Win a $30 iTunes Gift Certificate

Mac Fanatic

Want to win a $30 iTunes gift certificate? The Mac Fanatic is celebrating his one year anniversary by giving one away. All you have to do is leave a comment on his iTunes Promotion post, no later than January 14th 2007 at 11:59pm EST. The winner will be drawn at random. Currently, there aren’t many comments, so your odds are pretty good.

While you’re there, check out his software reviews and podcast.

Get Human

Get Human

Ever get frustrated when you call a company’s support line and you just can’t seem to talk to a real person? GetHuman.com may be able to help.

“The gethuman project is a consumer movement to improve the quality of phone support in the US. This free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use.”

Basically, they maintain a database of phone numbers and key combinations to cut through the string of never ending menus and get you connected to a live operator.

found via Cool Tools

Macworld Keynote… The Rest

Macworld Keynote 2007

Other than the iPhone, and Apple TV, most of my predictions did not happen. I’m not entirely surprised that we didn’t see any new Mac models, but I am quite surprised that iLife ’07 and iWork ’07 weren’t announced. I would have bet money on that. I’m also a little disappointed that we didn’t see an update to .Mac. It’s overdue.

The only other things that Apple announced were a couple of new iPod ads, new movies on iTunes from Paramount, and the announcement that as of today, Apple has officially changed their name to “Apple, Inc.”, instead of “Apple Computer, Inc.”

Although that last one has no immediate impact on most of us, it does represent a pretty big shift in the company, and possibly will have the biggest ramifications on future products. We’ll see what the future brings.

If you’re interested in watching the keynote for yourself, it’s been made available online. I would say it’s worth watching just to see the iPhone in action. It really is a revolutionary product.

tv

Apple TV

The other big announcement today was the tv (Apple TV), formerly known as the iTV. It’s available for pre-order (US $299), and will ship in February. Along with it Apple quietly introduced a new version of their airport extreme base station (US $179), also available in February. With the new base station, Apple has dropped the UFO form factor, in favor of a box that looks just like the Apple TV box. It also supports the new 802.11n network protocol.

The Apple TV allows you to wirelessly (or wired) stream music, video, and photos from your computer (Mac or PC) to your home entertainment system. You can also directly access movie trailers from the Apple site.

Now, before you go order one of these, make sure to check the requirements. I don’t know a lot about TVs, but it doesn’t look like you can hook this thing up to that 10 year old Sanyo you have in your bedroom.

“Apple TV works with most widescreen, enhanced-definition or high-definition TV…

…Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz”

Maybe someone with a little more knowledge of TVs can shed some light on this.

Also, the specs for wirelessly streaming video are listed as 802.11g or 802.11n (not ‘b’). I personally wonder how well it will work under ‘g’. I’m betting that you’ll need ‘n’ for optimal performance.

So, if you actually have a TV that this will hook into, you may also need to buy some new network gear as well.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a fancy TV, so I don’t think we’ll be able to get one of these just yet. Bummer!

The iPhone at Macworld

iPhone in case at Macworld

At the Macworld Expo they didn’t have iPhones you could actually touch, but they did have two units on display (under glass, with a guard). It really is a beautiful device. Pictures just don’t do it justice.

People tended to huddle around the cases as if to feel the warmth of a campfire. The iPhone even had the ability to mezmerize people.

iPhone is real!

iPhone

HOLY CRAP! I’ve been reading the live coverage of the Macworld keynote over at engadget, and I’ve almost wet my pants!

The iPhone is real! It’s a wide-screen iPod, phone, camera, and who knows what else, all in one. AND… it runs OS X!

I’m going to the Apple store! (I hope they have them)

UPDATE:

Well, the Apple store didn’t have them. In fact, the store employees were reading live coverage of the keynote on the web too. They didn’t know what was coming out either.

It turns out the iPhone is still awaiting FCC approval, and is expected to ship in June, here in the States (Europe in fourth quarter, Asia in 2008). Apple only announced it today, because they didn’t want the FCC to announce it.

What’s the price? It will be $499 for a 4GB model, and $599 for an 8GB model, and be on the Cingular network. As a phone/PDA, those sizes are pretty darn good, but as a video iPod, 4GB and 8GB are pretty tiny. I’m kind of surprised they are so small. I’m not disappointed though. Although it would be nice to combine the devices, I was just hoping for a good phone/PDA (not an iPod), and that’s exactly what we got. Although, considering that the iPod functionality is pretty limited due to capacity, $499-$599 is pretty steep for just a phone/PDA.

Regardless, I’m totally jazzed about the new iPhone. I can’t wait for it to come out.

I just came home to grab some lunch, and then I’m off to the expo. I’ll be commenting more about all this later today.

