Friday, September 29, 2006

More on the 24-inch iMac

The first of our new 24-inch iMacs arrived today, and we're currently waiting while around 200GB of user data is transferred by Apple's setup assistant so we can get our hands on it properly.

The new 24-inch iMac

Paul Stamatiou picked up a 24-inch iMac last week and has given us his first impressions (via TUAW) which has wetted my appetite. I can't wait to get dug in and see if the rumours about 802.11n are true. More soon...

Update: The setup assistant seems to have transferred all the user data from the Power PC to the Intel Mac without a hitch, something I must admit to being a little worried about before we started. We're up and running...

Up and running...

The Nokia N95

Looking a lot like my newly acquired N80, but with a built-in GPS receiver, Nokia has just announced yet another new smartphone, the N95. The new phone should be released first quarter next year...

The new Nokia N95 (via Gizmodo)

Update: A couple more videos from Anton Geller,

AJAX epiphany?

Rui Carmo talks about Javascript and AJAX and has an epiphany about the language while lying on a beach.
I've always considered JavaScript as a sort of bastard language that had no place in the civilized environs... Prototype gratuitously mucks about with JavaScript innards in a way that some people thoroughly dislike... Despite JavaScript being a broken, hopeless language, Prototype's trickery makes it fun... - Rui Carmo
I've been writing a lot of Javascript lately; the VOEvent manual injection system, the eSTAR network status map, the OGLE event timeline page and a growing collection of eSTAR Dashboard widgets. Despite agreeing with Rui that it's a hopelessly broken language, I must admit to a certain fondness for Javascript. I can see why some Perl folks think it has promise, it lets you get stuff done, and as any Perl hacker will tell you, that's the important thing. Who said too much sun can be bad for you?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Potential Connection Delay

So we've had a linehaul delay before, but now our two new 24 inch iMacs are sitting in Pudong International Airport just east of Shanghai with the TNT tracking query returning,
Potential Connection Delay
now what does that mean? The box has missed its plane?

Update: Well one of the Macs has made it as far as Arnhem, but the other is still sitting at Pudong Airport. Very odd...

Update: One of the Macs has now arrived and been unpacked, the other one is still sitting in Shanghai, despite arriving at the airport within a couple of minutes of each other...

SpaceShipTwo interior concept

Richard Branson today unveiled the SpaceShipTwo interior concept (via Slashdot) at the Wired's NextFest. The ships are due to roll out and begin test flights in early 2008 in Mojave, California, but all future operational spaceflights will be staged out of New Mexico's Spaceport beginning in 2009.

CREDIT: Michael Soluri, for
Mock-up interior of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo

Update: More from Gizmodo who were at NextFest.

Flickr geotagging statistics

Beau Gunderson has created a choropleth map in Google Earth (via Google Earth Blog), built using the Perl Flickr::API and Geo::ShapeFile modules to send 64,800 requests to Flickr, showing the distribution of geotagged images around the globe.

Download the KMZ file for Google Earth

Nick Ing-Simmons

I was saddened to hear today of the death of Nick Ing-Simmons, who passed away on Monday 25th of September as a result of a heart attack. Nick was a long time member of the Perl community, and perhaps best known for his work on Perl/Tk which for many years was the only native graphical front end for Perl, and is still heavily used today.

Nick is survived by his partner, Medi, and will be sorely missed.

Update: Details of the funeral arrangements.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Google Earth and Applescript

Update: Google Earth and Automator actions

Craig Stanton has discovered that Google Earth now has basic AppleScript support, and has put together a Geotagger droplet as a proof of concept demonstration.

The supported Applescript commands

Stefan Geens over at Ogle Earth was fairly excited about this discovery and immediately pushed the boundaries by using the AppleScript support and Jonas Salling's Salling Clicker to build himself a Bluetooth remote control for Google Earth.

Google Earth by remote control...

You have to love this stuff, great work guys...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Apple iMac with 802.11n Wireless?

