Thursday, June 22, 2006

Playing with the Apple PowerMac backlight

An article in teaches how to use the backlight of the keyboard in the powerbook as a CPU load monitor. The code is simple, and you try to have some fun with your mac.

According to the page:

It took some trial and error to get the numbers from the CPU usage to correspond properly with the number needed to set the brightness of the backlight. What I did find is that the function host_processor_info is not granular enough to give accurate readings under a second. My keyboard was flashing when the update time was 0.1 seconds. I might try to look to see if there is a better what to get the numbers I want.

I also want to make the brightness fade instead of jump like the program does now. It should be relatively easy to do: Amit showed how in Figure 6 of his article. I want to tinker with the range of the brightness of the keyboard as well, to make it a little more obvious. Another idea I had was to change how bright the min and max were depending on the readings of the Ambient Light Sensors: brighter during high light levels, and lower during less.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Best buy test for selling Apple computers

Best Buy, one of the largest computer retail stores in the country, has confirmed that they are doing tests in a few stores with Apple computers. The program is being watched closely by both Apple and Best Buy.

Apple computers are at the moment sold mainly on Apple own stores. The major issue at Apple is to require a high level of customer support from Best Buys employees. They want to guarantee that customer will have a level of service similar to service at Apple stores.

Such a move would be very good for Apple, since Best Buy is the largest showcase of technology products in the country. Selling the Mac on Best Buy would certainly increase awareness of the company computers among more traditional buyers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Apple to offer movie downloads

It is still not confirmed, but most news sites are talking about the possibility of Apple providing movie downloads through their iTunes store. Apparently, Apple is in talk with several major Hollywood studies in order to cut a deal that would allow them to distribute movies using this distribution channel.

Although it is not clear if this is will happen not, it seams cleat that this is the next logical step for the iTunes service. Starting from the offer of music files, iTunes has grown to one of the most popular Internet based music systems. Similar success has happened with short videos, which was made possible by the introduction of the new iPod video.

What makes me wonder: would this new interest in Hollywood movies have been spurred by new capabilities of the iPod player? It is well possible that Steve Jobs is preparing a major upgrade, maybe with larger screen and better control system, and wants to make this available with the ultimate content for video players: access to the latest blockbusters. Maybe we will know sooner than we think.

Link by Daily Variety.