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RIM’s Playbook may run Android apps!

February 15th, 2011 No comments

RIM’s Playbook tablet will run Android apps!

According to Bloomberg, it looks like the 130,000+ app library of Android will run on the company’s iPad competitor, the Playbook. The blackberry maker has been trying to hype up its first entry into the tablet market, where it will more than likely have to compete with the iPad 2, due to its later than expected market appearance. Perhaps RIM thought it needed more compelling features to compete with the likes of the Motorola XOOM and the newly announced HP tablet as well.

Sources:
http://www.dailytech.com/RIM+PlayBook+Tablet+to+Offer+Android+Apps/article20893.htm
http://www.cmswire.com/images/RIM%20PlayBook.png

The latest ‘iPad 2’ rumors

February 9th, 2011 No comments

Latest iPad 2 rumors

Getting back to the iPad successor, many rumors are now swirling around and one of note is the doubled resolution screen. While I also would like it to be fact rather that rumor, I think this would be asking too much from Apple and unlikely. Through much of January there has been a lot of back and fourth between sources claiming it will or it will not have this new double resolution screen, though the momentum and likeliness leaning towards this NOT happening *sadface*. It does seem pretty likely that the new iPad will have a faster processor and GPU though, as well as at least one, if not 2 cameras and a new slimmer and sleeker design. Software wise, it’ll probably have iOS 4.2.1 to begin, or possibly come out of the box with 4.3 who knows? Despite the recent update to Flash which added hardware GPU acceleration, Flash is still unlikely in my opinion…

Source:
http://www.webestigate.com/2011/02/03/apple-ipad-2-screen-thinner-lighter-rumors/

Sony’s new ‘PSP2’ officially announced

January 29th, 2011 No comments

The Sony PSP2 officially announced

Yesterday, Sony announced their next generation portable console, the PSP2 (clever, I know). Formerly known as the NGP or Next Generation Portable, it will have 2 joysticks instead of the current PSP’s “nub”, a 5 inch screen, and a 960×544 resolution on OLED technology (although the technology used in the screen is seeing conflicting reports…). The resolution is exactly 4 times the number of pixels compared to the original PSP, probably for compatibility or ease of porting and development of PSP and PSP2 applications and games, much in the same way Apple doubled the resolution of the iPhone. To put it into perspective, it is almost as high res as an iPhone 4 screen, only the PSP2 screen will be 5 inches, while the iPhone 4 is a more compact 3.5 inches. Right off the bat, we know it will not be as sharp as the retina display’s 326ppi, but a more humble ~220ppi depending on aspect ratio. Thats not necessarily a bad thing though, since it still does sport a very respectable resolution and a BIG screen for a handheld gaming system.

The new PSP2 features some other impressive specs, easily besting its own predecessor. The PSP2 will sport, among other things:

Known Specs:
-Touch screen functionality
-GPS
-Wifi? and 3G
-Front and rear cameras
-Motion sensors and gyroscope
-App store
-ARM Cortex A9 based quad core processor
-PowerVR SGX543MP4+
-Sony claims power is comparable to PS3

Read more…

Back in 2003…

December 9th, 2010 No comments

I used to be “particularly interested in quiet computers and components”. These days I’m more interested in Youtube and videography, although I still like my computers to be quiet! I still spend way too much time online. These days, technology has changed, and although I know just as much as I did back then about Computer basics, I haven’t kept up with all the new technologies specifically.

I first tried Mac back in 2006 with a 17 inch Powerbook, and by February 2007 I had purchased a 15 inch Macbook Pro which, to this day I still have and am typing this very sentence on. It also got me through my latter college years (Spring 2007 – Winter 2009 at SJSU) so I have somewhat of a small emotional attachment to it just from all that it has been through with me. However, with my recent hobby of Youtubing and videography, it is a bit lacking in modern processing power.

I am currently unemployed and looking for a job, so I was thinking once I get a job, I would build a new desktop. 6 years ago I thought a laptop would be my future computer, and it was a very good estimate that was also ahead of its time (back then, everyone wanted to buy Desktops). Who would of thought I’d get into a hobby that required powerful computers? As I wasn’t and am still not a hard gamer, I didn’t think I’d ever need more than a good laptop. Laptops also have a big advantage in that they consume much less power, and I’m really into being “green” when I can.

