January 13, 2009

From 9to5mac.com/toys (feed): If you are loading up on storage in 2009, you might want to head over to Amazon who have a Seagate 1.5TB 32MB SATA Bulk/OEM Hard Drive ST31500341AS for $129.  That is the lowest price we’ve ever seen for the largest capacity drive on the market.  The device gets an average of 4/5 stars from Amazon reviewers and ships for free. These prices don’t often last for more than 24 hours at Amazon.

Or you can has a 1TB Hitachi for $80 after $30 rebate.

For another $30-$40, throw in a SATA Drive docking station, or perhaps something a little more burly.



Our old friend Psystar is back in the news saying…

"Apple contends that because Psystar is ‘distributing computers with Apple’s copyrighted software loaded on them’ that ‘Apple is within its rights in asserting copyright infringement’," said Psystar in the papers filed Jan. 7. "Apple’s assertion that Psystar cannot distribute computers with Apple software (and that a purchaser could not use the same) would run roughshod over 17 U.S.C.," Psystar added, referring to the section of U.S. law that pertains to copyright.

Is all of this really necessary?  Can’t Psystar just make PCs that are easily Hackintoshed with some simple instructions on how to do so with a link to a Leopard Install disk on Amazon?  Is it that hard to make a Hackintosh?  Is it worth all of the trouble?

They continue…

To make its point, Psystar claimed that it has purchased some copies of Mac OS X — which it preinstalls on the Intel-powered machines it sells under the "Open Computer" and "OpenPro" labels — straight from Apple.

"Psystar distributes computers with legitimately purchased copies of Mac OS loaded thereon," the company said. "Many of those copies [were] directly obtained from Apple. While Psystar complies with Section 117(b) of the Copyright Act, Apple attempts to usurp those limitations by telling Psystar and its customers that Apple — and Apple alone — will say ‘whether, how or by whom its software is … distributed or used’."


The Denver Post (Via OPP) is outing Skype’s plans to port their mobile VOIP application to the iPhone.  They cite the need to lower power as the number one barrier to entry.  Whether this is Apple’s barrier or theirs wasn’t clear.   Also not clear was whether or not the Skype would work over AT&T’s 3G network or only over Wifi.  Optimism is low because Steve Jobs said at the launch of the App store that Apple (he) was not opposed to VOIP applications so long as they run over Wifi.

Although it wasn’t mentioned in the article, the application would likely work on Apple’s 2G iPod Touch which has voice in capabilities (with headset or 3rd party mic).  Native Skype (brand) access could be the killer app for new iPod Touches (oh wait, they are already selling pretty well?).

The thing is, Skype is already on the iPhone.  Truphone and Fring are already touting their Skype calling credentials and have been for awhile.  Having a native, Skype branded phone capabilities would still be a big win for Apple. 

Skype launched a new 2.8 Beta version of its software for Macintosh at Macworld that allows for screen sharing, Boingo access and other improvements.


January 11, 2009

We almost let this one slip by.  Techtool, the Gold standard in Macintosh hardware diagnostics has finally started shipping their version 5 upgrade.

So what is new? (from MacUser)…

Beyond the new interface, you can now identify files that reside on bad blocks, you can see a trash history to help recover deleted files, you can check for specific types of file corruption, and set up an automatic monitoring system to watch the free space on your disk drives. A new interface when running all tests shows you all the queued up tests, and you can selectively disable those tests you don’t wish to run, even after you’ve started the (lengthy) process of running all the tests.

Micromat still lists Techtool 4 as current on their webpage but allows you a free update to version 5 if purchased in 2009.

Deal of the week from 9to5mac.com/toys (feed)

Today only, Amazon.com offers the Sanyo Xacti VPC-E2 Waterproof Digital Camcorder in Blue for $149.99 (or white for $190) with free shipping. That’s $49 under our Black Friday mention and the lowest total price we’ve ever seen by a large margin. Features include a 5x optical zoom, rotating 2.5" LCD, digital image stabilizer, face detection, Secure Digital card slot (Also throw in a 16Gb Transcend SD Card for $30.), and USB 2.0 connectivity. 
The camera which can be used underwater (think of the children!) or above, retails for $400 but is usually seen around $200 and was recently seen at Buy.com for $190 and on Black Friday at $195.  The videos are 640×480 and can easily be exported to iPhone or iPod.  Note: It doesn’t go HiDef like Sanyo’s other non-waterproof camcorders.


