Thursday, October 29, 2009


For all the naysayers who said Apple TV was dead, Apple just put out Apple TV 3.0.

Okay, yeah, so it's not a new Apple TV unit with a 500 GB hard drive. Yes, it is just a software update. But it means they care. It means they're paying attention. It means.....

Well, I'm not sure what all it means, but I'm sure it means something. And I'm sure there'll be lots of speculation elsewhere as to what it means.

Me? I'm just happy that the device is still a going concern.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So long and thanks for all the fish...

So, while the rest of the world is reveling in the new Mac announcements, I am dealing with the email I got today from the editor over at Macworld Canada saying as of the end of this month, they will be closing up shop.

Wow. The site has only been around for a few months, and I've been writing for them for even fewer months, so it is sad to see the place get closed before it really had a chance to get going.

Even worse, I was going to use the fact that I was writing for Macworld to convince my wife I needed one of those new iMacs. Now? I guess I'm stuck with this slowly aging macbook....ah well, could be worse. I could be debating whether to upgrade to Windows 7 or stick with XP....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's official

Unlike most Apple rumors, where there are months, and sometimes years worth of speculation, yesterday there was a rumour that Telus and Bell would be carrying the iPhone, and then the press release went out saying, yes, Telus is going to be carrying the iPhone (sorry Bell, but I'm not going to link to your press release).

So. Um, what does this mean? Well, it is pretty exciting for Apple fans, that's for sure, especially for those that aren't big fans of Rogers and have been looking for alternatives.

However, I suspect that most people who want iPhones have got iPhones already, because given the choice between an iPhone and crappy customer service or no iPhone, most people choose the former. And besides, the truth is, all cell phone companies have their strengths and their weaknesses, their good customer service reps and their bad ones. I was just talking to someone who said they would ditch Rogers for Telus as soon as they were able, and not half an hour later to someone else who said exactly the opposite. They want at least the appearance of choice.

And for us fringe constituents who lie outside of Rogers' coverage? I am not yet convinced this will change much, at least for a while. But we'll see. I've got a question in to Telus asking about it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Could this iPhone I have before me work in a few months?

It's not really a big secret that Bell and Telus are rolling out an HSPA network, which is the sequel to, and built upon, the GSM standard. Says the website GSM World: "HSPA is part of the GSM 3G network and is (predominately) a software upgrade of the network infrastructure."

But with the rumour (read: wild speculation) that Bell might be on track to start offering the service in November, the Twitters have gone wild with the speculation that hey, maybe Bell and Telus will be getting the iPhone.

I hope not. Cuz if Telus got the iPhone, I'd have to get the iPhone. And I can't really afford to get an iPhone right now (life of a freelance writer, yada, yada).

I actually do have an iPhone now, but I am currently using it merely as a camera. Oh, and it is a tester, so I have to send it back.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hang on, did I just save money by waiting for a better version?

As I've talked about in the past, the iPod Touch version 3.0 software wasn't really a compelling update for someone with a first gen iPod Touch. Yes, cut and paste is a great feature, but I found I didn't need it enough to bother.

Well, the iPod Touch version 3.1 software is out, and they're charging again (hello? I don't think Sarbanes Oxley applies to Canada...) for the software. But this time, only $4.95.

I can't be too sure (as I still haven't updated), but it looks like if I upgrade to 3.1, I get all those features in 3.0 tossed in for free.

Cool. I wonder what happens if I wait for 3.2?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Oh. Yeah. Right. Sorry.

So, um. There was an iPod/iTunes announcement earlier this week.

And once again, the rumours were much more interesting than reality.

People, can we stop saying that Steve Jobs is going to announce the cure for cancer, or the discovery of a new alien race or whatnot, and just let Apple develop products on their own time? It's a bit like Star Wars Episode I. Yes, it sucked, but even if it had been pretty good, it still would have sucked, because there was no way it would have lived up to my expectations.

Then again, even if it hadn't been over rumoured ("camera in iPod Touch!, iPad! Wetwire interface!), it probably wouldn't have done much for me. Okay, the video camera in the Nano is cool. But if I'm getting a convergent device, I'm getting a Canon 7D. And some of the new iTunes features are pretty nice. But don't expect any new iPods at Casa Macanuck this year for Christmas.

But that 7D sure'd be nice....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Streaming CBC

Back when I was in college, I joined a cross-Canada train trip to protest cutbacks to the CBC.

You'd think they'd repay my loyalty by playing nice with iTunes, but no, they've decided that their streaming feeds will be carried by Windows Media Player.


