Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category
Yesterday, Apple announced new MacBooks and MacBook Pro’s. The 17″ MacBook Pro has the same housing as the previous version, but the 15″ has an updated casing which is similar to the iMacs. The 13″ MacBook is also updated and has the same casing as the MacBook Pro, making the difference between the two product families smaller. I think the new looks are pretty nice.
A nice innovation is the new trackpad is made from glass and support multi touch gestures (similar to the iPhone I suppose). The screen of the new laptops are using LED backlight and in order to support external monitors, a Mini Displayport connector is used. Unfortunately, the 13″ MacBook lacks a Firewire port.
In addition to the new laptops, Apple also introduced a 24″ Cinema Display, specifically targeted to laptops. A very good feature of this monitor is the inclusion of a MagSafe powerconnector, which charges a MacBook without the need of a seperate power adapter.
According to Twitter, the new laptops are received pretty well. The main complaint is the missing Firewire connector and the pricing of the new models. Fortunately, the old (white) MacBook is still available for a reduced price.
Of course, I want such a new MacBook, but unfortunately, my current MacBook is only one year old and therefore I have to do with this one for another two years. Unfortunately, the screen of my MacBook broke down this week, and therefore needs to be repared…
Last week, I installed Ubuntu 8.04 in a Parallels Virtual Machine on my MacBook. Today, I decided it would be nice if the Parallels tools were working, so I tried to install them. This didn’t work.
After some searching using Google, I discovered this is a known problem, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution for it yet. On a forum there is a topic on this issue in which some complaining about this, because VMWare Fusion seems to work perfectly well with the latest Ubuntu release. There is also no comments from the Parallels developers on this issue, which is a bad thing in my opinion, because it is a serious issue. Like most Parallels users, I mainly use it to test stuff on Linux and Windows, which requires a perfect working of both platforms to make this as effortless as possible. Hopefully, this issue will be resolved quickly, because this kind of stuff makes users switch from Parallels to VMWare.
Due to the fact that Apple (and Linux distributions as well) may not use the Windows logo because of copyright restrictions, Apple had to find another way to represent Windows system when browsing the network. In my opinion they found an alternative which is accurate and funny in the same time:
Of course, some people are insulted by this way of representing a Windows system. They claim that Apple degrade all systems not running OS X as inferior. I agree with Jakub Steiner who claims that it is a very recognizable. I think it is cool.
According to AppleInsider the Mac mini is nearing end-of-life this month. The site reports that Apple resellers do not get new supply of the mini computer. I wonder if the Mac mini will dissappear completely from Apple’s product list, or that a replacement will be announced. The Mac mini is a nice computer for people to get familiar with Mac OS X without paying a premium price. The current models are quite fast and should be at least sufficient for most people who only use their computer for browsing the Internet, editting family pictures and doing some word processing. The first generation Mac mini’s, the ones with the G4 processor, were a little slow, but the current models have Core Duo processors, which are identical to the ones in the MacBook. Only time will tell, I guess.
‘Hello from Seattle’ is Microsoft’s alternative on the Zune to the ‘Designed by Apple in California’ that is printed on the packaging of Apple products. I think it is a bit of sad in a way an indicator that Microsoft is actually losing its leading position on the IT market. I don’t think it is a very good sign that you have to imitate (or react, depending on your view) this kind of gimmicks of the competitor.
Last weekend was quite busy. We went to the Efteling because the employer of my girlfriend was having a family day there. It was very nice, especially because the weather was exeptional good for this time of the year.
I also read today about a new mainbord from ASUS which incorporates a embedded Linux installation for configuring the system and also provides some functionality, such as Skype. I think it is a nice idea, but unfortunately, it is a little expensive with a price of 360 dollars. You can buy a complete system for that money.
Rikkert Koppes has created a library which enables some Web Forms 2.0 elements for existing browsers. Not all additions are implemented and some parts, like css pseudo classes, work a little different than in it will be in the ‘real’ WF2 implementtions, but it is a very nice start and I think it can definitely be useful in web applications (especially the various date controls).