January 10, 2009

As Wired reports, the makeup of Google Chrome 2.0 Alpha indicates that the browser could be hitting the Mac (and Linux) platform at any moment.  The major roadblock for version 1.0 to go cross platform was that it was based on the Windows-only WinHTTP library.  This was likely to get the browser out the door on Windows as soon as possible.

The Chrome 2.0 alpha also has some big news for for Mac and Linux users who’d like to try Chrome: Chrome 2.0 uses its own HTTP network library rather than the WinHTTP library on Windows. 

The Windows-only HTTP library was one of the main stumbling blocks to cross-platform support and now that it’s gone the Mac and Linux versions should see some significant progress in the near future.


Google’s Chrome browser is based on Webkit, as are many other mobile and desktop browsers out there, including Apple’s Safari. 

To get the latest news on Google Chrome for Mac, head over to Google’s dedicated Chromium Mac site.  For those who can wait, Crossover has a version that runs off of the WINE APIs.  That, or you can install it on a VMWare or Parallels partition.


January 8, 2009

This might be a first (and a last).   HP’s MediaSmart Server EX485 has walked away with one of Macworld Magazine’s coveted best of show awards.  The Windows Home Server based product (!) does offer a lot of services for the Mac platform.  You can do Time Machine backups to the device.  You can store your iTunes online on a central server.   You can also share files/folders with anyone in your house or small office.  With some extra SATA drives, you can have this thing up to 9TB.  Competition for this device includes DLink’s DNS-323 line, Linksys‘s NAS, the Drobo line and (our fav) Netgear’s ReadyNAS.  The others run Linux but the HP runs Windows.

The Apple Competitor?  None for quite awhile.  We’ve heard the only functionality to be added to Time Capsule in the near future is Software Update caching.  If you want to pick one of these HP’s up, head over to Amazon and save over $100 off of retail for the 750GB version.

Macworld said:


HP MediaSmart Server

HP’s MediaSmart Server is a server for the home. The idea is that it gives you one place to store all your family’s shared libraries of photos, music, and video, and provide a backup drive for every computer in the house.

It looks like a mini-tower. It’s got four drive bays. You can buy it with one or two of those bays full, for 750GB or 1.5TB of storage. You can plug any SATA drive into the remaining bays if you need more storage.

The MediaSmart Server isn’t new, but the latest version adds improved Mac compatibility. For one thing, it now works as an iTunes Server. You can copy your iTunes libraries to it, then access those combined libraries from any computer in the house. (Unfortunately, the media collection tool, which can go out and find all those libraries and do the copying on its own, only works with Windows PCs for now.)

The MediaSmart Server can also work as a centralized backup drive for everyone on the network. The key addition there: Unlike other network-attachable drives, it’s compatible with Time Machine.

The HP MediaSmart Server is specifically designed for homes with a mix of Macs and Windows PCs. It requires a PC for the initial installation—in large part because the server itself runs on the Windows Home Server OS. But once you’ve done that set-up, the MediaSmart is fully accessible from your Mac.

All in all, it’s a really promising solution for any home that has both Macs and Windows machines and no central place to store and protect the family’s digital media assets.


Amazon.com Product Description
Automatically back up and protect your digital memories, centralize your media and content for sharing with friends and family, and enjoy your digital media while at home or away with the HP EX485 MediaSmart Home Server. Based on the Microsoft Windows Home Server platform, this sleek, quiet server is ideal if you have multiple PCs on a home network, or want the flexibility to enjoy your digital experiences from anywhere over the Internet. And it’s easy to set up–just plug it in, connect it to your wireless router (sold separately), and load the software onto your PCs and Macs.

The HP EX485 makes backing up your home’s PCs and streaming media a breeze, and it comes with 750 GB of storage.

Centralize your iTunes music libraries on the MediaSmart Server for playback to any networked Mac or PC running iTunes. The HP Media Collector conveniently schedules the MediaSmart Server to copy and centralize digital files and libraries from networked PCs. The pre-installed HP Photo Publisher software enables you to easily upload photos to Facebook, Flickr, Picasa Web Albums and Snapfish. and the MediaSmart Server provides peace of mind with effortless backups of your Windows-based PCs via the Windows Home Server backup feature and Macs running Leopard using Apple Time Machine software.

The EX485 MediaSmart comes with 750 GB of storage right out of the box and four drive bays that allow you to add optional off-the-shelf SATA I or II hard drives–up to a maximum capacity of 9 TB (terabytes). Additionally, the MediaSmart includes four USB 2.0 ports and one eSATA port for connecting an attached external hard drive, and it provides capabilities for offsite backup via automatic upload to Amazon’s S3 service.

