Crap. I was really looking forward to getting my Apple TV ($299) this month. I guess I'll have to wait a little bit longer.
This morning I got the following email from the Apple Online Store regarding my Apple TV pre-order. Apparently "wrapping up" took " a few weeks longer" than they expected... whatever that means.
To Our Valued Apple Customer:
Thank you for ordering the new Apple TV, an easy to use and fun way to wirelessly play all your favorite iTunes content from your Mac or PC on your widescreen TV.
Wrapping up Apple TV is taking a few weeks longer than we projected, and we now expect to begin shipments in mid-March, not in February as originally anticipated.
You may check the status of your order any time by visiting our online order status website at http://www.apple.com/orderstatus.
A shipment notification, with tracking information, will be emailed to you as soon as your order is shipped. There is no need to contact us unless you choose to change or cancel your order.
We appreciate your business and thank you for shopping at the Apple Store!
Sincerely, The Apple Store Team
As you can see, the "letter" from Apple is some of the most uninformative collection of words ever assembled. Apple doesn't even try to explain why shipments of the Apple TV are being delayed. Pete Mortensen from the Cult of Mac blog sarcastically summed up my disappointment pretty well: "Wow. That's a stunningly insightful piece of news. Anyone upset that your new toy isn't showing up Wednesday?"
When I do get my Apple TV (hopefully next month?), it should be an easy setup. Apple is promising true plug-and-play installation. Just connect Apple TV to your TV (even HDMI is built in) and start iTunes, which will automatically detect it. A few clicks on my remote and I should be in business.
If you were watching last night's American broadcast of the Oscars, then you might have noticed the first Apple iPhone ad. Apple reportedly paid $1.7 million to run the ad during the Oscars. The ad features 28 scenes from popular movies and TV shows with actors saying “hello” on a phone. The ad ends with an image of the iPhone and some text that says "Coming in June". You can see the ad here on YouTube.com.
According to Gizmodo, this phone will be in service with AT&T instead of Cingular.
Are American Idol's Katharine McPhee's boobs fake? Tyra Banks decides to take matters into her own hands... literally. In this clip from YouTube, Tyra Banks feels up Katharine McPhee on her US daytime talk show.
If you want to copy this video off of YouTube and save it on your hard drive, then check out this tutorial: Copy Videos Off YouTube.
As an early adopter of gadgets and technology I sometimes get labeled with the “g” word... Geek. But thank God there are people around like Dwight Shrute from The Office to take the heat off.
I like my iPod and listening to music. He likes to sell paper and fight evil. I’m happy in a nice temperature controlled office. He has a desire to be frozen and possesses the strength of a grown man and a little baby. We both work in offices but Dwight apparently leads an Army of Champions. He also has his own theme song and music video..
The iDJ is a compact mixing console with 2 built-in iPod docks. Mixing directly from your iPods gives you the ability to utilize thousands tracks from your iTunes collection at your next party or event. If you need to pull audio from additional sources, you'll be happy to know that the iDJ has two additional turntables or MP3/CD players inputs. I can see how this would come in handy at an event like a wedding where someone ends up handing the DJ a CD at the last minute.
The iDJ Mixer is both Firewire and USB2.0 compatible, so you can use 3rd Generation iPods (iPod mini, iPod photo) or newer generation models as well.
After reading through the specs, I noticed you can take things a step further and connect via S-Video. Greg from getusb.info thinks this feature "makes the iDJ a good video mixer for schools, churches or corporate applications where you have multiple people presenting and don’t want to fumble around with PC connections and projectors."
The iDJ Mixer also features headphone pre-cuing, separate channel three-band EQ and an industry-standard Kensington security slot. The security slot enables you to lock down the iDJ to a table in case you need to walk away for a few minutes for a cigarette or quick bathroom break.
When your computer's flat screen monitor breaks what should you do? You could attempt to replace the bad screen yourself... or grab the nearest BB gun and shoot it. Repeatedly.
Someone posted this video on Break.com of a LCD monitor being shot with a Tokyo Marui Desert Eagle BB gun. This guy didn't even bother to take the LCD monitor outside before shooting it. Either he has faith in his aiming, or he has little regard for his drywall.
