Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Is It With Lego's and Mac's?

What is it with Legos and Mac's? I did a post last year on the L-Mac, an actual working Mac computer built out of actual Lego bricks and I thought that would be the last of that, but apparently it's not. Now other Lego inspired Mac's are popping up like dandelions in spring, and all made out of those wonderful children blocks!

As you can see above, via Gizmodo, someone has decided to construct their own miniature Lego version of the G4 lamp-style iMac ! Unlike the L-Mac, it's not a real working Mac, but thanks to the fact that it uses a photo-display it can play, via a tv tuner, television shows and, of course, pictures and other videos!

Engadget says the following about this miniature Lego G4 "Junior" seen below:

"We tend to go a little weak in the knees for anything in miniature, so this iMac G4 "Junior" made with a 7-inch digital photo frame and a bunch of LEGOS sent us into hysterics. DIY-er Bjarne Tveskov says the creation is inspired by the film Luxo Jr., and though it has no functional G4 innards, it does do dislay basic, totally adorable smiley faces........."

Well, I tend to agree, it's certainly cute and even adorable. I've always been keen on miniatures, but still, I would much prefer the L-Mac that I originally posted on, or secondly the hackintosh Lego Mac Pro seen via Gizmodo below. This Lego computer was built from a PC that was hacked to run OS X. Like the L-Mac it can actually run OS X, so it's more than just skin-deep beauty were talking about.

No doubt, someone, somewhere, at sometime in the future will try their hand at building another Mac built out of not just Legos, but some other material as well. Legos are great and all, but I like to see someone build a Mac out of something else besides.

I don't know about you, but I think one of the smartest would be a Mac built entirely out of SMARTIES! Not only would a Smartie built Mac be a smart thing, but it would also automatically qualify for being one of the most delicious Mac's ever built and an absolute joy to recyle - via your mouth and stomach!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Good Tech Gone Bad!

You love tech, I love tech and most everybody else loves tech. And why not? There's a lot to love. From giant, brilliant plasma and LCD televisions, laptops, desktops, smart phones, hand-held and gaming consoles and you name it, tech products fill our lives, from the time we get up to the time we go to bed.

However, not all tech stories are necessarily good ones, as good tech can easily become bad tech.

For example, take the case of a poor Floridian teenager who spent $2,164.89 for a brand spanking new MacBook Pro. Excitedly, he brought it home only to find that it wouldn't surf the net, play games, play music, or, for that matter, do much of anything period, except just sit there! Of course, that's to be expected of most bricks, which, by the way, is exactly what Ryan unexpectedly found when he opened his new MacBook Pro's box! At least when he opened it, the brick was carefully wrapped in protected bubble-wrap!

The reported that Best Buy, where the MacBook Pro was purchased, refused to refund Ryan's money or to replace it, stating that the problem was squarely Apple's since the purchase was already shrink-wrapped. Apparently, the idea that one of his trusted employees could be anything but, never entered the manager's mind. The thought of an employee ripping the MacBook out of it's package, then replacing it with a brick and then using one of Best Buy's own shrink-wrapping machine's to cover up the crime was more than the manager cared to think of.

Meanwhile, poor Ryan wrote:

"When I got home I opened the box and found a paving stone packed with bubble wrap, instead of the MacBook Pro.

I returned to the store and the manager, "Keith", was not too willing to help me out. He kept falling back on the line "Apple seals the boxes, not us.

I have sent an email to Best Buy corporate and have contacted my credit card company. Unfortunately, they can't do anything until the charge posts.

So right now, I paid $2, 164.89 for a very nice red brick."

Wow, just imagine how much it would cost to build and finish a five bedroom brick house with bricks at that price! Poor kid, I hope it all sorts itself out soon.

Unfortunately, as bad and weird as Ryan's MacBook Pro story goes, he's not alone. Like Ryan, Jodi Wykle had a similar experience when she gifted her son with a new Nintendo DS for his birthday. Her son was anything but thrilled however.

Instead of opening his Nintendo box to find his DS, or for that matter, a big red brick, her son was 'rocked' to find, well - rocks! Yes, this is another kid who had the displeasure and shock of discovering nothing but a bunch of small rocks wrapped in Chinese newspapers!

As was the case with the MacBook Pro, so too was the case with the Nintendo, because no one at Wal-Mart, where she bought it, or at Nintendo themselves, would help her out, saying that it wasn't their problem! However, at least Wal-Mart caved in and eventually refunded her $138 when they found out that this same DS box was previously returned earlier by another customer for the exact same reason! Somehow it got placed back on the shelf, which is kind of mysterious, but at least Jodi got her money back and a $20 gift certificate to boot!

Hopefully, Ryan will also eventually get his money or a new MacBook Pro soon as well, because paying over two thousand buck's for a brick has got to hurt.

One of the most recent cases of good tech gone bad, was the case of the man who got billed a whopping $62,000 for downloading the movie, Wall-E on his phone! I have seen Wall-E, it's a great movie, but seriously $62,000! Ain't no movie that good, is there? After all, Alberto, the poor sap who got floored with that particular nasty bill, wasn't actually trying to make a movie or anything, he just wanted to download one for his little son to watch!