The sleek, streamlined micro-tower design is perfect for use in the home office or the living room, with perforated steel exterior panels that provide cool, quiet operation. A Sleep Mode conserves energy and saves you money in more ways than one. The built-in sleep mode consumes only 1W of power, and the server can take on many of your PC’s responsibilities, enabling you to turn off your individual computers to further save energy and money.

Software Features

  • Operating System: Powered by Windows Home Server, a new software solution from Microsoft for storing, accessing, sharing and automatically protecting digital files.
  • HP Control Center: The HP MediaSmart software that sits on top of the Windows Home Server software making access to tasks easier. Users with administrative access privileges can access the Windows Home Server Console from the HP Control Center.
  • Windows Home Server Console: Software accessed from the HP Control Center to manage your HP MediaSmart Server. Software includes setting up shared folders, assigning user access privileges and customizing backups.
  • File Sharing and Storage: Effortlessly centralize your files and access them from any PC and or Mac on your home network.
  • PC Hard Drive Disk Backup: Once the HP MediaSmart Server software is installed on a home PC, the Windows Home Server backup software automatically starts backing up the PCs hard disk drive image every night. You can customize the number and frequency of backups kept.
  • Mac Backup: Back up your Macs to the MediaSmart Server using Apple’s Time Machine software.
  • Shared Folder Duplication: Designate folders that will be copied automatically onto multiple hard drives for an additional layer of redundant protection. Folder duplication replaces traditional RAID-style redundancy.
  • Individual File Restore: If you accidentally delete a file on your PC, you can browse versions of the PC hard drive backup image on the HP MediaSmart Server to find the file and copy it to your PC.
  • PC Hard Drive Disk Restore: In the event of a PC hard drive failure, the included HP PC Restore disc is all you need to restore a hard drive image from the HP MediaSmart Server. Theres no need to locate your original operating system disc.
  • HP Media Collector: Conveniently schedules the server to copy and centralize your Windows PC media files and libraries (including iTunes and playlists).
  • Remote Access: Upon installation, you can set up a personal web address to be used for remote access and by visitors. Using your personal web address, you can remotely access shared folders and files on the HP MediaSmart Server from any Internet-connected computer.
  • In-Home and Remote Media Streaming: Extend your digital media experiences by conveniently streaming photos, music and videos to your TVs, through gaming consoles such as Xbox 360 or PlayStation3, and computer’s within your home. Remotely stream music and photos from your server to any Internet-connected computer for access while you are away.
  • HP Photo Publisher: Easily publish your photos to Snapfish, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa Web Albums using an Internet-connected computer.
  • HP Photo Viewer: Quickly share photos and albums stored on the Server with friends and family.
  • Server for iTunes: Centralize your iTunes music libraries and playlists on the server for playback to any PC or Mac running iTunes on your home network.

    Satisfy all your backup and media storage needs with four internal hard drive bays, four USB 2.0 ports, one eSATA port, and access to Amazon S3 online backup.

  • Easy Storage Expansion: Add an internal or external hard drive to the HP MediaSmart Server, indicate that you want to add the disk in the Windows Home Server Console, and the HP MediaSmart Server storage grows. No need to power down the unit or manage drive letters for multiple hard drives.
  • Server Anti-Virus Protection: Server side anti-virus trial offer from McAfee for increased protection of your HP MediaSmart Server. Run quick scans of specific folders or deep scans across your entire home server.
  • Server Backup: Protect your digital memories from fire/flood/natural disaster… backup your server shared folders to an external hard disk drive, and/or an online backup to Amazon S3.
  • Server Recovery: The included Server Recovery Disc can be used to recover all data and restore folders or, to reset the server in case the server operating system disk becomes corrupt.
  • Additional Software Add-Ins: Extend the functionality of your server through available software add-ins to enable expanded functionality, server personalization and/or entertainment.
  • Users: Up to 10 user accounts can access the HP MediaSmart Server. In addition, a predefined Guest account can be enabled.

PC Operating System Support

  • Automatic backup of computers running Microsoft Windows Vista (32 & 64 bit), XP Home (SP2), XP Professional (SP2), Media Center Edition 2004 (SP2) or later, and Macs running ApplesTime Machine.
  • File sharing for computers running Microsoft Windows Vista (32 & 64 bit), XP Home (SP2) or XP Professional (SP2), Media Center Edition 2004 (SP2) or later, Mac OS X, or Linux.
  • Remote access to computers running Microsoft Windows XP Professional (SP2), Media Center Edition 2005 (SP2), or Vista Ultimate.

