Monday, January 30, 2006

Blog software on Mac OS X: Ecto

Continuing with my coverage of blogging software for Mac OS X, which started with a post about MarsEdit and iBlog, let us talk a little bit about what I think is a better software for blogging on Macs: Ecto.

Ecto is made by Adriaan Tijsseling, a programmer who is author of other nice software for Mac OS X. The basic system allows the addition of multiple user accounts, in case you have more than one blog. Blogs can also be maintained in several systems, such as blogger, wordpress, and typepad. Each account can be customized to ping any service such as, and

In the main window, Ecto presents a list of blogs: when you click a blog, the most recent posts are downloaded and presented in a list on the right side of the window. Then, you can either edit an existing post by double clicking it, or you can add a new post if you wish.

The post editor can show a rich edit interface or a more basic HTML interface. I use the rich edit interface since it is very easy to use, with most of the common formating options. The post editor also gives full access to a system of Tags (or categories, if you use wordpress, for example). When you add a new tag to the post, Ecto automatically creates the necessary code necessary to link to technorati.

Ecto makes it easy to add pictures for your posts, in the case you use blogs with the wordpress interface -- this may be a problem for people like me, who use blogger. To solve this I need to access the post one more time in blogger to add the images I want. Ecto also has some advanced options, such as changing the time of the post, adding pictures from iPhoto, musics from iTunes, and wish lists from

In the end, Ecto appears to be still a young product but already with a very good set of features. Certainly it needs to incorporate a more features, which would be necessary to provide a full solution for bloggers (like, for example, support for image uploads to However, I see Ecto already as a pretty nice piece of software, that should be at least tried by bloggers using Mac OS X - after all, it is only 17.95, and you get 21 days with the trial version.

Related posts:
Another Blog Editor for Apple Mac
MarsEdit: editing your blog on an Apple Mac

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

How to boot Windows XP in the Apple MacBook Pro

Since Apple announced the availability of the switch to the Intel platform in the last year, the possibility of using the Windows operating system in a mac computer has been suggested. It is no surprise, therefore, that some people have created lists of instructions to install windows XP in your mac computer.

The newsmart blog has a list of instructions to install Windows XP in the macBook. To do this, however, you need a PC computer with a clean windows installation and the programs Acronis Disk Director Bootable CD and Acronis True Image (to tweak the partitions).

The main problem faced in this process is the fact that the Macs don't use a BIOS as PCs do. Thus, while loading itself Windows cannot rely on the existence of the BIOS, what makes things a little more complicated. This is the list of instructions:

  1. Using the Bootable Acronis Disk Director CD on the MacBook, shrink the Mac partition. Create a new partition of type NTFS/HPFS in the remaining space.
  2. Setup a clean version of XP on a PC.
  3. Extract Boot.7z to the root drive of your XP installation.. So you have C:\Boot\
  4. Copy bcdedit.exe to the root drive of your XP installation. C:\BCDedit.exe
  5. Copy MacBook.bcd to the root drive of your XP installation
  6. Use sysprep to “reseal” your XP install and remove all hardware info from the setup (thanks Kristan for pointing that out!).
  7. Use Acronis TrueImage CD to make an image of your XP install.
  8. Use the bootable Acronis True Image CD to recreate the image on the partition you just made on your MacBook.
  9. Use the Bootable Vista DVD to boot on the MacBook.
  10. Select “Repair Startup” -> Next -> CMD -> Run too.
  11. Browse to drive C:\Boot (which is the partition you created on the MacBook and then extracted the Acronis TrueImage file to). (cd C:\boot)
  12. Run “fixntfs.exe -lh” without the quotes
  13. Browse back to drive C:\ (cd \)
  14. Run “bcdedit.exe /import MacBook.bcd” without the quotes
  15. Eject the CD and restart.
  16. In Mac now, hack the Darwin Bootloader to add another entry that chainloads Drive(0) Partition(2).
  17. Restart

Read the complete instructions.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Apple code is really flawed?

A security researcher said in a recent interview that the operating system code of Mac OS X has lots of ancients bugs that should had been fixed ten years ago.

The specialist, Neil Archibald, was the same person that found the "dsidentity" bug last year. According to him, Apple is slow to patch bugs discovered by security researchers and they don't have a proper procedure for handling this problem.

My opinion that, while this guy gives good advice, he seems to be very resentful towards Apple. Even though there may be problems, it is difficult to believe that the Mac OS X is less secure than Windows.

Moreover, Mac OS X has more market share in the desktop than Linux. With so many smart people working with the Apple OS it doesn't seem that lack of users is the only reason Mac OS X is not attacked.

Finally, it is good to remember that Darwin is open source. If somebody wants to fix a bug in it, he or she just need to send a patch against the current source. Apple will certainly apply the patches that they consider necessary. So, again it is difficult to see how those old codes would be hiding on the Darwin code.


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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Steve Jobs: Apple and Disney

Well, it seems that Steve Jobs just did what he was looking for (and what most people expected at this point): Pixar was sold to Disney, and now he is a top executive of the entertainment company.
With billions of dollars in his pocket, I hope that he do not forget his first and best company.