Also, I’ve just finally stopped using my Sony Trinitron CRT recently. Well, I think it was in 2008 when I finally decided to buy a 30 inch Cinema Display. Until then, I must of used the Sony CRT for a good 2-3 years at least. I believed and still do to some extent, that CRT’s had better image quality than even the best LCD’s. In June of 2010, I sold my 30 inch Cinema Display amid rumors that Apple would update it with a new 27 inch LED Cinema Display. I was interested in preserving the value of my monitor before the update, and for that I was mostly right to do so. However, the updated Cinema Display had the ultra reflective screen that I did not like, and so I switched to the newest 27 inch Dell monitor, the U2711. I also liked that it has a lot of inputs so I can hook up my game consoles to play games. Since I live in a small room, I have gotten rid of my Television for many years now, opting to try to stick to just a good large computer monitor.

“I probably like the computer technology world because it is always changing and there is always something new to read about it;)” – This is something I wrote at least 7 years ago, if not more, and it still holds true. These days I keep up more with just basic tech news rather than in depth details that I used to read into. The latest Apple gadgets, OS’s, and of course Smartphones and their technologies. I currently own an iPhone 4 which I believe to be the best hardware currently on the market, yet I will soon part with in the interest of $$. I am going back to my 3Gs, which I still have. I will miss the iPhone 4…particularly the screen and camera, but will probably update again sometime in 2011 after I get a job and we see what the iPhone 5 is all about. With Christmas coming up and Apple’s rumors and release cycle, I believe it is a good time to sell my iPhone 4 for maximum value benefits. I expect to get anywhere from $600 – $700 for my iPhone 4 (minus steep 12% fee from selling on eBay!).

As for the desktop I’d like to build, I would probably budget at around $1000 and have an idea what sort of build and components I am looking for. Since I’m really into technology and computers, probably more than most people, I tend to have a bigger budget than most people. I would like it to be a hackintosh compatible computer, so I have the option to run OSX or Windows 7. What this means is I would choose hardware that is known to be able to run OSX with some hacked boot disks or whatever (I haven’t done the research yet).

I would like the build to have probably a single socket quad core intel CPU, based on what I know about CPU’s these days. Basically I want it to be a highly overclockable CPU that is reasonably priced. I would choose a hex core intel if I could due to the 32nm process it uses, but they are currently priced at over $800 each at least, while a low end yet overclockable intel quad with 45nm core is more in the $200 range. I haven’t ruled out dual socket Xeons if the cost is right, basically looking for bang for the buck here, while still getting a reasonable amount of power and power efficiency. I do believe smaller die processes (32nm vs 45nm) are usually superior in headroom and power efficiency.

For the PSU, I am pretty much dead set on Seasonic. Probably either the latest X series or the fanless one, whichever I feel has the best combo of noise, efficiency, and price. I’ve heard the newest fanned Seasonics don’t actually spin the fan unless they consume a certain amount of power. If I was confident I would not pass that threshold, I would get the fanned PSU as it is cheaper and has a higher max power rating.

For the case I would use my current case if I could, the Antec P180 original. I still think this is one of the best, and best looking cases on the market. Besides, someone I know and respect helped design it, which I like as well. I would almost certainly use my favorite HSF, the Scythe Ninja, and what I like about this case in particular is that there is a fan grill directly above where the CPU socket would be, since I am considering making my next build ENTIRELY noiseless (fanless with SSDs).

Speaking of SSDs, that is what I plan on using as the harddrive, and I’m pretty dead set on this as well. I would probably choose or at least seriously consider the next gen Intel G3 SSD’s. The question is not if I’ll use SSD’s, but how many I will get and put into RAID 0. It could be anywhere from 1-4, depending on cost, mood at time of purchase, and number of SATA channels I have. SSD’s have been the greatest performance increase I have ever seen when I upgraded a component in all my years and experience upgrading computer hardware.