Hardware Specifications

  • Internal Hard Drive(s): One 750 GB drive (SATA, 7200 RPM)
  • Internal Expansion: Four hard drive bays (additional off the shelf SATA I or II hard drives can be added; no tools required)
  • External Expansion: Four USB 2.0 ports (1 front, 3 back); one eSATA port (back)
  • Processor: Intel Celeron 2.0 GHZ 64-bit Processor
  • Memory: 2 GB of DDR2 DRAM (800 MHz)
  • Network Support: 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) RJ45 Ethernet; supports both wired and wireless PCs (via a wireless router).
  • Power: Internal universal power supply
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 9.8 x 9.2 inches (WxHxD)

What’s in the Box
HP EX485 MediaSmart Home Server, power cable, Ethernet cable (RJ45), PC restore disc, server recovery disc, software installation disc, printed documentation. The MediaSmart Server is backed by a one-year limited warranty and dedicated software technical support both online and by phone.

Product Description
The HP MediaSmart Server is a home server that can automatically backup and protect your digital memories, centralize your media and content for sharing with friends and family, and enable you to enjoy your digital media while at home or away.

January 7, 2009

9to5mac.com/toys is running down the Macworld Hardware and software releases today.  Some standouts:

Toast 10 was released at Macworld.  You can get it at the Roxio Store for $79 (after $20 mail in rebate).  Or Amazon has it for $85 with no rebate hassles.

  • Roxio Toast 10 Titanium is the easiest and fastest way to burn your music, video, photo and data files on to CD, DVD or Blu-ray Disc for both Mac and PC
  • Locate, convert and burn your favorite shows, music and data to CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs, or sync to your iPhone, iPod and other mobile devices
  • Save and convert video from many popular video sharing websites
  • Automatically capture and tag streaming audio from the Internet right into your iTunes library
  • Roxio Toast 10 Titanium is the essential complement to MacOS X and iLife for disc burning and much more

Picassa for Mac and Skype 2.8Beta are, of course, free.  We are waiting (OMG don’t deny us APPLE!) for Slingplayer on iPhone

On the hardware front, get a MacBook Air from Apple for $999.

Also, OWC Offers the Newer Technologies new Voyager Q (for quad interface) eSATA, /Firewire400-800/USB SATA Hard Drive Adapter (picture below).  If you only need a USB model, Amazon has the Thermaltake for $32 (60% off).

Need a 1.5TB SATA HArd Drive to go in there?  Amazon offers a Seagate for 140 plus $8 shipping.  Or get them both for $172 (see combination deals).  Not too shabby.

January 6, 2009

Frankly we like to see a little more hardware at events but the 17 inch MacBook was pretty close to our description last week.  The $50 matte version should make people both happy and sad – as wil lthe internal long life battery.  We’d be lying if we said we didn’t want one…with 8Gb (will we be able to up our smaller MacBooks to 8Gb)?   No Mini or iMac however was rough.  We have a feeling they are coming.

iLife and iWork are both looking pretty exciting.   iWork.com is pretty close to what we envisaged.  There were lots of gray areas where we missed some stuff but we think we got the major gist of it across.  GarageBand learn-to-play is exactly what we had heard.  And the Magic hint?  Cool transitions in iWork.  They are Fun!

iTunes.  The end of the DRM era.  Now we don’t have to visit Amazon (but probably will continue for the dealz).  Amazon still beats Apple on price but iTunes is more convenient.

Apple Stock isn’t really reacting (update – whoops – it is tanking).

Overall however, we were left….wanting…although the Macrumorslive (best feed out there)  getting hacked was entertaining.  And obviously we have an Apple Mac hardware event coming up.

We’ll put up Apple’s videos as they become available.  What did you think?



December 25, 2008

Don’t let the news of Steve Jobs passing on Macworld let you down this holiday season.  Apple is doing really well.  A few news items combine to spell out a very successful holiday quarter.  First of all, portables are outnumbering desktops globally for the first time in history (iSuppli).  This is nothing new for Apple who has been seeing this for over a year in their Mac line.   Apple’s strength is in laptops.

The interesting thing in the overall PC industry is that low margin netbooks have taken most of the desktop marketshare which has resulted in the aforementioned marketshare gain in laptops.  Apple, as you are probably acutely aware doesn’t make netbooks and starts their laptop pricing at $1000.  Add to this the news that Apple sells 7 of the top 25 laptops on the Amazon best seller list.  Amazon, as the top global retailer in electronics, is a bellwether for the industry.   The top laptops (according to Apple 2.0):

Yep, except for a $600 Toshiba, every PC is a netbook and averages UNDER $400/ea with razor thin margins.  Conversely, the average MacBook is three times that price and a healthy margin for Apple.