The rumour is that the new Core 2 Duo iMacs are shipping with 802.11n cards installed. If true, this is a really interesting development, especially considering the speculation surrounding the Apple iTV set-top box. I'm about to get my hands on a couple of the new 24-inch iMacs later this week, so I'll have a poke around and see if I can confirm this one...

More battery recalls

Toshiba has joined the growing number of companies that have been forced to recall defective Sony batteries. They join Dell, Apple, and apparently Panasonic whose battery recall had passed me by entirely who have been affected by the Sony battery problems. Bets on the next manufacturer to be affected? It looks like it might be Lenovo after a spate of recent incidents including the infamous LAX incident. If you have any Sony stock, I'd dump it...

The LAX incident, ouch!

Update: Maybe I was too hasty, perhaps HP is next?

Update: No, Lenovo joins the other manufacturers in the mass battery recall. Thanks Sony, we owe you one...

Update: Hitachi joins the growing number forced to recall their batteries.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A key fob with a DSMB?

A key fob with emergency bouy (via Engadget), a must for the diver in your life that already has everything else...

At least you'd get them back?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The death of Windows Mobile 5.0?

Last year I announced the death of Palm OS, and went out and bought an Orange SPV M5000 (aka the HTC Universal) and despite support for syncing from Windows Mobile devices to my Mac finally arriving, I'm now announcing the death of Windows Mobile 5.0.

I've just bought an Nokia N80, or rather Orange have just given me one as a free upgrade on my contract. I don't have any complaints about HTC's hardware, but I've finally got so frustrated with the clunky Windows Mobile interface I just had to go back to a Nokia.

I've had the new phone about 2 hours, and I've already set it up as a bluetooth modem using Ross Barkman's scripts and sync'ed it with my Mac's Address Book using the mactomster iSync plug-in. It took me weeks to figure out how to do that with the HTC Universal, and it was always a bit on the flaky side even after I finally got things working.

So far I've had no real problems, and despite a number of Series 60 annoyances, I so much happier with the interface, even after Orange have mucked around with it, than with Windows Mobile. I'm miss the keyboard on the Universal, but not as much as I expected.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Skype WiFi Phone, redux

Remember the Skype WiFi phone from Netgear? Although both the Skype shop and still have the phone available for pre-order, with Amazon showing a 15th of October ship date, Engadget have managed to get their hands on one and are claiming the phone is now shipping. So if you're desperate to get your hands on the new handset you might want to have a look around and see you can find it anywhere...

CREDIT: Engadget
The Netgear SPH101 Skype Wi-Fi Phone

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Apple philosophy?

Update: Released as the Apple TV in Jan 2007

I've already talked about the iTV and at the time I was confused as to why it didn't come with DVR functionality. However a comment attached to an unrelated post on Read/Write Web which talked about the possibility of an Apple releasing a Network-Attached Storage device being a good idea for various reasons, including Time Machine and the iTV, set me thinking.

With 802.11n on the horizon, and the iTV probably delayed waiting for the standard to solidify a bit, I can see a number of small single function boxes being a big win for Apple.

For instance the iTV could automatically use Bonjour to look for other Apple compatible products, it finds you Macbook and adds the advertised iTunes library to its play list. Your laptop might be sitting in your office upstairs, but your music, videos and movies are available on the TV in your living room.

But what if it also found your Apple NAS box? The NAS box has your movie collection which you ripped from DVD. Now that's available on your TV as well. Then maybe it also finds your Apple DVR, which has already found your Apple NAS, and is using that for storage, and now all your favourite shows are available on your TV.

Maybe the iTV is meant as the centre of a network of single function devices that will wrap themselves around all your media content. Simple, single function devices, that advertise themselves over a self-organising 802.11n network, that "just works" out of the box. No set up, no fuss, just Apple goodness...

The UNIX philosophy has always been for programs to do one thing, and one thing well. Maybe technology has advanced to the point where this works, once again, for hardware. After all, the iPod follows this philosophy, it doesn't have an FM tuner, or many of the other features of its competitors, yet it continues to outsell them.

