July 28, 2009

Supply of flash memory as used in iPhones, some iPods and some Macs seems under legal threat under a new lawsuit bought by the US subsidiary of UK-based patent licensing company BTG International.

The company has filed suit in the patent holder friendly US District Court of Texas accusing Apple, Dell, and Sony of infringing five of its patents related to flash memory technology by using chips from Samsung Electronics.

The patents relate to electronically alterable non-volatile memory cell chips used in consumer electronics products. The company is seeking treble damages and a permanent injunction preventing imports of devices using these chips, including a ban on the import of iPhones and the BlackBerry Storm.

Also targeted are computers by Asustek Computer, Dell and Lenovo Group, and flash-memory cards by PNY Technologies and Transcend Information.

Allegedly infringing products include the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air, Dell D630 Laptop, ThinkPad Laptop, Cyber-Shot digital cameras and various flash memory sticks and cards.

BTG doesn’t make products itself, simply making its money through licensing of technology patents it owns. It filed a first patent-infringement complaint against Samsung in federal court in Marshall, Texas, in December.

July 27, 2009

I was reviewing a (really solid) 500GB Seagate drive today and it occured to me that 500GB had been the max you could plop in a laptop for  about a year.  Hard drive storage usually moves faster than that…3.5-inch drives have doubled in capacity over the past year to 2Tb and have had time to come down to a reasonable $230.

Well, wouldn’t you know it?  Today, Western Digitial announced that the new Scorpio Blue laptop drives now come in two more gigantic flavors; 1TB and 750GB.  There is a huge caveat here, however.  These drives are 12.5 mm thick.  That’s 3mm too big for all current model MacBook/Pros according to TUAW.  However, the late model 17-inch MacBook Pro can take the thick WD 1TB drive.  There is some question as to if the Unibody MacBooks with the battery door can take the new drives.

Still want 1TB in your MacBook?  Never fear.  Just get yourself an Optibay, make your Superdrive an external USB reader, and plop down for two cheap 500GB laptop drives.  Or you could wait a few months until Seagate releases their 9.5mm 1TB Momentus drives which run at 7200RPM.


Press release follows:

WD today announced two new mobile hard drives that reach new capacity extremes. The highlight is a one terabyte model — the industry’s highest-capacity 2.5-inch drive available. Industry-leading 333 GB-per-platter technology enables the new WD Scorpio(R) Blue(TM) SATA 2.5-inch hard drives to offer mobile storage device and notebook users an enormous 1 TB capacity. A 750 GB WD Scorpio Blue model also will be available.

The WD Scorpio Blue 750 GB and 1 TB hard drives have a 12.5 mm form factor(1) and are ideally suited for use in portable storage solutions, such as the newly released My Passport(TM) Essential(TM) SE Portable USB Drives. Other applications include select notebooks and small form factor desktop PCs, where quiet and cool operation are important. Both WD Scorpio Blue drives deliver high-performance with a 3 gigabits per second (Gb/s) transfer rate.

“The convergence of the growing mobile computing and digital media trends produces demand for desktop-like capacities in portable devices,” said Jim Morris, senior vice president and general manager of client systems at WD. “Our new WD Scorpio Blue drives enable people to take even more of their digital collections with them wherever they go and, realizing the value of their data, back up their notebooks on their My Passport drives.”

WD Scorpio Blue hard drives offer high-performance, low power consumption and cool operation in portable applications. They are designed with WD features to be reliable and shock resistant while also delivering industry-leading capacity and performance.

WD Scorpio Blue Features

WhisperDrive(TM) – WD’s exclusive WhisperDrive technology combines state-of-the-art seeking algorithms to produce one of the quietest 2.5-inch drives available.


ShockGuard(TM) – Leading-edge ShockGuard technology combines firmware and hardware advancements to meet the highest combined shock tolerance specifications required for mobile and notebook applications.

SecurePark(TM) – Parks the recording heads off the disk surface during spin up, spin down and when the drive is off. This ensures the recording head never touches the disk surface, resulting in improved long-term reliability due to less head wear and improved shock tolerance.

