Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thoughts On The Next Xbox

With this current generation of hardware getting close to end-of-life, within 2-4 years I'd say, I thought it would be a good time to look ahead and do some wishing. The original Xbox was clearing a stepping stone to the Xbox 360, and while I don't believe a third console to be such a dramatic change there is lots of improvements I would love to see come forth.

I would like to see:

Hardware Upgrades

- Graphics
- RAM
- Processing power
- Manditory, user replaceable HDD
- A 'Legacy' DVD drive (more on the in a bit)
- Clickable buttons (power, open tray). I hate the touch sensitive ones on the new slim 360's
- I love the 360 controller. But how about adding a slide-out keyboard or 2-3" touch screen.

Software

- Online Status: So I can let people know I'm busy, or I'm looking to play Halo, or that my kids are watching Netflix not me.
- Friend List Organization: Let me filter my friends list into groups: SSG, IRL, GGN, family, work, etc... Also included is a higher cap, say 200. 500?
- Notification Filtering: With that many friends I don't need to see notifications from all of them. Let me choose by group (or individual) if/when I receive notifications from them.
- Notification Flexibility: Let me choose notification sounds, position, color, for each person/group. Also how about smartphone apps? Let someone ping my smartphone to let me know they want to play a game with me if I'm away from my console.
- Chat: Upgrade cha audio quality. Also add universal filtering (team/party) so I never have to hear timmies again, no matter what game I'm playing.
- Party Up: Show me, via my friends list, whom is partied together. So if I have 10 friends playing CoD show me that they are partied up 6 and 4, or 8 and 8 even showing the full party including people not on my friends list. A la Halo Reach.
- Games: No more discs. Screw DVD. Screw Blu-Ray. I want day-and-date on-demand online delivery. Imagine this: You can buy games directly from your console via your broadband, or if you'd rather head into Best Buy/GameStop and buy games there via a kiosk that transfers to your own USB device, which is then transferred to your console at home. (Credit: CodeMonkey) Make a 'legacy' Blu-Ray/DVD drive that is an external excessory to the console for old 360 games and movies. New games can also come out on discs for physical media lovers/collectors but digital and physical copies launch at the same time.
- Kill The Cable Box: Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, YouTube, HBO. Give me these services and more, so I don't need my cable. Also these should all be "free" or included with the third tier XBL (see below)
- XBL Tiers: Keep Silver and Gold, add Platinum.
- Silver Tier: ($0/year) Gets you matchmaking, but more advanced features are restricted and premium services are a la cart.
- Gold Tier: ($50/year) Gets You matchmaking and all the advanced features but premium services are a la cart.
- Platinum Tier: ($150/year) Gets you matchmaking, advanced features, and all premium services.
- Day Pass: Let users pay for a day/week pass to Gold or Platinum.
- Premium Services: Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CoD: Elite, ESPN, EA Sports Season Pass, Pandora, etc.
- Social Media: Better, full, integration with social media. Facebook, twitter, G+ and any new hotness that comes out. Let me customize which services I used and customize which and how I receive notifications from these services.
- Web Browser: Let me get on the web. I should be able to "click" on URL's within messages and bio's.
- User Ratings: Give me a rating system that works. Currently everyone on XBL has 5 stars, the system is broken and never worked. Make feedback relevant. Let douchebags play with douchebags.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Yes, The MacBook Air Is Practical.


11" MacBook Air

 I finally did it.  After lusting after the original MacBook Air (MBA) for years, I went ahead and purchased a (refurbished) Air. I bought the 11' model with the 1.4Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 64GB SSD drive.

Since buying the Air, or even just talking about buying it, the people I've talked to about uniformly agree on two things: the first being that they all think the Air is super sexy and most would like one.  The second think they ask me is why I "need" the Air.  The want to know how it will suit me better than the 13' MacBook Pro and iPad 2 I had at the time.

Friends would tell me all the reasons why the Air was such a terrible decision and that I should just stick with my Pro.  "Think of everything that you will lose going to an Air! Smaller screen, no DVD drive, less storage, less ports, less, less, less...  But what people don't understand is that almost all of these "killer features" of the non-Air laptops are typically never used.


1.4gHz 4GB RAM 64GB SSD


I've been using the MBA for almost a month now, not once have I regretted the decision. I've used it to surf the web, made a video with iMovie, used iTunes, and even used Photoshop. Not once did I feel "compromised", I didn't need a bigger screen, nor a DVD drive, or even 4+ USB ports to get any of that done. I'm not pressed for storage either; the limited 64GB SSD has about 30GB free currently and since it's my laptop (and second computer) I don't need to store all my media on it.