After contesting the charges, Alberto's very generous carrier eventually, out of the goodness of their blessed little hearts, finally reduced the charges to a measly $17,000, or what the carrier claimed was their cost of doing business! How nice of them.

Alberto downloaded the movie while vacationing in Mexico, so I guess, when all is consider, he's lucky all he got was the downloading charge, as he could have gotten 'Swine Flu' in the process and the associated medical costs as well. My tip for Alberto: Don't bother buying any lotto tickets, because with your luck, well... you know what I mean?

You can read more cases like Alberto's, including the hard-core football fan, Wayne Burdick, who got billed $27,000 for simply streaming one measly game of football via the internet while also on vacation. You can read about his case and others, including Alberto's, from the fine folks over at

Then there are other bad tech cases, of course, such as Tamatha Tovar, who brought her video game loving son a PlayStation from Wal-Mart only to find it loaded with disgusting porn! No wonder the poor six-year old ran crying to his mother after discovering a naked women on it's screen saver the moment he turned it on. Also, on the PSP was what she claimed was hundreds of pornographic images, the last kind of images you want your son or daughter to have access too. Wal-Mart kindly offered her a replacement, but not an apology which also seems a wee bit strange, don't you think? Sadly, this is not the first, nor will it be the last time innocent kids are exposed to this filthy rubbish this way.

So, despite all of the good tech news out there, there's always a couple of weird, unthinkable bad stories of good tech gone wrong. It's just life, I guess? As these cases clearly point out - watch out! That's because you never know, you and I could easily be the next unfortunate victim of good tech gone bad ourselves if were not too careful! If it can happen to Ryan, Jodi and Alberto and Tamatha, well it can happen to anybody, including little old you and me.

In conclusion, there are lots of idiots and just plain down-and-out crooks out there, people who are just waiting to take our money any way they can, be it by replacing an expensive MacBook Pro with a brick, or what have you? Again, we all have to watch out, however, that we are not included in one of these good tech gone bad stories.

I suppose it's mostly the luck of the draw I guess, but we can all do our part in avoiding a nasty and expensive good tech, gone bad story by always paying for our tech gadgets, plus other purchases, with a credit card. And for crying out pizza, with anchovies on top - we should never, ever, stream content or download full-length movies while on vacation within or from another country!

Just ask Alberto; he'll tell you.

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Apple Devices To Use OLEDs?

Despite the worldwide economic meltdown, both rumors and facts are now emerging that suggests that not only is Apple planning to introduce some kind of new computing device, be it a netbook, tablet, or something entirely different, it is now possible that they may actually also include OLED screens.

After numerous reports yesterday that Apple was in deep talks to produce a version of the iPhone for Verizon, rumors have been flying fast and thick that something is in the air. Now, according to the Washington Times these plans may not necessarily be for an iPhone, or even an iPhone Lite, but rather for something different - a "media pad", an enlarged iPod Touch like device that would be perfect for viewing movies, photos, surfing the net and listening to music.

Of course, and this is just pure speculation on my part, but I believe that such a media device would also be built around the vast and growing software library of apps offered through Apple's highly praised AppStore! Wow, talk about a new device getting a running head start, the AppStore could provide it in spades and help make such a new device an overnight success!

Combined with both iPhone calling features (via WiFi) and offering features found on iPod's, netbook's, and regular laptops, such a new media device would combined all of their best features, as well as newer ones of it's own! This could possibly make such a new Apple device potentially a very real netbook killer in it's own right! In fact, according to a report in Fortune, at least according to another report in BusinessWeek, someone who has actually seen the device, which apparently Apple's been working on for the past 18 months, says this about the device:

“We are talking about a device where people will say, ‘Damn, why didn’t we do this?’ Apple is probably going to define the damn category.”

What ever it is that Apple is planning, what has really peaked my interest is the possibility of Apple using OLED's. This makes sense when you consider that sometime ago Apple signed a massive contract with LG that would provide Apple with an endless supply of high quality 9 and 10 inch touch screens. Hopefully, if they can get the cost down, OLED touch monitors could emerge as one of it's best and most compelling features. After all, Apple has already paid LG one-half billion dollars upfront, so for that kind of money anything is possible.

OLED is a technology that puts LCD's and Plasma displays to shame. Unfortunately, OLED as great as it is, is also very expensive to produce and is why it's use has been so limited to date. They have been used in smaller displays such as in stereos and what have you, but producing larger OLED panels have thus far been problematic and very expensive. Sony has an 11 inch OLED tv on the market that sells for as much as many large screen LCD's, so imagine what larger OLED panels would go for?

Hopefully, however, newer production techniques will give way to cheaper and larger OLED panels and if Apple can get such larger OLED devices to market first, it could help give it a leg up, as they say, against it's competitor's.

