Apple

Windows Live Messenger for Mac 6.0

[tag]Messenger[/tag] 6.0 is now available for the Mac, download it here. It still does not support A/V, but they say it is coming in a future release.

By now, some of you have heard the news. Today we launched Messenger for Mac 6.0, our first Universal application! It includes some exciting things, like federation with Yahoo, the ability to show what I’m listening to on my iTunes and a spell checker (yea!) as well as features that have been long standing requests like support for animated and custom emoticons. However, I know a number of you are bound to ask: Where is A/V in Messenger for Mac!?!?

I said in my first blog entry that I’d try to shed light on how feature decisions get made, give you some examples, and address why A/V isn’t in this release. Source: Messenger: haves and hA/Ve nots

Messenger 6.0 allows you to interact with Yahoo! Messenger, it can display the “What I’m Listening To” from iTunes, has a spell checker and support for animated and custom icons. They said WLM and LCS, Live Communication Services, are not in sync, so instead of trying to A/V using two different sets of code, they are waiting until they sync up and move to a shared protocol in upcoming releases.

And so the blog entry of theirs announcing the release actually goes into detail on why audio/video isn’t there yet; they’ll be moving to a new protocol for both Windows Live Messenger and Live Communications Server, and they’d rather nto waste time implementing both the old any the new one. Now, that explanation makes sense now, but it didn’t for, oh, the past several years, when this very same request kept coming up. Perhaps they didn’t have the resources to do it, and now they finally do; that’s great. But still: if Yahoo! and Skype can pull it off, why can’t Microsoft, who are certainly five orders of a magnitude bigger than Skype? Source: MacBU stuff today.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 28, 2006 at 11:18 am

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News   Tags: ,

Microsoft Zune vs. iPod Comparisons

Was reading the Zune Insider Blog, via digg, and he as posted a list of six sites with Zune vs iPod comparisons.

A few folks put together Zune-iPod comparisons and I wanted to link to them.

Zune Groove is one such site and they say,

We dug up this nice little chart putting the Zune specs and iPod specs head-to-head. I’d say these two are very close in terms of what each offers. iPod seems to have the size edge, but as far as sharing your content it goes to the Zune hands down.

Battery life is also similar with the iPod looking to beat the Zune by a little. Though this may also be slightly inaccurate due to customers complaining of the dwindling battery life the iPod seems to endure.

Let’s just hope the Zune doesn’t suffer the same fate

Not a whole lot of info, but it may be interesting to people thinking of purchasing a Zune when they come out.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 26, 2006 at 2:48 pm

Categories: Apple, Hardware, Reviews   Tags: , ,

Apple Issues Security Patches

Something that doesn’t happen near as much as it does with Windows, Apple released three security patches today, here, to see other security updates, go here.

The first, CVE-2006-3507, affects Power Mac, PowerBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve, and PowerPC-based Mac mini, the second, CVE-2006-3508, affects, Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with wireless, and the third, CVE-2006-3509, affects Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with wireless.

Impact: Attackers on the wireless network may cause arbitrary code execution

Description: Two separate stack buffer overflows exist in the AirPort wireless driver’s handling of malformed frames. An attacker in local proximity may be able to trigger an overflow by injecting a maliciously-crafted frame into a wireless network. When the AirPort is on, this could lead to arbitrary code execution with system privileges. This issue affects Power Mac, PowerBook, iBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve, and PowerPC-based Mac mini computers equipped with wireless. Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers are not affected. There is no known exploit for this issue. This update addresses the issues by performing additional validation of wireless frames. Source: Apple

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 22, 2006 at 3:14 am

Categories: Apple, Security   Tags:

Microsoft Pulled Zune Pricing, They Will Not Be Undersold

The reason there was no pricing information released when Microsoft released the Zune announcement, the Apple price cut took them by surprise, so they pulled the pricing at the last minute to wait and see what happens. It is said they are taking a “We will not be undersold” approach, in preparations to make it’s run against Apple market dominance. Undercutting the price of the iPod is a major goal of Microsoft’s, according to insiders, and they want to at least match a comparable iPod and hope to undercut it.

American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu echoed such reports on Friday, saying that the firm believes “Microsoft is re-thinking its pricing strategy amid potential wider losses to stay competitive in the marketplace.”

The iPod’s new low price throws a wrench into Microsoft’s plans. The company now needs to decide whether it can afford taking a second large financial risk by sticking to its previous pricing strategy, or hope its increased feature set can buoy the Zune at a price equal to or slightly higher than the iconic iPod. Source: BetaNews

This is a tricky situation for Microsoft, compete on features or on price, it will be hard to do both. The digital music player market is completely different from say the gaming console market, where you can loose money on each system sold and make it up in game sales. Most of Apple’s money is made on the sale of the iPod as not to many users are throwing down big bucks for music, yet, so Microsoft can’t hope to make up money on music sales as the market is probably not there yet.

