A notice to all the perverts out there: Don’t get any smarter. It truly warms my heart to see you morons doing something stupid enough to land your own ass in jail. Case in point – Raymond Miller, an aforementioned pervert from Connecticut, recently took his laptop to be serviced at one of Apple’s Genius bars. The local genius found, among other things, pictures of ten to thirteen year-old children in compromising positions.
What’s worse is that Miller brought the computer to the Genius bar specifically because he was having problems with image files. Yes, you read that correctly. I’ll say again, please don’t get smarter, perverts. Miller was promptly arrested while the Genius attempted to “fix” his computer.
Possession of child pornography is a class-B felony in Connecticut, where Miler will be serving a minimum five-year sentence if he’s convicted.
There’s a nice new periph for you Macbook owners who like to add a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to your experience from time to time. The Bookarc from twelvesouth stands your Macbook on end for a desktop space-saver. There’s also an added bonus – you get a speed increase just by closing your notebook.
Now granted, you’re also losing a secondary screen when you flip your notebook shut, but it might be nice to give that graphics processor a little break here and there. Who knows, you also might like the extra desk space.
If there’s one gripe I have, it’s that the thing costs $50. That’s obviously a tribute to the sexy design, fat price tag mantra that’s so popular in Cupertino. The stand does look really nice, though, so maybe it’s worth it for some of you.
Apple’s been hard at work trying to remedy the disease that is the App Store review process. It’s lengthy, arbitrary, and creates more drama for the company than other issue. But Phil Schiller can only be in so many places at once, and try as it might, Apple is still letting apps fall through the cracks. Big apps. Highly anticipated apps. Facebook 3.0 apps.
We’ve been hearing about the new Facebook app for months, and it really does sound awesome. It adds a lot of features I won’t re-reprint here. But the app is stuck in review limbo, awaiting the whimsical approval of the 40-man review team, and even the developers are starting to speak out.
Facebook 3.0 developer Joe Hewitt has been the man primarily responsible for keeping the public up to date on the app’s progress. You really have to applaud the guy for making his submission public because it puts a lot of pressure on Apple (a move Real copied this week). Hewitt’s gone public again, this time with a long list of level-headed complaints for the review team. My favorite goes like this:
Oh, but you say that iPhone apps are different, because they run native code and can do scary things that web pages can’t? Again, you’re wrong, because iPhone apps are sandboxed and have scarcely any more privileges than a web app. About the only scary thing they can do outside the sandbox is access your address book, but Apple can easily fix that by requiring they ask permission first, just like they must do to track your location.
Be sure to read the rest of the post. It could have been a lot of whining and moaning and “I’m smarter than all of Apple combined.” Instead, Hewitt put together a solid argument for the dissolution of the App Store review process.
When Apple bumped the 13-inch unibody Macbook up to “Pro” status, you knew they were planning a refresh for white polycarbonate version. It’s been the lone wolf sporting the Macbook name for some time now, and the body design is three years old.
That’s all about to change, according to a rumor posted at AppleInsider. Apparently Apple is going to redesign the Macbook and add a few more models to the lineup. The polycarbonate Macbook, it turns out, is one of Apple’s best selling devices. In fact, it beats out just about everything other than the iMac on Apple’s online store. That’s probably due to the $999 price tag. New Mac users find the price appealing enough to make the switch, and frankly, it’s a pretty good deal.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen within 4-6 months. Adding an even lower model would allow Apple to continue to perform well in the face of economic crises and steal more users away from Windows machines.
When Apple released iPhone OS 3.0, one of the most exciting features was A2DP bluetooth support. Finally you could use a pair of Bluetooth headphones or stream to a pair of Bluetooth speakers without music sounding like utter trash. It also opened the door for devices like the iSkin Cerulean RX, an iPod/iPhone dock adapter that allows you to stream music to any dock wirelessly. The Cerulean RX isn’t limited to iPod/iPhone dock use, but that’s really where you’ll appreciate the wireless goodness.
The Apple fanboy in me loved the iSkin Cerulean RX packaging. If I’m going to pay $89.99 for a little stereo Bluetooth adapter, it better be sexy, which the Cerulean RX is. It comes in a sleek black box with the main adapter tucked into a little cardboard cubby. All the cables and manuals are hidden from view, giving the impression that the adapter would be simple to setup and use. To my delight, it was.