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Apple in the News is not Spam!

Today I received the great news: This blog is officially labeled as no-spam! I am so proud! :-))) I hope you reading this are proud too... See for yourselves:


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted so that it will no
longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back
in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience,
and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.

Blogger Support"

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

Logic Pro 7 for Intel processor

Logic pro is one of the best programs in the Mac platform for music processing, with professional features that are powerful and easy to use. This is just another reason why Macs are so popular with professional musicians.

Thus, it is not a surprise that Apple announced this week the near release of a native version of Logic Pro for the Intel processor. According to Apple, the release is schedule for early February.
During last week Apple was able to present the new product in the NAMM music show, which happened in Anaheim, CA. According to a report by Macword, the presentation blow away the audience:

The company was showing the application on one of the recently introduced MacBook Pro portable computers. During the demo, Apple’s Bob Hunt was running video, with thumbnails, music and a dozen or more high-end effects.
“None of these sessions would even run on a PowerBook,” said Hunt, comparing the new Intel-based MacBook Pro to the PowerBook.

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Is Disney buying Steve Jobs' Pixar?

Unconfirmed news have appeared in some web blogs saying that Disney would be buying Pixar from Steve Jobs for $7 billion dollars. Steve Jobs would continue as the main executive of Pixar, and would become one of the largest shareholders of Disney.

There is no confirmation but these sites say that tomorrow (Monday) there will be an official announcement. An interesting comment about the purposes of the buy out from applexnet:

Like NeXT (one of Steve Jobs's projects) was bought by Apple, and its technology incorporated into the company to revamp its product line, Pixar (again a project of Steve Jobs's) may very well save Disney. For those that either fear that Disney's long-lived traditional animation techniques will be completely replaced by computer 3D rendering, or believe that Disney will mishandle Pixar's talent and resources and bring an unfortunate end to the latter studio's successful run of films, consider two facts: the executives at Pixar, Steve Jobs included, believe that this will be as good for Pixar as it will be for Disney. No one at Pixar would be going along with the purchase if they thought that Disney was going to ruin them. Secondly, it is noteworthy that Steve Jobs is the largest shareholder at Disney. Steve Jobs has a reputation for getting what he wants, and it's doubtful that he made this deal without knowing he would have a significant say in Disney's direction. There may well be a rehash of the old joke, as 'Pixar buys Disney for -$7 billion.'

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Where are the iPod killers?

Apple matters published an interesting article explaining why the supposed "iPod killers" are not killing the iPod, and how this could be really done.

First, they notice that the iPod look-alike players have none of the integration that the Apple product has. iTunes, and the large amount of accessories for the iPod are really an important strength for the Apple player.

They also draw attention to the interview given byt Steve Jobs we mentioned previously, where he says that only Microsoft would be able to launch a player capable of competing with the iPod.

On the other hand, they reason that this could be just a bait for MS. The reason is that their partners do not want to compete with Microsoft itself, and in this scenario they would be much more inclined to support Apple.

Read the complete post here.
Jobs predics Microsoft will launch a MP3 player

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Microsoft and the Halo Effect

The halo effect is working not only for Apple, but for other companies that do software and hardware related to Apple computers. According to Technology News, one of the beneficiaries of the Halo effect was Microsoft itself.

Being one of the main producers of commercial software for the Mac platform, Microsoft also cashed in with the increase in shipments of the Mac during 2005.

It is ironic, but the new increase in sales of Macs indicate an increase of sales for Microsoft office. This is the advantage of being a diversified company...

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Macs on the New York Guitar Festival

An article in the Apple website shows how Macs are used in the New York Guitar Festival. Musicians are proud to use Macs in all areas of their job, from real time effects to production and advertisement.

In the words of guitarist Mark Eitzel,

Why a Mac? “Well, it’s a really stable platform and it’s really easy to use. I really appreciate that. When I’m learning all the audio tools and plug-ins, I don’t really need anything else or have too much to think about besides the music.”

Nice to see how Macs continue to be important tools for musicians as well as other creative workers.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Apple vintage ad

Here is a nice pointer to an ad of an Apple computer in 1976. At the time, you could buy an Apple microcomputer with 4K of ram memory, expandable to 8K!

Almost twenty before, computers were very different, but the Apple advertisement was already incredible! :-)

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Apple and WINE, more concrete signs

As I commented at the beginning of this year, one of the great possibilities for Apple, now that Intel processors are part of Apple computer, is the use of WINE as an emulation technology.

Now, it seems that the prediction is being confirmed. The guys from AppleInsider have some clues leading to the conclusion that "WINE to be released with Mac OS X 10.5".

This news is just part of what looks very natural for Apple: use the large amount of open source code that has been created for the WINE and integrate it into the Mac OS. They have done this for the Darwin kernel and for the Safari browser, so it is not hard to see this happening again with WINE.

I believe that this will be a great step for Mac OS X, as Apple help customers to make the change to the Mac platform.

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Related posts:
2006: the year of Wine on Mac OS X?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Apple mac Mini for $398

The Mac mini was not upgraded during the last Macworld, but is still a nice computer if you want to have a simple mac to access in your office or home.