All I know is that Apple is up to something - something different and something big! Big as in being a game changer. Apple has made it's point many times that it wasn't interested in producing cheap netbooks, or for that matter tablets. However, both the iPhone and the iPod Touch are devices that in many ways are like netbooks and tablets, but only smaller versions that fit in your pocket, so it makes perfect sense for Apple to build on those advantages.

As great as they are, those small built-in screens have their limits. They are great for phone calls, but when gaming and surfing the net, well, a fellow or a gal could always use a little more screen real-estate.

Is Apple about to give us that real-estate? Is Apple about to unleash a tablet or a netbook? Or is Apple getting ready to release something really different - a super iPod Touch media player with OLED screens?

I don't know the answer to that. I just know that they are up to something, and as I said, something big and something really different. It could be a really different type of netbook or tablet of course, but I don't think so. Something tells me it's going to be along the lines of a super-duper iPod Touch. An iPod Touch Media Player on steroids!

If it's true, then, as speculated, Apple could unveil such a device as early as next month during it's annual WWDC (worldwide developer conference). If so, well, that would be bloody-dang fantastic! We all know that Snow Leopard and new iPhone's are coming and should rev up a lot of excitement, but imagine just how much more excitement such a new and different super-duper iPod Touch like media player would bring to bear?

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Mockup via: Engadget

Monday, April 27, 2009

Verizon's iPhone: How Soon?

Well, it's about time! Yes, reports are coming in that Verizon is in active discussions with Apple for it's very own version of the iPhone! Apparently, USA Today has said that such discussions began even before Steve Jobs left for his medical hiatus and have be going on ever since.

Tim Cook, Apple's COO, has dismissed Verizon's current CDMA technology as one that has no future, therefore, it's believed that any future Verizon iPhone would make the direct leap to Verizon's planned G4 technology which is schedule to appear sometime in 2010.

So, could we really see a Verizon iPhone soon?

Well, that will depend to a large extent on whether AT&T can convince Apple to extend it's exclusivity with the iPhone beyond it's original date, which ends soon. The iPhone has been such a huge factor in AT&T's profitability that they have been investing heavily to upgrade it's network to better take advantage of the iPhone, so expect them to do all in their power to keep Verizon and others from getting their hands on the device anytime soon.

Well, as much as I can appreciate AT&T's desire to extend the iPhone's exclusivity in America, for the iPhone itself and for all of those who love it, but hate AT&T, it's important that Apple end any exclusivity for the iPhone as soon as possible.

What's even more important about Verizon finally getting a second chance to offer the iPhone, is that it should mean that all other carriers could also be given the opportunity to carry the iPhone as well! The more carriers, the more opportunity for the iPhone to grow it's market share and, naturally, as a result, Apple's financial sustainability.

After all, no one wants to limit themselves to the whims and dictates of anyone company, be it AT&T or whom ever. Limiting the iPhone to just one company also limits customers options if they ever run into problems with said company. By allowing other carriers, for example, to carry the iPhone, at least if a customer is unhappy with their existing carrier, they will have option to take their iPhone and their business elsewhere. This keeps AT&T and others, for example, on their toes and forces them to take their customers iPhone complaints far more seriously than they would otherwise have to!

Limiting the iPhone to just one company limits the iPhone's appeal. On the other hand, however, opening it up, to other carriers, should also likewise open up it's adoption rate and it's potential to become a much better device, with much better choice, better options and better service for all concerned, and thus making for a better iPhone experience and a better future for Apple's most important product to date.

So, will we see a Verizon iPhone soon? I don't know, but, hopefully, not only will we see a version of the Phone on Verizon, but also on other carriers as well, and hopefully shortly after AT&T's iPhone exclusivity runs out next year. As far as I'm concerned the sooner, the better!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, April 27, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Snow Leopard Server To Challenge Windows Servers On Pricing and Features

Snow Leopard Server, according to a report in AppleInsider is going to be offering low cost, secure mobile access to the iPhone and could prove to be quite an embarrassment in Microsoft's claims of the so-call high Apple tax! Some say that his could result in the Snow Leopard Server making for a lower cost, but better featured server than anything that Microsoft is planning.

AppleInsider points out that Apple's web site has some time referenced on "Remote Access" as an upcoming feature for Snow Leopard Server. It's only described as being a combination of new "push notifications to mobile users outside our firewall" and, as well as a proxy service providing "secure remote email and address book access to all of your contacts, calendars, and select internal websites.

You can read AppleInsider for more of the juicy details, but the interesting thing here is how this goes against Microsoft's Mac bashing campaign, one where they harp on, with some success, that you can buy a Windows desktop, laptop or netbook (something Apple has yet to sell, if ever?) for far less than a Mac version. Hinting, in the process of course, that lower costs makes PCs a better deal!

But are they really?

Of course, their spin is that when it comes to dollars, Windows PCs need far less of them. They deliberately ignore the fact that they are also less secure, less reliable, use inferior and 2nd rate components, have less battery life, feature less quality in both their hardware and software side, and most importantly, they are far less pleasing and satisfying to use. PC users may pay less cash, but they get less satisfaction too, and especially compared to what Mac users are accustomed to, as you can see here.