Price and Availability

WD Scorpio Blue 750 GB drives (model WD7500KEVT) are available now through select distributors and resellers; the 1 TB capacity (model WD10TEVT) is available now configured into My Passport Essential SE USB drives. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the WD Scorpio Blue 1 TB drive is $249.99 USD and for the 750 GB version it is $189.99 USD. WD Scorpio Blue hard drives are covered by a three-year limited warranty. More information about WD Scorpio Blue mobile hard drives may be found on the company’s Web site at http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=685.


Here’s one that might take a bit of crowd-sourced sleuthing from the community to solve:

Atheros, a maker of tiny, low cost Wifi modules for Netbooks and MIDs (amongst other things) has product called the AR9281 (PDF Link).

The product lives in a variety of higher-end netbooks like the EeePC 1000HE.  "Higher-end" because the Atheros card supports 802.11N.  These machines are often used to make Hackintoshes (guilty!) because they are the fastest inexpensive netbook you can buy.  However, to get the Wifi working properly, you’ve needed to swap out the Atheros Wifi PCIe card and replace it with a $10 card from Dell or others because there are no Apple-Atheros drivers.

Apple doesn’t make any hardware with Atheros equipment (yet).

Recently, news has popped up that Snow Leopard includes the KEXTs for this card (unverified atm).

Interestingly, the PDF from above now lists Apple as one of the platforms it supports

This is where it get’s interesting….

A netbook user, citing Atheros’ claim of Macintosh compatibility, wrote in to the company to see why he couldn’t download the drivers from the site.  The response he got was:

Re: AR9281 driver support
From: Atheros Information <info@atheros.com>
To: d00c4@***.com
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 12:00 am
Sorry for the confusion. We are under legal agreement with Apple not to provide the requested drivers to anyone. For issues regarding driver support or customer service related to your wireless card, please contact Apple. We suggest you refer to the Apple’s website, as they typically offer online technical support pages where software drivers, updates, and other related information can be obtained.

Thank you for your understanding.
Atheros Communications, Inc.

On Wed, 11 Feb 2009 12:10:50 -0500
<d00c4@***.com> wrote:
> Thank you for fast response, but I couldn’t find drivers >for OS X (and drivers for 9281 at all) on that page.
> D.K.
> > —–Original Message—–
>From: Atheros Information <info@atheros.com>
> To: d00c4@***.com
> Sent: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 1:50 am
> Subject: Re: AR9281 driver support
> > Please refer to our website’s Chip Driver Downloads.
> >
> > Thank you for purchasing an Atheros-enabled product.
> ATHEROS Communications, Inc.
> > > > > On Mon, 9 Feb 2009 17:21:48 -0500
> <d00c4@***.com> wrote:
>> Recently I bought AR9281 wireless card for my Mac. But,
>>I can’t find
>> any driver for your AR9281 chip (altough there’s
>>document that says there’s a driver support for Macs:
>>Can you help me somehow, or I’ll need to replace wifi
>>card (again)?
>> Thanks.
> > >

The question has to be asked: Why is Apple forbidding these drivers to get out?

The boring answer would be that it is trying to protect its software from Hackintosh makers.  However, it isn’t illegal to build drivers for the Mac Platform and as a company that doesn’t (currently) do business with Apple, Atheros wouldn’t necessarily have legal agreements.  What if you wanted to use this chip to replace a faulty Wifi card in an old MacBook?  Does Apple really not want you to have these drivers for that purpose?  Blocking software drivers from being released would be a new step that we’re not sure Apple has taken before.

Then other scenarios come up.  Is Apple releasing some sort of device with this hardware in the near future…a device that will run Snow Leopard (hence the purported included kexts)?

Or even more insane scenarios: Is Apple going nuclear by releasing Snow Leopard to run on Non-Apple hardware one month ahead of Windows 7?

Who wants to debunk our outlandish assumptions?



Management practices at Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn, remain in the spotlight as yet more news reports emerge explaining the tragic death of 25-year old engineer, Sun Danyong.

