iPhone and iPod Touch Firmware 2.0.1 available

It is a 256MB download, so hope you have a fast connectionApple Releases iPhone Firmware 2.0.1 – Mac Rumors

Not clear what has changed, but early claism are

– Backup process for the iPhone is much faster.
– Netshare still works
– SMS typing faster

Apple releases iPhone 2.0.1 Software Update – AppleInsider has a forum thread and here is what users are seeing:

-Contacts are now more responsive.

Sync problems are fixed. It will backup the first time you sync after the update. The updates after that for me have only synced data in about 15 seconds rather than requiring a backup on every sync before.

fixed the lagging keyboard in e-mail and texting

iPod lags are much improved as well.

Email loads appear to be quicker.

Browsing names in the address book, switching between the keypad, addressbook, voicemail is instantaneous. Thank God! Much faster all-around. The camera boots up in half the time it used to.

iPod Backup

So if you’ve got all your files on your iPod, how do you back it up. If you aren’t near your computer, this could be a disaster. “iLounge”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/copying-music-from-ipod-to-computer/ saves the day with a good overview of the many utilities available. I’ve used a bunch of these are they are so, so reliable

!http://www.ilounge.com/assets/images/features_transfermusic2/9.jpg!

Here is what their review says, CopyTrans ($20) costs money, but it recovers all the metadata (for me ratings really matter!) so it is worth it. Only for Windows though. If you are on the Mac, then iPodRip ($15) is the equivalent and works very well. You get a coupon CPN1530724219 for 15% off

Senuti is a freeware recovery tool and works pretty well too and the same with YamiPod

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Geoff Recos

I had lunch with Geoff at an awesome Singaporean place in Menlo Park and he asked me a bunch of geek questions, here are the answers for one and all:

“iLounge iPod Recovery Guide”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/articles/comments/copying-music-from-ipod-to-computer/ as iLounge points out there are a bunch of iPod recovery tools around. Most cost a nominal $15. I use the shareware podutil and it works great.

For scanning photos or 35mm, this is a big task. I use the Minolta DiImage 5400 Elite which scans at an amazing 5400 dpi and cost $500 and can scan 4 slides for 6 negatives at a time with amazing quality. My main regret is I didn’t get something with a batch loader on it with all the photos I have. For that, Gary has recommended the Nikon family and I kind of agree with him. You should have someone do the raw scan and then you can spend hours with Vuescan or Photoshop CS 2 to improve and enhance the images. The main thing is that you run the scan and then you give it to your brother, sister whatever as its a batch job.

Here are the latest on the hardware, basically, I’d recommend the “Nikon Super Coolscan 5000 ED”:http://www.bythom.com/coolscanv.htm as the scanner I’d get today. You can get a 50-slide adapter ($320 at “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=3141522/sort_type=bottomline) which is great to scan lots and it has an amazing specification including 4000 dpi (most slides and 35mm negatives won’t need that), is fast and is relatively inexpensive at $1000 street according to “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=2299425/sort_type=bottomline (just amortize that against your memories and give to your friend or neighbor when done). This is a prolevel tool, so the scans will be great. Part of what makes it worth it is that the scanning software it comes with is actually very good. Otherwise, you have to spend $2-300 for Vuescan or Silverfast to get good a quality.

By the way, the quality of the scans far exceeds that of a el cheapo desktop scanner because it has much better color range (technically it has a D of 4.8, which refers to the lightest vs. the darkest colors) and it has automatic dust and scratch removal. This is truly amazing software called Digital ICE that really does remove all the aberations. You’d be amazed what a 10 year old slide has on it.

iPod 30GB MA444LL/A

It is really confusing now that there appear to be two ipods both that are 30GB, the confusing question is what’s really changed. For instance Costco has a 30GB iPod, but not he 80GB iPod, so which is it. The only way to know appears to be the model number for the new one (MA444LL/A).

The specs appear to be just about identical, with 14 hour battery life for music and 2.5″ screen that is supposed to be brighter. Apple advertises that they are showing 640×480 movies, but the specs say that screen is just 320×240, so I don’t completely understand from the “tech specs”:http://www.apple.com/ipod/specs.html

The other model is the “MA0002LLA”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Apple_iPod_Video_5th_Generation_30GB_Media_Player_White,__12721946

According to “ilounge”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/8564/ the main difference is not screen resolution but that it is brighter than before. The music playback is 14 hours as before, but video playback has doubled to 4 hours from the original 5G.

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iPod Speakers

!Athena Technologies iVoice Wall Mountable Speaker

Though there’s no question in our minds that the best all-in-one iPod speaker for the dollar is “Altec Lansing’s inMotion iM7”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/altec-lansing-inmotion-im7-portable-speakers-ipod (iLounge rating: A-) $200 street, sales of Bose’s SoundDock have eclipsed the iM7’s by a wide margin, owing equally to Bose’s marketing strength, the SoundDock’s simple design, and its good-enough-for-most-listeners sound quality. What Athena has done with iVoice is to quite nearly replicate the SoundDock’s sound signature, feature set, and simplicity at a $100 lower price point, adding a few bonuses in the process.