So, it is nice that COMPUSA is now selling mac minis for a price even better than Apples, $499. According to their web site, you can get a new mac mini for only $398. It looks like a very good deal, considering the official price.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

iPod phone is finally near?

The idea of an iPod phone have for a long time been circulating on the Internet web sites. The basic premise is that it would be easy for Apple to combine the iPod with a cell phone, and that would be a killer gadget.

The rumors are back, now that Apple has registered a couple of trademarks related to the concept "mobile me". According to ZDNet, one possibility is for Apple to enter with a deal with larger carriers to become a reseller of cellular connectivity. This would be similar to what other companies, such as ESPN, are already doing.

Maybe, now that cellular phones are much easier to offer in agreement with other companies, it may be the right time for Apple to test the concept of an iPod phone. iPod fans would certainly be happy.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

The Apple Mac gift from Windows Vista

An article by The Inquirer talks about the possible increase in the Apple share of PCs during 2006 due to the new Windows Vista.

Although critical to Apple, the article goes on saying that the main advantage of Apple is that they have now hardware that is basically the same of PCs, thus with the possibility of running PC programs with emulation. This will give users a new option between Macs and the new expensive machines that will be required to run Windows Vista. Apple may gain adoption because Windows Vista will also be expensive to upgrade.

In their own words:

A lot of people are going to realize they are going to hang onto their hardware for four to five years, so they might be willing to shell out a little more cash up front and buy the better looking Mac-intelatosh. After all, the two boxes use the same chips, cost about the same, and their operating system looks about the same. And, oh, by the way, the Mac-intelatosh can run Windows software in emulation. Of course, they'll be gobs of people who are sticking to pure WinTel, including the hardware builders and the extreme gamers, but they're a small percentage of the vast majority of home buyers.

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Video of Apple Mac OS X on a Think Pad

Here is a nice video of Mac OS X running on an Intel processor -- but it is not an Apple machine. Instead, Mac OS X runs on a Lenovo Think Pad.

Some people noticed that it looks very fast -- image how fast it must be on actual Apple hardware, in the new MacBooks!

Link via Engadget.

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Jobs predics Microsoft will launch a MP3 player

This is very interesting: during an interview to Newsweek, Steve Jobs predicts that Microsoft will be forced to release its own MP3 player, probably this year. Would that be the nemesis of the iPod -- predicted by its own creator?

The problem is, the PC model doesn't work in the consumer electronics industry, where you've got all these companies and some does one thing and another does another thing. It just doesn't work. What's going to happen is that Microsoft is going to have to get into the hardware business of making MP3 players. This year. X-player, or whatever.

Link via Newsweek.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Apple a christian company?

See the name Apple in one of the boards of an 1992 Apple Mac. It is written with a letter l in the format of an ichthus, the symbol of christianity.

Link via Command-Tab.

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Apple trademark on the Hi-Fi iPod

The AppleInsider describes a new trademark application by Apple. The request term "iPod Hi-Fi" suggests that the company is developing some kind of hardware or software to provide Hi-Fi support for the iPod player.

This idea is now new, and several people have commented on rumors that Apple would be creating a wireless version of the iPod. However, if the news is true, this is the first sign that Apple is really creating some kind of remote access device that has iPod-like capabilities.

In a separate news, the AppleInsider speculates about the possible announcement of iPods with larger screens:

Separately, sources said that Apple is developing an iPod model with a higher-resolution display and about an inch of additional viewing area. It's unclear if, or when, the company intends to release the device, and no further details were provided.

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The Apple lifestyle

One of the interesting things about owning an Apple computer is that it can become more than a simple new device. Apple, through its design and software, presents a new digital lifestyle, which is very addicting for several people.

The runs an article about the impact of Apple in the lifestyle of their customers. Some of them, self titled "apple fannatics", go as far as having Apple tatoos, and "planning their vacations around the MacWorld conference" in San Francisco.

The article describes how the cult of Apple is growing, with the larger number of people have access to Apple gadgets such as the iPod.

Granted, Apple continues to hold a paltry 4 to 6 percent of the personal computer market. But the iPod dominates in the MP3 category, with 83 percent of the market share, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during his keynote address Tuesday. Apple has sold more than 42 million iPods; last year alone, 32 million flew off store shelves. And in the three most recent months, consumers snatched up 14 million iPods. "That's over 100 a minute, 24/7," Jobs said. "It still wasn't enough."

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Microsoft discontinues Media Player for Mac OS

Microsoft announced this week, according to that it will stop developing Windows media player.

This is an interesting move since it means that Apple will have less competition in its own OS to define the future media formats and applications.

It also means that Mac OS users will have less support for proprietary formats that Microsoft may release in the future. So, the announcement may represent a problem for mac users, if Microsoft introduces innovative technologies that will be availabe only in its OS.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Another Blog Editor for Apple Mac

Just to complement the previous post, another software you can use to create blogs in the Apple platform is iBlog Product Page, from Lifli Software.

The difference from this program to MarsEdit, however, is that it does not interface with blogger systems, such as blogger and moveable type. Instead, it can be used to manage itself the blog.