And, to get their geek cred on, they provide an alternate, Ogg Vorbis stream, for the two people out there who use Ogg Vorbis.

Mac users with Flip4Mac can still listen to the stream, in a browser window, but sometimes you don't want to listen in a browser window, you know? Leave the browser for browsing.

Anyway. Today, Veekee had a great tip over at ehMac. (Update, this tip was published over at Spacebeast a few months ago, but I completely missed it...)

To quote her:

"You can stream CBC through itunes by hitting Advanced>Open Audio Stream in iTunes and then entering:


Or, if you want to listen to the low-bandwidth stream, change 96 to 32.

Update: So I went to check the Prince George Stream. Still streaming as an asx file. The Vancouver page has an update, telling users how they can listen to the MP3 stream.

However, this trick works for, say, Edmonton and Calgary, which haven't updated from the asx stream yet. It doesn't work for Prince George, though, as that stream apparently hasn't been converted.

Or it could just be that something is wrong with the Prince George feed in general, as when I try and listen to it in my browser with Flip For Mac, it doesn't seem to be working, either. I'll keep you posted on that one.

Do note that the definition of a high bandwidth feed has jumped from 32 kbps to 96, though if that is a function of better compression with MP3 or fatter interweb tubes all the way around I'm not sure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let the Speculation begin

A BC Man died in a fire about six months ago.

This doesn't really sound like Apple news, but bear with me.

Today, the coroner said the cause of the fire was an overheated laptop, left on a couch.

The coroner refused to release the make and model of the laptop, but CBC quite gleefully has added a picture of an Apple Powerbook, mentioning that this is "one of several computers" that has had problems with overheating batteries.

So, let the speculation begin, but don't expect any answers. Still, I'm glad that I keep my Macbook safely (sic) on a desk with good ventilation....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Here comes the next big cat

Well, after a few episodes of overpromising and underdelivering, Apple is once again on track with meeting or beating their projected ship dates. Not that they announce many products ahead of time, but for Snow Leopard, the expected ship time was sometime in September, which usually means last day of. By beating that expected ship date, Apple is back on form.

Of course, we'll have to wait until then to see if the program is really all it's cracked up to be. The OS has gained a surprising amount of traction, considering the fact that Apple has promised no new user features, with all the performance gains under the hood. Well, that's not quite true, but the fact is there is no new iChat or Mail Program or anything big and flashy. Instead, the upgrade will improve usability, with better assistive technologies for people with disabilities, built in support for Microsoft Exchange Server, and faster wake-up and shut down speeds.

Whew! Now that's flashy stuff. But perhaps users are getting sick of feature bloat, and are really looking forward to a streamlined experience. I know I am. And the $29 price point doesn't hurt, either....

Of course, this update lays down core technologies, like Grand Central Dispatch and Open CL, which will allow developers to take advantage of the processing power of the Mac. And of course, when the sequel to Snow Leopard comes out, expect a number of flashy new features that they've now had a double development cycle to work on, too.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Wonder what Jason Calacanis makes of this? While it doesn't respond to every issue he raised in his rant last week, it should cover points three and five nicely.

Or maybe not. By seeking to maintain the high quality of user experience, Apple must maintain more control over the phone than most people want.

There's a few tidbits of information that come out in the letter, though nothing groundbreaking. I would have been interested to see the full answer to the question about which apps have been rejected (and remains so, as they have not been changed to meet app store policies).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Double Digits, here we are!

According to IDC, Apple has 10% of the Canadian PC Market, it's highest rank since...well, ever probably.

The research article is available from the IDC website for the low, low price of $4500 (US, natch), so I'm only going by what I hear from Electronista, by way of, everyone's favourite Canadian Mac Community.

Thanks, Max!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Oh, the irony

So, the FTC says the investigation of Apple and Google will continue for possible Anti-Trust violations, meaning that because Schmidt was on the board, competition between the two companies is reduced, because his presence implies some form of collusion between the two.

At the same time, the FCC has sent a letter to Apple asking them to explain the rejection of the Google Voice App from the iTunes App store.

So on the one hand, Apple and Google are too friendly, and on the other, Apple isn't playing nice enough with Google? Only in America....

auf Wiedersehen, herr Schmidt

Ever since the announcement of Google's Chrome OS, Mac media has been all a twitter over whether Dr. Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO should remain on the Apple Board of Directors.