The latest batch of reports claim the hapless engineer’s family have now received compensation of c.$44,000 for the death of their son, while his girlfriend was given an Apple MacBook.

Sun was responsible for shipping prototypes from Foxconn’s development labs to Apple, and his problems really began when he discovered one of the 16 prototypes he was handling had disappeared.

He reported this, but later complained to friends he had been beaten and humiliated by Foxconn security, even warning his girlfriend to leave town and not make contact with him, according to a text message she later posted online.

Then, on the morning of July 16, Sun appears to have jumped from the 12th floor of an apartment building to his death, which Foxconn called suicide.

Apple said of the loss of the young engineer, “We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death. We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

Sun’s fall has led to a wave of criticism of Foxconn’s treatment of its labour force, which was first examined in a report in the Daily Mail several years ago.

Labor rights groups say the worker’s death should compel Apple to improve conditions at its supplier factories in China and prevent worker abuse.

New York-based pressure group, China Labor Watch, blamed the death on, “Foxconn’s inhumane and militant management system, which lacks fundamental respect for human rights.”

Foxconn counters that it offers extensive accomodation and facilities for its staff and has been engaged in honestly seeking answers as to what happened to the missing proto-iPhone. Foxconn manager, James Lee also observed products had gone missing while in Sun’s possession in the past.

Meanwhile the security officer accused of mistreating Sun (who has since been reported to the Chinese police for investigation) once again denied any beatings, saying only he had “become a little angry” and grabbed Sun’s shoulder.

However, the hand of Foxconn’s control is illustrated by a report in the New York Times, which says one its journalists was speaking to Sun’s family when a security guard and two men in Foxconn T-shirts approached the journalist’s translator to threaten to beat them up if they kept asking questions. Foxconn says this guard was not on their staff, but could have been a police operative.

July 25, 2009

Fresh from announcing its worst financial results yet, Microsoft’s attempt to regain relevance continues, and now more light’s been shed on its plan to launch a chain of “me too” stores to compete with Apple’s highly successful retail stores.

Gizmodo has published a PowerPoint presentation said to emanate from design and brand consultancy, Lippicott. These seem to show just how closely Microsoft’s planned stores will emulate Apple’s own. You’ll have an “Answer Bar” – just like Apple’s ‘Genius Bar’ – for troubleshooting your Windows machine (oh just imagine how busy they’ll be there – will anyone want to work in that position?).

You’ll have those Microsoft Surface table top computers dotted around in-store, a digital media wall with big video screens, and dedicated product areas for Windows 7, Media Centre, netbooks and more. You can even pay to host a party in one of these stores….

Gizmodo warns these slides could be fake, but given Microsoft’s talent for imitation, they could well reflect the vision for the beleaguered company’s retail outlet plan.

Frank Shaw of Waggener Edstrom commented on Gizmodo’s story on behalf of Microsoft, saying that, “No final decisions have been made,” but some early design prototypes are indeed in circulation, with the first stores set to open in autumn.

Bear in mind the background: Microsoft’s sales fell another 17 per cent in the just gone quarter as profits slid an astonishing 29 per cent. Sales fell to $13.1 billion, a billion short of analyst expectations and the second quarter of decline. Will a chain of highly expensive retail shops truly be enough for Microsoft to regain relevancy?

As noted by MacDailyNews, recall a 2004 BusinessWeek interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who points out: “Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost ten years. That’s a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly. But after that, the product people aren’t the ones that drive the company forward anymore. It’s the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because what’s the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself?

"So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy… Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or they’re no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesn’t.”

Jobs then points out that the sales guy now runs Microsoft, Steve Ballmer.

Except Microsoft doesn’t seem to be selling like it used to, judging from its financial results. Meanwhile, Apple is preparing to upgrade its iPod range with huge online retailer Amazon now selling existing models of the media player at up to 13 per cent off normal price.