In this sense, iBlog is similar to iWeb, recently released by Apple, since iWeb can generate its own blogs that are upload to the .iMac account.

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Related posts:

MarsEdit: editing your blog on an Apple Mac

Apple iLife and iWork have new versions

MarsEdit: editing your blog on an Apple Mac

Creating blogs with the blogger interface is easy and fun. You just need to create you blog with two simple steps, and add posts using an intuitive web interface.

However, at times you may fee more comfortable using a software created for your own operating systems, instead of using the browser to add posts. For example, you may want the freedom to define fonts, how to save the draft posts, and the general look and feel of the editor.

In this post I would like to review the MarsEdit editor for Mac OS, which offers some of the facilities described above.

MarsEditor is a product of Ranchero Software, a company that specializes on writting software for the web in the Mac OS platform. They are also the writers of the NetNewsWire news reader.

The MarsEditor is mainly composed of a panel where you can check the contents of your blog and start the edit actions. The program knows about most types of blog systems, including of course Other popular types of blogs supported are: moveable type, typepad, wordpress.

MarsEditor has a left panel that provides easy access to all your blogs. This makes it easier to visualize your content, since your previous posts can be displayed in the main window. This is especially nice if you have blogs in different systems, such as moveable type and blogger. Then, you can use the same interface to control them.

The post editor provides several commands for easy formatting. You can add new posts or edit previous ones with the same easy. And, as in all other mac os programs, you can use the native spell checker to avoid language-related mistakes.

The only problem I saw while using MarsEditor was the lack of support for images in blogger. I don't know if this is a configuration problem, but I couldn't add pictures to the server.

All in all, MarsEdit is a very nice package to handle your blog-editing tasks in MacOS. It has a 30 days free trial, so I think it is a good program to check in order to save time and post more frequently in your blog.

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Apple keyboard from Microsoft, but no Apple key

Among other companies, Microsoft is also trying to make a few bucks from the success of Apple in the computer market. In the last Consumer Electronics Miscrosoft released a new keyboard for the Mac plataform.

The only catch with the keyboard is that you cannot get the Apply simple in the "command" key. The reason is that Apple does not license the use of the symbol to Microsoft. "Apple controls the licensing, It's their trademark."

Reference: Sorry, no Apple for you: Microsoft's bid fruitless.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apple iLife and iWork have new versions

Not only the hardware area of Apple presented surprises yesterday: the sofware inside the Macs has also become a little better.

Apple presented new software products that make collaboration and use of multimedia much easier that ever before. The iLife line of products has been updated. This time, the iPhoto software gained many new features to simplify working with pictures, effects, and retouchs. Garage band is able to record podcasts directly, and send them to other applications.

The main change in the package has been the addition of iWeb, a very easy to use web page design software. It integrates seamlessly with the other programs in iLife, and can also be used to upload information directly to the .iMac account. iWeb can be used to create blogs, static pages, and dinamic pages as well.

These improvements were rounded out by the announcement of the new iWork, with new versions of Pages and Keynote.

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Apple is rewarded for product innovation

An article by CNN describes how the industry and the media view the influence of Apple in computing technology.

They describe how Apple, which is not the company with the highest market share in the PC market, is able to create products of high innovation and design. This makes each announcement of Apple to be of high importance for the rest of the industry.

Apple, without doubt, is again in the path of delievering some of the best computers even seen. The recently launched iMac is an example. The MacBook that was previewed yesterday is another example.

According to the article:

At last week's Consumer Electronics Show, a dozen PC makers announced support for the Intel Corporation's new dual-core Intel microprocessor, saying they would deliver Core Duo computers to consumers in the spring. Apple, which didn't start working with Intel until last spring, will beat them all to market with Core Duo-based iMac computers, which started shipping to stores as Jobs was speaking yesterday.

As a reward, the shares of Apple are again up for more than 3% in the last two days.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

iPod gets a new FM tuner

Well, afterwall the MacWorld didn't bring any shaking innovation to the iPod world, only the certainty that the current geneation of iPod products is really ground breaking.

There are, however, some goodies for iPod fans that are worth notice. First, Radio Remove, the new iPod FM tuner, is a nice addition to the list of great iPod accessories. It is sleaky, and very well designed. Different from the normal accessories for the iPod, the FM tuner attachs diretly to the phones, leaving the iPod free of an extra accessory - in a sense, it works an extension of the phone chord.

Radio remote works as a good remote controler for the iPod. Changing music, sound volumes, or radio stations is much easier to do with the scroll interface, similar to the one in the iPod shuffle.

The Radio Remote also has a nice interface that can be accessed directly from the iPod. It would be great if other products could use a similar trick -- although this is difficult to replicate since only Apple at this point can directly program the iPod.

Look at the iPod web page for all features of Radio Remote.

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Apple share price and Intel

In a quick note, Daniel Terdiman posted to the the incredible fact that, in the day of the introduction of the first Intel-based mac, the share price closed at $80.86.

... t's pretty unlikely that Wall Street was able to manipulate Apple's share price, given the thousands upon thousands of people who no doubt bought and sold the stock Tuesday. But it's little coincidences like this that make technies and geeks sit up and take notice. Or at least I and the friend who pointed this out to me did.

