So, here’s what all the fuss is about. The iPod nano is tiny - thinner than a standard #2 pencil, and 1/3 the size of the discontinued iPod mini. It weighs just 1.5 ounces, and has a 14-hour battery life. This one is going to sell a ton, with a 2 GB model selling for $199 USD, and a 4 GB model retailing at $249 USD. We hope to have our hands on one as early as tomorrow.
Read More | iPod nano Product Page
Steve keeps the goods coming with the announcement of an iTunes update that will be available later today. iTunes 5.0 includes a host of updates, some major, others subtle. One change within the Music Store is the addition of album reviews. There are already at least 1000 album reviews in version 5.0, so it shouldn’t be too hard to see what they look like once the download becomes available. On the Windows side of things, iTunes will now be able to sync Outlook contact and calendar data to the iPod (iTunes Mac has been doing this with Address Book and iCal). There are also improvements to how iTunes handles shuffled music, adding in a Smart Shuffle feature, allowing you to tweak just how random you want the music to be.
Hulger has busted out with the best Skype/Gizmo/Google Talk headset yet, providing that retro feel: the P*PHONE. The P*PHONE is their premier old school style headset but it comes with a Y*CORD adapter, allowing the use of the P*PHONE by simply plugging in to the standard microphone and headset jacks from your computer. Ringing in at about $75, I think I will be picking one up for my grandparents - who do you know that would like one?
During this morning’s keynote, Steve Jobs just announced a new iPod that is inspired by a third party. With the announcement that all six Harry Potter novels will be available in audio form exclusively to the iTunes Music Store, Steve also made it known that Apple has made a Harry Potter iPod, which will have Hogwart’s crest etched into the back. The Apple Store is now down, which means that we can expect to see the Harry Potter iPod, along with the other new products being introduced, within the next couple of hours.
So, what’s not to love about Sharp’s newly introduced M4000 WideNote? This one is truly thin and slick, weighing in at just 3.7 pounds with a 13.3-inch WXGA widescreen display that they are touting as being as bright and clear as a desktop monitor. On the inside is an Intel Pentium M 740 (fancy speak for 1.73 GHz), 80 GB hard drive, CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, modem and ethernet ports, PCMCIA slot, SD card slot, and Windows XP Professional SP2. The best part about the whole package is that the battery packs a whopping 6 hour charge. That just rocks. It will ship later this month, retailing at $1,799.99 USD. From this angle, it looks a bit PowerBook-ish, no?
Read More | Mobile Mag
Oh, how cute - a stuffed dog that can spy on you! The Genius Look 312P webcam is fairly unique, in that the whole “cam” part of the contraption is hidden in the nose of our plush canine friend. The dog connects to a Windows or Linux PC over USB 1.1, and records at 0.3 megapixels. For still images, it takes a standard 1.3 megapixel shot. The manufacturer claims compatibility with MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and CUSeeMe, but I don’t think I’m alone in assuming that this should work with just about anything that your standard webcam is compatible with.
Read More | Genius
FEMA’s online registration site for victims of Hurricane Katrina is browser specific, throwing another completely unneeded wrench into an already dismal situation for Katrina survivors. Users of other browsers are greeted by this cheerful message upon trying to login:
Download it from Microsoft or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to register.
Fantastic. Actually, wait, no. It’s not. It’s simple to fix and sheer laziness on the part of whoever threw the site up. It’s not acceptable, seeing as people may not have access or time to download and install a new browser, for one. Additionally, why make things harder for people who’ve already had it pretty darn hard (and that’s an understatement) to begin with, but that’s just the beginning. In an article from Ars Technica:
Something so minor has become a considerable problem for relief workers, who are attempting to setup as many kiosks as possible for refugees. Workers on the ground have told Ars Technica that they would prefer to avoid setting up Windows XP workstations because they take longer to setup, and even longer to properly patch and configure for use.
XP hardware requirements, while not impressive by today’s standards, rule out using some donated hardware as well. Furthermore, legitimate copies of Windows also cost money, and relief workers are trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can go.
The last thing we really need in a disaster situation is the need for licensing copies of Windows at a high price, software that won’t work on the donated hardware, viruses, security problems, and people waiting for Windows to install (which, on my uber-slick hand-built PC, took three hours and then another hour and a half to patch and update everything). On donated hardware, probably not top-of-the-line brand new stuff like mine… I don’t even want to think of how long it could take.
Nice move, FEMA. Fix it. This is not acceptable.
Read More | ArsTechnica
I love Mac OS X’s Dashboard feature. Consequently, I’m always searching for new, useful, fun, or just plain awesome widgets to install to make my life easier (or more entertaining). Even some that aren’t useful to me personally have made it onto the list because they’re just solid, awesome little widgets. So here are my top picks for widgets that need to be downloaded.