July 24, 2009

Purely speculation here:

As Gizmodo points out, the new final Cut Pro Studio allows direct burning to BluRay Disc.  Problem is, Apple doesn’t sell any Blu-Ray hardware…yet.  Steve Jobs famously called Blu-Ray "a bag of hurt" because of all of the licensing restrictions, etc. that went along with putting BluRay into Macs.

You could always, of course, buy a Blu-Ray external disk and use Roxio Toast Software($63-73)+BluRay Plugin to burn, export  and watch BluRay discs.  However, this is the first time Apple’s own software has referenced Blu-Ray (besides that iTunes/Gracenote mention that made everyone pee their pants a little).

Apple being Apple, they will likely offer a built-in hardware solution, if only in high end Pro machines during the next iteration.  Their industrial/pro customers don’t want to source third party hardware that isn’t supported under the same warranties that Apple provides.  That is unless "someone" thinks they are just too painful to see in Macs.


iPhone exclusivity will end – the only question is which network you want to run your Apple mobile on.

There’s big battle between mobile networks in the UK, and network coverage is key to this. It’s why so many people involved in running the UK’s many outdoor music festivals turn to Vodafone or Orange because both networks are thought to offer more effective coverage.

There’s nothing worse than SMS messages arriving 12 hours late, or dropped calls when you’re trying to get a band into Glastonbury festival. Just because it’s a festival doesn’t mean you’re not organised.

This is why AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson set tongues wagging last night when he revealed that “there will be a day when you are not exclusive with the iPhone.”

Stephenson was speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference following AT&T’s publication of its financial results this week.

It’s believed AT&T’s deal for iPhone exclusivity in the US is up for review next year. The CEO seems happy with the arrangement so far, saying AT&T’s deal with Apple is working "really, really well.” However, he does concede that network quality is the biggest reason people switch to different carriers. (Or jailbreak their phones).

iPhone exclusivity also means AT&T attracted 1.4 million new subscribers in its just gone quarter, and shifted 2.4 million iPhones – over a third to new customers. However, the company also concedes the subsidy required for the iPhone does impact overall profitability,but sees it as a trade-off for growing market share. In any case, iPhone users use and pay for more for data than those using any other smartphone.

That’s why Verizon is probably in talks with Apple to offer the (a CDMA version of) iPhone on its network. And it’s not just Verizon.

In the UK, The Guardian this morning informs that Vodafone is wooing Cupertino in an attempt to win the device for its network.

Andy Halford, chief financial officer of Vodafone said the network – which sells the device in 11 countries now – would be keen to offer it in more territories: "It’s a good product and we would love to have it in the portfolio in more countries," he said.

This follows weeks of speculation that Orange and T-Mobile also want in on the deal. T-Mobile even buys iPhones abroad in order to sell them to O2 defectors.

With a million iPhones sold in the UK at this point, and the need to be tied to O2 one of the biggest stumbling blocks for some potential iPhone users, it makes some sense for Apple to consider widening the addressable market in hitherto “exclusive” areas.

An iPhone could even become useful at big outdoor music festivals if the network it was on had better rural coverage, and you owned one of the truly impressive FreeLoader Solar Chargers, of course. (The Freeloader being the best portable solar charger we’ve looked at so far, BTW).

In any case, given the pending DOJ antitrust investigation into iPhone exclusivity, Apple may have to completely abandon the exclusive arrangements it reached when negotiating its initial agreements to launch the iPhone in various countries.

Just look at Canada to see the preparations being made by other carriers there….

July 23, 2009

So, there’s all these stories in the ether claiming the future iPod touch – perhaps even the iPod nano – will host cameras… video cameras capable of still photography, to be a little more accurate.

Now, we’re not ones to comment on rumour or speculation. Well, that may not be entirely true, but fortunately, Flip’s head of marketing, Simon Fleming-Wood, is prepared to put up some arguments.

Back in the olden days of just very recently, Fleming-Wood waxed sanguine at Apple’s iPod Flip threat. Speaking to a US newspaper, he poo-poohed the threat of a video camera equipped iPhone 3GS, saying these devices weren’t sufficiently focused on video.