Shoot low Microsoft, I’ll buy one if its cheap, for sure.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 19, 2006 at 2:39 pm

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News   Tags: , , ,

With the New iPods, Profit is the Word

Analysts at Gartner say Apple has focused the release of the new iPods for profit and not market share, like canceling the 1gig iPod, which they say could have been a big seller. But since Apple has over 75% of the market, they feel they can price it a little higher and not cut the prices like they did previously. What this will do, is, it will give Microsoft and the Zune Player an opportunity to slide in for some extra market share. Combine this with Microsoft promoting itself as the next generation MP3 Player and the iPod as the Pong of digital music, and Microsoft may be able to do something, especially if some young enterprising hacker cracks the DRM and the 3 day or 3 play limitation.

The top sign Apple is going for the green is its lack of aggressive pricing, according to Gartner analysts Joseph Unsworth and Jon Erensen in a Monday report. The second-generation iPod shuffle, for example, could have been priced closer to $49 to stimulate demand from users, since the cost of materials going into it amounts to only $30, the analysts said. Instead, the shuffle is priced at $79.

The company could have also priced the new 8GB nano product lower than $249, since its materials only cost $130, Gartner said, the same with its 4GB, which at $199 is far higher than the $90 worth of materials inside, and the 2GB version, which is $149 and is made from materials costing only $70.

The two Gartner researchers even lamented Apple’s decision to discontinue the 1GB nano, which they say could have been a nice mass-market item for around $99.

“Apple is in a secure position atop the portable media player market and has decided to strategically focus on its margin this time,” the analysts said.

I don’t know about most people, but if I know someone is beefing up the price on me, it tends to push me somewhere else.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - at 2:09 am

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News, Tech News   Tags: ,

Google and Apple Sitting in a Tree

Talking about Video ing. This is the word from the BBC, via Engadget.

US magazine Newsweek reports that Google is talking to Apple about supplying video clips for the player.

The iTV device lets users watch video content stored on their desktop PC on their home TVs.

Google’s consumer product chief, Marissa Mayer, told Newsweek that the two companies are “engaged in talks”.

And with Google’s Eric Schmidt on Apple’s board of directors, this is probably already a done deal, but we won’t hear anything else until it comes out. Not that there is anything on Google video that I would like to see on my TV, it does open up some possibilities for some of these video creators. Their biggest competitor will be Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 in conjunction with a PC running Windows Media Center Edition or Vista with a TV tuner card will be able to stream live TV and vice versa.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 18, 2006 at 3:43 pm

Categories: Apple, Hardware   Tags: , ,

iPod the Pong of Digital Music

In an interview with Gizmodo, Microsoft’s J Allard called the iPod the Pong of digital music.

Giz: Why should iPod users switch to a Zune?

J Allard:The wrong consumer to start with is…

the one who says “You’ll take my ipod from my cold clammy hands.”
People love their social networks, though. If they’re over email, IM, or on the web, it’s integrated into their lives. We want to bring that to portable music. Digital music is far front done. Ipod is the Pong of digital music. Let’s take it to the next level. And connected is what its all about.

The other thing is video. It’s a much more inclusive part of people’s life. Especially tail end video [referring to Wired and Chris Anderson's Long Tail theories]. How do we bring that to pockets? Oh yes: People said we want a bigger screen [than the ipod].

Now, before you take that as an attack on Apple, I need to say what he was trying to say. He was saying the iPod is the first big hit of digital music, hell, I’d still play pong if it was put in front of me, wouldn’t you? Many, many people own an iPod, we have two, the original 20 gig with the black and white screen and my boy owns a Nano, with all of its wonderful scratches. Heck, we have a local radio station that calls itself xPod, for whatever reason, they don’t fit in my pocket, they don’t just play songs that I like, and play way too much Poison. Sounds dumb when they say it, “xPod Radio”.

Apple should take the statement to heart though, if what he says is true, that means the iPod will be going away to be replaced by the next generation digital music player, and we all know which one Microsoft hopes it will be, Zune. Allard even spoke about the Wifi capabilities of Zune, saying,

Put WiFi in, start with one or two scenarios that users will understand. A few times a year, we’ll update the firmware, and let consumers do new and exciting things.

I like the sounds of this, Zune will start with the ability for users to share music with outher Zune devices,

Wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing lets consumers spontaneously share full-length sample tracks of select songs, homemade recordings, playlists or pictures with friends between Zune devices. Listen to the full track of any song you receive up to three times over three days. If you like a song you hear and want to buy it, you can flag it right on your device and easily purchase it from the Zune Marketplace.

With the prospect of them adding to these abilities, this one doesn’t sound as bad, of course three times or three days suck, but we all know some young enterprising young hacker will figure out how to bypass the DRM, and will all be sharing mp3′s until our hearts content. Not that I would or want to. ;)

While I kind of agree about the iPod being the first big thing, I don’t think they will lay down and go away, Apple has bigs things planned for the iPod, remember,

Apple is in your den
Apple is in your living room
Apple is in your car
Apple is in your pocket

at least in Apple’s picture of the future of digital music.

