Next Generation Home Theater

If you were to build a Home Theater today, it would be much different from a few years ago. Here is what I’d get:

* Epson 1080p projector. We just got one for the office. Kind of a miracle of technology
* MacBook Blu Ray. Ok, this hasn’t shipped yet, but if you look at it a MacBook has digital optical output through a Toslink Mini, it has DVI output as well, so it is a really nice digital device. Also for control, you can have another Mac control it as the main controller, or control it through your iPhone or use the infrared thingy. Pretty cool and it saves you from getting a dedicated DVD player that you have to control. Plus you get Internet and gaming on the same box. The best thing will be if they ship it with a solid state drive, so you don’t have to worry about hard drive failures
* Time capsule galore. Digitize all your movies and stick them on a terabyte server in case you get tired of flipping. With Blu Ray, the disks at 30GB each, so you only get about 30 on a TB drive, but for DVD quality, ,you get more like 300.
* AVR. You still need something that has got big watts to drive the speakers. Last time I used Onkyo and then switched to an internet brand called Outlaw, so need to recheck this.
* Speakers. Of course you need 7.1 output as well.
* Home distribution. With wifi everywhere, you can use Airport Express to feed just about any existing stereo or more simply, stick an iPod Touch with Logitech Pure Fi everywhere. This has great speakers and is also an AM/FM clock radio.

Delta puts Wifi on planes

PC World – Business Center: Delta Adds Wi-Fi to Entire Domestic Airline Fleet

Delta is looking to capitalize on the popularity of in-flight Wi-Fi by outfitting its entire domestic fleet of aircrafts with Aircell’s GoGo service.

GoGo will cost Delta flyers $9.95 on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 for flights that are longer than three hours. Delta says it expects to begin to offer in-flight Wi-Fi early 2009.

What the heck is happening with my wifi network?

What the heck is going on with networks. It is complicated as heck. Try Airgrab and iStumbler to try to figure out what it out there. Still haven’t figured a simple way to find out what is the channel and actual speed of the network a Mac client is running. I can see how to monitor this from an Apple Airport or Time Capsule with the Airport Utility.

iPhone 3G Reviews

Well, “ilounge”:http://www.ilounge.com/index.php/news/comments/live-iphone-3g-vs-iphone-comparison-test-results-here/ has a good first review set:

* The White 16GB is going to be much cleaner with fewer fingerprints than the black one. I’m kinda regretting ordering the black one now that I’ve seen photos. The white one is actually quite cute.
* Some folks are saying that this is really like iPhone 1.1 because other than 3G not much has changed, so if you already have a current iPhone you can wait for the next churn. (For those of us who have lost our iPhones, we are screwed!).
* The best thing to do with an iPhone is to try to get an unlocked one. The plans are really expensive at $30/month if you are a consumer. OTOH, the $45/month enterprise one is at least, just as much of a ripoff as the Blackberry plan. So you are no worse off if you are an Exchange user 🙂
* Sound quality on Bluetooth is better, but about the same as the original iPhone on the headset. The speakerphone is a little louder (important for me).
* 3G network isn’t always faster. Naturally, it depends on AT&T’s network, which I’m sure is not too high performance. Essentially 3G is about 26% faster in NYC. Wifi is still the method of choice at 2-7x faster than 3G with an average of 4x. In Orange County (who knows where and how that network is configured), 3G about 2x faster than in NYC. So YMMV

MacBook Air Disk problems and how to Remote Bookt

Well, when my machine was freezing, I was used to Windows so my first thought was, uh oh, the hard disk is crashing. Ran Disk Utility and it asked me to Repair the disk with the installation Mac OS X. First note, you should always have this DVD with you whereever you go (I didn’t), since it does things that the operating system can’t do.

Second, pray your SuperDrive doesn’t get erratic and won’t turn on. Mine did this exactly.

Third, you can actually “remote boot”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/02/07/remote-install-mac-os-x-on-macbook-air-pokey-but-it-works from any Windows machine if you have that magic OS X installation DVD. it is a little arcane, but as “Apple”:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2129 lays out you:

# you basically find another Mac or Windows machine.
# On a Mac, you then run _/Applications/Utilities/Remote Install Mac OS X_
# On a Windows machine, you insert the Mac OS X Install Disc 1 and choose _Remote Install Mac OS X from the Install Assistant
# Click continue twice and then choose the network connection, either AirPort for wifi or Ethernet if you are using the USB Ethernet Adapter on your MBA
# Restart start your MBA and hold the Option key during start up.
# From here you can run Disk Utility from your remote install disk.

Starbucks and AT&T offer up

After much confusion at the store level, it look slike here is what is happening, if you use a Starbucks card in the last 30 days, you can use AT&T Wifi at Starbucks for two hours. When you sign in, you create an AT&T login. Of course, I already have one, but there doesn’t appear anyway to tell the system that, so you have to create a new one. You need to just it just once and you get spammed four time a year by AT&T so its a small price to pay (turn your spam blocker on!).

You only get one session of a maximum of two hours per day, so choose carefully when you turn this on! But since you get one account for every registered card, what you really want to do is have say three cards in your wallet charged with the minimum, then you get three accounts or however many you want.

Sign Up for Starbucks – AT&T Wi-Fi

Join Starbucks Card Rewards to get great benefits, including 2 hours of AT&T Wi-Fi, everyday.

Free iPhone Wifi at Starbucks

Hey a big incentive to learn how to make iPhone’s a proxy server for your laptop!

AT&T Officially Lists Wi-Fi Hotspot Access with iPhone Plans – Mac Rumors

AT&T’s iPhone website (under ‘Plans’ tab) has been updated to reveal that each iPhone plan now includes access to their “more than 17,000 Wi-Fi hotspots, including Starbucks all for use in the U.S.”

First comparison of MacBook Air vs. the Lenovo Thinkpad X300

The ultraportables are some of the most interesting improvements being made now. With the “X300”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2270393,00.asp out now, you can really make a comparison. The long and short of it is that the X300 looks like a PC rather than a style marvel and has a solid state disk like the MacBook Air option. It does use a low voltage processor, so is about a third slower than the MBA, but it should have better battery life and of course it has a DVD. More importantly it has an EVDO option built in. This is probably what I miss the most about the MacBook Air. Wifi just isn’t everywhere and it would be nice to have a 3G modem option.

“Geek.com”:http://www.geek.com/thinkpad-x300-the-full-review/ agrees adn notes that it is nice to ahve three USB ports as well. You can stuff a 6-cell battery in and get 5 hours or take out the DVD and get up to 7.5 hours. The main drawback is that 64GB is a bit small for most operating systems.

Net, net, if you have to have a PC, this is the ultraportable to get. As I’ve told folks before. If you can hold out at all, please wait. The real miracle here are the solid state drives and this coming fall, they are really coming out in force. Will make the 80GB in the MBA and the 64GB in the X300 look tiny and way expensive.