2011 MacBook Air vs 2008 MacBook


Most people could easily get away with the Air being their only computer; of all the computers I get in to work on most people's media collection (music, picture, documents) is less that 5GB. Now that's just for your 'average' consumer, I know there are people out there with enormous media collections; my personal media collection is over 30GB. But even then the 128GB SSD would be more than enough to hold a large media collection. 



2011 MacBook Air vs 2011 iPad 2

The Air is fast, light-weight, with a great battery life. I can't recommend enough to someone, either as there only computer or as a great companion computer. Unless you really "need" a DVD drive (the Air can install software from any computer DVD drive on the same network PC or Mac) or lots of processing power the Air is hands done the best computer I've ever owned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reviewing The iPad 2



I only have 48 hours of iPad 2 use under my belt I can tell you that I couldn't (or at least wouldn't want to) go back to the 2010 iPad. Nothing was particularly wrong with the first iPad, the have the same firmware versions, and have all the same feature save some new camera and goodies on the iPad 2.

So why do I boldly claim that I could never go back to the "old" iPad? It's just the feeling you get when you use it. I suspect that users that had never had an iPad 1 will not see what the fuss is about. They will love there new iPad all the same, but they just won't know how good they have it.

Speed, it's all about the speed.

Everything is faster on the iPad 2: switching apps, loading apps, pulling up the onscreen keyboard, web pages just blaze to life. the Internet seems faster on this device than on any other in my house, and my personal computers are not slouches. With a 2009 MacBook Pro and a 2008 iMac I have no grips with those machines in my day-to-day use, but surfing the web on an iPad has always been more personal, more comfortable. Where a desktop or laptop seem to more of a utility the iPad was designed to be intimate, it's just you and a gorgeous (responsive) 10" touch screen. It sits in your lap and is just a different experience than a personal computer... Which seems ironic because the iPad is much more personal than a PC could ever be. In fact you could even look at the "personal-ness" of the iPad to be a drawback in some cases. Like a family household that has one iPad, with multiple people using it there is no easy way to have multiple accounts on the device. So be prepared to share your Angry Birds game with the rest of your house, you can't login to a saved game all your own.

So what makes the iPad so personal, so intimate? Like most Apple products it's the combination of form+function. The new tapered edges just make it feel slimmer and easier to hold, the 10" form factor is a great size. Everything from text on webpages to games and videos are at a great size to personally view the content. While the iPad is very dense, at only 1.33lbs it is the most portable computer you'll ever carry. Whether I am sitting it on my lap or holding it portrait to read a book, it never feels cumbersome. The iPad never gets hot, hell it never gets warm! Compare that to my MacBook Pro that could cook an egg with how hot it gets, and weighs 4.5lbs, the iPad is a welcome change on my lap.

The iPad, much like the iPhone and iPod Touch, is never really "off" so the iPad has this instant on feature that is even faster than a laptop. Combine this with the fact that you never have to turn it off, like you might your laptop, the iPad is always ready to go when you are. Games and apps save you place or "state" so you can easily and quickly get back to work, or play.

Whether you use the iPad for work or play the main feature where the iPad out shines you laptop is the amazing battery life. All computer companies make ridiculous claims about their products battery life it seems, and even though Apple seems to be more realistic in their claims they have always been a few hours short in my real-world testing. But the iPad, both iPads, have far exceeded Apple battery claims no matter what I'm doing. Apple states that the iPad will get 10 hours on WiFi and 9 hours on 3G; I can tell you that with the 9 months I had my first iPad with 3G I was getting between 14-16 hours on a battery, with 80% of that time being on 3G. That's 50% more battery life than Apple claimed I should get. My short 48 hours with the iPad 2 seems to prove that I can still expect the same great performance with this years model, irregardless of the fact that it is 33% thinner than it's predecessor with a faster processor and more RAM to boot.