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 15, 2006 at 9:49 pm

Categories: Apple, Microsoft News   Tags: , ,

How to Backup the Music on Your iPod

Apple has added some new and very welcome features in iTunes version 7, one at least they didn’t allow before. Previously they would not let you sync your iPod with more than one computer, sure I know it was possible, my 12 year old did it with several of his friends, but it wasn’t supported. Now, you can reverse sync and they are pushing it as a feature. Say you have a home pc and your iPod already synced, now you can take it to your work pc and sync it up with your iPod, but it only works with music and videos purchased from iTunes.

Here is the new big feature:
You can now backup the music from your iPod straight to CD or DVD.

iTunes 7 has really breathed some new life into that venerable jukebox software. One of the most useful new features is ‘Back Up to Disc,’ which is located under the ‘File’ menu of iTunes. This feature allows you to back up all your tracks to either CD or DVD.

Sounds great, right? But is it easy? Yes, yes it is. Read on for a detailed step by step tutorial.

Once you click the ‘Back up to disk..’ option you get this window:

Visit The Unofficial Apple Weblog for the complete set of instructions.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 13, 2006 at 5:42 pm

Categories: Apple, Backup, How To   Tags: ,

Another Bad Review for Windows Vista

Well, maybe review is to strong of a word for the article Chris Pirillo wrote about Windows Vista RC1, he mainly talks about the OS looking schizophrenic, as he says it’s all about the UI, user interface, for hiim.

Sadly, the first release candidate for Windows Vista feels more like an alpha to me (or early beta, at best). I’m not talking about performance issues, which will most likely be improved upon before this OS goes gold. No, it’s all about a cohesive user experience / user interface for me. Vista fails on most UI fronts. It doesn’t look or behave similarly across any part of the operating system. Even more sad? That’s by design, folks.

A lot of comments in the article say they are unsubscribing because all he does is whine, but I think that is built into blogging, someone makes you mad or disapoints you and you blog about it, so a lot of blogs look like all they do is whine. Chris has been online in tech community for a long time, with Lockergnome, Tech TV and his many, many other projects, so he is usually a good resource. Looks like he has become, maybe has been, an Apple fan, in another article he lists some reasons why the $149 upgrade price is reasonable for Leopard,

You *MUST* watch every single one of these Leopard videos to understand why I believe the price is completely justified. Apple issues security updates constantly (and no doubt will wrap them into Leopoard as well). This isn?t a service pack, dude. These are not trivial upgrades. You combine the features of this list with better parental control, seamless 64-bit compatibilities, wider accessibility, and? and? and? knowing that Apple will have another set of new, incremental, and system-wide upgrades in another couple years? Game over.

Lots of good discussion and of course the old Apple vs Windows comments are flying, here is one good quote from a user

understand people were expecting more from Vista for less money but how much more and for how much less? It?s funny, it seems as if people had such high hopes for Vista that when it falls short they turn on it in anger for having let them down. Vista does have it?s flaws, some major and the Microsoft marketing dept. screwed up by calling this an RC but I’ll put a case of Guinness on the fact that if you compare Leopard to Vista 6 months from now neither will be a clear victor over the other and people will continue to buy their OS mostly based on emotion vs. technical merits. That really is Apple’s only advantage, they can get you to think about their products with your heart and turn off your brain as in the case of iTunes+iPod. They can make “Spaces” seem like rocket fuel while Microsoft has offered the same thing free for years as a tucked away, bland, beige, boring download. Yup, Apple is *much* better at applying the lube and it must be flavoured as well.

Definitely worth reading, whether you agree with Chris, or not.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 9, 2006 at 5:47 pm

Categories: Apple, Windows Vista   Tags: ,

Random Apple Macbook Shutdowns

Techmeme is a great site, not only because it lists todays stories, but it lists all the popular stories circulating blogdom. Today I came accross this article on people having trouble with random shutdowns on their Macbooks.

Do a google search for “macbook random shutdown” and you’ll find many people with similar problems reporting on various forums. At present, this issue has not been picked up by the mainstream PC news media. However, one should also note that only a fraction of those with problems are suffering this particular fault. A large number of other reasons must be ruled out before a MacBook owner should become convinced their machine is one which suffers this problem. Bad RAM, poorly seated RAM, improperly installed hard drive, corrupted OS, corrupted plists, bad batteries, bad chargers, corrupted PMU, and corrupted NVRAM all need to be ruled out first!

My own MacBook suffered the random sudden shutdown malady and eventually required complete replacement after a logic board replacement did not solve the issue. Some of the MacBooks appear to have a hardware problem which surfaces after a period of use. Many reported their problems starting after a month of ownership. Coincidentally, that also coincided with the release of 10.4.7, but most likely that is not at the root of the sudden, random, shutdown problems.

The article goes on to list troubleshooting techniques and things to try, definitely work looking at if you are having similar troubles.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - September 5, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Categories: Apple, Shutdown Problems, Tech News   Tags: , ,

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