Pondering the iPod touch video threat he came up with one of those classic statements so many Apple-watchers have seen smaller companies make before the computer company eats them. “For Apple to join this market and help make video ubiquitous like still photography, it’ll be great for everybody.”


Right. And lets add the capacity to export video directly to YouTube or Mobile Me or via email using the iPod touch’s built-in WiFI, built-in video editing features and the rest of Apple’s present advantage (Flip simply exports to a computer via USB), and we’re thinking it may be good for consumers, but a little tricky for Flip.

We’re not sounding any death knells though – Flip have built a great business and are increasingly popular. We humans are naturally pretty loyal, once converted. And there’s no doubt Flip have plans to compete, once all those pictures of iPod touch cases with camera holes actually have Apple devices to wrap themselves around.

But Apple has PA Semi. Final Cut Pro. iMovie. iPhoto. And billions of banked dollars ($31.1 billion at the end of the just-gone quarter).

Chris Chute of research firm IDC notes Flip may have to flop. "They’re (Apple) adding functionality to a media player, and the devices are sold at similar places," he points out.

So there we are then.  They were nice while they lasted.

Just a thought.

July 19, 2009


July 13, 2009

Macworld is reporting that the current NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 and GeForce GTX 285 drivers won’t work with the upcoming Mac OS 10.5.8 update.  You’ll need to update to the newest driver firmware before running the 10.5.8 update (which is apparently arriving soon!) or else you’ll get a kernel panic upon restart.

Both cards are made for Mac Pro systems. The GeForce GTX 285 is offered by Nvidia manufacturing partner EVGA. It was released in June. The drivers are available for download from EVGA’s Web site. The latest Quadro FX 4800 drivers are available from Nvidia. The Quadro FX 4800 is a workstation-level graphics card offered as an optional add-on from the Apple Store.

For your troubles, you will apparently see as much as a 20% improvement in gaming performance.



From the Toys Section:

Amazon offers the refurbished TomTom One for $47.98 after $20 rebate+free shipping.  That’s the lowest total price we’ve ever seen for this GPS (or anything like it). Features include a 3.5" touch-screen LCD, voice guidance, optional 3D viewing, auto-rerouting, USB connectivity, and more.  The lowest non-rebate price we can find is $58 at Tiger Direct.


Here’s our rationale on this one.  TomTom will be releasing a car kit for iPhone sometime between now and the end of time.  The thing is, this car kit has a GPS and Gyroscopes in it.  Since it is for Apple customers, TomTom will gouge the price, which will probably bring it in at a higher price than the stand alone TomTom you see above.  Also, having a stand alone GPS means it doesn’t bug out when you get a call or get Push Facebook notification. 

July 7, 2009

From the 9to5mac Toys section:


Amazon.com offers the Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.B 1TB Serial ATA 3Gb/s Internal Hard Drive, model no. 0A38016, for $70.67 with free shipping. That’s the lowest total price we could find by $8, although we saw it for $4 less back in June (since expired). It features a 16MB cache and runs at 7200 rpm.




Amazon.com offers the OEM Seagate 7200.12 1TB Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive, model no. ST31000528AS, for $79.51 with free shipping ($0.08/GB). That’s $10 under our May mention of this hard drive and the lowest total price we’ve seen. This drive features a 32MB cache, runs at 7200 rpm, and is made with 70% or more recycled materials.



Hammer MoreSpace 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

TigerDirect.com offers the Hammer Storage MoreSpace 1TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, model no. HU1100-1000, for $89.99 with $7.49 for shipping ($0.09/GB). That’s $9 under our March mention and the lowest total price we’ve seen. It features a 3.5" drive and weighs just over 2 lbs.



Patriot Duplicator 16GB Class 6 SDHC Card with Auto Backup

Amazon.com offers the Patriot Duplicator 16GB Class 6 SDHC Secure Digital High-Capacity Card with Auto Backup, model no. PD16GSDHC6, for $36.97 with free shipping. This $15 mail-in rebate chops it to $21.97 ($1.37/GB). That’s $23 off and the lowest total price we could find. It features auto-backup software (for Windows only) which requires no installation. Rebate expires July 31.