Laptops are now the biggest part of the PC world (according to iSuppli), but desktops are still a force to be reckoned with.  Don’t worry.  Apple is also cleaning up in this department, selling 4 of the top 5 desktops on Amazon

And what about iPods?  iPod numbers were supposed to be flat this year?  Perhaps, but higher priced iPod touches are the top 2 items on Amazon and 3 of the top 6.  Only one 120Gb Zune stops Apple’s lineup from owning the whole top 10 list in this category.  iPod touches are great news for Apple in other ways because they sell videos, music and apps down the line from itunes.  They also increase Apple’s market share in web browsing.

Oh, and that other product line?  The iPhone?  Yeah, it isn’t doing too bad either.

December 12, 2008

OK, here’s the deal of the week (year?) from 9to5mac.com/toysPolk Audio’s Sound bar is $600 off at Amazon for like the next 20 minutes or something.  We’ve had our eye on this for awhile and were considering paying the $1000 normal price.  Nope, $399  Merry Christmas!  (only in Titanium, black is still $1000 for some reason – take that Black Macbook!) (Thanks Marty!!)

From the Manufacturer:



SurroundBar® Series

Five Channels. One Speaker. Zero Clutter.

Select a model below:

The SurroundBar 360º DVD Theater is the best performing single-speaker surround sound theater system on the market.

Based on our highly acclaimed original SurroundBar, the SurroundBar 360° DVD Theater adds all the electronics needed along with patented* SDA® Surround Digital Technology, to deliver sensational surround sound.

SurroundBar 50 is the best performing passive all-in-one surround speaker requiring no rear speakers.

The new SurroundBar 50 is the larger version of SurroundBar featuring Polk’s exclusive SDA Surround Technology. SurroundBar 50 adds SDA Surround Technology to the front channels, plus cabinet porting and neodymium motor assemblies resulting in an even bigger, even more dynamic sound.

The original SurroundBar (42" Model) from Polk Audio is designed to complete your High Definition TV experience.

The SurroundBar the perfect match for flat-panel and shallow screen TVs, and fits seamlessly with 42" widescreen TVs. It works with virtually any surround sound receiver in any room to bring you the thrills of 5 channel surround sound from a single speaker.

Polk’s SDA® Surround Sound Technology

Here’s what sets SurroundBar speakers apart from the crowd: They do not depend on room acoustics or perfect placement to achieve the desired effect thanks to patented SDA Surround Technology.

SDA stands for Stereo Dimensional Array, a patented Polk Audio exclusive*. Matthew Polk describes SDA Surround Technology as "a mixture of acoustical engineering, psychoacoustic principles and a little magic." Read Matt Polk’s SDA Whitepaper for an even more in depth explanation on SDA Surround Technology.

Three models, thousands of uses.

There are three SurroundBar models to fit almost every application. Regardless of which SurroundBar you choose, be prepared to experience full-fledged 5-channel surround sound from one speaker. If you already have a receiver and DVD player, or have your heart set on one, there are two passive SurroundBar models to meet your needs. Both are available in either black or titanium. Just add a Digital Surround Receiver, a Subwoofer, your TV and you’re ready to go!

If you want an easy all-in-one integrated system, and don’t plan on using or don’t have an existing amplifier, SurroundBar 360º DVD Theater is an all-inclusive Home Theater system that includes a DVD player, AM/FM tuner with integrated amplifier, and universal remote control.

The SurroundBar 360° DVD Theater includes an amplifier and built-in DVD player with HDMI output for 1080p resolution to your high-definition TV.

Stunning Simplicity

Installation versatility is designed in. You can wall mount the SurroundBar right below your flat-panel TV. Or use the included cradle on a TV stand, a shelf or for set-top placement. You will experience all the thrills of surround sound…with none of the hassles of running rear speakers.

Look Ma, no rear wires!

Don’t hassle with running rear speaker wire all over the place, with the SurroundBar you don’t need rear speakers so there are no ugly wires lining your floors and walls.






Complete Your Home Theater with One Speaker

The Polk Audio SurroundBar is designed to complete your High Definition TV experience. It’s the perfect match for flat-panel and shallow screen TVs. And it works with any surround sound receiver in any room to bring you the thrills of 5 channel surround sound from a single speaker. The SurroundBar’s unobtrusive design and color-coded hookup configuration make it a welcome addition for anyone who wants the thrilling benefits of 5.1 surround sound and none of the hassles.