Recent steps by Apple to shore up it's upcoming Snow Leopard on both the consumer and the server side, should further continued to distance it from the PC as being the most cost effective solution over those of Windows and Linux equipped machines. PC's may start out cheaper, but in the end they are more expensive, less secure and more frustrating to use! Not exactly what I call a bargain in the end, regardless of it's lower starting price!

Snow Leopard Server, as AppleInsider further states:

"By offering Snow Leopard Server as a much cheaper alternative to Microsoft's server software and the Client Access Licenses companies must pay per user, Apple will send a particularly embarrassing response to Microsoft's recent ad campaigns portraying Mac hardware as "cooler and sexier" but higher priced than the low end of generic PCs using Windows. That's because while Dell can slightly undercut comparable XServe hardware costs from Apple before adding Windows Server, Microsoft's software licensing dramatically balloons the costs businesses face to deliver the same features Mac OS X Server can, which Apple bundles on its Mac servers at no extra cost."

By skimming over the tea leaves, it's becoming more apparent that Snow Leopard, both the consumer and server editions, are going to big leap forward and should help to dampen much of the praise that Vista 2 (Windows 7) has been generating!

Personally, I can't wait, I'm eagerly waiting for the final beans to spill in June at Apple's WWDC event, because something tells me that this new Apple cat is going to turn into something much faster, more powerful, fuller-featured and overall much bigger than what Apple has been letting on.

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, April 24, 2009

Graph via: AppleInsider

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The German Mac Browser: iCab 4.1

Germans are great engineers, making some of the finest automobiles, cameras, optic's and what have you? Now those clever Germans have been really busy improving their already great Mac browser, iCab, now at version 4.1.

One of iCab's 4.1 highlights is that it recently passed the Acid 3 Test, making this browser as schnell (fast) as one of those sexy BMW's. iCab now also features a convenient Top Ten Pages view that you can access via it's Navigator feature. The browser is not only fast, but more importantly, it's very stable and secure!

Since lacking time to do a complete review, I recommend the great iCab review from the fine folks over at Applelinks. I just wanted to take the time to say that I welcome the improvements, which are many, in the latest iCab and suggest that you download the free trail version. Yes, that's right, this browser isn't completely free, but neither is it completely expensive either - only $2.99! Such a small price for a such great browser, in the end, it equals a great deal.

All-in-all, the more browsers a platform has, the better it is for that platform. As somewhat of a browser addict myself, I have and still use a million different ones, or so it seems. Yes, having a lot of different browsers may seem a little bit redundant, but the real fact of the matter is that each and every browser has, along with it's low points, certain particular high points that makes it a better choice for certain surfing needs. When it comes to security, like banking, my main choice is still FireFox. For cool features and speed, well that would be the recent Safari beta. However, I still use OmniWeb, Camino, Shiira and, of course, iCab. iCab's biggest draw back is the idea of having to pay for a browser when every other browser is now free, but at only a measly three bucks, iCab is worth every single penny and then some! I find iCab to be speedy and nifty, a very good browser if ever there was one.

In conclusion,what can I say: I love German food, beer, women, cars, country side and now I can add iCab to my list of fine German must haves, and one that I highly recommend. So, if you can't take a fine German Mercedes, BMW or Porsche out for a test drive, then by all means at least you can take iCab for a test drive, and I think that your going to end up liking the overall feel and speed in the end. iCab is one cab that should help get you to anywhere you wish to go on the net, cheaply, securely and quickly!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Apple About To Introduce New OLED Netbooks Soon?

Even though we should all take this with a very large grain of salt, one LG official has hinted that Apple may be introducing a new Mac NetBook computer that would feature the Holy Grail of screens - an OLED version!

I can only hope and pray that this will indeed be true, because even though the recession is still raging and the costs of these units are typically very high, meaning that at first their going to be aimed mostly for the richer crowd at first, they should eventually trickle down and become much more affordable for us poorer folks to buy. However, when there's a will, then there's a way, and this particular poor boy is going to get one even if he has to to persuade someone into buying the Brooklyn bridge from me!

LG executive Amitabh Tiwari stated that LG-branded OLED displays “should be here by the end of 2009”! You can read more on this subject here.

Well, if your ever seen the little Sony OLED XEL-1 then you don't have to be told how great, or just how absolutely stunningly these displays are to see! Images from an OLED display is nothing short of mind-blowing, so much so that they make all other displays look pathetic in comparison. OLED images are the equivalent of the real thing - but only better! It's like looking out of a very clean glass window, except, again, that many swear it's even better than that!

In some cases the resolution isn't as high as some tradition television's, so another big surprise is that they still manage to put all other display systems to shame, be they HD, LEDs, LCDs, Plasmas, etc. All of these technologies are great, don't get me wrong, but in comparison with a well built OLED screen none of them can hold a candle to them. OLED's are just that incredible!