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Apple makes splash with its best Laptop ever

The Macworld expo had today its greatest event in Steve Jobs' keynote. Among several other announcement, Jobs presented what is certainly the most powerful laptop Apple has even created.

The new laptop, which is also the first Mac laptop using an Intel process, has a dual core processing unit which has almost four time as much processing capacity as the Power PC G4 that are used by the current generation of power books.

The MacBook, as the new laptop is called, has also more innovations, such as embedded iSight camera (with the double of the definition of current iSight models), and a larger and brighter screen. All this enclosed in a metal case that is only one inch thick.

According to the Scottsman:

COMPUTER giant Apple last night unveiled a "revolutionary" new laptop computer which it says is four to five times faster than its predecessor.
The MacBook Pro is just one inch thick and weighs 5.6lb. Its increased speed is down to a new Intel chip, the first time Apple has used Intel processors. The chip will be rolled out to all new Mac machines this year.
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Related posts:
Apple iMac is first Intel-based computer
Apple set to launch Intel-inside laptop

Good Predictions for MacWorld

It turns out that Kevin Rose predictions were remarkably correct. It may be good advice to hear what this guy writes the next time...

So we have the MacBook, iWord and iLife (although this is a no-brainer), Remote control and FM receiver, and iPhoto, missing only to mention the iWeb app.

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Apple iMac is first Intel-based computer

The iMac is the first Apple computer with and Intel processor, as just announced by Steve Jobs at the Macworld expo, in San Francisco.

The new computer has a dual core processor, which according to Apple is 2 to 3 times faster than a normal G5 processor. Other specs of the iMac are similar to the existing version released in middle 2005.

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Predictions for MacWorld Announcements

A brave blogger has put forward what he says he has heard from someone in Apple about the MW announcements. According to him, the new Apple products are

* 15" intel Macbook - order tomorrow, ships Feb (thinner, dual core)
* iPod FM receiver
* iWork/Life '06
* New remote of some type
* Photocasting (iPhoto)
* OS X.4.4 w/new widgets

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Monday, January 09, 2006

Apple and the CES

Even not being officially part of CES, Apple got a lot of attention by other companies presenting their new productos on the expo.

According to CNET, this attention is comming mostly from competitors, such as Microsoft and Google, which are concerned with the increased marked conquered by Apple in the last years.

Microsoft, for example, announced a iTunes like software that will be available latter this year, in cooperation with MTV. The new service will be available with the new Windows Vista operating system.

Google, is also trying to get its share from Apple market, using the Google video website. The objective is to sell video for Internet customers, something that the iTunes video store has been done since last year.

Finally, there are also the companies that are offering accessories for the iPod other Apple products. These companies also represent an important part of the announcements that have been made during the CES expo. All this shows that Apple is now an important part of the consumer electronics world, even when it is not physically present.

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Apple's Jobs in the lens

Quicky: Jobs preparing for MWSF 06. Some people think that this is Hollywood. Please drive south a little more...

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Apple set to launch Intel-inside laptop

The MacWorld expo is only tomorrow, but today people are already very excited with the possibility that Apple you launch a new Intel-based computer.

Apple announced last year that 2006 would be the year of a shift to the Intel processors, after many years using the IBM/motorolla Power PC architechture. The move will be great not only for Intel, but for several consumers that want more compatitibility between the Mac and PC platforms.

The use of Intel processer in Apple's computers may represent an easier task for software developers that need to port programs from the PC to Mac. For example, game development companies could benefit from this change.

Another great advantage will be for the Apple's mobile line of computers. It has been difficult for Apple to incorporate the newest versions of the G5 processors into its laptop line, due to engineering issues (mainly power dissipation problems). With the Intel processors, Apple will be free to inovate again in the area of laptops.

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MS analyst previewing Apple's downfall

The espectacular rise of Apple in the last years, due particularly to the iPods, has set many people angry. I have no doubts the company in Redmond is one of the more tormented by the success of Apple: both the rising share price as well as the rising market share.

It is no surprise, therefore, that their analysts are fast to preview that Apple's stock is due to fall. With MS own stock stagnated at the same level since 2000, there is no reason for them to be happy with the iPod and Mac OS success.

The people that are saying that Apple's market share will decrease are the same that said that Apple would die. Nonetheless, it continues to be one of the most successfull and inovative companies. Let us see what these analysts say after Apple's new products are announced tomorrow.

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Possible Apple announcements tomorrow

In the waiting of the announcements, here follows a quicklist of the most predicted announcements at tomorrow's Steve Jobs keynote at MacWorld Expo:

Intel PowerBook
iWork 06
iLife 06
Bluetooth remote control
AirPort Ultra
1GB iPod nano
Intel MacMini
Intel based iBook
A new version of Mac OS X (Leopard) - this is the least probable, but nobody knows!!!