You have to ask yourself why, and maybe this is why. Consumers don't want convergence devices, they want their widget to do the job they ask it to do. Maybe Apple acquired something else with the move to OS X, maybe they acquired a UNIX view of the world, and maybe Bonjour, and 802.11n, is the equivalent of pipe?

If Apple ever genuinely had any plans to produce an iPhone, I think they've probably shelved them, there is just no way any phone hardware they release now could possibly measure up to the iPhone rumours that have been floating around for so long. So maybe this is the way out?

The iPhone rumour mill

Now as regular readers should already know, I like an Apple rumour as much as the next man. But only three days after the Apple's special event the rumour mill has started to roll again, and we have yet more iPhone rumours.

If Apple ever genuinely had any plans to produce an iPhone, I think they've probably shelved them. There is just no way any hardware they release now could possibly measure up to the iPhone rumours that have been floating around for the last two years.

An Inconvenient Truth, redux

Back in July, while I was out at LANL, I went to see Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth. This movie is now opening across the UK, and if you only see one movie this year see this one...

The movie trailer on Google Video (or YouTube)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

...and again?

Only days after their last special event Apple are doing it again. They've announced another special event on the 25th of September to head up the photokina show in Germany.

...and again?

From the invite, and the venue, I think it's safe to assume that we're looking at some sort of Aperture related announcement, although predictably the rumours have already started about an updated Macbook Pro...

Update: Is an updated Aperture enough for a special event? If not we're presumably looking at new software, or new hardware. Remember the Apple QuickTake? No, thought not. It was one of the first ever digital cameras aimed at the consumer market. Maybe they're getting back into the market?

Update: The event has now come and gone, with the only significant announcement being the release of Aperture 1.5.

Removing logos

The instructables have published a guide to removing logos from your PDA or cell phone using, oddly enough, sugar. It's a bit off the wall, but it does seem to work. Although as always with this sort of thing, your milage may vary...

CREDIT: instructables
Removing logos...

Inside the remastered iPod nano

It always [1, 2, 3] happens, a new Apple product means a new Apple product being taken to pieces. This time ifixit seems to have been the first to completely disassembled the new "remastered" iPod nano (via MacSlash).

CREDIT: ifixit
Disassembling the 2G iPod nano

Update: Second, if only by a few hours, iLounge have also now dissected (via TUAW) the new iPod nano.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Apple news that wasn't...

Lost in yesterday's excitment was the news that the CPUs in Apple's Mac Pro are upgradeable (via Slashdot).

Later this year Intel will introduce a line of new quad-core processors which will be pin-compatible with its current Core 2 line. Anandtech have taken engineering samples of this chip and successfully upgraded a current generation quad-core Mac Pro to run with eight cores.

CREDIT: Anandtech
That's a lot of CPU...

I can't say I'm too surprised this works, after all it is pin compatible, that's the point. But it's good that it works so easily, not only because current Mac Pro owners have an upgrade path, but also because the rest of us can look forward to off the shelf eight core Mac Pros in the (near?) future.

The Apple iTV? Not in the UK...

Update: Released as the Apple TV in Jan 2007
Update: More on the Apple iTV

The biggest announcement of yesterday's Apple special event is obviously their prototype iTV video streaming set-top box to be released during the first quarter of next year at a $299 price point.

CREDIT: Engadget
The prototype iTV

The iTV has Ethernet, USB, HDMI, component video, RCA and optical audio ports. It also has Wi-Fi, presumably 802.11g although nothing has been said anything as to whether that really is the case, and an IR port on the front for the Apple Remote. The iTV will come with an updated version of the Front Row interface.

CREDIT: Engadget
A look at the ports...