Sadly, as you would expect, they don't come cheap. Sony's little 11 XEL 1 starting price was around $1,500 at the time, and that's for an 11 inch screen. As you can see, at the top of the post, in the YouTube video, the Sony OLED technology is above and beyond anything that has come before it. I't expensive, but Sony, among others are working on building much bigger and better OLED displays, at lower entry points soon.

If it's true that Apple is about to add OLED net book, and hopefully before anyone else does, it should be a big, big win and should help Apple capture even more and significant amount of market share. Apple couldn't hold it's competitor's off for too long, but long enough to give it a really big head start, and one that would be hard to catch up with. The talk is that Apple will first start off with an OLED netbook, and then adding OLEDs to the rest of their products as OLEDs prices tumble..

In conclusion, all I will say is: I want, I want, I want, I really, really want an OLED based iPhone, iPod Touch and a 15.4 inch MacBook Pro, and someday a 24 inch OLED iMac! Hey, a guy's got to dream, doesn't he?

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video and pics via:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sharp Beats Apple With It's LCD Track Pad!

Sharp's new Mebius PC-NJ70A would normally be just another ho-hum, everyday, boring piece of kit, but thanks to it's new video track pad it really stands out in the crowd big time, beating it's competition, including Apple, for the distinction of being the very first to use an LCD video track pad.

Apple itself was also rumored to be working on such an LCD video track pad, but ended up instead going for it's glass, but none video, multi-touch version. Too bad as many were excitedly looking forward to one, and that's especially true after some cool mock-ups had been leaked. Now, however, Sharp has managed to upstage Apple for the title of being first to offer this whiz-bang feature.

Sharp's new video track pad features a 854 x 480 resolution LCD built into the palm rest, which can automatically adjust the brightness based on it's surrounding light, allowing it to act as a secondary display and being useful for things such as an equalizer, or a notification system, app launcher, digital meter, etc. In fact, the possibilities of an LCD optical track pad are about as boundless as the human imagination!

Apart from the video track pad, the 1.6GHz Atom based portable, with it's 10.1" screen, 1GB or RAM, 160GB hard HDD, Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth, and it's multicard reader, the Mebius is basically just another ho-hum netbook. Without that cool video track pad, well, this netbook would be quite boring indeed, but with it, it really makes it shine and stand out from it's competitor's, including Apple! I love the look of this thing, and that goes especially for the black model as you can see at the beginning of this post - it's so Apple-ish! Why, frankly, it helps the Sharp to out Apple - Apple!

As you can see in the Dailymotion video below, Sharp's new optical track pad is not only cool looking, but, I believe, it's also the wave of the future, since such video track pads could be easily made adaptable for many different needs or specific applications.

In a photo app, for instance, one could zoom in or out of photos, just like the magnifying glass features found in today's photo apps. The advantage, however, of such a system is that it could help reduce the clutter found on the main screen at least to a certain degree.As stated earlier, when using a music app, like iTune's or Microsoft's WinMedia Player, an LCD video track pad could become an equalizer, or it could display the name and any album's cover art! In a game, the video track pad could display gaming statistics, leaving the main screen as clutter free as possible, much like the dual screens on the Nintendo DS hand-held gaming device.

Personally, as great as Apple's multi-touch track pads are, I was extremely disappointed when Apple failed to introduce an optical component as expected. Apart from being a whiz-bang component, a video track pad, as I already stated, can also be used in various different and helpful ways. With it's LCD track pad Sharp has shown, with it's new Mebius note book, that the track pad can be more than just a boring device, and that with a little imagination it can offer a far better solution to what's seen in most of the track pads of today, Apple's multi-touch ones included.

So, in conclusion, I can only hope that Apple wises up by putting some more oomph into it's track pads, by adding an optical track pad, one just like, if not better, than the very cool optical track pad in the Sharp Mebius PC-NJ70A .

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mebius photo via: Engadget

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mac Site-4-the-Day: DashboardWidgets

I will take the time, since I'm short on it, to present my "Mac Site-4-the-Day:". This, as it's name implies, is a site that is a repository for OS X widgets for all you widget lovers out there. And boy, do they have a mess of em too! Like try over 200 some pages of them!

DashboardWIDGETS allows you to surf from 3 to 30 widgets per page in the 18 following categories:

- Application Interfaces

- Communications

- Counters

- Date & Time

- Decorative

- Fun & Games

- Math & Science

- Multimedia

- News & Blogs

- Phonebooks

- Post & Upload

- References

- Schedules

- Searching

- Shopping

-System Utilities

- Weather & Traffic

- And Other Miscellaneous Widget's

In other words: there's bound to be something here for just about every dashboard loving widget guy or gal.

Thanks to you can easily explore a different widget each and everyday of the year! As a suffer of extreme hypertension I can really appreciate a Dashboard widget such as the Blood Pressure widget that allows you to monitor your blood pressure over a set period of time.

Also, as a lover of clocks and timers, I can also appreciate Simple Timer, which does exactly what it's name implies. If your like me, and you love jokes, then you sure to love a wonderful widget called, "Joke by Kids". This widget will provide you with endless hours of funny jokes that have been submitted by children from the world over, such as this one:

"Why did Bob eat his computer?"