DashBlog is an incredibly user-friendly widget that lets you write and publish to your Blogger account through Dashboard, without having to open an application like MacBlog or login through Blogger’s web-interface. All you have to do is open Dashboard, write an entry, and post it to your blog. It’s a perfect example of a great, must-have widget that I had to include even though I’ve no use for it, since I prefer to publish my website entirely by hand. However, if you use Blogger, this one is a must.
Read More | DashBlog
Proxify Anonymous Surfing
If you’re a little on the “paranoid” side and don’t want people to know who you are as you visit their website or what have you, Proxify’s Anonymous Surfing widget is for you. All you do is type in the address you’re going to, and Proxify hides your IP address and prevents monitoring of your network traffic, allowing you to surf confident that nobody’s watchin- unless they’re actually in your room looking at your computer. That would be creepy.
Read More | Proxify Anonymous Surfing
Mini CPU Heat and Mini CPU Usage
I can’t even begin to describe how unbelievably useful this one has been. I use a PowerBook G4, which are known to run very hot. This widget helps me keep an eye on my CPU temp with no muss and fuss - pop open Dashboard, glance, and go back to what I was doing. An absolute must-have. Additionally, if you’re like me and always want to keep a watchful eye on your Mac, the mini CPU Usage widget will keep you informed with a touch of a button and goes hand in hand with mini CPU heat. It can read as a numeric value, or as a progress bar, whichever works best for you.
Many people have stories about how they never need to shut down their Mac, as they leave it running 24-7 with no problems. Well, now you have a way to track your uptime right on Dashboard. So if you’re looking for a way to show off your uptime for bragging rights, or just for your own curiousity, this widget needs to be on your dashboard.
Read More | miniUptime
Let us know which widgets you find most useful in the comments area.
Let me get this out of the way; I’m a keyboard snob. I’ve been typing for a very long time, and still have fond memories of my IBM Selectronic (with its very nice “buckling spring” keys), and my old Northgate Omnikey, with those wonderful programmable keys. (Geek Cred +2) I hoard keyboards like they’re going out of style, because you never know when a company will stop making the perfect keyboard and leave you out in the cold.
However, since developing some severe RSI in both wrists, I had to move to a more ergonomic keyboard; a standard “straight” keyboard would have my wrists in flames in less than 10 minutes. Microsoft was one of the first companies to perform major research into ergonomics, and developed the first of what would become known as a “split” keyboard, branded under the “Natural” moniker.
The first of the Natural keyboards, the Natural Pro, was a gift from the almighty himself. As with any new keyboard layout, it took some adjustment to get used to it, but I noticed right away that the RSI that I’d developed was gone. Spending a little more time practicing with the keyboard, and my typing speeds improved even over my previous scores, and the keyboard had a fantastic “aural” response. You could hear me typing on that thing from across the office. There were some differences in the key layout, however, that had some people up in arms. Microsoft would change the layout of the 3x2 key grouping that contained the Delete, Insert, Home, etc., to a 2x3 layout of only five keys … removing the Insert key entirely and doubling the size of the Delete key. It was a controversial change, but one I came to embrace.
A series of refinements came to the line, starting with the slimmer “Elite” model, which many people still swear by to this day, but which also came with a new key configuration for the arrow keys, changing the “inverted T” to a cross layout with smaller keys. The Natural Multimedia would come later, adding specific keys for commonly used programs, as well as a two-port USB hub, but it retained that wonderful loud “clackity” sound. After that, it seemed as if there was no further development into the ergonomic keyboard design, and rumors started to spread that they simply weren’t selling as well as they should.
Finally, when Microsoft jumped into wireless technologies, they released a wireless desktop set called the Wireless Optical Desktop Pro. It features a wireless version of the Natural Multimedia with slick translucent keys, and while the sound had been reduced somewhat, it was still easy to hear when you were making good contact with the keys. They also introduced an “F-Lock button, which can convert your F-keys into dedicated keyboard shortcuts for New, Open, Close, etc. Today, I use the Natural Multimedia at work, and the Natural Desktop Pro at home. The wireless feature ended up being far more useful than I had anticipated … sometimes it’s nice to be able to just grab the keyboard and toss it aside to give yourself more desk space.
Om Malik has a great article up on his blog where he lists his 10 ‘must have’ apps for the Mac. His list includes a few applications that I would recommend for any Internet entrepreneur using OS X. One that I didn’t see on his list is Transmit, a great FTP client for the Mac. If you have ‘made the switch’, you should check out this list of great applications. In additon, let us know which programs you consider to be hidden gems.
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