Patented SDA Surround Technology Delivers a Full Room of Sound

Get professional surround-sound from a single speaker bar, regardless of your room’s layout

Our patented SDA Surround technology means there’s no need to install rear speakers. SDA Surround creates a completely immersive 5 channel surround experience, as if there were dozens of speakers all around you, all from a single, 43-inch long cabinet. No rear speakers are required. This technology is based on fundamental research into the way our ears process sound and perceive the direction of sounds.

The SurroundBar works in any room; SDA Surround is not dependent on your room’s walls to produce the surround effect. It uses a patented combination of signal processing and acoustical geometry that complements the spacing between your ears to produce surround sound without the need for rear mounted speakers or special room characteristics.

Some other single speaker surround solutions bounce sound off of walls and require symmetrical rooms and un-cluttered side and rear walls to create a surround effect. Since the SurroundBar works directly with the hearing mechanism and requires no special room characteristics, it can deliver a room-filling 5 channel surround experience in nearly any location.

SDA Surround technology relies on a mixture of acoustical engineering, psychoacoustic principles and a little magic. The original SDA technology, developed in the early 1980’s, was a two-channel technology intended to overcome a fundamental problem of stereo reproduction. SDA Surround utilizes the same basic principles but expands the technology to allow for reproduction of surround sound without the need for rear speakers. This technology requires no reflecting surfaces or special speaker placement and can be connected to any surround sound receiver. It will work well in almost any room of any size or shape and will deliver a surround sound experience for almost all listener locations. Because of the psychoacoustic principles on which the technology is based, SDA Surround achieves exceptional continuity side-to-side and front-to-back so that sounds closely follow the action suggested on screen. It also delivers consistent soundstage depth, even directly to the sides, a quality only achieved by the best conventional hard wired systems. This quality makes SDA Surround seem more like having dozens of speakers around you providing smoother and more immersive surround sound.

Innovative Design with Simple Installation

Seven 3 ½" Dynamic Balance Drivers and three ¾" Dynamic Balance Dome Tweeters deliver clear, natural midrange, high frequencies and lifelike imaging. An aluminum-extruded enclosure eliminates cabinet resonance. The anti-diffraction grille and bezel help create open, spacious imaging. And it’s magnetically shielded, of course, for safe placement on or near TVs.

Installation versatility is designed in. You can wall mount the SurroundBar right below your flat-panel TV. Or use the included cradle on a TV stand, a shelf or for set-top placement. The Polk Audio SurroundBar is a welcome addition for anyone who wants all the thrills of surround sound…but none of the hassles or clutter.

Technical Specifications

  • Driver Complement: 9 x 3.5" composite cones
  • Magnet Structure: Neodymium drivers
  • Tweeters: 3 x 3/4" silk dome
  • Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Recommended Amplification: 150 watts/channel
  • Frequency Response: 80 Hz – 23 KHz
  • Efficiency: 90 dB
  • Bass Technology: Dual front ports
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 51" x 4.5" x 5.1"
  • Weight: 15 lbs

    Product Description
    The Polk Audio SurroundBar 50 is 51" wide to offer an enveloping surround sound experience to anyone who wants better sound from their TV but does not want to install rear-mounted speakers. It delivers surround sound from a single, multi-driver loudspeaker located under or over the TV screen using SDA Surround technology. SDA Surround technology uses a patented combination of signal processing and acoustical geometry that complements the spacing between your ears to produce surround sound without the need for rear mounted speakers. It can deliver a room-filling surround experience in nearly any location in almost any type of room with no special room characteristics required. The SurroundBar 50 is sized to match the width of 50" Plasma and LCD TVs. In addition to using SDA Surround technology on the surround channels, the SurroundBar 50 adds SDA Surround image enhancing technology on the front Left & Right channels to further enhance the surround experience as well as produce a huge stereo sound field from a two-channel source. New drivers and crossover design along with a larger enclosure produce far better bass performance than the original SurroundBar. The aluminum enclosure houses nine mid/bass drivers with Neodymium magnets, three dome tweeters and a four-PC board crossover with over 60 components.



December 9, 2008

We’re seeing a strong growth in our 9to5mac.com/Toys section which means we are saving our readers some money on some exciting products from a number of vendors.  Here’s a collection of fun Apple related items from Amazon that you might have missed over the past few days.  These offers are still good:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000ZPOPIS&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000W9DO7U&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001CBKJGG&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0019HDAP0&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000NWVAFO&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0015DNIKU&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0016BCZWS&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0013FJBX8&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001D7REJ4&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001F9LY14&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Remember you can add/comments to Toys posts and steer your fellow reader in a better direction if need be.  If you have any good or bad experiences with these products, also, please feel free to comment.