The O'Reilly team disagree fiercely on why Steve Jobs has given us this surprise look at a future Apple product, Apple never talks about future products. It's company policy. But whether the advanced look at the iTV was down to rumour control or whether it was supposed to be ready for release, and wasn't, now we know. Suddenly over two years of rumours about the iPhone, and the almost taken for granted release of a widescreen iPod, get thrown out of the window. For once we have an idea about where Apple is heading, we actually have a firm basis to try and draw some conclusions about their future strategy. They're heading into the still almost uncharted wilderness of video on demand with their new set-top box.

Apple are betting the farm that broadcast television is basically dead, and they seem to have decided that they aren't going to be competing head to head with the TiVo Series 3, or the Microsoft Media Center. They're seem to be betting that people don't really want a DVR, they want to be able to downlload the shows they want and watch them directly. It's a bold move, one which they can only win if iTunes 7 and their new movie store succeeds. Although conversely, it's possible that the new movie store will really only take off when the hardware to use it arrives, after all that's what happened with the iPod and the original iTunes store.

I could be wrong. After all the prototype box they displayed was just that, a prototype. It's possible they could integrate a TV tuner directly into the iTV and turn it into a DVR fairly trivially. After all the eyeTV from Elgato shows exactly how small a package you can fit that sort of hardware into these days. At which point, with the iTunes infrastructure behind them they probably could thumb their noses at TiVo and the Media Center with impunity.

Of course that name really has to go, at least in the UK, unless they want to get into a legal tangle with ITV, and some of the very broadcasters they need on their side if they ever want to close the iTunes divide and start offering TV shows outside the continental United States.

The new iPod shuffle

The redesigned iPod shuffle

The iPod shuffle has been totally redesigned, and is now the world's smallest MP3 player. There is now only one model, 1G for $79 (£55 inc VAT) with a brushed aluminium finish and an integrated clip. The down side to the redesign is that the shuffle no longer plugs directly into a standard USB port, you need to use the included dock.

Perhaps the biggest redesign coming out of the special event, a make-over for the iPod shuffle was long overdue as the cheap plastic exterior of the old model never really "fit" with Apple's image. The redesigned shuffle won't ship till October.

The new iPod nano

The new iPod nano

We were expecting an updated iPod nano in brushed Aluminium, and sure enough we got it. We also got colours, is it just me? I'm getting deja vú for the iPod mini here? The new iPod nano comes in 2G, 4G and 8G models priced at $149 (£99 inc VAT), $199 (£129 inc VAT) and $249 (£169 inc VAT) respectively. Only the 4G model comes in a choice of colours, the 2G model comes in brushed Aluminium only, while with the 8G model, you can have any colour you like so long as it's black.

The screen is 40% brighter than before, and an extended battery life, with Apple claiming 24 hours between charges. The new iPod nano is available today.

Update: Justin Williams unpacks his new iPod nano.

Update: While at the same time several other people are disassembling the new nano to see what's going on inside...

Update: Are Technica stress test the new nano, up to and including putting it in the washing machine...

The updated iPod

The updated iPod

Not the widescreen iPod, with touchscreen clickwheel, we were half expecting but an updated 5th generation iPod instead. The new iPods come in 30G and 80G models at $250 (£189 inc VAT) and $350 (£259 inc VAT).

The screen is apparently 60% brighter than previous models, and the battery has been extended so that it should now last up to 20 hours for audio playback or up to 6½ hours of video playback between charges. On the software side the iPod comes with new search services, games, and gapless playback, which I know will tempt at least one member of the Cult of Mac that I know into buying a new iPod. The updated iPods are available immediately.

Update: It's worth noting that the iPod games now available on the iTunes store can be played on a previous generation iPod, as well as the new updated models, so long as you update your software first. No such luck if you have an iPod nano of course...

Update: iLounge unpacks (via Engadget) the new iPod.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's Showtime

Update: In-depth coverage of the updated iPod, the new iPod nano, the redesigned iPod shuffle and Apple's new set-top box the iTV.

The special event begins at 18:00 BST today, I'll try and keep this post updated with what's going on in real time. However it's starting to look like we might be able to watch the show live on the web...