Because I now use a Macbook for development, I had to install some stuff I needed for development. Unfortunately, Mac OS X does not provide a convenient method to install all the stuff using a single tool (such as apt-get/Synaptic on Ubuntu), but installing some basic stuff is not very difficult. After some research, I choose to install the following packages:
- PHP 5
Read on for the location of the packages I used (more…)
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the battle against buttons at Apple which is lead by CEO Steve Jobs. The article explains why he thinks buttons are evil and how various important people in the history of Apple think about this issue. For example Bruce Tognazzini, who worked with Norman and Nielsen, mentions in the article that Jobs did not want arrow keys on the keyboard for the Apple II computer in order to stimulate software developers to support the Apple mouse instead of relying on keyboard navigation. Other obvious examples of the ‘battle against buttons’ designs are obviously the iPod and the recently introduced iPhone. Very intresting article, and I think this ‘vision’ is one of the key factors for the user friendliness of the Apple products. Although some people do not agree with this statement…
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, has posted an open letter on the site of its company. In the letter he claims that Apple will embrace DRM-free music if content providers will allow this. It is quite interesting, regarding the fact that Apple in fact made DRM-protected music popular by means of its iTunes Music Store. On the other hand, it takes some courage to state in public that he, as CEO of the largest online music store, thinks it would be better if digital music is available unprotected. Microsoft clearly doesn’t have this courage, regarding the fact that DRM is a very important part of Windows Vista and even makes it easier for record companies to keep using DRM, because it is harder to circumvent the protection and the common public is made ‘familiar’ with the concept. But Microsoft now has a fairly minimal market-share in digital music, while Apple hasn’t. The open letter of Jobs could also be seen as a publicity stunt (the publicity is obvious of importance in this case), because the critical part of the consumers (a part of the so-called ‘early adopters’ and people standing for ‘free information’), are loudly protesting against DRM. DRM-protected downloads is not the success some companies probably hoped, and it clearly is not a protection against piracy (as I pointed out earlier, and Steve Jobs also mentions in his letter). Because DRM-protected music is not popular, some companies are experimenting with unprotected music. This way, the music companies were the first a small step to make unprotected distribution of music, and it seems that Jobs sees this as a change to push the companies a little further. If he succeeds, he obviously gains more popularity amongst people who are against DRM….
Yesterday, Apple finally introduced the iPhone. This new telephone integrates an iPod, internet tablet and telephone in one. Apple claims that this new telephone is ahead of the competition, and I think they are very right. Taking the video’s on the web site as a reference, it seems the usability of the iPhone is very good. Almost every cell phone I have used has major flaws in usability, and it is not a second to early that a company is going to improve this.
Obviously, a very large touchscreen makes it easier to create a nice user interface, but other phone companies could have done this as well. I think this is also the first telefphone which can function normally as a music player. My current telefphone, a Nokia 6230, has also the capability to play music, but the user interface is impossible to use. The same holds for my Palm Tungsten E2 (but this can be solved by installing other music player software). I predict that the iPhone is going to be a huge success.
Other strong features of the phone are the possibility to install other applications (widgets), browse the internet in a normal way (using 802.11a/b/g technology) and obviously integration with the Apple Mac. The touchscreen is also nice, because it doesn’t require the use of a seperate pen to use it; you can just use your finger to control it. The motion sensor is a nice feature, but not essential I think.
There are already people saying that this product isn’t innovative (but at the same time says Windows Vista is innovative, to I doubt I should take these people serious anyway). I do not agree with these statements. This telephone is definitely innovative because of the previous mentioned points. Current smartphones are just a collection of hardware and a bunch of software, creating the feel of a collection of stuff grabbed together instead of a integrated device. This latter is caused by the fact that telefphone companies think they should introduce a new model every three months (or something) which is in no way enough time to engineer a decent product. Even Motorola with the RAZR phone included iTunes support, but the user interface was very crappy. This caused that the phone was not a success and resulted in a missed oportunity by Motorola. I think Apple is going to make a lot of money on the iPhone, and they deserve it, because it is the first company spending time on designing a good user interface for a mobile phone. I think that I may buy an iPhone when it is available in the Netherlands and the price is not unreasonable high.
Nokia introduced earlier this week the N800, a successor to the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet. With the N800 it is not possible to make telephone calls (because it has no GSM modele). The device is designed to use as a portable internet device and music player. The nice part on the N800 is that it runs Linux and uses GTK+ as the toolkit for its user interface. This is the same toolkit used by Gnome, and a lot of developers working on Gnome are also working on this Nokia device. Unfortunately, I think the Apple iPhone is more useable than the Nokia, because it has also the possibility to be used as telephone and doesn’t require a Wifi-network for using the internet part of the device.
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