How about those Smart Covers? Being the fanboy I am, I couldn't help but pick up Apple's newest toy and try it out. And I gotta say this is where Apple's blend of form+function is killing (or going to kill...) it's competitors. Apple made a case for the first iPad as well, that I thoroughly enjoyed and couldn't image using that iPad without it, but this year the Smart Covers really takes the icing on the cake. I used the Apple Case the entire 9 months I had the iPad 1, and again, 24 hours with the smart covers; I'm hooked and not looking back. Like everything Apple does there is this easy-of-use factor with the Smart Covers. The Smart Cover auto-aligns "magically" or magnetically with the left side of the iPad with a strong enough bond to support the weight of the iPad, even with some vigorous shaking on my part. Apple was also smart enough to stick a few more magnets on the right-side to hold the Smart Cover closed against the iPad as to not be flapping about when carrying the iPad. But the magnets on the Smart Cover do double duty; they also a hold the Smart Cover in various positions within itself. There is a triangular position that holds the iPad in a 30° angle for typing in landscape or you can flip it up to about a 80° angle for viewing video/pictures/whatever. You can also fold the entire Smart Cover around the back of the iPad and the magnets will do their work (on the right side again) and hold the cover for you. Now the magnetism around the back is only about 20% of what it is around the front (due to the magnets being on the front I suspect) but they still hold, so if you're vertically holding the iPad reading a book or webpage you don't have the annoyance of the cover flapping around on you.

The iPad 2 also added cameras in the mix, a front center VGA and back right "HD" camera. Which added the iPad into the FaceTime capable category of Apple hardware. While the camera are not near the quality level of the iPhone 4 (they are suspected to be the same as the iPod Touch v4) they will be "good enough" for what you need them for, FaceTime. FaceTime hasn't made a huge splash (or video calling in general) but I can see it taking off with the iPad 2. With the huge 10" display I can see my parents being much more excited about FaceTime-ing to say "hi" and to see their soon-to-be-born grandchild. I don't see them doing that with an iPhone, or even their Mac, it's that personal touch that the iPad brings. What about long distance couples, military families, friends, hell I've even used FaceTime for tech support before! Alongside FaceTime, Apple brought two other desktop apps to the iPad with iMovie and Photo Booth. iMovie received a upgrade from it's iPhone counterpart but it is still severely lacking in options to truly make a quality home video. But Photo Booth shines even better on the iPad than it even did on the Mac. It does this by adding touch to the experience, that "swirly" effect can be manipulated with your finger to anywhere on the screen. While this may only give an adult mild amusement, think about a child and their friends or how about a couple just starting to date (or about to...), Photo Booth provides a level of quick and easy fun that anyone can enjoy and share.

Oh GarageBand. I could (and might) write a whole article devoted to this amazing, ground breaking app. GarageBand is a $5 dollar app that should be $500 given it's capabilities, easy-of-use, and potential. Unlike iMovie, GarageBand for iPad is 95% of what GarageBand for Mac is; so I have no doubt we will see many artists using their iPad for their next album, see Ari Hest as a prime example. This is an app that truly is capable of providing fun for the most musically illiterate person, like myself, or an artist looking to make their next album.

Now that I've gushed for eight paragraphs about how awesome the iPad is, on true fanboy fashion, could I have anything negative to say about it? I could be truly cliché at this point and complain about the "lack" of Adobe Flash support but honestly I could give a shit about Flash; on ANY device I own. Since owning the first iPhone in 2007 I've have never missed Flash support, I even run ClickToFlash on all my computers browsers so Flash won't ever run unless I implicitly allow it and want it; which is very rare save YouTube. Or I could bitch about the "Walled Garden" that Apple has created by curating it's App Store and vetting each app that goes in it. But with the thousands and thousands of app available to me on my iPhone and iPad I've yet to look for something and come away empty handed, let alone find something on Android that I was unable to find or replicate. At the same I 100% support jail breaking of iOS devices, in fact I've jail broken all four of my iPhones (and my wife's two), and my first iPad. I fully plan on jail breaking the iPad 2 ASAP as there are quiet a few apps that I miss dearly when I am not jail broke. In fact I bought the WiFi only iPad specifically because I plan to jailbreak it and tether it to my iPhone via MyWi and their fantastic new OnDemand feature. But a jail breaking segment will be for another post...

Now seriously, what are some draw backs to the iPad 2:

Cameras - I realize that Apple does have to cut cost and cut features (for future products) but why not add better camera to the higher SKU's? Or maybe just the 3G models get better cameras. When the iPhone 4 came out I sold my point-and-shoot and I exclusively use my iPhone 4 for all my pictures and HD video, and that is saying something considering I have a baby on the way and will be taking more pictures than anyone will want to see. But Apple isn't one to have a diverse product line, they have three desktops and three laptops, and the new always ushers out the old. I have no doubt that with the iPad 3 we will see better cameras but it would have been nice to have them now, or at least the option.