I would also use my old DVD burner if I could, but that may not work out because it is PATA and I imagine everything on mobos is SATA these days. Its been so long since I built a desktop that a couple of major interface changes have occurred, namely the switch to PCI express for expansion cards, and SATA for other peripherals such as harddrives and optical drives. I’d probably also get some sort of wireless card and a bluetooth card, and a good hackintosh compatible mobo with fanless cooling for the onboard components. I would look for native USB3, Bluetooth 3, and Wireless N built in if that is even possible, so I don’t have to deal with external cards for that functionality. I think it would be a cleaner build to only have one expansion card – for the videocard. Even that is debatable if onboard video is decent enough to play starcraft 2 at reasonable settings, since as I often repeat, I am not a hardcore gamer. If the videocard effected the performance of my video editing software (Final Cut), then that would be different…

So there you have it, a good idea of what sort of build I am looking for. I would probably go with a low heat videocard that has a good combo of price, speed, and efficiency. Then I would probably go through the mobo BIOS and undervolt/overclock things I find to get a good combination of speed and heat produced. Ideally it would be entirely passively cooled, but I am not ruling out a VERY quiet 12cm fan, since even a tiny amount of air movement leads to SIGNIFICANTLY lower temperatures. It may be a compromise I have to make. Ram quantity would almost certainly be between 4gb – 8gb, as I feel it is the best combination of price/performance. I’ve read recently that ram now runs in triple channel, so 3 sticks of 2gb may be a good choice there.

Apple’s new Macbook Air

October 21st, 2010 No comments

Apple today held an event titled “Back to the Mac” in which they made a few new products announcements as well as future product previews. The star of the show though, was clearly the newly redesigned Macbook Airs!

In my opinion, this new MBA is totally WIN. Apple really did their homework! The new air will be fast thanks to faster graphics and SSD which will in my opinion negate the slower core 2 duo processors. And really, the purpose of the air is understood. I think in the previous air, Apple tried too hard to make it as fast as possible but light. Now they are making it fast ENOUGH and more aggressively priced.

I have owned a first generation 1.83ghz Macbook Pro for 3 years now. While it is a fine laptop, it is limited to a maximum of 2gb of ram, and I’ve always been jealous of my friend’s newer 2.2ghz Macbook Pro, which has a 6gb ram cap. Actually, I know 3 people with that very same 2.2ghz model, all started with 2 and upgraded to 4gb, and all reported a significant improvement they noticed in the responsiveness of the OS. I have also owned a unibody Macbook Pro for 6 months, and it had 4gb of ram, and I felt it was significantly more responsive. The original Macbook Air went back to the dreaded 2gb ram cap, and the new Macbook Air comes with 2gb as standard. I’m happy to report however that according to Apple’s site for the new Macbook Air, it appears every model from the entry level to the high end can be upped to 4gb at the factory for $100 extra. I am not sure if it is upgradable after the notebook has been assembled though (short of swapping the entire logic board).

I consider this is a form of netbook, but done RIGHT. The specs are better than most netbooks, but the aim of what it does is a high end netbook. I am very impressed. Feel free to argue that it is not a netbook, that one is up to opinion. In my opinion, a netbook is light weight and compact, can do web browsing, email, watch videos, view photos, and Microsoft Office. Another huge deal to me about the new Macbook air, particularly in the 11.6 inch size, is that it has a FULL SIZED KEYBOARD and GREAT trackpad. Believe me, I’ve tried competing keyboards that are not full sized, as well as competing trackpads. Apple’s create a great user experience, and the others…are frustrating. It doesn’t hurt that they have increased battery life and decreased weight :).

My plea to Apple about their glossiest screened products

October 20th, 2010 No comments

I love Apple products and it annoys me that I can’t buy your latest products because they are glossy. Any other company and I would ditch them for a competitor, but I really wish I COULD buy the Apple equivalent, which is a testament to how great I think your products are. Its not that normal glossy screens are so intolerable that I can’t use them on their own, but Apple decides to add a layer of glass in front. I understand this is a choice Apple made and they have no obligation to offer matte screens if they don’t want to, but I would love to see every Apple product have the option.