Of note, although this card can be used as an ordinary 16GB SDHC card in Mac operating systems (including the new SDHC-equipped MacBook Pros), the auto-backup software works only in Windows.  On Leopard, you can simply use the built-in Time Machine. After you set options, the software automatically backs up data you have specified.


June 28, 2009

From the Toys section:

Amazon offers this new Samsung 2233SW 1080P Display for $160 after $20 rebate + free shipping.  This lineup offers full high quality 1920×1080 Full HD resolution in a much smaller/lighter form factor.  The monitor and stand weigh less than 13 lbs.  It comes with a distinctive soft design with rich piano finish and features 5ms response time, up to 15,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and Samsung Magic technologies for rich, natural color.  Full specs from Samsung.


Samsungs details below:


Dynamic Contrast 15000:1

How can we make 15000:1 dynamic contrast ?
Monitor adjust its brightness and gamma of each frame and makes optimized contrast between frames
– Bright image : higher backlight with gamma control
– Dark image : lower backlight with gamma control

16.7 million colors

16.7 million colors

Maximum Colors. Be the recipient of clearer brighter imagery with the wide spectrum of colors offered by SAMSUNG monitors.



DVI delivers video images with very high resolution and essentially perfect quality You can enjoy digital contents with DVI interface (HDCP supported)

MagicSpeed (5ms)

MagicSpeed (5ms)

monitor supports fast response time to reduces blurring image.

MagicBright 3

MagicBright 3

MagicBright3 provides optimal combination setting for the various contents for User working environment. With mouse, users can control OSD easily.

Color Effect

Color Effect

* Enjoy the picture with your favor :
photographic effect
* Supports 4 color effect :
Grayscale, Green, Aqua, Sepia


June 26, 2009

In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, fans are lining up to listen to his music in record numbers.  In fact, the current iTunes Top 25 has songs from the Jackson’s songs 19 timesNine of the top 10 albums are also Michael’s.  No previous artist, living or dead, has achieved that level of popularity on the music service since it opened in 2003.  Oh, and he is 15 of the top 15 on Amazon.

Love him or hate him, he could sell albums.

June 17, 2009

From the Toys Section:

Who bought you your first Apple product?  For a lot of us it was dear ol’ dad.  This year, give the fathers in your life what they really want….some great new gadgets.  We’ll be updating this section as the week goes on but you can always check the latest toys here

The iPhone launch is so close to Father’s day, you’d think Apple was trying to tell us something.  Get dad an iPhone from Best buy for as low as $79 (don’t worry, he’s old enough to pay the monthly charges).  That price is for the refurbished 3G 8GB.  Best Buy will be selling the full range of iPhones including the new iPhone 3G S. Also, don’t forget a case.


iPhone in the car:

Amazon.com offers three Kensington iPhone and iPod car mounts for $14.99 each. This $10 mail-in rebate drops them to $4.99. With $5.58 for shipping, or free shipping on orders over $25, all are at least $5 less than the best total price we could find elsewhere. Rebate ends June 20. The deals, after rebate:


Unibody MacBook (with full speed SATA 2 connector!):

The Apple Store has stock of two factory-refurbished unibody MacBook notebooks in its Special Deals section. (Click on MacBook in the left sidebar to find them.) Each is at least $150 off and the lowest total price we’ve seen for these models. Each comes with a 1-year Apple warranty, the same as new Macs. Sales tax is added where applicable. Items are removed from Apple’s site when they sell out. The systems, each with free shipping:

Amazon Kindle
If your dad is a big reader, introduce him to the world of eBooks and eMagazines on the Kindle.  The newer 6 inch size is $359 while the bigger 10-inch display Kindle DX is $489.  Don’t forget the accessories like leather cover or travel package.


The Flip camcoder

Flip Video Ultra Series Camcorder is only $55 (wow!)