Price - Now I know that Apple and the iPad kill all of their competitors on price, and that $499 price point is amazing for a 16GB tablet that can do so much, and perfectly fine for about 40% of the consumers buying iPads. But in typical Apple fashion they gauge the shit out of you for minor upgrades... Like I said $499 is a fantastic price but then it jumps $100 dollars just to add 16GB of memory! That's it, no added features or hardware components. NewEgg.com has 16GB flash drives for $21, hell even BestBuy carries them as cheap as $35 dollars. Then there is Apple charging $100. Now I realize that a flash drive is not the same as the memory that Apple puts into an iDevice but with Apple buying hundreds of millions of flash chips, I'll bet they get a deal that's cheaper than $100 bucks a pop. The same goes for the 3G radio, that will add $130 dollars to the price of an iPad. Again I'm not sure what the price of a 3G radio goes for but when you buy them in mass quantities $130 dollars does seem excessive. We also don't know what, if any, deal Apple has worked out with the carrier. The carriers may very well get a cut of every 3G iPad sold, which would come out of that $130 up charge. So just jumping up to the 32GB with 3G adds to $230 dollars to your bill when really Apple could probably do it for $75 and still make money. But I can see why Apple wouldn't want to price their models only $25 or $50 dollars apart, the perception of "value" is lost. By tiering at $100 increments you build value and keep it simple. But it's still frustrating being in the tech industry and knowing how much these parts cost and getting screwed.

File Management - the iOS platform is closed one and Apple doesn't let end users nor developers access the file system to save/transfer/delete files at will. With iOS 4.0 Apple added a feature to add files to certain apps via iTunes and once on the device you can "pass" files between one app and another but the app has to "import" the file and it's just this big mess. Apple needs to just buy DropBox, integrate them into iOS and be done with it. That would give you a cloud (read: Internet) based solution to transfer and store files as well as give your iOS device one local place to look for files that was sandboxes and totally safe. I'd love to be able to download files from the web, on my iOS device, right to this folder and when I get home guess what? Thanks to MobileMe I've got a local copy on my Mac too. Apps like DropBox allow to keep you drafts in the cloud and work on them whenever, wherever. In fact this whole article was written in the app PlainText for the iPad that syncs to my DropBox account. So that gave me the ability to work on it anywhere and it also gives me several backup in case I really screwed this one up.

So even though this review covered a lot of feature that are indicative of the current and previous generation of the iPad, I whole-heartedly recommend the iPad 2 to anyone that is interested in a tablet. Even if you're an iPad 1 owner it's a worthy upgrade, it's more evolutionary that revolutionary, but I can't state enough how much a difference the speed and thinness make when using the iPad 2. There are so many options for you if you have a first gen iPad and you're looking to upgrade: sell it to help offset the cost, give it to a family member a spouse, parent, or sibling that would love to have an iPad at little or no cost, or you could always go the donation route. A lot of schools and libraries are looking to iPads to get kids excited and engaged with the curriculum by using iPads.

If you don't believe me, just head down to an Apple Store or Best Buy and spent a few minutes with an iPad. You may not "need" one but I guarantee you want one.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

iPad 2


The Apple iPad 2


Today Steve Jobs took the stage (despite being on a medical leave) along with Tim Cook and Phil Schiller to announce the next iteration of the iPad.  So what's new?

  • A5 - An all new processor dubbed the 'A5'.  Apple's custom "system-on-a-chip" the A5 combines the GPU and CPU on to a single chip and this one is dual-core.  "Twice as fast" Apple claims.  The A5 also beefed up the GPU and Apple states you'll see up to 9x the performance with gaming.

  • Cameras - Probably the biggest grip of the first iPad, the iPad 2 now comes stocked with a front and rear HD camera.  Of course with the cameras comes FaceTime but Apple also showed off iMovie for iPad, and even brought over Photo Booth.

  • All New Design - Although Apple kept the same screen size and resolution, the rest of the iPad has changed.  From a new bezel (now in white or black), sporting glass all the way to the edge, to a new square shaped back.  Oh and did I mention that it's 1/3 thinner too?  They added two cameras and made it thinner and lighter...
  • AirPlay/Video Mirroring - AirPlay was introduced by Apple in iOS 4.2 that let you stream music/movies/pictures from and iOS device to an Apple TV.  Now Apple is opening up AirPlay to all developers to get in on the action.  Video Mirroring is going to let you plug an HDMI cable into your iPad 2 (via connector) and your iPad screen will show up, in 1080p, on your TV.  The teaching applications here are limitless.