Reference: Top 10 things Apple could announce at Macworld Expo

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Jobs announcing new Apple products at MacWorld tomorrow

Steve Jobs is tomorrow giving his most waited keynote on the MacWorld expo. Several predictions have been made about the announcements during this year, including things like new laptop models using the Intel processor, a new version of the iPod nano that would take over the iPod shuffle, and improved versions of the Mac mini.

Well, we just need to wait now a little to see what Steve Jobs has under cover. It sure seems to be exciting, and the whole blogosphere is waiting for the announcements.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Why is Windows Vista so similar to Mac OS X?

The last Consumer's Electronic Show in Las Vegas featured a presentation by Microsoft's founder Bill Gates, presenting features of the Windows Vista operating system, planned to debut on the end of this year.

The most remarkable feature of Window Vista for Apple Mac users is how similar it is to what we already have with Apple Mac OS X. Consider the following list of "new features"

* Widgets: the new version of Windows has little applications that are almost the same as a Mac OS widget. They have similar transparency and floating options.
* Task bar update: Mac OS X has a task bar that updates its content automatically.
* Search: The new windows will have a search facility similar to what Mac users have with spotlight. However, this is not new even to Win users: you just need to install Google desktop search.
* Image view and retouch software is incredibly similar to iPhoto, in its main view, in the way toolbar are layed, etc.
* Finally, the new music service announced with MTV is a copy of what iTunes is providing for more than three years.

Conclusion: by the end of the year, windows users will have a system that has features similar to Mac OS X Tiger. Of course, by that time the new version of Mac OS X (Leopard) will be arriving and what else will MS be able to copy?

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Related posts:
New Windows Vista features are really new?

New Windows Vista features are really new?

Bill Gates gave his talk on the Las Vegas Consummer Electronics Show to demonstrate the new features of the new version of MS's operating system (dubbed Windows Vista). He looked pretty excited showing stuff that any Apple customer is able to do buy now...

This post of maclive shows a movie created by a user demonstrating the "new" features of Windows Vista in Mac OS X. It is pretty funny to see that Apple Mac OS X already has everything that Windows users are still dreaming of.

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Google video store and Apple

Yesterday, along with the Google pack, Google announced a new service that will sell video over the Internet for interested viewers. The service, which is an extension of the Google video offer, presents an interesting new competitor for the iTunes service of Apple.

Apple has since last year presented a long list of video sources for its iTunes and iPod video. It seems that they are in good shape to fight for the first place as the online video store and video watching gadget.

However, with the introduction of the new Google video store there are several things that must be considered by Apple.

First, is its approach for pricing of web video. While they have been successfull with the flat fee of 99 cents per music on iTunes, this doesn't mean that they can do the same for video. Video is clearly a different thing in the sense that you don't watch it repeatedly; there are videos of different lengths, from the 30 seconds commercial to the 3 hour King-Kong-style movie.

The Google video store has a much flexible method for video pricing: the producer can ask any price they want, even given the video for free. This makes it much easier to reach an initial audience with low prices and make changes progressivelly.

The second thing is the new format that Google video is introducing. This is bad news because there is the potential of much confusion among the different types of videos with competing formats. Google and Apple could well collaborate to try to avoid this kind of confusion.

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Apple and the Mac Mini console revisited

It seems that my post on the Mac mini as a game plataform attracted a lot of interest from Apple fans and video game fans. Most of them, however, said that the idea of the Mac mini as a game machine is hard to believe. While I am not claiming to be true about this (only Jobs knows what is going on in Apple), I believe this would be a strong selling point for the Mac mini.

The guys at cathodetan put together a nice argumentation for the Mac console. It goes like this:

1. I spent all this money and it won't even play games
2. Living rooms are multi-function areas
3. OS X attracts a younger demographic

Thus, not having games is just a disadvantage for Apple, which they need to address in their products. Hence, it is very reasonable that Apple looks for this new area, not as a main feature, but as a value added proposition.

Read the whole post here.

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Related post:
Apple Mac mini the next game console?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

New iWeb application found on Apple's web site

Somebody in digg found a web page from the Apple web site that describes iLife, with a link to a new application called iWeb. The Apple web page has changed, but you can see the old one using Google cache.

It is not known for sure what this is about, but it looks certainly that it is a piece of the new software to be announced next week in the Mac world expo.

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Microsoft can get into trouble fighting Apple iTunes

Microsoft just announced their creation to fight the growing popularity of iTunes. The service, called Urge, will be launched in cooperation with MTV, and will sell music using the same model popularized by Apple.

Certainly, as I commented a few days ago, Microsoft would try to counter the huge success that Apple is obtaining with iTunes. What remains to be seen is the quality of the new service. As described by in this article, the new service is supposed to appear only in the second semester, probably only with the new version of Windows. In other words, it is only vaporware at this point.

Second, by doing this Microsoft can get again into trouble for trying to use its Windows monopoly to get an edge over Apple. As commented by The Scotsman

One analyst warned that the inclusion of Microsoft's music service with Windows could cause the software giant fresh regulatory problems in Europe. In 2004, the European Commission fined the company ... and ordered it to sell a version of its Windows XP software without its Media Player after ruling it had abused its monopoly position on software.