  • Simple to use, pocket-sized camcorder with one-touch recording and digital zoom
  • Holds 30 minutes of full VGA-quality video on 1GB of built-in memory; no tapes or additional memory cards required
  • Convenient USB arm plugs directly into your computer for easy viewing and sharing
  • Built-in software lets you easily e-mail videos, upload to YouTube and AOL, and capture still photos from video
  • Watch videos instantly on TV with included cable


Samsung LN40B630 40-Inch 1080p 120Hz Touch of Color HDTV ($400 off $999!)

  • 40-inch LCD HDTV with full HD 1080p resolution for the sharpest picture possible and red Touch of Color design
  • Auto Motion Plus 120Hz for amazingly fluid motion, 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 4ms response time, Wide Color Enhancer 3 for more vivid colors
  • InfoLink RSS feeds of news, weather and sports via Ethernet; ; side-mounted USB port for displaying JPEG/MPEG files and listening to MP3 audio
  • Inputs: 4 HDMI-CEC, 2 component, 2 composite, 1 PC, 2 USB, 1 Ethernet, 1 optical digital audio output
  • Includes removable stand; measures 39.2 x 27.8 x 10.3 inches with stand


Polk Audio Atrium 45 All-Weather Speakers (Pair, 57% off – – $104)

  • Pair of all weather speakers with mounting brackets
  • 4.5-inch long-throw polymer cone driver with butyl rubber suspension
  • Built-in bracket allows multiple mounting options and full 90-degree rotation
  • Handles up to 80 watts per channel
  • Gold plated 5-way binding post speaker-level inputs


Speakers from Cambridge SoundWorks:

As part of its its ongoing Fathers Day Sale, Cambridge SoundWorks continues to cut 25% off select speakers and multimedia systems via coupon "DAD25". That’s the best sale we’ve seen from this merchant since February. Shipping starts at $4.95, but is free on orders of $75 or more. Deal ends June 21. Some best bets, with prices after coupon:

MobileMe Family Pack for $80

Purplus offers Apple’s MobileMe Family Pack, model no. MB825Z-A, for $79.95 with free shipping. (Apple charges $149.) That’s $2 under our May mention and the lowest total price we’ve seen. This includes a single MobileMe subscription with four family member accounts. Each gets their own email address and iDisk with 5GB of online storage.




Father’s day is Sunday, you have 5 days left!


June 12, 2009

From the Toys section:

For those of you with MacBooks who want to make the leap to SSD, Kingston offers an incredibly affordable solution. The Kingston SSDNow V-Series 128GB Serial ATA Internal Solid State Disk (SSD) 2.5" Laptop Kit (pictured), model no. SNV125-S2BD/128GB is $226.99 with free shipping ($1.79/GB). That’s the lowest total price we could find by $15 and 64% off of list price.  64GB is $135.

Featuring no moving parts, a Solid State Drive (SSD) is designed to access data faster and last longer than typical hard drives.  They also typically use less power which allows for longer battery life.  The laptop kit comes with an external USB enclosure and cable for your old HDD.


Datasheet (from Kingston)

Adding an SSD to a desktop already using a standard hard disk drive is a smart and efficient way to upgrade. Transferring the operating system and applications from the HDD to the SSD allows the SSD to be used as a bootable drive that takes full advantage of the Flash-based technology. The SSD and the HDD then co-exist to drive optimal performance in the upgraded desktop

For notebooks, SSDNow drives are a perfect replacement for hard drives resulting in faster, more reliable performance. Making this change will improve a notebook’s efficiency in a wide range of tasks, from booting up to running the most robust operating system and demanding applications.

SSDNow uses a standard SATA interface but, unlike a regular HDD, SSD is very rugged and built with no moving parts, making it ideal for power users and road warriors who push the limits of their notebooks. Other benefits include reduced power usage, less noise and less heat generation.

Kingston’s SSDNow V Series offers performance gains and power consumption reductions at a fraction of the cost of a new system. For added peace of mind, they’re backed by 24/7 tech support, a three-warranty and legendary Kingston reliability.