17:24 BST - Apparently Steve Wozniak has been spotted on his Segway outside the Yerba Buena Center. It's been a while since the other Steve showed up an an Apple announcement.

CREDIT: Cult of Mac (via TUAW)
Steve Wozniak arriving...

17:58 BST - People are making their way into the theatre, almost showtime. Engadget is reporting that it's a small event of only three or four hundred people, but it looks like iLounge is saying that the eight hundred seat theatre is filled to capacity.

CREDIT: Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief,
Inside the theatre...

18:03 BST - Steve is on stage, looks like the live feed from the theatre isn't working. Maybe it isn't going to be a real time feed after all?

CREDIT: Engadget
The updated iPod

18:08 BST - Talking about enhancing the current iPod line with new software features: instant searching, new games, and hardware features: 60% brighter with brighness control, 3.5 hours video playback, new headphones, gapless playback. The new games will be sold on the iTunes store for $4.99, and will work on all 5G iPods.

CREDIT: Engadget
Steve Jobs, who else?

18:15 BST - As previously rumoured, the iPod nano is comes in brushed Aluminium and colours: silver, black, blue, pink and green. They new nano has a 24 hour battery life and the same software as the big brother. There will be 3 models; 2, 4 and 8GB priced at $149, $199 and $249 respectively. The 2G model will be available in silver only.

18:22 BST - The second generation of the iPod shuffle is also being released, it will have a metal body with white click wheel, will be 1GB, have a 12 hour battery life, and will be the size of the iPod radio remote. The world's smallest MP3 player, it will be priced at $79.

18:26 BST - iTunes 7 is being released, just checked the download page it still has v6 up as the keynote runs, so no sneak previews right now. iTunes will have seperate libraries for each media type, and will have three views; list view, album view (with art and tracks), then "cover flow view" which lets you rapidly find what you want by album cover. If you're missing cover art, iTunes will now automatically provide it for you.

CREDIT: Engadget
The new iTunes interface

18:27 BST - TV shows are now encoded at 640×480 (H264), up from 320×240. We now have gapless playback in iTunes 7, and can we can (finally!) sync our iPod content with a second computer.

18:36 BST - "One more thing...". Movies, with 75 films online today, more every week and month. Films from; Walt Disney, Pixar, Touchstone, Miramax. New releases $12.99 preorders and first week, after that up to $14.99, with most other titles at $9.99. Can watch movie as it downloads, and download multiple movies at once. All movies will be in 640×480, near DVD quality, and have Dolby surround sound. It'll take around 30 minutes to download a movie over broadband.

18:43 BST - Movie store will be US only, but will (hopefully?) go international sometime in 2007. Usage rights are the same as the TV shows currently in iTunes.

18:45 BST - Robert Iger of Disney takes stage, repeats what Steve has just said. Odd?

CREDIT: Engadget
Robert Iger, no semantic content

18:52 BST - Iger still saying nothing that contains actual semantic content.

18:53 BST - Steve is wrapping up. But wait, there seems to be one more, one more thing! In an unusual sneak peak to the road ahead Steve is talking about 2007. Apple will be releasing its long rumoured TV set top box. It'll be like a Mac mini, and be called the iTV, although the name apparently isn't final.

CREDIT: Engadget
The new "iTV" set top box

18:56 BST - It will be half the size of the current Mac Mini, and have a built-in power supply. It'll come with: USB, Ethernet, wireless (802.11), component video, optical audio and HDMI ports, plus RCA stereo audio ports. It'll work with your Apple Remote and the interface will be a second generation Front Row.

CREDIT: Engadget
The "iTV" interface

19:05 BST - The "iTV" will work with iTunes on PC or Mac, and will be priced at $299. Available first quarter next year.

19:10 BST - A third "One More Thing"..? It all comes down to artists. John Legend has a new album next month. Steve turns the stage over to John, and bows out to the sounds of an acoustic version of "Save Room".

19:17 BST - All done.

19:27 BST - Both the iTunes and Apple Stores have come back up, and iTunes 7 is available to download. If you want your information in a more organised form, UNEASYsilence have a good post summarising the new hardware...