"Because it was an Apple computer!"

So, in conclusion, if your a lover of Dashboard Widgets, then by all means, be sure to check out this interesting Mac site for yourself and have fun exploring a wonderful cornucopia of funny, interesting, informative and just plain fun widgets for yourself.

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

AT&T's iPhone Exclusivity to End, or Not?

Regardless of why, AT&T benefitted nicely when Verizon rejected the chance to be the exclusive iPhone carrier, something that it now obviously regrets.

At the time, they claimed that Apple simply wanted too much control, but what ever the reason was, they lost out big time.

However, all is not lost as Verizon is now stating that it may likely have an iPhone deal within place after the advent of it's new 4G network.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Verizon's CEO, Mr. Seidenberg, explained that Apple will be 'more likely' to want to work with Verizon after AT&T's exclusivity ends and when it starts the wider distribution of it's 4G standard, that will eventually replace it's current 3G network.

This comes not long after reports that AT&T, the iPhone's exclusive carrier, is seeking to extend it's iPhone exclusivity agreement until at least 2010/2011. But a lot of people are questioning the benefit of extending that exclusivity, and whether it would be of any benefit to anyone other than AT&T itself, as Cult-of-Mac recently brought up in a recent post.

For the record, I will say plain out, that extending that exclusivity to AT&T, or anyone else for that matter, would be wrong for many reasons. Certainly, I can understand AT&T's desire to extend it's exclusivity agreement, and as CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, it's his duty to do all in his powers to make it so. However, limiting the iPhone to AT&T will also limit the iPhone appeal and it's chances of increasing it's market share.

For AT&T such an iPhone exclusivity has been a good thing, a very good thing indeed. The iPhone has increased it's own share of the mobile market in the process, and that of AT&T's bottom line. If I were Randal Stephenson, I too would be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the iPhone remained in place as long as possible.

For many, getting an iPhone meant never thinking twice about dumping their existing mobile carriers, even at the cost of incurring a financial penalty. For many others, however, the opposite was and still is the case. As much as they may have liked the iPhone, they were not going to go out and switch carriers just to get one. This is still the case with many today.

AT&T's attempts to extend it's iPhone exclusivity comes at a critical time for Apple as it's competitors increasingly advance in their own attempts to come up with their own potential iPhone killer's. These include the Storm and the new Palm Pre, among others. In fact, some are predicting that the biggest threat to the iPhone, the Pre, may finally come to market as early as May 17 - a mere month away!

Even though I believe deeply in being loyal and dedicated to one's friend's, family and business associates, and I would like to see Apple help AT&T out by extending it's iPhone's exclusivity on an emotional level, I, on the other hand, also believe that Apple has a moral obligation to it's customers, it's potential customers, and to it's stock holders. AT&T's iPhone exclusivity has helped both it and Apple, but in doing so, it has effectively also limited the iPhone's reach and it's potential market penetration, and thus also Apple's bottom line.

A lot of people who would have loved to own an iPhone don't, and that's simply because AT&T itself has been one of the biggest obstacle's to the iPhone acceptance! A lot of people, and for various reasons, won't under any circumstances deal with AT&T. To many it's the worst mobile carrier by far, with the worse service and the worse customer support. If one loves the iPhone but has an issue with AT&T, where and who can they turn to? They're simply either stuck with AT&T's crappy service, or two, they simply have no choice but to give up on the iPhone itself! Not a good thing for the iPhone, Apple, or the potential customers it could have had if it were not that AT&T exclusivity.

The iPhone exclusivity between Apple and AT&T has served it's purpose, and it has, in the past, benefited both companies in the process. But now it's time to move on, so that Apple can not only build better iPhone's, but so that it can also extend the iPhone's reach to potentially more millions of new customers, customers who would have loved an iPhone, but were denied because of the iPhone's current exclusivity with AT&T.

So, in conclusion, Apple should be thankful for AT&T in helping to establish the iPhone as the most talked about, and the most coveted of all smart phones. For AT&T, they should be equally thankful that they had the first chance to not only offer the iPhone, but to benefit from it. Now it's time to end that exclusivity and allow other carriers and their customers to experience and benefit from the same.

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Friday, April 17, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Apple and the Recession: How Bad Will It Hit?

The current economic upheaval gripping the entire world has been hard on most companies, but what about Apple? In a world were holding down costs is more important than ever, how can a luxury brand with traditionally high prices, such as Apple's, expect to survive?

After all, many long time companies such as Circuit City are no more! The current recession has put it and countless others, including many other big names, out of business.

Could Apple be next?

Obviously, no company is going to be able to completely escape all of the negative effects of the recession, including Apple, but thus far it has managed the economic stress far better than most. The recession has played it's part in hurting Apple's market share in the U.S., where it declined some 7.4%. During the fourth quarter of last year, however, it stood at 8.0%, so the 0.6% drop is better, I guess, than what some have feared.