Maybe the next time you buy a flat screen monitor you might want to look up its "Gunfire Resistance" rating.
Here's a little history behind Valentine's Day. You might as well know why you empty your pockets every year to buy chocolates, flowers, French Knickers, etc...
Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine's Day -- and its patron saint -- is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine's Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men -- his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured.
According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first 'valentine' greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl -- who may have been his jailor's daughter -- who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed 'From your Valentine,' an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It's no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Can't get enough of your favorite TV show or movie? Why not take it with you on your Sony PSP? The internet is full of PSP encoded video files ready to be downloaded onto your Sony Memory Stick. But you have to know where and how to name the files in order for the PSP to read them properly.
Today there are more ways than ever before to enjoy music. Whether it's the i-Pod, another MP3 players, a computer, or another more traditional source, this is the ideal speaker system. Compared to one-piece designs, the JVC NX-PS1 offers a much better choice with separate main speakers that can be positioned for the best stereo response, and a separate subwoofer that can be placed where bass response is the best. Since it's "Made for i-Pod", you can connect any i-Pod using the provided cable. Other MP3 players and flash memory devices can connect via the front USB Host. A computer can connect via the back USB audio input.
A traditional analog, two-channel auxiliary input is also available for portable CD players and other traditional audio sources with a headphone output. Connection for iPod — Connect, Control & Charge your iPod. Enjoy your music files via the speaker system for greater listening pleasure. USB Hosting — All-digital connection with a digital audio player (for MP3/WMA playback) USB Audio Input for receiving signals from PCs Front AUX Input for easy connection with external devices.
Feel like climbing inside a Viper and fraking a Cylon? According to a Sierra Online press release, this fall you'll get your chance.
Looking to capitalize on the series' current popularity, NBC Universal and Sierra Online (Space Quest, King's Quest, Homeworld) are developing a mini Battlestar Galactica high-definition video game that will be available this fall as a digital download.
The Battlestar Galactica mini game is just a way to wet fans appetites. NBC U is talking to several publishers about making a full size Battlestar game for consoles that would be much broader in scope and encompass the show's political, military and religious themes. But console games take two or three years to develop.
"The show is really hot right now and the fans want content so we had a lot of discussion to figure out something we could do this year," said Universal interactive licensing VP Bill Kispert.
Sierra's Battlestar game will focus on spaceship fighting, allowing fans to play as either humans or Cylons in missions culled from the series. There will also be an extensive multi-player combat element.
Kispert also said that Sierra Online has spent time on the show's set in Vancouver to incorporate elements from the show into the new game, including everything from actual ships to the computer monitors aboard the Galactica. The game will feature sound effects from the show, including weapons firing, and Kispert said they're talking about incorporating radio chatter from the show that could feature cast voices.
Because it's online, Sierra may also offer downloadable updates to keep the game fresh after it's released.
"Battlestar Galactica" game will be distributed via the Xbox Live Arcade service to download to Xbox 360, as well as for PCs.
Unfortunately, it looks like PlayStation and Macintosh users are being left out on this release. Hopefully that will change before the fall.
If you went to Apple.com last week, then you might have seen an article written by Steve Jobs about DRM and the music industry called Thoughts on Music. In the article Job talks about the history of DRM (digital rights management) and how companies, including Apple, who sell music online have to change in order to survive.
In case you haven't read the article yet, the bottom line is Jobs doesn't like digital rights management and thinks it has been ineffective at stopping music piracy. The root of his argument is how music companies failed to come together and create an audio CD format with built in copy-protection.
Here's a quote from the article:
"Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player."
In contrast, the movie industry was able to set aside their differences and DVDs were invented with copy-protection built in. So since the music industry can't get their act together, what should happen now?
If Steve Jobs has his way, DRM would be abolished entirely:
"Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music."
So why would Jobs write this letter and why now? Recently there's been a lot of pressure coming from Europe, including consumer groups in Germany and France. The Europeans claim that Apple's iTunes Store violates consumer laws because iTunes songs can only be played on iPods. Since the iPod has about 80% of the portable media player market, the Europeans believe that Apple is stifling competition.
