Looking Out from the Inside

Monday, February 6

Feb 22nd: Special Event

This happens every once in a while. Apple sends out invitations to a select group of tech writers to a special event where they ususally announce some new product. When they sent out invites for the ROKR/nano event the photo was of the coin pocket on a pair of jeans, and the quote "1000 songs in your pocket changed everything. Here we go again." When they sent out invites for the event where they introduced the iMac w/ Frontrow along with the iPod with video the photo was of a curtained stage.

I mention this only to point out that Apple's invites tend to have subtle clues in them: a music player so small it'll fit in your 5th pocket, a media event being previewed with a curtained stage; and this seems to have happened again. This photo was just uploaded to flickr with the poster claiming this is a scanned image from an invite to an event on the 22nd.

All speculation aside, I can tell you for certain that the product in the photo is the current model of
Airport Express. Now whether this is alluding to an updated model, perhaps even the much anticipated streaming video model, is unknown. Either way, we'll know for certain in a matter of weeks. In the meantime I'll, of course, keep you abreast of any credible information as it comes.

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Image Courtesy of netgem21

Sunday, February 5

Dell Quietly Drops DJs

I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling when another "iPod killer" bites the dust.

Today's sacrificial lamb is the Dell DJ, or at least the hard drive models. They are still selling the Bic Lighter inspired Ditty, though.

On a semi-related note what's up with this promotional image I just grabbed from Dell's website? Did they see the pencil in Apple's nano ads and think it was just the in thing all of a sudden?
Newsflash Dell: Saying your player is thinner than a pencil is impressive. Pointing out that your player is twice as thick as a pencil is bad marketing.

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Heading image Courtesy of Dell

Tuesday, January 31

Apple Clearing Out iMacs

Of the Power PC variety, that is...

Last week Apple Insider reported that the 17" PowerPC iMacs have been EOLed. Now MacRumors (among others but I saw it there first) is pointing out that the price for the 20" iMacs have been cut $200 to $1499: a flippin sweet deal if you're in the market for a sturdy home machine that can run all Mac software on the market right now.

If you're a student you'll be able to get an additional $100 knocked off the price if you order through the Apple Education Store. If you're not a student you can get an even better deal, albeit through mail-in rebate through Amazon.

Have at 'em!

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Heading image Courtesy of Apple

Saturday, January 14

What The Hell Is Viiv?

With Apple moving to Intel processors and Intel making such a ruckus over their new Viiv (pronounced like five) technology there's been a lot of debate about how Viiv was coming to the Mac. Viiv was going to be the cornerstone of a Apple based set top box. Viiv was going to allow Apple to do everything you could ever want from a media computer. Of course all this begs the question, what the hell is Viiv?

A trip to Intel's website isn't exactly informing. They talk a lot about content partners and streaming and subscribing and all this but, frankly, all of that has been able for quite some time now. Pay-per-view is neat, but not new. TivoToGo is handy, but not developed by Intel. So if everything Viiv is supposed to be doing is already possible what is it exactly? There's a list of compatible components on the Overview page but still no explanation of what this ethereal product is.

Well leave it to Peter Rojas from Engadget to corner someone at the Intel booth at CES and wrangle a real answer out of him. Turns out all the hype around Viiv isn't so much as any new technology but just a fancy DRM platform. It's a way to lock content down to certain uses defined by the content providers based heavily off existing Intel chipsets and Windows Media Center

So nevermind when you hear about Viiv and Apple in the same sentence. Viiv = Windows Media Center . Apple's got their own thing with FairPlay so while they might use Viiv spec processors and such it is not a Viiv computer.

Unfortunately this conversation hasn't been posted anywhere but if you really want the first hand story check out their podcast # 59 and fast forward to 9:40.

Heading image Courtesy of Intel

The Lofti Glossary

I'm a pretty huge geek. The fact that I started this website to begin with is proof positive. So when I start talking about RAM and DRM and one processor vs another it's nothing but a thing. But I don't want this to be a site just for der über geeken. I want my Mom to be able to log on and understand what the hell I'm talking about.

But it's hard to talk about technology without slipping into technospeak. Especially when the alternative is explaining the difference between AAC and MP3 every flipping time the iTunes Music Store comes up. So here you go, a quick and dirty list of common phrases and initials. Expect it to be linked frequently to aid in interpreting any confusing articles I post. If you see anything you have a question about please don't hesitate to mention it to me and I'll add it to the list.

AAC - An audio codec, a modified version of which is used in the iTunes Music Store. If you don't know what a codec is just look down.
CES - Short for the International Consumer Electronics Show, the biggest convention of consumer electronics in the world.
Codec - enCOder/DECoder. A bit of software that turns music into digital information (like ripping a CD to your computer) and turns that digital information back into your music (what the iPod does when you push play)
DRM - Digital Rights Management. Software that limits the way you can use your media. FairPlay (see below) is the DRM used in the iTunes Music Store.
EOL - And acronym for End Of Life, the status of a product that is no longer in production but still for sale. Reports of EOLed products often comes directly before a product update.
FairPlay - The DRM used in the iTunes Music Store. In it's current itineration it allows songs to be played on up to five computers and a single playlist to be burned up to seven times.
iTMS - The iTunes Music Store. Found in the left hand column of iTunes songs, music videos, and tv shows can be purchased from there and played on your iPod.
MacWorld - A huge freaking convention held every hear in January dedicated to Apple and Apple products. Expect a lot of rumors leading up to MacWorld and a lot of news to follow it. Also MWSF for MacWorld San Francisco (There used to be a summer MacWorld on the east coast, hence the differentiation).
MP3 - The codec to make digital music popular. Unencumbered by DRM it is the most popular format for digital music.
User Interface - What you interact with when you use a computer. Everything from the way a program looks to the feedback you get from a webpage to the error messages your operating system gives you. Ideally a user should be able to navigate it without conscious thought. Realistically the UI is the biggest stumbling block between what a user wants to do and what a user actually gets done.
Windows Media Center - A version of Microsoft's Windows operating system designed to be used connected to a TV. Among other things it provides for television to be recorded directly to the computer.
WMA - Windows Media Audio. The codec used in nearly every online music store aside from the iTunes Music Store and compatible with most digital music players other than the iPod.

Heading image Courtesy of Harvey Tobkes

Metal Was So Last Year

The Fireball has a funny little bit on the slow, torturous demise of the Brushed Metal Interface. John Gruber is a flipping genius and I am constantly in awe of his occasional UI anthropomorphication. A quote if you're too lazy to make the jump:

A bedraggled figure stands at the front door of a nice house. It is Brushed Metal. He wipes his mouth, brushes various crumbs and bits of detritus from his chest and sleeves. He’s been out all night. He knocks on the door. A few seconds later, he knocks again.
The door opens, revealing Safari, looking comfortable in a robe and holding a mug of coffee. This is his home. He seems slightly surprised to see Brushed Metal, but he’s cheerful.

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Heading image Courtesy of

Friday, January 13

Apple Worth More Than Dell. Dell Falls Asleep Crying.

MacDailyNews reports that at market close today Apple's market worth was $72.1 billion totally smoking Dell at $71.9 billion. Not a whole lot to say about this story but the article has a great little anecdote about the Michael Dell/Steve Jobs rivalry. I highly recommend.

On a similar subject, last time Apple was valued at around $80 they split the stock. There's a rumor floating around the street that they're getting ready to announce another one soon. I don't like to get into the nitty gritty of stock prices and investor evaluations but a split usually brings increases prices with it so anything that's good for Apple's economic security is good for me.

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Heading image Courtesy of Alfred State College