Recent observations by Piper Jaffray and Gene Munster , however, show that Apple is much better positioned to weather the current economic downturn than most, if not all, of it's peers on the PC side. Apple is a luxury brand, and luxury brands, it should be noted, never, if ever dominate market share, nor are their sales impacted to the same manor or degree as the cheaper brands. These recent observations show that Apple is selling on average some 22 iPhones and 28 Macs per store, each and every day, which is a lot better than what some might have expected and it is one of the reasons why Pipe Jaffray is maintaining it's buy rating on Apple's stock, and increasing it's price target to $180. This is actually higher that Apple's stock was at it's pre-recession high of around $172 per share.

In the high-end computer market, as clearly observes, Apple is "cleaning up in the high-end". How long will that continue, of course, will depend on just how long, and just how severe the recession lasts. Apple may be holding up well, even remarkably well at the moment, but that doesn't mean that it can't slip or decline drastically in the future. Clearly, Apple has reasons to be concerned, but so far the recession has yet to give it any reason to panic.

The recession is hitting high-tech firms hard, but it seems to be hitting PC companies a lot harder than it is for Apple. One of the factors that is propping up PC manufacturers during the recession has been the emergence of the netbook. This low spec, low price device has done a lot to help keep the PC numbers of Linux and Windows PC from declining much further than they have, and it is one of the reasons why Apple may be about to enter the netbook market very soon if it wish's to reverse any slide in it's market share.

But will Apple finally go against it's image of being a high-priced luxury brand and introduce some kind of low-priced netbook? Some are betting on it, but whether or not it will be along the lines of today's current form and function of netbooks, or be something else, it is still too early to say, but like many out there, I too would be willing to bet that Apple is about to do just that and introduce some low cost, netbook/tablet device, and one that will help it maintain not only it's market share, but actually grow it, even if the recession is somehow prolonged.

Hopefully, the recession will begin to lose steam soon and things will begin to return to normal, and people will start spending again - and spending not only on low-end netbooks, laptops and desktops, but on the higher-end versions as well. I believe that if the recession is prolonged, Apple will be able to survive in the interim, but as comes to an end, it will flourish!

So, will the recession hit Apple much harder than it has - could it even threaten it's existence? That will depend on how much longer and more severe it remains, and just how Apple acts to cushion the effects with cheaper netbook like devices.

Many long established companies have, during this recession, gone bankrupt and many are tottering on it! Could this also happen to Apple? Yes, theoretically that's possible, but highly, highly unlikely. If Apple, which just happens to be one of the best run, most profitable hi-tech companies on the planet, could be toppled by this recession, then I hate to think about the rest of it's competition, most of which are all heavily in debt, badly managed and barely profitable? No, if anyone can beat the recession, it's Apple.

In conclusion, even though the recession has effected Apple and will continue to do so, lowering it's market share and it's profit margin's, I don't think it will impact Apple to quite the same degree, or in quite the same way as the rest of the industry.

In other words: It's probably safe to say that Apple is here to stay, damn the recession or not!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Funny Side of Microsoft's Anti-Mac Ad Campaign!

Regardless of what you may think of Microsoft's recent string of anti-Mac ads, one thing is for sure - they have kicked up a hornet's nest from Mac fans! Love them, or hate em, by far the best and the funniest take on them comes from LandlineTV's rip-roaring parody, which you can see in the above YouTube video.

My recommendation: simply sit back, relax, press the play button and enjoy this spin tickling spoof for yourself - it's absolutely hilarious!.

So, many thanks to: LandlineTV, YouTube and to Gizmodo for bringing this to my attention.

I love it!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Will The Next Crop of iPhone's Feature a Dedicated Business Model?

The iPhone, that incredibly popular consumer device that has completely and forever changed the mobile scene, is a great phone alright, but it's still primarily a phone designed for the consumer. Even though it's increasingly being used as a business phone, what is the chance that we will ever see an iPhone designed primarily as a dedicated business phone, and how soon can we expect to see it?

Before I give you my 2 cents on that, I like to point out that many rumors and reports are coming out regarding the next version of the iPhone. For example, AppleInsider, among others, are reporting that Asian sources are indicating that Apple is about to release not one, not two, but three different models of the iPhone.

Hmmmm... could one of them be an iPhone business model?

Well, if it's true that many iPhone's are about to enter the market, it's certainly reasonable that one of those could, in fact, be an iPhone designed primarily as a business phone. For one thing, I have never forgotten Steve Jobs' words when he revealed the first generation of the iPhone, and when he said, with a subtle smile, something to the effect, "this is just the beginning, we got a lot more models to come."

The China Times, for instance, has recently stated that among the three new expected iPhone's, one model would offer only EDGE c connectivity, while yet another would consist of a newer 3G model, and still another will be a Chinese market specific model. Again, but will we ever see a fully dedicated business model - an iPhonePro, or Super iPhone as I like to call it?

Taiwanese sources, on the component side, have also reported on what it believes to be a list of components. Among these, it's interesting to note, that Infineon may be about to replace Broadcom as the iPhone GPS chip supplier. Interesting as it is, it still doesn't answer if Apple is actually building a dedicated business iPhone.