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Related posts:

Apple iTunes a Problem for Microsoft

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Macworld: PSP is better than iPod

An article from Macworld features a comparison between the iPod video and the PSP, the multimedia players from Apple and Sony.

The comparison apparently considers only the screen size and the media used. According to the MacWorld, the PSP has the advantage of a bigger screen and removable media. They state:

So what could the iPod learn from the PSP? A bigger, wide-screen display would be nice. I also like the PSP's use of removable media, whether blank or with video content already on it; that's the way we're used to watching video in our living rooms, so why not do the same with a portable player? Combine flash media, UMD support, and the larger screen with the convenience of the iTunes Music Store and the iPod's big hard drive, and Apple could have a best-of-breed portable player.

After all, it seems that the article was created just to demorilize Apple. It is difficult to believe that there are not advantages in the iPod approach. Where is, for example, the iTunes counterpart for PSP? What about the fact that the iPod has an easy to use scroll well? I think these guys should try to be more balanced when they write such articles. Or maybe there is some reason behind this... What do you think?

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The Apple Product Cycle

A very funny text, explaining how the Apple product cycle works.

Just to show how fun it is, everything starts as:

An obscure component manufacturer somewhere in the Pacific Rim announces a major order for some bleeding-edge piece of technology that could conceivably become part of an expensive, digital-lifestyle-enhancing nerd toy.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Apple Servers are now used by South Park

Apple is making new inroads into the entertainment market. This time it comes from the famous TV cartoon South Park. The creators of South Park started using Apple servers to store its digital content, which consists of the complete video produced for the TV show.

The producers of South Park are moving from DLT (digital linear tapes), a format frequently used to store large amounts of data. As reported bu Computerworld, the new solution is composed of a new type of data storage (LTO) and "three Xserve RAID disk arrays".

The shift may be just the beginning, since other media production groups have similar problem. And Apple offers now a complete collection of server solutions, which are completely integrated with its well know desktop software. It may be the easiest road for TV and Hollywood production groups to store large amounts of information.

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iBook is the most reliable Apple laptop

The Apple laptops have always been highly ranked by their nice design. However, this is not the only are in which Apple machines shine. According to a recent study performed by MacIntouch, the iBook G4 is among the most reliable laptops.

As reported by Operation Gadget, "Maybe the least surprising conclusion is that the 12-inch Apple iBook is the most reliable of the current crop of Mac laptops. It's got the smallest footprint and it's made of the simplest laptop materials. "

The iBook is certainly made to endure much more than the powerBook. After all, it is hard to demage the plastic enclosure, compared to the aluminium of powerBooks. And with its cheaper price tag, the iBook shows once more that it has a good reason to exist in the Apple line of computers.

In the next months, we will be looking forward to a version of the iBook with an Intel processor. The combination of processing power with resistance and price will make it a much more competitive laptop against products from manufacturers like Dell.

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Subscription based video on Apple Mac OS X may become reality

MacWorld is running a story about the new Vongo video service. This subcription based online video store has sights in making available its services to Mac users.

The Apple iTunes system has always been based on content ownership. We can buy music at $0.99 and videos at $1.99, everything for a flat price. On the other hand, Windows based services use a mensal fee as its main payment model.

The difference is not only on payment options, but in technology. Apple technology (FairPlay) is based on a single payment and ownership. The windows media player however is targeted to the monthly payment method.

This is the main reason why services like Vongo have not been able to prosper on Mac OS X. According to Vongo, however, this is going to change in the future:

Mac users who visit the Vongo Web site are greeted with a message that says “Vongo is currently PC based, but will soon be Mac compatible (really!).”

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Monday, January 02, 2006

2006: the year of Wine on Mac OS X?

2006 has arrived, and using the opportunity given by the new year, I would like to talk about another prediction of what I think Apple will be releasing during the next months (as I told in a previous post, I think 2006 will be the year the Mac mini will become a full featured home entertainment hub).

It is well known that 2006 will be the year Apple will move to the Intel processor architecture. This is very exciting news and a reason for the excitement is that, along with the x86 architecture, a new world of software will be made available for the Apple computers. To make this potential true, Apple may very well be using Wine, the free Windows implementation.

If you never heard about it, Wine is an almost full featured implementation of the win32 API. It has been developed for years by the Linux community to be able to run windows software natively on Linux. It has however not been completed, and is currently used only by Linux enthusiasts.

So, were are the great news about Wine? For one, Wine is achieving several goals in the last years. A beta version of the software emerged in the last month, after more than ten years in alpha stage. This finally happened due to the conclusion that Wine is almost complete and can be used by a larger audience.

Second, Apple has great experience in turning obscure free software into great successes. First, it created the Mac OS X based on Darwin, which is a version of the free BSD Unix. Then, it created the Safari browser (which is in my opinion the best browser for Mac OS) from the open source Konqueror, written by the KDE folks.

Given these successes, I believe it would be a good move for Apple to work hard on the Wine code in order to make it commercially acceptable by the Mac OS X users. Then, the new machines with Intel processors would benefit directly from a free API emulator that would run any windows application as a native Mac OS X program.