The other option would be for Apple to license their DRM technology, called FairPlay, to other companies. Licensing FairPlay could end up making Apple a lot more money in the long run, but Jobs doesn't want Apple's secrets behind the FairPlay technology leaked, copied or modified by hackers. He'd rather just do away with DRM altogether. That would be the easiest solution for everyone... especially the consumer.
I give Jobs a lot of credit. Who knows, years from now people may look back at this article as the Emancipation Proclamation for digital music.
Sometimes it's not just about what should you bring, but how in the hell you get there. If you're like me (a guy) you can proabably make it from Point A to Point B in record time. The problem is, Point B is not actually your destination, but somewhere a mile or two from it. Now, I've been wanting a GPS for years but was concerned my wife thought it too expensive of a "toy." So I did the next best thing... I bought her one for Christmas. (Kind of like Homer buying Marge a bowling ball) And the funny thing is, she has this amazing internal compass. She hardly ever needs the GPS, so it usually resides with me.
The Garmin Garmin Nuvi 360 does everything you want and more. The Bluetooth technology links seamlessly with your cell phone for handsfree conversations. Map and audio directions put you exactly where you want to go. It can also find restaurants by genre and distance, as well as lodging and gas stations. Did I mention it's also an MP3 player? One of the coolest features is the optional up to date traffic reports. It automatically processes the information on your route, and takes you around the problem. Now, onto the city guide... not in your car, on foot. Once you've decided on your restaurant, museum, or Broadway Show, it'll take you to the front door.
I've been using it for a little over a month and it works flawlessly. The touchscreen makes inputting destinations a snap. Due to the small size and many functions, I don't ever see myself having to buy my wife another one... till next year.
If U.S. State Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn) has his way, a new proposal would make it illegal to walk, jog or bike across the street in New York while using your iPod. Kruger wants to slap pedestrians with $100 fines for using electronic gadgets, like the iPod, while crossing the street. Last year, Australian Police issued a similar law that banned cyclists from using their iPods after a series of fatal accidents.
"This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand," said Kruger in a telephone interview with Reuters. Two men were killed in his Kruger's borough recently while listening to their iPods - one of which involved a 23-year-old who was killed in traffic while bystanders screamed "Watch out!" Kruger has named this safety issue iPod Oblivion, but the bill goes beyond just iPods. The bill seeks to ban all popular electric devices such as cell phones, Sony PSPs, Blackberries, etc.
"If you're so involved in your electronic device that you can't see or hear a car coming, this is indicative of a larger problem that requires some sort of enforcement beyond the application of common sense," Kruger said.
Is an iPod crosswalk ban a little too Big Brother? Many people online aren't taking the news of this bill too seriously. "I understand that they're working on another bill in New York." commented Digg.com user packernirvana. "A $200 penalty for those caught walking and chewing gum." Maybe everyone just needs to exercise a little common sense when using their iPod. How hard is it to lower the volume and look both ways before you cross the street? Didn't we all learn how to properly cross the street before we could tie our own shoelaces?
Thinking about upgrading to Microsoft's new operating system Vista? If you own an iPod, you might want to hold off on Vista... at least for now. Last week, Apple posted a warning on their website stating that customers using Windows Vista may experience compatibility issues with iTunes.
According to Apple, the latest version of iTunes (7.0.2) may work with Windows Vista on many typical PCs, but don't be surprised if it doesn't work and messes up your iPod in the process. Apple advices Windows users to wait and not install Vista until after the next release of iTunes. A new version of iTunes should be released sometime this or next month. If you've already upgraded to Vista and are having problems with iTunes, you might want to check out a utility called iTunes Repair Tool for Vista.