  • iOS 4.3 - Apple also announced that iPad will be shipping with iOS 4.3 which will include imporovements to Safari, AirPlay, Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4, and Home Sharing to iOS devices.
  • iPad 'Smart Cover' - Last Apple showed off their skills with accessories when the made the iPad Case, this year Apple out has outdone themselves with their new Smart Cover.  Apple wanted a simple way to protect the new iPad while at the same time adding function.  The Smart Cover attaches via magnets to the right side of the iPad and covers just the front of the iPad.  When the Smart Cover is "closed" is also has the ability to put the iPad to sleep, and likewise wakes it when you open the cover.  The Smart Cover also has two distinct folds that allow it to prop your iPad in different orientations to fit your needs.




Apple also informed us that they have sold 100 million iPhones and 15 million iPads to date.  That's 15 million iPads in less than a year. With the onslaught and Android and WebOS tablets coming this year Apple knew they had to deliver.  Nothing revealed today was "game changing" or surprising but Apple swiftly took all the wind out of sails of these cookie-cutter Android tablets coming out claiming they were better than the iPad; on paper anyway.  Apple is now matched up spec-for-spec with all these upcoming tablets, but has two distinct advantages: iTunes and name recognition.

  •  iTunes gives user a simple and quick way to not only organize all of their media (music/movies/tv shows/podcasts/apps/games) but to also sync it to their iPad or iPhone/iPod.  The Android OS just turns the device into a thumb drive essentially and expects users to computer OS to move their media to their device.  So they have to find their music/movies/pictures and then locate their Android device and copy that media to it.  iTune user just hit "sync".

  • Face it, Apple and all of their products have huge name recognition.  My parents and friends know what an iPad/iPhone/iPod is.  But if I asked my parents about the Galaxy S Tab, Xoom, Droid X, or Palm Pre they'd have no idea what I'm talking about.  All the upcoming tablets (and Android phones for that matter) are going to be lost in a sea of anonymity with little to differentiate themselves from one another let alone Apple.  Consumers see iPads and "some other tablet" so unless these other tablets start beating Apple on price (which they are not) or come out with a killer feature that the iPad does not have (oh and flash isn't it) them it will be a tough road ahead.  Just ask anyone else who makes MP3 players about how powerful the iPod brand is.  Can you even name two other (dedicated) MP3 player besides the iPod?
So will I be picking up the iPad 2?  You bet, I might even be first in line again like I was for the first iPad launch.  The iPad has changed my life, 80% of my internet use is done on the iPad.  With it's never ending battery, light weight, connectivity options, and apps oh the apps it's has replaced my notebook and iPhone as go to devices.  It's still not the best device for long-form or content creation but we're getting there.  With the merger of OSX and iOS in Apple's newest computer OS 'Lion' the future is looking good.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

How To jailbreak iPhone With 4.2.1 (Tethered)

So you're looking to jailbreak your iPhone huh?  I don't blame you.  I love my iPhone (I had all four on launch day) but Apple (or my carrier) block features that I would want out of my iPhone.  A lot of my feature requests have been addressed by Apple and integrated into iOS but there are still a few jailbreak apps that I'd hate to live without.  But let's get to jailbreaking your phone then I'll take about some cools apps you may want to get.

*Warning*

This current jailbreak is "tethered" which means that every time you have to restart your iPhone/iTouch/iPad it will have to be connected to your computer and you HAVE to reboot it with the redsn0w jailbreak program.  It's kind of a pain, but honestly, how much do you every restart your iPhone?  I've been been running with this jailbreak for 4 weeks and I've had no issues except when a friend turned my iPad off...

*End Warning*

So you've been warned and you know the risks, so let's move on you rebel you.  First the items you'll need is redsn0w (the jailbreak app) and the 4.2.1 update from Apple.  I've included both in a .zip file for you.  *Note* You MUST have 4.2.1 already installed on your iDevice before jailbreaking it.  So you're running 4.2.1 on your iDevice and you're ready to go.

Just download my jailbreak.zip file and you'll have both files you need to jailbreak.  Here's the link:

http://db.tt/ltfQmjo

In the zip are two files:

- redsn0w.app (version 0.9.6b4)
- iPhone3,1_4.2.1_8C148_Restore.ipsw  (iPhone 4 ONLY) If you have a different iPhone, iPad, or iTouch you'll need to find that firmware on you computer.


So open up redsn0w and you see this screen:



So click 'browse' and select the 4.2.1 firmware for your device.  I've included the firmware for only the iPhone 4.


As you can see in this list I have both the iPhone 4 firmware and iPad 3G in my list.  I've selected the iPhone 4 firmware.  Then click 'open'.


So the first step is to check the 'Install Cydia' box then click next.


Follow the instruction...  Plug your iPhone into your Mac and power it down.   Click next and get ready for some ninja finger moves! Hold your iPhone in both hands and be read.