While it is true a glossy screen is a matte screen without the matte film applied at the factory, my issue is with the extra layer of glass that many Apple products carry. This adds substantial additional reflectivity that I’m sure Apple and their R&D must of noticed but dismissed in the name of design or recyclability or streamlined product line or whatever, and I agree the iMacs are beautiful aesthetically.

I’ve actually taken the glass off the front of an iMac and been pleasantly surprised by the tolerable amount of glare in the glossy screen behind the glass. Similarly, I find the amount of glare in the white macbook or the macbook air (which both lack the extra layer of glass) to be not my preference, but tolerable. I would even go as far as to say, if I was in the market for them, I would buy them (‘them’ = Apple products that do not have the extra layer of glass in front). I would not want to buy a beautiful iMac and then be forced to use it with the glass off, as then it would no longer be beautiful. I would on the other hand still buy a matte Macbook Pro 15 inch as I still find it beautiful.

Incidentally, I own both an iPhone 4 and an iPad. Funny enough, the reflectivity of the iPhone 4 does not bother me despite using glass to cover the screen. So now I sound like a hypocrit. However, the glass in front of the iPad DOES bother me. I have to conclude that at least for me, the glass becomes a bigger issue as the …glass becomes bigger.

Now let me talk about my old CRT. I used to own a Sony Trinitron F500, a top of the line CRT in its time. CRT’s use a glass cover in front of them as well – why was I not bothered!? Well, to be honest, I WAS! But not too badly, and I believe the reason to be that Sony put an anti-glare coating on the glass. It subdued reflectivity very well, and I felt it didn’t sacrifice image quality much (if at all!).

Now, in some cases, you could add a matte film to a glossy screen and make it matte. This is not so in any product that has a glass covering, it sacrifices the image quality! On top of that, a normal person cannot apply a matte film as well and precisely as done at a factory.

So Apple, I’m not saying you have to offer matte or I’ll throw a hissy fit. However, as a loyal user of your lovely products, I would really appreciate if you do something – even just a little, to address the extremely reflective surfaces of some of your products such as the iMacs, 13 inch Macbook Pros, and the 27 inch Cinema Display by either not using the glass in front, using a good factory applied method of subduing reflectivity, or best of all would be to offer your products in matte somehow. Surely it must be possible if your competitors are doing it too?

Please?

Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab Tablet

September 2nd, 2010 No comments

Samsung today revealed their much anticipated iPad competitor based on Android Froyo.. It is a 7 inch tablet with 512mb of ram and a 1ghz A8 ARM processor, so I’d say it’ll be similar to the iPad in speed (its obvious main competitor), but have twice as much ram. The Samsung also differs in the smaller size and almost half the weight, as well as the inclusion of a 3.2mp rear camera and a 1.3mp front camera. The Samsung can take external SD cards, and runs Android Froyo. By running Android Froyo, it supports lots of things the iPad with iOS does not, a couple of which are Adobe Flash and what is considered by many as more powerful multitasking support.

Owning an iPad myself, however, I can say that there are a couple of overlooked features that should not be forgotten. A huge feature of the iPad that is often overlooked is the battery life. It is really good – basically I never have to worry about the battery, and I just leave it lying around. Once in a while I’ll charge it for a few hours and its topped back up.

Another feature and DEFINITELY overlooked about all Apple products is that they tend to hold value better. When I need to sell an Apple device for whatever reason, I find I get closer to the price I paid in comparison to products from other companies. While this is not a huge deal to everyone, I for one often end up selling my old electronics and rarely keep them until they are run into the ground.

Read more…

New iPods, and a new redesigned $99 Apple TV, oh my!

September 2nd, 2010 No comments
So, if you are keeping up with the tech world, you know the two biggest recent announcements are from Apple and Samsung. Apple yesterday released a whole new lineup of iPods and a new Apple TV, as well as iOS announcement, while Samsung today revealed their much anticipated iPad competitor based on Android Froyo.

I’m going to focus on my thoughts on the new iPods.

The shuffle is my favorite shuffle out of all the shuffles. The design is symmetrical, has the click wheel, clip, and small size with all the latest features. Unlike the previous generation which relied on buttons being on the headset, the new shuffle truly is the best of all worlds. Well, with the exception of not having a display. I like it.

iPod Nano 6th generation.

