to your friends, as well as in app game purchases.

This post is part of a three part update so that all the parts of the event can be covered. 


Monday, June 6, 2011

Big Day

Today, in my opinion, is one of the biggest days of the year. It is not only the start of WWDC '11, but it is also the start of E3. While Apple will be setting the "tone", so to speak, of the year to come, so too will E3. E3 is where all the major game corporations make their announcements of the games coming later this year. Battlefield 3, Gears of War 3, and many more will show trailers and gameplay footage. There will also be hands on demos around the floor of E3 so the media can show the worlds what is coming in the next year.

On the other hand, there is the Apple Press even happening today. OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud are the three major points that will be made in the conference. There is also rumor that the conference will unveil a new Airport Extreme/Time Capsule. These announcements are sure to set the tone for what the year to come will be like in terms of consumer electronics. Get ready, because today is going to be huge.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Get Ready For the New Apple

Image from Macrumours

As expected, Apple is ramping up for their annual WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) 2011. As seen from the signs being put up, it would seem the rumors are true. To be announced this year will be OS X Lion, the brand new operating system from Apple, iOS 5, the brand new mobile operating system from Apple, and what looks like iCloud.

 iCloud is what is rumored to take the place of MobileMe. Again, as far as rumor goes, iCloud is going to be $25 a year, which is awfully inexpensive and worth paying for. In addition, iCloud will include the ability to hold all your songs AND movies. This would be a huge move on Apple's part seeing as Google and Amazon both tried to beat them to the gun with a cloud service. 

Next, there is Lion, which we don't know much about (that is of course assuming you haven't read any of the leaked information on the internet). Lion will not only bring some amazing new features, but it will also utilize TRIM for SSDs, a necessity at the moment when using an SSD. Lion is suppose to be a blend of iOS and OS X, so we will see how that goes over. I for one am skeptical on whether or not people will like the idea. Hopefully, Lion is not put at a price points that is more then Snow Leopard was. Snow Leopard was well priced, and I believe if Apple does this again it would definitely be good for them.

Finally, as far as iOS goes, I am hoping it brings some major changes. First, I would like to see more voice commands. One in particular I would like to see is being able to read off your text message and having the phone compile it for you. In addition, I would like to see a brand new messaging system, one with more options when you get a message. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anything else I might want changed. I am sure what ever Apple does it will be for the better.