Along with the adapter, which uses a 30-pin dock connector to attach to your dock/speaker system, you get a 3.5mm extension cord, a 3.5mm female to RCA male adapter, and a USB/mini USB cable. Unfortunately, you need most if not all of those accessories to use the Cerulean RX with any non-dock stereo. The adapter, which also includes 3.5mm output, has to be powered via the included USB cable to produce sound through the 3.5mm. While the unit is pretty much plug and forget when connected to a dock, it’s locate your cables and a usb charging plug (you can get one on Amazon for $3.15 shipped) before you can listen. No problem if you plan to plug it in and leave it. If you want something a little more mobile, it’s a bit less than elegant. I do appreciate, though, that they included the accessories. Without them I probably wouldn’t recommend the product.
Sound Quality and Features If you can put aside your inner audiophile, the Cerulean RX is more than fine. Though I wouldn’t recommend it for close listening (certainly not its intended use), it’s a great solution for more casual audio enjoyment. Through a dock the sound is fairly clear and crisp. My signal held strong and the unit stayed cool to the touch. Streaming music from my iPhone for a few hours left me with 70% battery life or so, which is really quite decent. Music was fairly crisp and clean, and Ira Glass was clear as ever.
Using the unit with my Macbook yielded similar results. I used my iPhone charger to provide the power and plugged the 3.5mm cord into a Sony 5.1 system. Bass came through clearly enough, though it took some EQ tweaking to get a balanced sound. Again, it’s a nice setup for casual listening, and I would gladly tuck one of these things behind my stereo if it meant I could stream music from my laptop whenever I wanted. My girlfriend especially loved this idea.
One note for using the Cerulean RX with your computer. Most computers recognize the device as both a Bluetooth headset and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. When selecting your audio output source, be sure you pick “headphones.” Selecting headset gives all the mono quality of Bluetooth 1.0. You’ll come back here thinking I lied about the sound quality. I didn’t. Your computer just wants to confuse you.
The last feature I should mention is call interruption. There is none. The best experience I had with the Cerulean was streaming music while I was doing some work, hearing my phone ring, and being able to instantly pick up my phone and take the call. The music paused and, on hangup, resumed where it had left off. That’s good on both the iPhone and the Cerulean RX.
The iSkin Cerulean RX is a great device for cutting the cords between your audio source and your speaker system. Sure, it’s on the more expensive side of wireless solutions at $89.99, but you’re really paying for versatility. iSkin did a smart thing by including all the cables necessary to use the unit wherever you see fit. Remember to get that USB plug from Amazon if you’re planning to put your Cerulean RX on a non-dock stereo. PIck one up from the iSkin store.
Organizing your iPhone apps can be a bit of a pain, mostly because the OS won’t allow empty space between your apps, even while your organizing. The result is something like a tile puzzle as you try to determine where your apps will go if you drag Skype out of place.
There have been some rumors that iTunes 9 houses a simpler method, but none of that is official and there’s always the question: when? If you’re willing to jailbreak your phone, the answer could be simple: now. Indie Mac developer Jeff Stieler put together a little app called Movement, which will display your current apps side by side in panes. You can then drag and drop any app you choose, even multiple apps at once, to any page you like. When you save the changes to your iPhone or iPod Touch, the program also gives you the option to backup your changes so you can revert at any time.
Let me reiterate that this requires jailbreaking to work and is only available for Mac. If you’re in desperate need of a simple organization tool, this is a great candidate. If you aren’t the tinkering type, though, I’d probably steer clear.
I’ve been curious to see the Blackberry Storm 2 in action for some time now, and today I thought I’d gotten my wish. Twitter user Salmondrin (whose account has apparently been pulled) has put together a decent video detailing the tech behind the Storm 2′s new screen, and he’s made it pretty easy to understand for the layman. You can find the video
For the tech savvy user, which I’m assuming most readers here to be, the video leaves a lot to be desired. It’s definitely a nice introduction – Salmondrin gives us the CDMA/GSM breakdown (both models coming, the former on Verizon, the latter on AT&T), confirms Wi-Fi, and describes in detail the differences between the original Storm and the Storm 2. What he leaves out, though, is a thorough demonstration of the new screen, which is really what sets the phone apart from both the original Storm and Apple’s iPhone.
Please don’t misunderstand me. Salmondrin does describe the way the screen works. It’s a piezo-electric screen, meaning it’s stiff when there’s no power running through it, but the screen yields to a more squishy, clickable form when presented with a current. Unlike the original Storm, which could only be clicked in one location at a time, the PE screen allows multiple point clicking, which is a big win if you’re typing fairly quickly. What isn’t clear, though, is how well typing works in that situation. Salmondrin keeps says multiple times without actually revealing anything new that the Storm 2 is better than the Storm and better than the iPhone.