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December 5, 2008

Erica Sadun over at Ars found a little tidbit of programming joy in the form of an undocumented way to push iPhone video to an external TV display.

Freeverse, makers of Moto Chaser (iTunes link), took this information and got their application working on the external display in a few hours.   This obviously opens up the possibility for more gaming opportunities although, for many, the Apple Composite AV Cable on the iPhone/iPod touch is cost prohibitive.

The hidden libraries, documented below:




December 3, 2008

Reports around the Internet say that Amazon and others are having problems keeping up with demand on iPods.  A quick check around refutes this claim to a degree, as Amazon has all models in stock and ready to ship – tho sometimes they are from affiliates.  There are a few outages here and there but overall, they appear to be in good supply.  But, just in case, if you have holiday iPod aspirations, you may want to pick up something now.  

Oh, we’d like to take this opportunity to show you how cheap our Amazon affiliates sell iPods  (maybe they will run out!):

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001FA1NZU&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifrApple iPod touch 32 GB Best Price $378.99
Apple iPod touch 16 GB Best Price $284.99
Apple iPod touch 8 GB   Best Price $200.00
Apple iPod classic 120 GB Best Price $190.00
Apple iPod nano 8 GB  Best Price $134.95

Best Buy? Ships in a day  Update: some nanos are out of stock

Target? 24 hours with a few nanos waiting

In related news, did Shaw Wu leave American Technology Research? Snap!


Papa needs a new pair of shoes!



November 25, 2008

Plex.app hits .71 release this week and continues its ascent to the top of the Apple media center world.  Sure, Frontrow is blessed by Apple.  Boxee has lifted the same XBMC code and gone a different direction.  But, as far as fully funtioning Media Centers go, Plex.app is easily the best, and getting better fast.

This latest update adds support for Aperture library browsing (iPhoto and iTunes has been supported for months).  Not just your Aperture either…but any Aperture out there on the Internet so long as everyone is using Plex.  Support for Adobe’s Lightroom is also on the way.

Recent features include the ability to open any application from Plex’s interface (including FrontRow), iTunes visualizers and playback of DRM tracks from the iTunes store and Sparkle software updates.


Plex Media server, another recent update,  is a standalone program that runs alongside Plex (or alone on any machine, it’s a Universal Binary). It serves up media from your iLife applications and Aperature/Lightroom. Plex communicates with the Plex Media Server on the local machine, on your local network, or even across the world over the Internet. This means that you can play your friends’ iTunes playlists or browse their podcasts or photo albums.

The list really goes on and on.  Plex is everything you’d want in a media center including the ability to browse folders on any system and play just about any type of audio or video file.  Plex isn’t bound by any of the studio deals or format wars Apple software is limited to.

The release can be downloaded via Sparkle (updates), HTTP, or torrent, or built from source.




November 11, 2008

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac

You wouldn’t know it from looking out on the net today, but Parallels has introduced version 4.0 of their already solid software. Updates include speed and security and the ability to run OSX Leopard Server virtualized.

Yep, we have an affiliate link too (no rebate hassles!)—>

Or get $20 off at Amazon ($59.99 after rebate)

Video tour from Parallels

RENTON, Wash. – (Business Wire) Parallels today announced the availability of version 4.0 of Parallels Desktop for Mac, its market-leading product that currently enables more than 1.5 million users to run Windows, Linux and other operating systems side-by-side with Mac OS X. This new version of the award-winning Parallels Desktop for Mac improves OS integration, performs up to 50% faster and incorporates a range of security, backup and power saving features to give Mac users a truly easy, fast and powerful desktop computing solution.

  "We run a high volume of Macs and it’s absolutely vital that they deliver on fast performance and ease of use. Parallels has met this need well with features like Coherence and SmartSelect in creating a seamless Windows-on-Mac experience," said John Hermes, Chief Technology Officer at Oklahoma Christian University. "Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac builds on this, providing blazing speed and all-round performance through innovations such as the Adaptive Hypervisor, which gives our users the resources they need on the fly; and advanced graphics support, which provides a very smooth experience."

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac introduces support for DirectX 9, DirectX Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2.0, providing fast video performance, while the Adaptive Hypervisor dynamically allocates resources to meet user needs. The responsiveness to all applications is further enhanced as the virtualization engine has been optimized to consume 15-30% less resources than previous versions.