Again, follow the instructions.  You'll be doing this several times, so don't worry it gets easier.  Now redsn0w will do it's thing and jailbreak your iPhone.  So now we need to boot your phone "tethered", by now it's most likely booted up and looks normal but if you scroll over to Cydia it's probably just a white icon.  So we need to boot tethered.  So open up redsn0w again and select the 4.2.1 firmware.


But this time select this check box to boot tethered.  You'll have to go through the same ninja finger moves to put your iPhone into what's called DFU mode.


Next you should get this message and your iPhone should be booting up.  If you get an error message, don't worry.  You can always retry, a common error is that someone has their iPhone plugged into a USB hub or a "low-powered" USB port.  So try plugging your iPhone directly into your computer or if it was plug it into a USB port closer to the front of the MacBook.


Next your iPhone should be booted up and look a bit like this.


So now open up Cydia and preform all the updates that it requests.  The shitty thing is after it's done updating, you'll need to reboot...  Which means using redsn0w again, remember you'll need it ever time you reboot. So use redsn0w to boot tethered and once you're back up open Cydia again.  Now let's get you some cool apps that Apple doesn't approve of.

I'll just go in alphabetical order here: *Note* Most of these apps I'm recommending you will need to pay for.  Cydia is a full-blown app store, so don't expect that everything is free here.  These developers work just as hard (or more) than developers that are in the app store.

Cyntact - This is made by Jay Freeman (or "saurik" the guy that invented Cydia) and it puts your contacts picture next to their name in address book.  It's a small thing but cool.




 HapticPro - This is one that I can live without. All it does is give you force feedback (vibrate) when you touch the screen.  So using the keyboard, opening an app, navigating menus, etc...  You just get a little rumble.  You'll be amazed how much you miss it when you don't have it.

My3G - This is a cool app.  This "tricks" you apps into thinking they are on WiFi even if they're not.  So this enables FaceTime over 3G, or Skype, make YouTube video quality better (but slower).

MyWi 4.0 - This is tethering. You can tether via USB or WiFi.  It's super easy and works great.  *Note* This setup requires a reboot.



SBSettings - This is the last one I'll take about today.  With a simple left-to-right swipe on the top of your screen you get this drop down menu.  Which gives you quick access to toggles to turn off or on.  Such as: GPS location, airplane mode, WiFi, Bluetooth, brightness, etc...  You can even "respring" from here which is basically a reboot of sorts, and you don't need resn0w to respring!



Well, that's my guide and my app list for now.  I hope you enjoy your jailbroken iDevice as much as I do.  Feel free to leave comments or questions below, I'm no expert but I'll help if I can.

-Jayman

Monday, February 15, 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The iPad: Revolutionary Or A Dud.


Apple once again had the collective tech community holding their breath waiting for the announcement of the mythical Tablet.

The general impression following the event seemed to be fairly negative, as was my own.  Mostly people were expecting much more from the iPad, all due to tremendous amount of hype and all the rumors that have been circulating for years now.  Speculations were from, OLED screens, a front and back camera, touch capacitive case, to even facial recognition software.   Most of these speculations were crazy and far fetched, but that didn't stop people from wanting them and more important being disappointed when they didn't get them.  I have to admit I was one of the initial people that was immediately disappointing, my own expectation were artificially inflated from all the hype.


After all the buzz wore off and I had time to reflect about the announcement and see video and pictures of the iPad, I have changed my tune.  What I wanted initially from the Tablet was a touch Mac computer, basically a touch MacBook if you will.  What made me change my mind was clearing my head of all the preconceptions I had going into the press brief.  It was then that I realized how useful this device was going to be in my life.  If you read the blog then you know I've recently hacked a netbook (Making A Hackint0sh) and been using it by running OSX.  Although it works great, it is far from perfect.  The iPad is a perfect alternative to those looking for a computer in the 'netbook' catagory, it's small, lightweight, inexpensive, has a great battery life, and does pictures, music, movies, email, and the web.  Another bonus, for those that want it (options are good) is being able to buy a model with AT&T 3G networking built-in, with no contract mind you, just pay-as-you-go.  So unlike a typical netbook you could virtually have internet anywhere you want on a 10" touch-screen tablet that also has your entire media collection on it.


So will I be buying one?  You bet ya.  I can see uses for this in the living room, at work, on vacation, in classrooms, etc...  Still not convinced?  Watch Apple's own video introducing the iPad and a few of it's features.






Head over to www.Apple.com/ipad to get a full list of specs and info on the new iPad.




mail

Monday, November 30, 2009

Making A Hackint0sh. The Samsung N130



Update:  I've got WiFi working!  I bought a Dell 1397 B/G/N WiFi Half-Mini PCI-e card and it working perfect with OSX right out of the box.