I’m not here to say that the iPhone’s screen is the best thing I’ve ever held, but it’s responsive, quick, and despite my big fingers I’m able to type fairly accurately. Part of the speed, to be honest, comes from the fact that I’m not actually pushing anything. Requiring that kind of pressure is actually worse for someone with big hands because it’s harder to keep a good grip on the phone and reproduce the pressure in quick successive strokes. Now I haven’t held a Storm 2, so I don’t know how well it works. Salmondrin has, and he could have told us. He could have demoed the keyboard by typing words with letters in close proximity, like “r” and “t”. Then we would have at least seen the radius of sensitivity with each press. After watching the video it’s still not clear whether the keyboard is intentionally laid over a grid of PE squares, where one square corresponds to one key, or if it’s a sort of spongey plane that can click just about anywhere.
Instead, all we got was a few shots of him clicking the screen in places and crowing about how great that feature is. Is it an improvement over the original Storm? Sure. But that’s true of most any touch screen. Is it really the “huge advantage” Salmondrin claims? I have no idea. He didn’t demo the thing enough for me to tell.
According to Engadget, a Japanese reader sent this pic of the install disc that came with said reader’s new Mac Mini. Notice anything strange? Yup, that’s OS 10.6, version 1.0, aka Snow Leopard.
As always, the disc could be a fake, but it’s quite possibly the lamest thing to fake on the planet. So you got that under-the-hood update a week before everyone else. Neat. You do have to wonder, though, how did Apple let this one slip out? If it wasn’t a slip, we would have seen pictures from other recent purchases, no doubt. Then again, it could be that all the people who care about this sort of thing wouldn’t buy a computer the week before a new OS is set to release.
Either way, the pic probably, most likely, near definitely adds credence to the rumored August 28th ship date for the new operating system.
TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington has been one of the most prominent industry voices against Apple’s rejection of the Google Voice app. He was so miffed, in fact, that he gave up his iPhone for a myTouch 3G to be a part of initial GV Mobile testing. The FCC has since started to investigate the situation with regard to market competition and sent Apple backtracking. It’s become pretty clear over the past couple days that Apple acted alone in denying the app, and that no one, not even the FCC, is happy with their (Apple’s) decision.
Back to Arrington. He’s put together the best comprehensive analysis of the proceedings I’ve seen in the past few days. I’ve always kept an ear to the wall where Mr. Arrington decides to voice an opinion, and he has what might be some promising news for iPhone owners.
Here’s what you need to know. Several sources within Google confirmed to TechCrunch that it was indeed Apple who rejected the app – not AT&T and certainly not Google. Apple now denies ever rejecting the app, suggesting instead that it’s still under review because it could possibly take over for the iPhone’s native features, a claim that appears to be patently false.
The outcome? Arrington believes, for what seems to me good reason, that we’ll see the app pushed through in short order. Apple has been scrambling lately to revamp their approval process, making concessions for apps that have been previously denied. They’re also citing reasons for denial that are simply untrue or easily disproved. According to Arrington, that all points to approval. In his words:
Here’s what we believe Apple is preparing to do next. Their statement that they haven’t rejected the app, along with the long laundry list of complaints (none of which are true) tells us that they’re backtracking, and fast. Sometime soon, we guess, Apple will simply accept the Google Voice application. They have to – any serious investigation into the app by the FCC will show that the complaints around the app are unfounded and that it does none of the things Apple accuses it of doing. So Apple will save face by simply asking Google to ensure that the App doesn’t take over native phone, sms and other functions, and doesn’t sync the contacts to Google’s servers. Google will comply (they already have), and Apple will graciously accept the application.
That would certainly be a win for consumers, though it might be too late to win someone like Arrington back. He’s already fallen in love with Google Voice on Android. With such a ridiculous approval process and the fact that it took federal involvement to get the thing going, I can understand the angst. Unfortunately, I didn’t found TechCrunch, so no one asks me to help roll out the early iterations of what could be the best thing to happen to phones since the cell tower.
There have been rumors for some time that Apple might be letting Snow Leopard out of the cage (sorry, had to) before September. Whether it’s a mistake or not, it looks like the UK Apple Store is confirming that rumor with a posted August 28th ship date.
That could mean the item ships on the 28th with delayed postage so you don’t get it until September, but that seems a little unlikely. It looks like you may see Snow Leopard on your porch as early as next weekend. A couple Engadget tipsters also pointed out that the US up-to-date program has a confirmed ship date of August 28th, despite the posted September ship date.
As you’ll probably recall, Snow Leopard is more a behind-the-scenes update than anything else, bringing all core apps up to 64-bit performance and adding that nifty three- and four-finger gesture functionality to pre-unibody Macbooks. My girlfriend is going to be so…oh wait, no. She doesn’t care at all.