With thanks to MacRumours Live, iLounge Live, Engadget, and Flickr.

Apple store is down

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

Close on the heels of the iTunes Store it looks like the Apple Store is now also down. That pretty much confirms that we're looking at new hardware as well as an iTunes Movie Store. Maybe the leaked agenda is correct after all?

The UK Apple Store

Update: Immediately following the special event, the Apple Store is now back up...

iTunes store down

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

It's showtime, or nearly, and the iTunes store is down. If you try going to the US store, or clicking through to the store form the iTunes site, you get a message telling you the store is down for an update.

It's Showtime...

Note the lack of the word "Music" in the message? Unfortunatey the UK store is giving a somewhat more opaque error message...

Err, okay?

Which could mean anything. Despite that, this seems to confirm the rumours of an iTunes Movie Store.

Update: Just under an hour later the UK store is also telling us, "It's Showtime...". So does this mean movies for everyone? After all we still have the iTunes divide when it comes to TV shows..?

Movies for everyone?

Update: The Apple Store is now also down...

Update: Immediately following the special event, both the iTunes and Apple Stores have come back up.

Build your own Solar Cell

From expensive wind turbines on to building your own solar cell (via Make: Magazine), including instructions on how to coat glass with TiO2.

Last minute rumours

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

TUAW has posted the agenda for today's special event. They're predicting a iTunes Movie Store, with movies from Disney and Pixar, and a new iPod nano with a brushed metal casing. They're also predicting the long awaited widescreen iPod, featuring a virtual touchwheel, which according to their sources won't have WiFi, but will have Bluetooth.

...and one more thing? The TubePort, with a USB dongle to connect to your Mac, and another dongle that connects to your TV via HD, or regular Component, cables. With your movies bought via the Movie Store being accessed on your Mac from remote storage, and streamed to the TV via the TubePort.

Their agenda almost sounds believable, but I'm unconvinced. The rumoured price plan; $9.99 for a movie in iPod format, $14.99 for a HD movie streamed to your TV via the TubePort, or $19.99 for for both bundled together, seems far too expensive. The TubePort sounds, well, something of a hack, and a very inelegant hack. Of course, at least in Europe, nobody cares about HDTV so maybe I'm biased.

If Apple are announcing an iTunes Movie Store later today, and everyone seems agreed that they are, they'd better have something better than this to show. With the launch of Amazon Unbox last week, and the trashing it almost immediately recieved by the great and the good, Apple's offering really needs to be better. They need their Movie Store to be simple, elegant, and above all free of poorly implemented DRM.

Finally, the leaking of the entire agenda would be a major break in Apple security, and as everyone knows Apple's security is air tight around these events. If its true, then it's going to be a first. I guess we'll have to wait and see..?

Update: The iTunes Store has just gone down in preparation for the special event, looks like we're getting that Movie Store after all...

Update: The Apple Store has also gone down, it looks like we're getting some new hardware as well...

Amazon selling Wind Turbines?

It looks like is selling the Sunforce 400W Wind Generator for $799.99, and a 900W Wind Generator for $2,300, both with free shipping (via Digg).

The Sunforce 400W Wind Generator

It's not the best deal on a turbine I've ever seen, and depending on your circumstances you might also need a tower for $539.99 to mount your new turbine on, but it's really good to see this sort of technology trickle down onto somewhere like Unfortunately, it doesn't look like is carrying anything similar yet...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Not the new iPod

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

To me the sneaked photo of new Apple iPod currently doing the rounds is an obvious fake. The Front Row interface on the touchscreen iPod is off centre, there are issues with the image metadata and the 24-inch iMac seems to actually overhang the physical space on the banner. Lets not even go into the fact that Apple normally cover banners announcing new products before a show...

Not the new iPod

While we might see a new iPod tomorrow, this isn't it. Move along folks, nothing to see here...

Update: Both TUAW and TechCrunch has a showtime rumour round-up. Yea haw!