Dr. Schmidt has been on the board for three years, but issues have been raised over potential conflict of interest between Chrome and OS X. It was fine when Google was a search giant and an advertising mogul, but now, it appears, that the two companies have too much overlap for Dr. Schmidt to comfortably remain on the board. For the last few months, he has been excusing himself from the meetings when discussions of the iPhone came up, due to the competing Android OS for mobile phones. If he would remain, he'd have to remove himself whenever discussions of the Mac OS came up. Which means basically he'd be around for discussion of Mac hardware and iPod hardware, and that's about it.

So, so long Dr. S, and good luck with that little company you look after.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Um. Ri-ight

Seriously, you can't make this stuff up. From Apple Insider.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Are you using Vista or XP?

There's the question again from tech support for my ISP. About two months ago, Telus blew a line running into town and since then my internet has been up and down and down and up. A couple days ago while trying to trace some co-ax in my house, I thought I knocked something lose, as half the lights were out on my cable modem. When I got back from a wedding this weekend, though, it was back up and running. Or at least, it was up and running to the point of connecting to the ISP. But I couldn't get out onto the interweb.

So I called to tell them that their door was closed. Again. And of course, every time I do, they have to walk me through the typical tech support stuff: is it plugged in? Is there a router? Are you connected.

This time, after answering that I was on 10.5, and explaining that was, yes, Mac, I was still asked to open up my command prompt. You mean terminal, right? Yeah, right. Okay. Now type in ipconfig. Well, this is UNIX not DOS, so that doesn't really work. And no, it is not a virus.

Um. Okay, we'll schedule a service technician to come and take a look.

But the problem is at YOUR END. Everything at this end is working fine. Why do I need someone here to trouble shoot YOUR PROBLEM. Grr.

But it appears to be working now. Sort of.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So, what are you trying to say here?

The latest press release from Apple, touting Apple's 1 million iPhone weekend, featured a rather prominent quote from Steve Jobs.

Now, I'd have to go back and check the last few press releases, but I think this is the first release I've seen quoting Steve in months.

Which leads me to suspect that Jobs is back to work.

Update: Now Cult of Mac is saying that CNBC is reporting Steve might have come back today. Makes sense to me. So, when do we see that tablet announcement...?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Podiobooks: What a remarkable concept

I was listening to This Week in Media a few days ago, and they had as a guest Scott Sigler, a well-known horror author. He mentioned that he had just written a Sci-fi book called The Rookie, and it was available for free on his website.

So I, being the geek that I am, went to check it out, and discovered that it was available as an audiobook via iTunes, and were being put out through a company called Podiobooks.

Wow. What a great idea. I have only started listening to The Rookie, and haven't checked out any other books, but just from a conceptual point of view, I'm sold already.

While Scott's a good reader, he isn't on par with the readers from audible, but that's okay, it's still a great idea.

I'll give you more feedback once I've explored a little more, but at first glance, I'm so all over this.

How Green was my Apple

So, if you haven't noticed, Apple and Dell have been involved in a rather pointless pissing match. Dell's been accusing Apple of false advertising, going so far as to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Well, yesterday the BBB agreed with Dell, saying that Apple's advertising might be a bit misleading. But Apple says that they offer the greenest "Family" of notebooks, and on that, the BBB agreed with Apple.

Sure there are greener notebook models out there than any one notebook Apple produces, but they have made a commitment to green for all their notebooks, not just one flagship green model, while making the rest of their notebooks with arsenic and sealskin.

Of course, Green is a relative concept and much maligned and abused to the point of meaninglessnesss (this is a green blog; no trees were harmed in the making of this post). So take all this chest thumping with a grain of salt.

Steve Jobs had a liver transplant. It must be true, it was in the WSJ

So, the interweb is all abuzz with the rumour that Steve Jobs had a liver transplant.

Based on a story with no sources in the Wall Street Journal.

Okay, so it is the journal, that bastion of truth and all that's right with the media.

Still. They say Steve had a liver transplant, but offer no real sources to back it up. Which is a little odd. Knowing Steve Jobs, though, it could have been Steve himself who called the journal and told them to run the story, after insulting the reporter a few times for good measure, under the condition that no mention was made of the call, no references to a source, no nothing. Why? Cuz that's just the way Steve rolls.

The timing is perfect to have it be an deliberate plant by Apple. This sort of thing will get lost in the news cycle, buried by the iPhone launch. In a week, everyone'll say "oh, yeah, that's old news, but Steve's doing great and will be returning to Apple in a week or two."

The stock takes no hit, the investors are happy and everything is as it should be.

