TiVo

I have one of these things but never really used it that much. Mainly because TiVo Transfer is very buggy on the Mac and it is hard to program because you have to be right there. Some solutions for both. TiVo Transfer is replaced by iTiVo and i.TV lets you program your TiVo remotely.

TiVo Blog – Part 2

i.TV (iTunes link) has gone ahead and announced a new version of their media centric iPhone/iPod touch application (v2.0 is currently under review by Apple and will be available soon). Normally I don’t mention iPhone related news on this site however, i.TV 2.0 now allows you to turn your iPhone into a TiVo remote. Unlike other mobile applications that offer this feature, i.TV is to the best of my knowledge the first mobile TiVo remote that has been acknowledge by TiVo Inc. As mentioned before, i.TV also allows you to schedule recordings on your TiVo via their built-in guide data. This feature is similar to what you get via TiVo’s mobile website however, it really is nice to have this capability built into an application that includes so many other features.

TiVoToGo Software Roundup (Transfer Recordings To Your PC or Mac) | TiVo Blog

Looking for a TiVo To Go client for your Mac, Windows or Linux box? Look no further than this post. Let me know if I’m missing a client from this list like:

  • Galleon whichFeatures include: automatically downloads recordings from your TiVo using keywords.
  • iTiVo is Mac front-end that downloads shows to your mac and convert them to h.264 etc.

Mac buying recommendations

For many folks, the question is a new Windows 7 machine (I haven’t reviewed any of these yet) or get a Mac. Here are current recommendations. First, discounts are hard to come by, but Apple Insider offers 3% or so off. Also, there are sites that help with sales tax as well, but here are recommendations:

  • iMacs. The new ones are nice, but ideally, if you can wait for the 27″ iMac with the new i5 or i7 quad core and then if you can stand it wait for the Blu-Ray option which was just pulled but should be there at some point. The only thing that is really missing is a Blu-Ray drives. The i5 is the 2.66GHz Quad Core while for $200 more you get the 2.8GHz i7 (probably not worth it, but good to know if you care, benchmarks show the i5 to be plenty fast) and for an additional $600, you get 2x4GB memory (probably third party is cheaper). The Blu Ray was pulled at the last minute so should return. If you are buying a really nice workstation class machine, why wouldn’t you future proof with that. Also, the quad core are real desktop chips which can be 2x faster than the mobile ones Apple has been using.
  • MacBook Pro. There is a refresh coming again with the i5 and i7. It is coming 1Q2010 apparently or even this quarter maybe, but that is the screamer notebook. I’d vote for the amazing 15″ screen if you have good enough shoulders, otherwise get the 13″ as portable.
  • MacBook. The best buy as a value leader is the $1000 MacBook, but if you can, wait for the new MacBook Pros which are waiting for the Intel tick-tock refresh, that is a major refresh of chipsets planned for 1Q 2010.
  • Mac Mini. Most interesting unit here is the dual 500GB hard drive Mac Mini which makes a darn nice server.

AppleInsider | Save hundreds on brand new MacBooks, iMacs and MacBook Pros

A trio of sponsors have teamed up this month to offer AppleInsider readers savings of between $100 and $280 on Apple’s most popular Mac product offerings, including the brand new 21- and 27-inch iMacs, as well the newly redesigned white polycarbonate 13-inch MacBook.

Apple’s new 27-inch iMac is its crown jewel – Computerworld Blogs

The 27-inch iMac has all of the horsepower that I will need for the foreseeable future. The high-end Quad Core i7 Intel configuration with 16GB of RAM and ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor on that gorgeous 27-inch screen is as solid a computer as I can imagine. It also has most of the pixel screen area of a 30-inch display (2560×1440 for iMac vs. 2560×1600 for 30-inch SXGA) yet is smaller than a 30-inch display. Oh, and you get a freakishly fast computer in there as well. In fact, the base model 27-inch iMac is $100 less than an Apple 30-inch cinema display.

Apple hits again

Cool product intros today in order of coolness:

  • $1000 MacBook is polycarbonate but with glass LED screen and 7 hour battery. Man, what else makes sense to get 
  • Magic Mouse now has a multitouch interface like the iPod Touch and iPhone. Cool gestures
  • iMac 27″ now has the Intel i5 which of course has 4 cores (shouldn’t it be the i4???). It is a desktop processor. Also, the 27″ can also be a monitor for an Macbook now as well. So great as a desktop.
  • Mac mini can be a real server with 2x500GB drives

The only real miss here is a minor update to the Time Capsule. Without a removable drive or a replaceable power supply the thing is pretty much useless.

Mac Rumors: Apple Mac Rumors and News You Care About

Apple’s total market capitalization is currently approximately $186 billion, placing the company behind only Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart in market cap rankings of American companies

Cameras to buy

OK, so the fall is here and time to buy things (when isn’t it?). So here is an early Xmas list:

  1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1. This is the camera to get for something that is light and portable that you can throw into your bag and travel three continents (hint!). 12 megapixels, fast autofocus that is as good as any dSLR. Get it with the excellent Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH lense for every day and if you are going to on safari, get the EVF, the wide angle zoom and the telephoto too. Great RAW results with Adobe’s ACR. Very good ISO performance with even the small sensor Panasonic LX3 pretty good. The DMC-GF1 shoots well into ISO 800, (although the Olympus EP-1 odes well up to ISO 3200 on noise, it has slow autofocus).
  2. Canon EOS 500D. This is probably the best price/performance for an entry-level dSLR and a good choice to take on the road if you want to reuse lenses. It has a 15MP sensor which is a long way from the original EOS 350D from 12-Feb-05 with 8MP. It shoots well to ISO 1600 and its JPEG output is nearly as good as RAW. Interestingly with the kit lense resolution isn’t much different than the 12MP EOS-450D. Another reminder how unimportant raw megapixels are.
  3. Canon EOS 7D. I have this massive Canon EOS 5D Mark II that is full frame and takes superb pictures even at ISO 2400, but I still have a ton of great APS-size lenses that are incredible. The 5D is a monster, now Canon has shipped a new 18MP (so about the same size as the 21MP 5DII). Could this be the right choice for most people who don’t need all that low light performance and 8FPS shooting. Plus it has a new 19-point Autofocus system. If you haven’t gotten a 5D yet, its not a bad choice. We will see how reviews find the new sensors performance. The thing is $1800 and actually heavier than the 5DII. 
  4. Canon EOS 5D Mark II. This is the massive $3000 camera whose main advantage is better performance at low light because it is full frame. Shots at ISO 2400 are very good and 3200 are OK. The main issue is making sure you use the right default settings which are highlight tone priority on (this adds about 1EV to shadows). Then there is autolight optimizer which only at strong has some impact in high contrast scenarios where it pulls details out of very dark situations so it is OK to leave both on.

Two weeks of use for three bluetooth devices, get the Motorokr T505

OK, got three bluetooth things and after two weeks here is where they are:

  1. Motorokr T505. This thing is amazing. It is a hockey puck that you put in your car. Seems to have a really long battery and is an incredibly good speakerphone. I don’t know how they do it, but it sounds good as a speaker, Then if you push a funky magic button on the back, it finds a free FM station. In Seattle, it is nearly impossible to find a free station (101.9 seems the best), but otherwise it is wonderful. Also does stereo Bluetooth, so you can play your iPhone through it. Highly recommended. Biggest weakness is that you have to remember to take it out of your car to charge it. Not very natural. I finally just snaked a long USB cable to it.
  2. Blueants Q1. Wow, this is really loud and high quality sound unlike the really hard to hear Jawbone 2. The foam earplug works really well in isolating noise and fitting (again unlike the Jawbone 2 which falls out and whose wire earloop is always breaking, plus, it doesn’t have that gigantic hangup button which means whenever you adjust the Jawbone, it falls out). The main problem is that it is super delicate. When I took it out and stuck it in my pocket, the earplug part cracked and thus a useless $80 device. Also, it has an incredibly wierd and non-standard USB plug, so dont lose the charging cable. 
  3. Plantronics Voyager Pro. If you want to look like a complete geek wear this thing. It is literally the size of a gigantic ear ring. The sound quality is good but more importantly, it doesn’t break.

Net, net, I’m using the Motorokr T505 for all my cars, it is that convenient. As for a good in-the-ear, I have not found it yet. I realize I’m probably frying my brain, but the Q1 is good, but I just don’t like leaving the thing in the ear all the time and it is too delicate for my horrible throw it in a bag.

You can get the Motorokr T505 for $50 from Tech for less according to Google Shopping

Time Capsule failures

Time Capsule failures lead to opening of virtual cemetery – Ars Technica

No one is really sure how widespread the problem is, but it has been enough of an issue for one individual to start a website dedicated to cataloging the failures. The Apple Time Capsule Memorial Register collects Time Capsule serial numbers, date of purchase, date of death, and location, and displays the information along with the average lifespan of a failed device. In just one day, the site has 119 reports in its database with an average lifespan of 17 months, 19 days.

Time Capsule failures lead to opening of virtual cemetery – Ars Technica

Currently, all Time Capsules have a one-year warranty that begins on the date of purchase, but no option for extended warranty other than purchasing AppleCare for an eligible computer. When covered under a computer’s AppleCare, the warranty on a Time Capsule is extended to three years from the original purchase date.

This doesn’t help if all Apple does is replace the Time Capsule though. Replacing the device has the same result: people are losing their backups at some point in time. The majority of these Time Capsules in the database appear to be dying because of a PSU failure, though—a savvy person could potentially remedy the problem long enough to get his or her data off the internal disk. Still, the act will void any warranty and result in a loss of several hundred dollars if you bought AppleCare to begin with.

iPHone apps

Two cool new apps for iPhone 3GS owners only: Layar and Cardreader | 9 to 5 Mac

Layar ($FREE – iTunes link), the Augmented Reality program we profiled when it was for Android only. It needs the compass of the 3GS to navigate the Augmented reality world created with the iPhone’s camera. It enters the App Store alongside other augmented reality apps that have been introduced over the past months.

Two cool new apps for iPhone 3GS owners only: Layar and Cardreader | 9 to 5 Mac

Cardreader, which is $7.99 at the App Store, turns your iPhone 3GS into a business card scanner. With the Autofocus camera, you can take a picture of a business card, the software then scans the picture, runs OCR software on it, and inputs the information into your contacts list (awesome!). It even saves the business cards as images and creates a coverflow like interface for browsing the cards (below).

Print from your iPhone

9 to 5 Mac | Apple Intelligence

t continues to vex many of us that we can’t print from our iPhone – surely it would be a simple matter to enable printing over WiFi or Bluetooth? Now you can, thanks to EuroSmartz new app, “Print” ($3.99), which joins the company’s popular “Print n Share” app ($6.99) to enable such functions.

Google Sync is cool

I’ve been using it for a while and it is really very good. Much less buggy that our Exchange stuff. And it is great to see other people calendars. Works better than native Exchange really. Now, it does push mail too, so you don’t have to configure imap.

AppleInsider | Google brings push Gmail to iPhone, iPod touch

Google Sync, the service that allows users the ability to sync Gmail contacts and Google Calendar with the iPhone, has been updated to support Gmail as well, bringing push capability to the iPhone