Update: Thanks to those that pointed this out, but yes I did notice that the Front Row interface has the icon for DVD. But that's the least that's wrong with the image, after all it they could have rolled an IR or Bluetooth interface into the next generation iPod and it could be acting as a remote control for your iMac after all...

Update: Although one thing I did initially miss (and who can blame me?) was that the ceiling in this picture is the Moscone Centre, not the Buena Gardens-Theater where the special event is actually being held...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lack of supply

The rumour is that supply issues at Intel are going to mean that Apple might not have a laptop featuring Intel's Core 2 Duo chip until 2007. Isn't this one of the reasons they dumped the PowerPC? That they were having supply issues..?

Northbound wireless

I'm currently travelling northbound, on the 13.10 out of Kings Cross, along the route of the Flying Scotsman. This post is coming to you via GNER's wireless internet service...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

We're waiting for the show...

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

I have to agree with Giles, the release of the new 24-inch iMac and the updated Mac mini is a clear signal from Apple that the special event on the 12th is something much more interesting than a new Mac. Or at least Apple think so...

Personally I would have been happy (excited even) with the appearance of the new iMac, especially after the lack of surprises coming out of WWDC. So, now there are no distractions, everyone will be concentration a much reduced range of possible products. I think we're all convinced it's going to be movie related, and the launch of a iTunes movie store is pretty much a given. The only question is what hardware is going to be around to back it up? After a long series of iPod fakes are we looking at the "real" video iPod, or maybe my guess about 42-inch cinema display, or maybe even the much desired and long rumoured video enabled version of the Airport Express.

Of course, the show could be the product itself, maybe we're just totally misinterpreting the announcement. Maybe we're looking at the long awaited iPhone, we've been talking about it for more than two years now, perhaps recent rumours have finally put some flesh on the endless speculation?

So come on Steve, it's almost showtime and your audience is waiting...

Update: Last minute rumours, as the iTunes Store goes down...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ubiquitous chopping and weighing

Remember the smart clothes pegs, intelligent spoons, thinking carpets and the ubiquitous umbrella? Now we have, at least as a design concept, a smart chopping board (via Gizmodo)...

CREDIT: Jess Griffin and Jim Termeer
The Cutting Scale

The Mac mini, updated

At the same time Apple quietly updated their iMac line today, they also very quietly updated the Mac mini. Although they've kept the price point the same, what now get a lot more for your money. The mini now has faster Intel Core Duo processors for both models, and the Core Solo-based Mac mini has been dropped. Both models now come with built-in Bluetooth and Airport Extreme...

New 24-inch iMac

Ahead of the now confirmed special event next week, Apple has made a surprising move of updating their iMac line-up.

The iMac family...

As well as upgrading all of the machines to an Intel Core 2 Duo processor they have released a new 24-inch iMac, as well as lowering the price of the entry level model. I don't think anyone was expecting this move by Apple...

Update: The Mac mini has also been updated...

Update It looks like the 17-inch base model no longer comes with an Apple Remote as standard. Which seems like the wrong decision for Apple, it's okay for people like me who have a few lying around, but not so good for switchers. Without the remote, Front Row isn't much use, and isn't that one of the main selling features for an iMac going into the home? ...and surely that's where they're targeting the base model?


Flickr and Geo-tagging

This has been in my edit queue for a week now, so you probably already know, but for those of you who missed this one, Flickr has finally rolled out native geo-tagging support presumably (mostly?) implemented by Dan Catt who went to work for Flickr back in January.

Geotagged images on my Flickr map...

Apparently tweleve million photos were geo-tagged in the first few hours of the new service going live, which doesn't surprise me, as I managed to tag my two hundred odd pictures in under an hour.

Although it helped that my sets were mostly geographically constrained, I can see other people being willing to put in similar levels of work, and I reckon I could have done the "next" two hundred pictures in a lot less time. However unlike some people I don't post stream of consciousness to Flickr, so I don't have another two hundred to tag.