With so many different types of customers, customers with diverse needs and wants, it's only natural that Apple would choose to energize the iPhone by making a much broader range of different models. Furthermore, I believe that Apple will include among them a luxury or business iPhone model. Apple needs to address the enterprise market if it wish's to compete head-to-toe with the likes of RIM and Palm. Having a business model could help to keep the iPhone head-and-shoulders above all of it's competitors. Any investment made on the advance business model will, of course, benefit all iPhone users, regardless of their particular model, as I'm sure that many of it's advance features will eventually trickle on down to the lower and mid range ones.

I'm convinced that Apple will do whatever it needs to do in the enterprise sector to give the business user every thing that they demand and come to expect, and yes, that includes having some type of physical keyboard, something that I've been harping on for some time now. And there's a reason for that - millions of users demand and insist on one! How long can Apple continue to ignore them? Not long, if you ask me.

AppleInsider is also reporting that, as a business phone, the consumer iPhone has not only been found ready to meet the challenges of a business phone, but even more interestingly, it's been found to be a better choice than the business leader - the BlackBerry! All the more crucial that Apple quickly act in order to up the ante by providing one or more high-class, business iPhone's.

ComputerWorld reports that according to studies from Forrester, it's now known that growing numbers of iPhone corporate users are much happier and much more productive when using the iPhone over those of other bussiness-class phone's. And that, it must be remembered, is corporate users that are using the current iPhone - one that is designed first-and-foremost as a consumer device! Can you imagine if Apple actually designed a dedicated business iPhone from the ground up? I can, and not only that, if not in June, than surely soon thereafter I'm certain that we shall finally get to see such a business-class phone.

BusinessInsider hits it right on the head when they suggest that if you can afford to wait, then by all means don't buy any phone until at least this coming June. The reason is that Apple, RIM and Palm are all expected to unveil new and more capable mobile's around then. Palm has it's upcoming Pre which looks like it will be a big hit, and RIM is expecting to show off new models, but it is Apple that all eyes will be focused on.

The iPhone's recent sneak-peak of it's newest OS upgrade, version 3.0 was exciting, but apparently, Apple has still a lot of features buried deep within it's code that it conveniently left out of it's unveiling, features such as video capabilities, etc. These are features that suit business users well, and no doubt Apple will take advantage of them in any business-class iPhone.

With all of the extra information coming forth on both the iPhone's coming hardware and software coming to light, a lot of people have a lot of reasons to anticipate that not only will there be more than one model of the iPhone, but that at least one them will be specifically targeted for business. For one, am eagerly looking forward to the next crop of iPhone's, because regardless of whether it's in the lower, middle or the upper-end range, I suspect that Apple's next's crop will be more exciting and more far more advanced than any of it's competitor's, and that especially goes for the what will be the king of all iPhone's, it's new business class model!

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Unibody iPhonePro mockups via: 9t05Mac

Monday, April 13, 2009

Color Me Purple - The $2,100 Prince iPod!

A lot of people really love their music idols. They have been known to spend oodles and oodles of hard earned cash on their records, concerts and merchandise.

Some people are so obsessed with their idols that they will even fly all the way around the world, concert-hoping, in a vain chance to get an up-and-close glimpse of their favorite idol.

That said, then I guess that the very purple iPod Touch (pictured above) should prove to be quite irresistible to you, that is if your a really big fan of the artist formally known as Prince (or what ever name he is called these days?) and you also just happen to be rich enough, or if you ask me - crazy enough - you can now plunk down a whopping $2,100 smackaroo's for your very own limited edition of this purply Prince iPod.

And just what will your $2,100 iPod get you besides the color purple? How about every single piece of music ever recorded by Prince? Nope, no way brudah! You will, however, receive all of this - a measly 15 songs and a 40 minute video of Mr. Purple himself! Mind you, it's a very exclusive video, and when you really sit down and think about it, even during this brutal recession -- what's a measly $2,100 compared to the honor of honoring your favorite purply artist?

Personally, however, if you ask little old me, I can think of a lot of things that I would rather do with all of that cash - like buying myself (if I was a fan) a normal iPod Touch and filling it with most, if not all of the artist's music and that of other artists as well.

With only 950 of these baby's on sale, these exclusive iPod's are bound to touch the harts and wallets of millions of Prince fans everywhere, so I'm sure that they will sell out like the old proverbial purple pancakes! So, what ever you do, please place your order immediately to avoid any possible disappointment, otherwise you might just end up at the end of the day feeling a little blue, or is that feeling a little purple?

Will I buy one? Nah, but then again I don't like pancakes, Prince's music, the color purple, or frankly, spending anything over two bucks for anything period! In other words, count me out!

However, working out at only $150 per song, I find it rather hard to believe that there are some people out there who are still bitching that Apple recently raised some of it's iTune selections from 99 cents to a $1.29! Go figure?

And that's my 2 cents 4 this Monday, April 13, 2009

Photo via: Engadget via AllThingsD via Prince