    • Fast – up to 100MB/sec. read; 80MB/sec. write**
    • Performance – enhances productivity; makes users more efficient
    • Innovative – 2.5" form factor; uses NAND flash memory components.
    • Silent – Runs silent and cool with no moving mechanical parts
    • Reliable – less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
    • Shock Resistant – No moving mechanical parts so the SSD handles rougher conditions.
    • Supports S.M.A.R.T. – Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology tells the user when a drive is about to fail
    • Guaranteed – 3 year legendary Kingston warranty, 24/7 tech support


    • Capacity* – 64GB, 128GB
    • Storage Temperatures – -40° C to 85° C
    • Operating temperatures – 0° C to 70° C
    • Vibration Operating – 2.17 G (7–800Hz)
    • Vibration Non-Operation – 20 G (20–2000Hz)
    • Power Specs –128GB  Active: 2.5W (TYP)  Sleep: 0.45W (TYP)
      64GB   Active: 2.0W (TYP)  Sleep: 0.45W (TYP)
    • Life expectancy – 1 million hours mean time before failure

June 10, 2009

It probably isn’t a big surprise to many, but you can officially boot the new MacBook Pros from an SD card according to this KnowledgeBase Article (via Ars).  On older machines, you could boot from a USB external drive and it looks like that SD card dock is connected through the USB connector, so there aren’t too many tricks at play here. 

To create a boot disk, you’ll need to format the card to Mac OS Extended using Disk Utility.app which will make it mostly useless with PC’s and cameras.  It will also be many times slower than a standard hard drive or SSD for boot-ups.  However, this could be a great tool for diagnosing issues with hard drives and running diskutils.  Diskwarrier should come on SD…in a few years.

Interestingly, you could also use those little SD cards as backup drives.  If you just want a quick and easy Time Machine/automated CCC of your important docs, it is hard to imagine an easier solution.  With a 32GB card going for $70, or a 16GB card coming in around $30, it is a small investment to keep your files safe.

Oh, and those with older MacBook Pros with ExpressCard slots?  You can be part of the fun as well with an ExpressCard to SD card reader ($28) – which turns your ExpressCard slot into an SD Card reader.  Or eliminate the middleman and just get an ExpressCard SSD.


Those slackers at iFixit really know how get into a MacBook quick. Here’s their takeapart of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. Note that it is fairly simple to replace the hard drive and RAM.  Unscrew the bottom lid and you are presented with all of the good stuff right away.  The RAM slides out, while the hard drive is four more screws away. 

Speaking of which, here’s a 5400 RPM500GB Hitachi drive for $89.  Dayum.

Or a 7200 RPM 2.5 inch 500GB HD for $20 more.

Of all the price drops/feature updates announced at the WWDC keynote, the 13-inch laptop is seeing the biggest changes.  Many will say that this is the MacBook that should have been released last year. 

Complaints about lack of Firewire and screen issues have been addressed, along with other significant upgrades, listed below.  The result is quite a bargain for what is now, without a doubt, a Pro machine.

13-inch MacBook (Pro) comparison
Feature Old 13" MacBook Base Model New 13" MacBook Pro Base Model
Base Price $1299
(now $1079)

($1118.99 w/$50 rebate
$1154 no rebate)

Firewire? No Yes
Hard Drive (base/most) 160/320GB 160/500GB
SD Card Slot? No Yes
Battery 5 hours, removable 7 hours, built-in
Processor 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz Core 2 Duo
13 inch screen? lackluster "Best we’ve ever shipped in a laptop"
Built in backlight keyboard?  no  yes



June 8, 2009

From the Toys section for the new 3.0 iPhone software:

Amazon.com offers the Plantronics Voyager 855 Stereo Bluetooth Wireless Headset for $33.99 with free shipping. (You may have to click on "More Buying Choices" on the right).That’s the lowest total price we could find by $7. These sound-isolating Bluetooth headphones are designed to stream both music and voice from your new Bluetooth 2.0-enabled iPhone or iPod touch. 

Note: Stereo BT won’t work with orig iPhone


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