I think 2006 is a great year for Apple in the desktop with its transition to the Intel platform. I would personally say that they are fools if they are not trying to use this opportunity to do something along these lines. Due to Wine features, using it in the Intel version of the Mac OS X would be a logical step for Apple, a step that I really expect them to be pushing during this year.

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Related posts:

* EyeBud and Increased privacy for Apple iPod video
* Apple to launch a 1GB iPod nano?
* Apple iTunes a Problem for Microsoft
* Will Apple pull out the Shuffle in favor of iPod nano?
* Apple Mac mini the next game console?

Load music to Apple iPod without a computer

A new accessory for the iPod have appeared that promisses to simplify must of the hassle associated with loading a new iPod. As users feel happy to receive a new iPod, the initial stage of selecting the musics to load, and the conversion process itself can be lengthy.

The guys from Wingspan, a startup from Silicon Valley, are providing a new way to fill you iPod memory with good music. According to the initial reports from Designtechnica:

The iLoad works by allowing consumers to transfer an entire CD or individual tracks to an iPod without being hooked up to a computer. The device ... is the idea of father/daughter duo which wanted to simplify the way content gets loaded onto an iPod. Their invention, which sports a 2.5mm audio output jack to hook up headphones so one listen to which tracks to select for copying over, uses a special internal, updateable database with music and track information for more than 1.8 million songs to populate the appropriate information on the iPod.

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EyeBud and Increased privacy for Apple iPod video

Despite the great interest in the new iPod video, demonstrated by the record-level sales in 2005, watching video in the Apple device can be a little frustrating at times. Certainly, most people is still not used to watch their preferred movies in a 2 by 2.5 inch screen. Technology can come to the rescue one more time: according to Seattle Post, a company called eMagin Corp. will unveil in the first half of this year a new portable screen for the iPod.

The portable screen is based on wearable technology, which has been developed for video games and military applications. The device presents the image in front of one of the eyes, and makes the resulting video look as large as a "105 foot display from 12 feet away". It certainly seems to be an outstanding solution to the problem mobile users face.

The only obstacle for the acceptance of the device seems to be the price tag. Retailing for about $599, the new EyeBud will cost even more than the higher priced iPod in the market. This makes it a little difficult to justify the investment.

The success of the EyeBud depends, however, on the quality of the screen and the experience of users. I am pretty sure that many people would be willing to pay the high price for high resolution and privacy.

Privacy, in fact, seems to be greatest advantage of this new display technology. With a screen that can be mounted on your glasses, you can watch any video without being disturbed by people around you. It is a real matching for the personal experience that made the walkman and later the iPod so famous in personal music, but this time translated to the realm of video.

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Apple to launch a 1GB iPod nano?

As the year comes to its end, the season of Apple and iPod rumors is starting. It couldn't be different, since the macworld conference is so close.

The greatest rummor this time is that Apple is going to release an even cheaper iPod nano. They would, some say, launch a 1 GB iPod nano, due to its huge popularity. It would in some way take more space from the iPod Shuffle, which would continue to be the low end of the iPod family.

True or not, I don't think there will be many surprises in January. Probably the biggest announcements will be in the area of desktop computers. But lets stay tunned.

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Apple iTunes a Problem for Microsoft

The previous post show that the price tag for an iPod with all accessories may be pretty high. But in the same article we see an interesting reason Apple should be pretty happy.

The iPod is selling millions of units every month. And each new iPod means a new user installing iTunes in a Windows machine. What might be otherwise be viewed as good sign of Windows support, may be in fact troublesome for Microsoft, with the following immediate consequences:

* Each new user of iTunes is faced with a new paradigm of software, given the simplicity of Apple iTunes. This may be addicting for the normal computer user, which is exposed to such software beasts as MS media player... Certainly, users will be curious to see what is in the other side of the fence, what is not what MS wants.
* The iTunes means that the user is now able to have access to high quality media (music, podcasts, video), while at the same time bypassing normal windows/MS channels. Steve Jobs is doing great in finding new deals with content creators. Pretty soon, even windows users will feel that the iTunes is the best way to get good video and audio content.

These are great points for Apple, but may have bad consequences for windows. It is clear that this was the original goal of Apple, but if I was from MS I would be pretty upset by now...

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iPod accessories too expensive?

Having an iPod may be a great experience. And given the quality of the different iPod players, it may even be a good investment, since many other devices will be compatible with it in the future.

On the flip side, the inquirer comments on the fact that buying accessories the iPod may be even more expensive than the iPod itself. This may be unfortunate, since the total price tag will make almost the price of a (low end) desktop PC. According to the article:

Let's stop and do the maths. One Nano ($199) + USB charger ($29) + Nano armband ($29) + Transpod ($99) = $356. That's about half way to the price of a laptop or a mid-range desktop box! And it's all tiny little plastic bits and pieces clipping away at the wallet in bits and pieces under $100 after you get the initial iPod, be it the Nano all the way up through the 60GB Video iPod. Put another way, I'm going to spend nearly as much money on extras as was spent for the initial device.

It seems that the companies making accessories for the iPod are using the success of Apple to drive the prices for accessories up. I don't think, however, that this will last long, as increasing competition will ultimately drive prices down.

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