Monthly Archive for April, 2006

Meet the Nintendo Wii (aka the Revolution)

nintendo wii logo

Nintendo has publicily revealed the name for their new console (the Revolution): Wii. Prounounced ‘we‘. Forget Revolution and Go: wii is the answer.

Wii sounds like “we”, which emphasizes that the console is for everyone.
Wii has a distinctive “ii” spelling that symbolizes both the unique controllers and the image of people gathering to play.
It’s about Wii, and together Wii will change everything

I have to hand it to Nintendo, they have some pretty crazy people there, but their ideas are truly unique (and fascinating). I think it sounds pretty cool, but it will take some time getting used to. Now that that is over, we have to wait until E3 for the rest of the deets.

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Apple Reveals the 17″ MacBook Pro

17 inch macbook pro

So it seems that Apple listened to the public and all the professionals who were complaining that they needed a pro version of the MacBook Pro. So what things did they improve on (apart from that gorgeous 17-inch screen):

  • 8x Dual-layer SuperDrive (instead of a 4x Single Layer)
  • 2.16GHz Core Duo
  • Three USB 2.0 ports (instead of 2)
  • One Firewire 400 and Firewire 800 (YAY!)
  • 1GB DDR3 – PC2-5300 – Memory (standard!)
  • 68W Lithium Polymer Battery – 5.5 hours (instead of 60W and 4.5 hours)

This is a beast of a machine and I don’t think it is meant to be hauled around everywhere at that size; But it is one slick and fast machine – beating the 17-inch PB by miles!

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Sorry for the lack of posts…

…but for some reason I have been having trouble reaching the blog’s server and I couldn’t make any posts! I just hope I don’t lose any readers. I’m going to try and make a few posts tonight as there is lots of exciting news; Apple, Nintendo and PS3. Check back soon!

A tour of Microsoft’s Mac Lab

microsoft mac lab

This is really cool (I over use that phrase here!) David Weiss works at Microsoft’s Mac Area, and gets to handle lots of Mac equipment. He shows us lots of Macs, they even had vintage macs such as the Mac SE, Mac Classic, Quadra 650 and others. Sadly they had to put those into storage as space ran out. The picture opposite shows their mixed automation rack, in testing. They had the same sort in only G3′s, G4′s and G5′s. The most spectacular part was where he showed of the 150 Mac mini’s that run tests on Microsoft’s software.
This collection is spectacular, and includes an X-serve in RAID config (with 1TB of space) and XSAN which provides all the Mac OS images from 8.1 to 10.4.6! This is then used to restore images onto the test machines to run thousands of tests to see how well Microsoft’s software works. This is a definitely good read, and you can just stare at those machines for hours (literally!)

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OS X First Aid: A comprehensive guide

os x aspirin first aid

MacWorld has very detailed guide to your OS X problems. Topics that are coverd are:

  • Curing application crashes: helps you to find the cause of the application crashing and preventing it happening again.
  • Reviving your dead Mac: forgot to backup, won’t your Mac start up.
  • Five Intel Mac troubleshooting tips.
  • Curing the frozen app debacle.

These are each explained in detail, and I have found it very usefull, and it has helped me to stop Firefox crashing all the time. Firefox used to crash all the time for me and so I converted to Safari, but this fix is very usefull; although I won’t go back to using Firefox.

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Working at Microsoft: The Good, the Bad and the ‘In-Between’

As a long-time Apple and UNIX user/programmer, I never aspired to work at Microsoft. Then my wife got a job at Microsoft, so I needed to leave Caltech/JPL to work in Seattle. I didn’t actually apply to Microsoft — a friend of ours who worked there circulated my résumé and Microsoft responded rapidly and set up a last-minute interview. Although I had five other offers, Microsoft made the best impression.

I’ve been working at Microsoft since October, 1999 as a full-time Software Design Engineer. Four products I’ve worked on have shipped, two more are in beta, and I’ve also “consulted” for many other teams across the company, thereby influencing directly and indirectly a large number of Microsoft’s products. Between my experience and my wife’s, I think I’ve gotten a pretty solid feel for what it’s like to work in a product group at Microsoft.

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Apple sued for patent infringement!

Burst.com filed a patent counterclaim lawsuit on Monday accusing Apple of infringing four of its patents inside the iTunes Music Store, iTunes itself, iPod and Quicktime streaming products. Burst filed this counterclaim as Apple had asked the courts earlier this year to rule Burst’s patents invalid, and so Apple wouldn’t be infringing them. Burst said that its technology is critical to Apple’s success “providing it with critical audio and video-on-demand” media solutions.

We have a responsibility to protect our patents and to seek a fair return for the many years and tremendous investment that we have made in developing Burst technology and patents. While we had hoped to avoid litigation and negotiate a reasonable license fee, it is Apple’s own actions that have forced our hand,” said Lang. “We now look to the courts to reaffirm Burst’s rights as innovators and to be paid fairly for our widely acknowledged contributions to the industry.

Interestingly, Microsoft also fought a battle with Burst, however they ended up paying $60 to Burst for a licence of the patent. I don’t think that this is an option that Apple is likely to take, as they don’t usually give up easily without a fight!

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Stream iTunes to your PSP

Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) is a very popular device and has sold a few million units, but when compared to Apple’s iPod, the PSP lacks storage space. Luckily, the PSP has a built in WiFi card to make up for this disadvantage. With a few simple steps, all of which are included in this tutorial, anyone can stream any non-copyright music from their iTunes library to their PSP.

The 5-Step Setup Procedure:
1) Download iTunes-PSP-Server.exe and save it to your desktop.
2) Disable any firewalls and/or keep port 8080 open.
3) Launch iTunes and then click on the iTunes-PSP-Server after.
4) In IE/Firefox open the page “http://localhost:8080″
5) Setup is complete if an “iTunes RSS Server” page appeared.

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Make your own Xbox 360 Faceplate Kit

xbox 360 faceplate kit

This is one kit which I’m sure will sell well. This is a very interesting kit, which enables anyone to create their own faceplate for their Xbox 360. Nyko’s GameFace 360 kit allows you to create your own designs using their software and print it out on your home printer onto special paper templates. The kit is quite clever, as it uses two plates and simple wedges the design between the two. Although this won’t look as cool as real faceplates, the $20 price tag makes it very appealing. Thankfully the software is available for both PC and Mac, so we Mac users don’t need to suffer. It comes with 15 blank templates and 6 pre-printed templates. It should be available at GameStop, EB Games, Game Crazy and Circuit City (no word yet on any UK release).
I have my cool limited edition PGR3 faceplate so I wouldn’t buy this, but I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love to buy this to personalise their 360, as the current faceplate offerings by Microsoft are quite abysmal. Seriously, the ideas are ok, but there aren’t many at all and people will end up having the same ones. The whole point of the faceplates is to make it unique, and this kit certainly gives you that option.

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Dell offers to sell OS X on its machines: Apple says no!

apple logo

Then came Michael Dell with the other side of the story. Why not put OS 10 on a far cheaper Dell Windows PC instead of a costly Mac? You’d get the best of both worlds and shell out far less.

In an e-mail to Forbes magazine, Dell said: “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers.

Apple’s response was quick and negative. Apple will not sell OS 10 for installation in non-Apple hardware. It will sell software to run Windows on Macs but not the other way around.

What else would you expect from Apple? But this may not reflect what happens, as we all know that Steve Jobs personally said that Apple won’t make a video iPod because “people don’t want to watch video on such a small screen“. As with other Apple rumors / ‘news’ we have to wait for Apple to make their move.

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