Or, it could just be complete and utter speculation. That's for Steve and his doctors to know and us to find out slowly and in sometimes contradictory pieces over the next few years.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Score! Rogers allows iPhone tethering at current least for now

Yes, it's true. While AT&T is dragging its heels and becoming the weakest link in the whole iPhone service chain, Rogers has done something surprisingly proactive and user friendly, by including tethering with their data plans.

This will last until at least the end of the year, at which point in time presumably they reserve the right to gouge you. Sorry, did I say that out loud. I mean to charge you a fair price for tethering.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sorry, I think you added a one in there

From Rogers' iPhone announcement:

  • 16GB iPhone 3G: NOW $179 (while supplies last) with a 3-year voice plan greater then $30/month.
  • 8GB iPhone 3G: $199 with a 3-year voice plan greater then $30/month.


Alright. That 8GB 3G for $199? That's the one that's selling down in the states for $99. And it is the same up-front price as a 16GB 3Gs. Either there's a typo there, or they're really trying to drive people to the 3Gs.

The whole point of keeping the 3G around at a lower price point is to open up a whole new market. People who were unwilling to buy a $200 phone will have no such trouble with a $99 phone. If the price on the 3G is EXACTLY THE SAME as for a 3Gs... well, it's not opening up the market. It's not bringing in new customers. It's not really helping sales.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

iPod Touch Update: Is it worth it

While everyone is going off about the new iPhone software, it should be noted that the new software is available for the iPod Touch, too. But unlike the iPhone, which has subscription fees to cover updates, us Touch users have to fork over $9.99

I've got a first gen iPod Touch, and a lot of the updates don't work for it. So, is it worth it to upgrade? Let's look.

Buy Movies, TV Shows and Audiobooks via WiFi.
Internet speeds here are lucky to hit 512 kb. It takes the better part of a day to download a movie. Thanks, but I'll stick to using my computer.

Bluetooth Stereo Headphones
Only 2nd Gen

Peer to Peer Gaming
Only Second Gen

I might be the only one, but I never noticed the lack of cut and paste. Sorry.

Landscape Keyboard
Okay, this is a big one for me. The extra real estate would be pretty cool. But I'm waiting for a keyboard dongle. Now that is a killer device for me.

Spotlight Search
Um. Hmm. Nope. Can't say that I've ever needed to search my iPod. Not enough productivity apps, I suppose.

Shake to shuffle
Cool, but not worth an investment

New Languages
I barely sprechen my mother tongue.

Push Notification
Cool, but again, not something I need.

Parental Controls
Um, in a few years, maybe

Automatic Wi-Fi Log-in
Doesn't it do this already? I've never had any touble

iTunes Store Account Creation
Already have one, thanks.

Wow. I was pretty stoked about the update, but so much of what happened is for the Phone or the second gen touch. I dig the landscape keyboard, but is it enough to upgrade over?

I'll sit and agonize over this for a few days. I'll let you know what I decide to do.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wherefore art thou, ZFS?

After years of teasing us with the dream of ZFS, Sun's better than thou File system, ZFS is once again notably absent from Snow Leopard. In fact, as pointed out over at Slashdot, Apple has struck all but two references to ZFS from their website.
Alas, it held so much promise, but proved to be so problematic. Why? I have no idea. This is, after all, Apple we're talking about. Maybe the technological hurdles were too high, but it seems to me that if you can write face recognition features into your entry level photo app, you'd be able to figure out how to get from one file system to the other without completely borking everyone's system.


I just went to sync my iPod for the first time since updating to iTunes 8.2, and it told me that I couldn't because the iPod had a passcode. Is this new? Is this just a first-time with the new iTunes issue, or is this going to be doing this from here on in? I hope it's just a first-time with new iTunes thing, because that could get annoying kinda fast.
Has this been there before and I just never noticed it?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yes, but can you find my iPod Touch?

I don't think so. Fail. Well, win for everyone else in the world, fail for me. Stupid backwater CDMA-loving hick town....

Sixteen BEEL-ion Dollars!

Want some new RAM for your new computer? How much? How about 16 Billion GB. Yes, Snow Leopard will allow you to install four BILLION TIMES more RAM than the previous version., here I come....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

iTunes gets American TV shows. And there was some rejoicing.

I've often cast a skeptical eye over at the Canadian iTunes TV section, wondering who in their right mind would want to download Dragon's Den or FutureWeapons.

Slowly there have been some interesting shows added to the store, but today, the floodgates opened. Battlestar Galactica. The recently canceled and much lamented Sarah Conner Chronicles. Lost. 24.