!>http://www.ilounge.com/assets/images/reviews_logic3/istation7/1.jpg!:http://ilounge.com nIf you don’t need a full blown system, then the “Logic3 Station 7 docking station”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/ipod/review/logic3-i-station7-docking-station-for-ipod-with-remote is a good choice for a portable system at $100.

PC Magazine has a slightly different view of the world judging by the “Editors Choice”:http://www.pcmag.com/products/0%2C%2Ctqs%3D7A7B5C17A3F83AC04B0D2C848D5BE12F32DC5311%2C00.asp?action=defaultadvancedquery&cid=&sid=1617&gridtitle=Recent+Product+Reviews&googlequery=q%3D%26num%3D10%26mt823%3D21227%26sort%3Decho%26dir%3Ddesc&stpdinglp=1 winners and they appear to do more technical testing, here are their favorites: !>http://common.ziffdavisinternet.com/util_get_image/12/0,1425,i=127093,00.jpg!:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1927961,00.asp

* “Think Outside BoomTube H2O1 review by PC Magazine Think Outside BoomTube H201 looks like the Apple Hifi, but according to PC Magazine, this $150 portable sounds much better. It is round and has dual subwoofers (if you can call 2.2 inch drivers subwoofers).
* Apple iPod Hi-Fi. Super expensive at $350 so way too much for me.
* “Saitek A-250″:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1927961,00.asp. Super alien design. $130 direct, it sounds OK, with a 3” subwoofer underneath and it connects wirelessly with a proprietary 2.4GHz connection. Not much bass though.
* “Klipsch Pro Media Ultra 2.0”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1773344,00.asp. Klipsch is a great brand name and it sounds good, but without a subwoofer, its a bit thin at the low end.

iPod Nano 2G

Mystery chips, no PortalPlayer inside new iPod nano

the new second-generation iPod nano has three Apple-marked chips of unknown origin and no chip from PortalPlayer. According to a Wedbush Morgan Securities report, one of the Apple-marked chips is a Samsung ARM processor, occupying the socket formerly supplied by PortalPlayer. Earlier this year, PortalPlayer warned that Apple would not use its chips in the next nano, followed by reports that Samsung had won an Apple contract to supply chips for new iPods.

Wolfson and Philips chips are also not apparent, but are believed to be the other two Apple-branded components. The report also noted that Cypress Semiconductor, Linear Technology, National Semiconductor, and Silicon Storage Tech maintained their sockets in the new nano. Wedbush said Apple purposely “concealed the identity of its chips and their suppliers” with the new nano models.

The Wedbush report also said that Apple is likely to generate higher gross profit margins from the new nano line this holiday season. Craig Berger of Wedbush Morgan Securities estimated that Apple’s gross margins could be as high as 50% on the new nanos due to the falling price of NAND flash.

H.264 for Video iPod Conversion

I’ve been using Videola which has been OK and is free, but the user interface is confusing and it is easy to create invalid iPod Video formats particularly with variable bit rate encoding. It’s best to stick to 640Kbps video and 128Kbps audio and you get good results.

Using Videohelp, I found DVD-Guides.com – H.264 FAQ & Basic Conversion Guide.

bq. If you just need to do a simple conversion, I suggest SUPER, a GUI for ffmpeg and mencoder that can use x264 to create an H.264 encoded file. We show how you can do that in the guide below this FAQ. If you want to convert DVD to H.264 the best choice would be “Fairuse Wizard”:http://www.fairusewizard.com/. Other free solutions to convert DVD to H.264 are MeGUI and Gordian Knot.

SUPER seems to be the one that these guys like and it looks like it has more control for random video files or use Fairuse if you are backing up a DVD to H.264. It has an aamzing number of parameters though, so is more daunting that Videola.

!

Any to Any Video Format with a VOB to MPG example

“Videohelp”:http://www.videohelp.com/guides.php?tools=&madeby=&formatconversionselect=VOB+to+MPG&howtoselect=%3B&orderby=Date&listall=1&hits=25&archive=0&listallusers=&search=Search+or+List+Guides has an amazing tool that lets you put any type of format conversion to any other type and then shows you the guide that it has and the tool to use. For instance, to convert a VOB to MPG, see the search got me to this “guide”:http://forum.videohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=224833 which tells you how to do it with a bunch of different tool with “VOB2MPG”:http://www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=VOB2MPG listed as the easiest.

Griffin iFill

For $20, “Griffin iFill”:http://www.griffintechnology.com/products/ifill/ will fill up your ipod when you recharge it overnight with any of a set of FM stations. A pretty good idea, it makes some sense as a usage scenario, but seems like you’d rather get news when it happens rather than overnight. Probably good for music though. I wonder how you fast forward through commercials 🙂