Macworld 2007

Macworld, San Francisco, 2007

Today is the official start of Macworld, San Francisco, 2007. Although, for most of us the real excitement starts tomorrow, with the keynote address, and opening of the exhibit floor.

I must say that I am surprised at Apple’s lack of decoration this year. In the main Moscone Hall (where the keynote will be), there’s just a single banner. It’s the same one they’ve been showing on their homepage since the 1st. Normally, they have at least 3 banners. I guess they really don’t want to give anything away this year. Or, they’re waiting until the last minute to hang the ‘real’ banners.

Anyway, what would Macworld be without predictions. I think we’re all expecting pretty big things this year. First, we have this banner that says ‘The first 30 years were just the beginning’, implying a big announcement this year, and we also have a keynote address that will be 2 hours long (9:00am – 11:00am pst tomorrow). Typically, they’re only an hour. Hopefully, they are going to announce some cool things, and we aren’t just hyping ourselves into inevitable disappointment.

I personally think we’re going to see a lot tomorrow. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some kind of updates across all the products… but here’s some specific predictions:

‘iPhone’:
Yes, I’m in the camp that says this year it’s actually going to happen. I personally hope it’s more along a PDA line, and not just an iPod phone. If they announce it, I’ll be first in line to get one. Anne Marie gave me an Apple gift card for Christmas specifically for that purpose. :)

‘iTV’:
I think we’ll see a new demo, with more specifics, and possibly get a release date, but it won’t be available this month.

Displays:
I think there is a chance well see a new display, but not for the computer. The perfect companion to the ‘iTV’ would be a shiny new flat-screen, for the living room. It’s not that their current displays wouldn’t work, but the base is all wrong for your home entertainment center. I think Apple would make a display with a more invisible base (low and hidden).

Wide-screen iPod:
I’m on the fence about this one. I would like to see this come out, but I’m not sure if we’ll see it tomorrow.

Macs:
Mac minis, iMacs, Macbooks, and Macbook Pros will see a slight bump in processor speed, but no significant changes will be made. I’m firmly in the ‘NO’ camp for the possibility of black Macbook Pros. I personally would buy one, but I think Apple wants to maintain a distinct visual difference between Macbooks and Macbook Pros.

The only significant update will be to the Mac Pro. I think we’ll see a new processor, and quite possibly a new design. The current box is left-over from the G5 Powermac, and I think Apple has been planning to change it.

We’ll probably see a new processor in the Xserve, but that’s not really a consumer product, so I don’t pay much attention to it.

Mac Tablet:
mmmmm… I doubt it, but anything is possible. Given that tablets have been around for years, and no one really seems to care, I doubt Apple would go in this direction just yet. Although, I could see them doing an ultra portable Mac (Macbook mini?). I personally would love to have a Mac that is smaller than a laptop, but bigger than a PDA, for travel.

Leopard:
We’ll see a new demo, but I wouldn’t look for OS 10.5 Leopard to hit store shelves until at least July.

Software:
I think it’s a given that we’ll see iLife ’07 and iWork ’07. I also have little doubt that iWork will finally see a spreadsheet application. I think the biggest update to iLife will be in the iWeb application. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see some kind of global media browser, kind of like ‘Bridge’ from the Adobe Creative Suite, for better media management.

I also think we’ll see updates to Final Cut Studio, but I have no specific predictions.

.Mac
We’ll probably see updates to .Mac. I think they’re going to do to iCal what they did for Mail… make a complete online version of iCal, so you can truly access (and edit) your calendar from anywhere. I think a storage bump is in the cards too. We may see some specific features for the new iWeb as well.

There you have it! Those are my official predictions. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. I would give anything to go to the keynote. :)

I’m Back!

Wow, looking at the previous post, I see I’ve been on this break for almost a month. I don’t think I’ve gone that long without blogging since I started this site. It’s been so long that I actually had to remind myself about the steps I take to post (image size, using Marsedit, etc…).

It’s been a good break, and I needed it, but now I’m itching to start blogging again. Oh, and if you sent me any emails while I was away, I’ll try to get to those soon as well. Sorry for the delay.

My original intention was to disconnect myself as much as possible from my computer, but I actually did spend some time redesigning my portfolio site. Primarily because I wanted to switch my motion graphics examples over to Flash video, and add some recent work, but I also just couldn’t stand to look at that site any longer. I originally threw the (old) site together in an evening, over 3 years ago. I needed something up in a hurry, but I’ve been meaning to change it ever since. The new site went semi-live last night. I say semi-live because I’m actually still tweaking it. I was hoping to get it up by the 1st, but I just couldn’t get it done.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a good holiday and new years. Like me, I’m sure you’re now plenty excited about Macworld. I’ll be talking about that in my next post.