That said the main slow down was the abysmal level of street detail that Yahoo maps has in the UK and, oddly enough, Japan. I had to pull up a number of places in Google maps, and then copy and paste the Latitude and Longitude into the Flickr interfaces. Which isn't exactly optimal...

Thomas Hawks who works for Zooomr, one of Flickr's main competitors, has written a review of new the geotagging support. He's broadly supportive, although he too mentions to poor European support, although he seems more concerned about export issues. Which, working for a competitor, you can sympathise with...

One thing I am concerened about is that Flickr doesn't seem to add the normal geotagged tag, geo:lat and geo:long tags that we're used to seeing. This would be useful for exporting the metadata and for mashups with other services that don't necessarily support the internal Flickr Maps stuff. Surely this would be a trivial olive branch to hold out to mashup builders?

Update: Can someone please tell me why the user who posted the Technology Review article on the new Flickr geo-tagging features to Digg seemed to think that the article was about privacy concerns? There is barely a mention of it, and that is mostly to say that there isn't any...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's Showtime

The Showtime Special Event
Live Coverage, 12th Sept 2006

Confirming the rumours that have been flying over the last few days, Apple has announced a special event for the 12th of September to be held in the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. The announcement reads "It's Showtime" and displays a white Apple logo floating amongst four crisscrossing spotlights.

It's showtime...

Now it hasn't always been true, but on some occasions the invite is a (un)subtle hint at the product(s) to be announced at the event. Perhaps the rumours of an iTunes movie store, or more wildly a video-enabled version of Apple's existing AirPort Express wireless base station, might have some truth in them?

Update: Gizmodo has made a list of the rumours they've come across about the special event;
... "Merom" Core 2 Duo chips inside of Macbooks, giant 23-inch iMacs, colored iPod Nanos with beefier storage and a hard launch for the iTunes movie store. We've even heard good old iPhone, widescreen video iPod, and video-compatible Airport Express rumors.
It looks like they've picked up on everything I've heard about so far, but we're still a week away, lots of time yet for the rumour mill to build up some speed...

Update: A surprise update of the iMac line including the release of a new 24-inch iMac more than a week ahead of the special event on the 12th...

Update: Just spotted an interesting comment on Slashdot;
In February or so, LG Electronics unveiled their 42" LCD part. Apple uses their 20" and 23" units, and I have been waiting for them to present a 42" Cinema. - Ed Halley.
You know, I think he's on to something. Perhaps "It's Showtime" isn't hinting about the rumoured iTunes movie store, at least not on it's own. Perhaps we're looking at a 42-inch cinema display here?

Update: Last minute rumours, as the iTunes and Apple Store go down...

Friday, September 01, 2006

The rumours must roll

With apologies to Heinlein, the Apple rumour mill is starting to roll again with the prediction of a special event in San Francisco (via Engadget).

On the heels of the news that larger orders for the Mac mini are not being accepted, we've heard rumours about an updated Mac mini, possibly even with CableCard support. I'm still holding out for a good replacement for the 12" Powerbook, perhaps an instant on tablet, or even a palmtop? But as iLounge puts it,
Analysts and Apple watchers have long predicted that new iPods, full-length iTunes movie downloads, and possibly even an iPhone would be introduced this fall.
There are probably half a dozen people on the planet that really knows what's coming, and Steve Jobs no doubt has them holed up in a bunker somewhere in Cupertino guarded by ex-SAS guys, just to keep them away from the press. But we shouldn't let that get in the way, so let the rumours roll...

Update: The latest rumour, and not one I've heard before which actually makes it more rather than less believable, is about the release of a new 23-inch iMac to go with the current 17 and 20-inch models. I've got both of the current iMacs, guess I'd have to complete the set if they brought out a 23-inch version. Shame...

Update: Looks like, for once, the rumours were correct.

Update: A surprise update of the iMac and Mac mini lines, including the release of a new 24-inch iMac more than a week ahead of the special event on the 12th...