Add a portable Blu-ray player to your Mac (including playback software) for less than a SuperDrive

tl;dr: Buy a $40 Portable USB Blu-ray/DVD-R drive and $30 Blu-ray player MacGo for $10 less than an Apple SuperDrive and you get to watch/rip Blu-ray movies as a bonus.

bluray_player_system

With Apple having eliminated optical media from just about every product it makes, including the redesigned iMacs, Mac Minis, and Retina MacBook Pros, many readers will be considering whether they need to procure a separate external DVD reader for emergencies. Some folks store archives, have software installers, backups, or have vast movie collection on DVD – and then there is Blu-ray…

Apple’s remedy is the DVD SuperDrive that costs $79 (well, $70/$50 used if you know where to shop). The SuperDrive is an Apple-quality product and can be used as a boot drive for many Macs that need to be upgraded or repaired via DVD.

But perhaps we can get a little more for our $80?

Steve Jobs viewed Blu-ray as a “bag of hurt” from the “mafia,” and Apple would frankly rather you stick to the iTunes ecosystem for video watching. But there are many nice Blu-ray titles out there, and iTunes’ compressed 1080p content still doesn’t come close the video and sound quality of Blu-ray. So, for those thinking of dropping $80 on a SuperDrive, we think we have a better option:

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Modbook Pro: Pen-based OS X tablet returns as a converted 13-inch MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion

Almost three years before Apple launched the original iPad in 2010, a company by the name of Axiotron unveiled the first “Mac tablet” with the launch of the Modbook—a stylus-based tablet running OS X that is made from a converted MacBook Pro. Today, the Modbook is officially returning thanks to one of its original developers and designers. Former co-founder of the now-defunct Axiotron, Andreas Haas, and his new company LA-based Modbook Inc., today announced the new Modbook Pro- “the world’s most powerful and largest-screen tablet computer.”

Like past generations of the Modbook, the Modbook Pro uses the guts of one of Apple’s new MacBook Pros. The company will offer two configurations, both with a 13.3-inch, 1,280-by-800 flush-mounted display, based off the specs for the recently refreshed non-Retina MBPs running Mountain Lion:

The Modbook Pro’s configurable base system includes a 2.5GHz dual core Intel® Core™ i5 processor or 2.9GHz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, a 2.5–inch SATA drive (up to 1TB HDD or up to 960GB SSD), an 8X SuperDrive® DVD burner, an Intel HD Graphics 4000 chipset, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connectivity capability

The company is promising seven hours on a full charge from a built-in 63.5-watt-hour lithium-polymer battery (Modbook will also utilize a 60W MagSafe adapter). As for the digitizer and included stylus, Modbook will once again use Wacom tech:

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5.3

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Along with today’s Education updates, Apple released a new version of iTunes today to allow the syncing of interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad and to presumably add new features for the “iBooks 2.0″ app and the updated iTunes U program.  On my install, the 107MB download took an additional 257MB of storage space.  Get downloading folks.

What’s new in iTunes 10.5.3

iTunes 10.5.3 allows you to sync interactive iBooks textbooks to your iPad. These multi-touch textbooks are available for purchase from the iTunes Store on your Mac or from the iBookstore included with iBooks 2 on your iPad.

iBooks textbooks are created with “iBooks Author” — now available as a free download on the Mac App Store

For information on the security content of this update, please visit: support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

iTunes 10.5.3 requirements… Read more

Upgrade your MacBook Pro, iMac to 8GB of RAM for $45

From 9to5toys.com:

Amazon offers the Corsair 8GB (2x4GB) PC3-10666 DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM 204-Pin Dual Channel Notebook Memory Kit, model no. CMSO8GX3M2A1333C9, for $54.99.99 with free shipping. The $10 mail-in rebate cuts it to $44.99.

The 8GB (2 X 4GB) DDR3 Laptop Memory Kit  is 1333MHz Unbuffered CL 9 SODIMM Memory 9-9-9-24 1.5V which matches recent iMac and MacBook Pro Specs.  Commenters at Amazon concur.

Got a 2009-2010 model?  Even better, save an additional $5

Apple charges 4X that for an 8GB upgrade:

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