Parallels is committed to continuing the innovation that has resulted in Parallels Desktop for Mac winning more than 30 major awards and being a premier Windows-on-Mac virtualization product, said Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Parallels. With version 4.0, we are delivering an advanced solution that is easy, fast and powerful with industry-leading tools and utilities included at no extra cost.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac addresses two other primary user concerns: security and backup. The software offers users peace of mind through Parallels Internet Security powered by Kaspersky for anti-virus, firewall, scanner, recovery, filtering and identity protection as well as Acronis True Image Home backup and restore and Acronis Disk Director Suite. These three additions to Parallels Desktop represent $175 in extra value along with a more complete user experience.

"Mac OS X is the world’s most advanced operating system and its ability to run Windows on a Mac is yet another reason users are switching to the Mac at a rapid rate," said Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "This rapid adoption is supported by applications like Parallels Desktop for Mac, which enables users to get the most from their hardware."

Parallels Desktop 4.0 offers a computing experience that is:

  • Easy  Get easy access to all your applications and data while enjoying the full Mac experience with Improved Windows and Mac integration, True Drag & Drop and Copy & Paste, SmartX Technologies and Built-in Installation and Migration Tools.
  • Fast  Experience the fastest speed for all applications with Adaptive Hypervisor, FastLane Architecture, up to 8 way SMP and 8 GB RAM plus 64-bit support for each VM, HyperBus and support for DirectX 9.0, DirectX Pixel Shader 2.0, and OpenGL 2.0.
  • Powerful  Get a complete suite of essentials for Internet security, data protection and disk management with Parallels Internet Security powered by Kaspersky, Acronis True Image Home backup and restore, SmartGuard, PowerSaver, Full-hardware ACPI support and Acronis Disk Director Suite disk management.
  • Developer and Enterprise Ready  Additional features specifically for Developers and IT administrators include Mac OS X Leopard Server and Windows Server OS support, VM Directory, CLI and Scripting support, SDK and API, remote control from iPhone, PXE Boot, improved networking and VM Templates.

With more than 50 new features, additional highlights include a redesigned user interface with quick access to all VMs, additional Screenview modes, Clips for screenshots, Speech Recognition, Security Manager, Safe Mode, Shut Down Mode and Over 45 Supported Guest OSs.

The growth, in both performance and ease of use, of desktop virtualization software is making it easier for Windows users to adopt Macintosh computers. The availability of this technology is one of many factors driving growth in the adoption of Mac desktops and notebooks, for which shipments have grown 46.6% between the first half of 2007 and the first half of 2008, according to our data, said Michael Rose, Industry Analyst at the research firm, IDC. Those users leveraging virtualization software on their Macintosh hardware will find that many of the new capabilities in Parallels Desktop 4.0 represent another step forward."

Availability and Pricing

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac is available in English and localized versions will soon be available in Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Polish and Russian.

The standard retail price (SRP) of Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac is $79.99. New users can test a free, fully-functional copy for 15 days. Current Parallels Desktop users can upgrade their existing software for only $39.99 a 50% off promotional price available until November 30, 2008. Users that purchased version 3.0 on or after September 1, 2008, qualify for a free upgrade to version 4.0.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac is available at Amazon.com, Apple Store, Best Buy, Frys Electronics, MicroCenter, Office Depot, Staples and hundreds of other retailers nationwide.

Volume pricing and site-license opportunities are also available for new customers by contacting the Parallels Sales Team at sales@parallels.com or 425-282-6400.

In-depth information on Parallels Desktop 4.0s new features and major improvements, as well as videos and screenshots of key features in action, are available at www.parallels.com/products/desktop.

About Parallels Optimized Computing

Parallels is a worldwide leader in virtualization and automation software that optimizes computing for consumers, businesses, and service providers across all major hardware, operating systems, and virtualization platforms. Founded in 1999, Parallels is a fast-growing company with 800 employees in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.parallels.com.


Jenny Ellis, +1 425-306-4633
Director of Worldwide Communications
For local PR contacts:

November 7, 2008

November 2, 2008


November 1, 2008

It was love at first sight with Drobo.  The smart hard drive enclosure was the (albeit more expensive than we had hoped) answer to our questions of "Why doesn’t someone make a smart NAS with good expandability and let me worry about getting the drives.  Make it have easy to configure setup and expandable while you are at it?"

Drobo has been getting a little better and better for the past year.  First a Firewire 800 version, then Droboshare, a stand alone Drobo NAS maker (Can control two Drobos).  Now Drobo has gone and become a platform with Drobo Apps.

Drobo is based on Linux and the developers have opened the platform for the development of little bits of functionality done by 3rd party programmers.  Currently there are about 30 apps.  Favorites include:

The Drobo development SDK is available in case you have the next great NAS idea.

Slightly annoying but also slightly instructional video here.





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