A word of warning for anyone that is going to install OSX on to their N130, REPLACE THE ORGINAL HARD DRIVE.   If you wipe the factory hard drive it will be very hard to reinstall Windows if you every should need to. You'll need to buy a 2.5" SATA hard drive to replace the factory one.




My video on removing the case

Second: not everything works 'out of the box' in OSX. Audio, WiFi, and Ethernet DO NOT WORK, also the computer DOES NOT sleep like a normal Mac would when you shut the lid of the laptop. I was able to get audio working and I am buying a replacement WiFi card, one that is compatible with OSX. So then my only problem would be the computer not sleeping, but hopefully someone smarter than me is working to that.



First off I followed this guide to get 10.6 on to the N130. Gizmodo Hackintosh

That's well the easy part. The next step is upgrading to 10.6.2, which as I'm sure you know Apple disabled Atom support in 10.6.2 but there's an easy fix. Next just follow this guide to keep Atom support in 10.6.2 Meklort Guide

I've made a dedicated page on one of my personal sites to store the files you (and I) need to get the N130 working.

Now it gets hard... First off audio doesn't work, WiFi doesn't work, and Ethernet doesn't work. With some help I was able to get audio working perfectly headphone jack and all!
So you have to install tons of crap to get audio working but I guess it's worth it to have sound running...

1. Install Apple Developer Tools (Xcode) it's free from Apple but you have to have an Apple ID and download an 800MB file.
http://developer.apple.com/technology/xcode.html

2. Next you need to install a crap ton of drivers, I don't know if they all work together or hell if just one is working but my audio is working and I installed them all. I don't remember the order, and I don't think it matters but you need to install:

- AzaliaAudio.pkg
- Full Sound 10.5.7.pkg
- HDAEnabler.kext
- VoodooHDA.kext




So that's a total of 5 files if you include Xcode. The .pkg will install themselves but kext files are drivers and I use Kext Helper B7 to install the kext files. After that audio should be working just fine, you might find the volume a little low so go to: System Preferences/Sound/Output you'll see a bunch of "Analog PCM #0" devices turn up the 'Master' and 'PCM' all the way up and that should help.



Edit: Here's a picture of Sound in Sys Prefs.  Unfortunately you know have tons of these "Analog PCM #0" devices...  The only two that seem to matter are the first two: 'Master' and 'PCM'.  Turn PCM all the way up, then select 'Master' and then set the volume at your desired level.  Another bad thing is, the PCM and Master reset every time you reset your computer...


Internet is still not working on my N130 but I have an external USB WiFi card that I found some drivers for so I'm using that for now. I also have my iPhone hacked and I use the built-in tethering to get internet on the go. The internal WiFi card (Realtek RTL8192E) I can't find support for, my plan is to buy a replacement card that works natively with OSX, and I'm still on the hunt for the "best" card for OSX. If you start looking for a card you'll need a Half Mini PCI-e WiFi card. The "Half" and "Mini" are import when looking, I've already bought 1 card that didn't fit...

Hope all this helps, if you need anything more just ask, I'll share what I find and please do the same.


Here Are My Resources:
www.hackintosh.org
www.insanelymac.com
www.mydellmini.com
www.meklort.com
www.stellarola.tumblr.com
www.osx.mechdrew.com/blog


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The State Of Adidat.



Since starting Adidat 3 1/2 years ago a lot has changed, in my life and in the tech industry as a whole. Adidat has been my portal to get news that I find interesting out to people that find me interesting. But now with social media sites like, Digg, Twitter, Facebook, and the adoption of RSS feeds I am starting to see a decreased value in running a blog where I rehash news that I find elsewhere.

Although I know you will all dearly miss my attempt to be funny personal touch that I added to my stories, I invite you to come to join my on the afore mentioned social sites to keep up with me and the stories that I find interesting.


Digg (Social bookmarking site)

Twitter (Status updates in 144 character or less.)

Facebook (Social networking for friends or business)

Google Reader (An RSS reader, this will get you the best news for tech and gaming stories. This is how I get MY info.)


Adidat.net will now link to my Google Reader page, so you can read all the stories I find interesting.


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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Bungie's Mythic Video.



Always the jokester....

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Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack Is Released.



The long wait is finally over. For 800 MS points ($10) you too can play on the sweet new Mythic Maps for Halo 3. If you're a Halo fan this is a must buy, it's got: a Team slayer map, an objective map, and the best Forging map around.