Apple has already identified several Vista compatibility issues with iTunes 7.0.2 and earlier. Here are some of the most common problems:
iTunes Store purchases may not play when upgrading to Windows Vista from Windows 2000 or XP
Cover Flow animation may be slower than expected
Contacts and calendars will not sync with iPod
iPod models with the “Enable Disk Use” option turned off may be unable to update or restore iPod software, and make changes to iPod settings
iPod models configured to Auto Sync and have the “Enable Disk Use” option turned off may require being ejected and reconnected to resync
Ejecting an iPod from the Windows System Tray using the “Safely Remove Hardware” feature may corrupt your iPod. To always safely eject an iPod, choose Eject iPod from the Controls menu within iTunes
If you really can't wait to install Vista, Apple suggests you consider the following precautions:
Users should deauthorize all iTunes Store accounts, enable Disk Use on all iPod models, uninstall iTunes and perform a clean install of Windows Vista (Highly recommended but not required).
They should then proceed to reinstall the latest version of iTunes, open iTunes and choose Authorize Computer from the Store menu in iTunes.
A customer who has upgraded to Windows Vista and is still experiencing issues playing iTunes Store purchases should download the iTunes Repair Tool from Apple.com
Adam Anderson, a spokesperson for Microsoft's Windows division, said the company did not believe iTunes users "should stop using Vista for these reasons." He also said that Microsoft has a dedicated team working with Apple on getting iTunes running smoothly on Vista, and it will keep at it "until they have the program running to the quality level they're shooting for... We are also committed to ensuring that all partners, including Apple, receive all the resources they need to ensure that their applications work with Windows Vista," he said.
Apple has sold more than 90 million iPods since the product was first announced in October 2001.
How do you know you are a true geek? Well, when someone bakes you a gadget themed birthday cake, you might as well admit your chosen place in life. In a weird coincidence (or was there a gadget cake bake off recently) I found both an iPhone and Mac Mini cake on Digg's front page this past weekend.
A flickr user named icruise was surprised with this iPhone cake for their birthday. It looks like a sweet cake with a multitouch interface you can lick. Can you hear me now? No? Must be all the frosting in your ear.
The other photo is from 123macmini.com. Miles, the birthday boy, got this Mac Mini cake from his loving mom for his 15th birthday. Hopefully not too many people at his high school saw this online. He might get the frosting kicked out him after school. Just don't try to eat the disc. It looks like Miles' mom used an actual CD and covered it with frosting. Good luck trying to upgrade the RAM.
If you want to look for more Apple themed birthday cakes, try searching flickr for icake. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a black MacBook tray of brownies for my next birthday. You won't find any Zune cakes on flickr for some reason. Poor Bill. :(
Do you have a ton of DVDs? Want to watch them on your iPod? For years, the best DVD ripping program, Handbrake, was only available for Mac. But the unthinkable has happened. Handbrake has been ported for Windows. It's still in the experimental beta stages, but you can download a PC version of Handbrake now.
If you are unfamiliar with Handbrake, it's a GPL'd multiplatform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 ripper/converter. Here's a MethodShop.com tutorial on how to use Handbrake.
Can encode directly from DVDs (even encrypted ones) or from VIDEO_TS folders
Supports AC3, LPCM and MPEG audio tracks
Outputs MP4, AVI or OGM files
Outputs AAC, MP3 or Vorbis audio
Supports 2-pass encoding
Supports encoding of two audio tracks
Includes a bitrate calculator
Supports picture deinterlacing, cropping and scaling
Apparently the writers for The Office, My Name Is Earl, 30 Rock and Scrubs are all obsessed with one thing... they all want to leave you satisfied and smiling. Here's a video montage from YouTube that crams clips from all 4 shows together in a very creative way.
According to Engadget, Microsoft's customer support center has received a flood of angry phone calls from Zune owners. For some reason if you let your Zune change for an extended period of time the screen will crack. A recent post on Mac Daily News conjectures that the issue is with the lithium ion battery located directly behind the Zune's screen. When the battery gets too hot it expands and cracks the screen.
You'd think that Microsoft would consider this issue a major design flaw and offer to replace the cracked screens. So far there hasn't been an official statement from Microsoft yet and unfortunately cracked screens are not currently covered under the Zune's warranty. So where does that leave Zune owners with busted screens? They can either wait for Microsoft to address this issue or pull out their wallet and have a 3rd party like iPodMods repair their cracked Zune screen.