The nano on the other hand, is a huge step backward, in my opinion. In fact, its the biggest step backward I can recall in an Apple product. What Apple doesn’t mention is that the new nano has a smaller 1.54 inch screen compared to the 2.2 inch screen of the previous nano, and also no longer has a built in camera, or even a mic! There are no tactile buttons, meaning you MUST look at the nano to do anything such as skip songs, and to add insult to injury, its the thickest nano ever made, is available in less colors, and doesn’t have the iconic clickwheel to identify it as a nano visually. The capacities aren’t any larger either, and the prices are not significantly lower. I feel they had it right in the 4th generation nano. That nano was the nano design perfected. The nano doesn’t need a camera, or a mic, its more focused that way. The addition of the camera and mic made the back of the nano a whole lot uglier in what was otherwise a beautiful design.

Details about the new iPod Touch and Apple TV follows…

The importance of aesthetic design, and Apple

August 21st, 2010 No comments
I would like to talk about aesthetic design and Apple in particular.

I’m a sucker for design, and design is probably the most important part of a electronics product for me. Say what you will, design is a big deal to me. I’ve always felt Apple brought that. Even back in 2001 when I didn’t particularly care for Apple, I loved the design of the Titanium Powerbook. In fact, back then, I had wished that I could run windows on it, because it had the best design but I preferred windows. They make the thinnest and lightest 17 inch laptop. The fact that they make the thinnest, IMHO best looking, and lightest weight 17 inch laptop will make me choose them every time if I were in the market (but not with a glossy screen…).

If not for their design I’d sway more easily. For example, I’m not a huge fan of the design of the Mac Pro, and consequently I am in very serious consideration of building a hackintosh instead because I prefer the design of a different case (Antec P180).

For design freaks like me, Apple is hard to avoid. Almost every Apple product I own I feel is by far the best aesthetic design on the market. I own a Magic Mouse. It is not a good mouse, but IMO it is the best looking mouse. That said, just like glossy screens, if it has a deal breaker in functionality, I still won’t use it. And yes, I am thinking of selling my Magic Mouse.

It is the same for smartphones. I feel the current iP4 is the best looking phone on the market. I don’t like the kick stand or the red on the evo, or how the camera bulges out. I actually prefer an integrated battery because then there are no extra seams in the design. On the Samsung Captivate I don’t like the slight bulge on the bottom, while the iP4 is flat and thin, and the camera doesn’t bulge out. The design is even and consistent.

I haven’t used a case on my cell phones in the past because I feel they hurt the aesthetics. I currently use a bumper on my iP4, but only because it was free, and I feel it doesn’t hurt the aesthetics very much, if at all.

That all said, I wonder how much importance other people put on aesthetic design when purchasing an electronics product?

iPhone screen protector advice

July 29th, 2010 No comments

Whether you should get a screen protector for your iPhone depends on your preferences. Here are just me and my friends experiences and my advice based on 7 unique iPhones of different generations.

Between me and my friends we have 1 original iPhone, 2 iPhone 3G, and 4 iPhone 3Gs. None have used any sort of screen protection. The only iPhone model to get scratches on the screen is the 3Gs, and the reason is because starting with the 3Gs, iPhones have a ‘oleophobic coating’. At least one Youtuber has also claimed in his video that his unprotected iPhone 4 screen has very minor scratches on it. It is actually the coating that gets scratched, not the glass. A screen protector therefore is recommended for all iDevices with a oleophobic coating, such as iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod Touch 3G if you wish to keep your screen PERFECT. Anything newer iDevice will presumably all have the oleophobic coating.

And for the record, I’ve owned both the iPhone 3G and the 3Gs and used it in a very reasonable way, never dropped and just in and out of its exclusive pocket (nothing else is carried in the pocket I keep my phone). iPhone 3G has not seen any scratches in almost 2 years, while the 3Gs got scratches on the coating in just a month. Its not easily visible though, so you only need a screen protector if you want to keep your phone PERFECT. The scratched coating is very unnoticeable and does not effect everyday use. Of course this is just my experience.

Click here to read more, and a nice chart to sum it all up!