Click here to buy Mythic and have it waiting for you the next time you turn on you 360.


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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

iPhone 3.0 Beta Preview.



So I was able to get my hands on the beta version of the iPhone 3.0 software due out this summer. I'm going to run down some of the new features you expect in 3.0 and how said features are working so far.




Cut, Copy, & Paste

This has gotta be the most requested feature that iPhone users have wanted and iPhone hater have bragged about. CC&P couldn't be easier to use on the iPhone, simply hold your finger down on some part of the text that you want to CC&P. Then you get the two "bookend" markers and just adjust those over your desired text and select cut or copy.


Now, get to the spot were you would like to paste said text and simply tap. The paste dialog comes up, and you're all done. CC&P works across all applications, email, notes, web, 3rd party apps, etc... Apple also included a cool 'undo' feature to CC&P, shake your iPhone and an undo dialog box pops up giving you the option to take back you paste.

Call Information

A small, but nice, addition is more details added to you phone call history. Black text with the little phone symbol means out going call, just black mean, incoming, and red is a missed call.


The out going feature is what's new here and you can see just how detailed in gets in this screen, you now get the time and duration that each call was made.


Spotlight Search


There is a new homepage that is on the far left (note the magnifying in the first screen shot )that is dedicated to search. Simply start typing and the iPhone searches the entire phone, it's unclear at this time if 3rd party apps will have privilege to this search function.

A quick search of the term "iphone" brought up two results for an email, and a calendar note. You can search, songs, emails, calendar, notes, applications, and contacts.

Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)

Stereo bluetooth or geekily know as A2DP, is a fancy term for wireless headphones. So finally us iPhone users can finally go cordless while rockin' out. With A2DP you also have to option to be able to use your A2DP headphones as a headset to make and receive calls. I just got a pair of the Motorola S9-HD and so far the experience has been great.

There is a new Bluetooth icon on the bottom right when the iPhone is in iPod mode. Pushing this button brings up a dialog box asking where you would like your audio routed to. With my new headset I was able to listen to music and take/receive phone calls but the only button on the headset that seem to work is volume. I'm not sure if this is an Apple issue or a Moto issue, but I'm hoping it's a something that will be fixed when 3.0 comes out this summer.


Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)


MMS is best decribed as SMS's (text messaging) big brother. With the new MMS feature in 3.0 you will be able to send pictures, voice memos, and rumored videos, as well as standard text messages.

Most descent phones these days have MMS capabilities and Apple took a lot of heat by not including it thus far in the iPhone. In my opinion, I've never liked MMS and never knew anyone that used it. Apple rightly touted email as a far superior way to send these files, but it seems the loud minority has made Apple change their mind. I do like Apples implementation of MMS, so who knows maybe I'll grow to use it.

AutoFill



This is one of the more interesting features because I've heard nothing about it. Basically it uses your contact information and can fill in web forms for you. Name, phone number, email, address, passwords... I've used it a few times and it's worked perfect everytime, I see this becoming a very handy time saver.

Honorable Mention Features

  • In-App Purchases - Developers can now offer you purchases in-app/game to buy more stuff. New levels, new content, new info. This is going to be a good thing for apps like, games, eBook readers, new paper apps.
  • 3rd Party Access - Developers can now custom make apps that work with specific hardware components by wire or Bluetooth. The app Apple showed off was a Glucose monitor that plugged into the iPhone and kept records for your suger levels on you phone, giving you a better way to keep track of your levels.
  • Turn By Turn GPS - Finally Apple will allow devs to make a GPS app with Turn-By-Turn directions. The catch? Devs have to bring their own maps to the party, the iPhone Google Maps can not be used. So expect some apps from Tom Tom and Garmin, but I wouldn't hold your breath for a small player to pay for map license fee's.
  • Voice Memos - A new Apple made app, Voice Memos, allows you to record, send, and edit voice memos.
  • Notes Sync - Now your iPhone notes will sync to either your Mail.app or Outlook software.
  • Tethering - This is the act of connecting your iPhone to your computer and surfing the web through your iPhone's data connection anywhere. Don't have WiFi around? No problem just connect your iPhone to your computer and away you're surfing. Apple has this feature ready but is waiting on individual carries to "aprove" the use of such an app. Boo AT&T.
  • Push Notification - This is Apple way to conserve battery life but allow apps to pseudo work in the background. Right now if you have an IM client on your iPhone, the app has to be open for you to be able to receive IM messages. With Push, even when the iPhone is asleep you will receice data from apps set to use the Push service.

As I find out more I'll keep you updated.


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