Of course, there are some notable exceptions. Dollhouse, for instance, is not in the Canadian store, the store doesn't have the same depth of back catalogue as the US store does, and it'd be nice if the Canadian store were to offer some BBC/UK programming (Dr. Who, anyone?), but this is the breakthrough that Canadians have been wanting for a while. (Boy, have I just revealed myself to be the geek that I am with that list? Dollhouse? Dr. Who? BSG? Total geek.)

Now the question is, how will this affect cable and satellite? I don't know if we'll be dumping our satellite, at least not until we run some numbers, or at the very least until Dollhouse is on iTunes, but I know of a bunch of people who've already said sayonara to Rogers and Bell.

Episodes are $3.49 for HD, or $2.49 for standard def. A season pass for 24 is $64.99, which makes the cost per episode $2.70, assuming a 24 episode season, or $42.99/$1.79 per episode for standard definition.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tick, tick tick boom

In case you weren't following it, the Newton, Apple's famously erratic PDA, hated by many, loved by a passionate few, is about to die.

Because of the way the clock system is set up, the Newton can only keep time until January 2010. Then...well some people who have set their clocks ahead have reported that the system crashes and needs a hard restore.

The patch which was under development by the community has proven to not be a workable solution, so Newton users are looking at the Calendar worriedly as we slowly make our way to the end of the year. Will this be the end of the plucky Newton? Tune in next week. Better yet, follow the goings on at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Deep thoughts, from Magnus S

A friend of mine, a late convert to the iPod revolution (we're still working on getting him off a PC...) has this interesting post about iPods and how they define who we are. Of course, his argument is more about the music held therein rather than the device itself, but interesting reading nonetheless.


I know I'm a little late to the party, but...,

Yay! Our very own Zombie Botnet.

Monday, April 13, 2009

It's not a bug, it's a feature

Time for another Safari issue. This one with the built-in RSS reader.

I group my RSS feeds into folders: News, Photoshop, Writing, Design, Photography, Mac and Me, and then keep those folders in my bookmark bar, so I can see when there are new articles.

I know that smart people use Bloglines or Times or Google Reader or some other stand alone or web-based app, but I kinda like how I can just glance up while in Safari and see "ooh, new article."

Here's the deal. There are two articles that have shown up in my personal feed the last time it checked, and it is set to check every half an hour. These are friend's blogs, web comics...stuff like that. If I click on that say ten minutes after the reader checked, and there's another post by Peter, it will go out and get that, too.

But here's the deal. A lot of times, it will add that the the post count, but it won't subtract it. So my bookmark bar will tell me that I have one new article that hasn't been read, even if I read it.

I can refresh the feed, and it still won't go away. I can restart, and it won't go away. After a day or two, it finally goes away.

Yes, it is a small complaint, but it is really annoying when I'm waiting for a new Order of the Stick, and I look up and see that there's a new article in my personal feed and I click, only to discover that no, what I have is a stuck RSS reader again.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some days, I love living in a small town

I've gone on at length in the past about stupid slow internet and stupid nearest Apple Authorized retailer being 800 km away, but despite what I've said, I love living in a small town. And here's another reason why.

In a big city, they investigate murders and theft of car. Here, an iPod Touch goes missing, and you get an officer assigned to the case.

And now, I have an iPod Touch returned in good order. Oh frabulous joy, Caloo, Calay (I know I mangled that....)

Drobo goes big

I'm a big fan of Drobo. Despite the proprietary nature of their system, I like the fact that it is drag and drop redundancy.

However, I am already looking at having to upscale my drives. And if I do manage to get my hands on that 5D Mk II I've been dreaming about, the drives will fill up even faster.

Well, Drobo has gone big with their new Drobo Pro, with twice the space and built in Gigabit ethernet.

Yes, it's still expensive for what basically amounts to a box for drives, and yes, I could do the same thing with a bunch of external drives. But I tried that. It didn't work. Not because of the way they worked, but because of the way I worked. The Drobo works, because it is dead simple. I don't have to change anything about the way I work.

Will I be getting one of these? Not right away. Despite the fact that my current Drobo is v. 1, it still is fine for the amount of pressure I put on it, at least for the next six to 12 months. But in a year or so, it's nice to know that I have this option. And then my current Drobo can go off-site, and maybe I can figure out a way to sync the two over the internet. Then I'd be Alex Lindsay cool....

Drinking the Kool-aid, taking the pill...

A friend of mine sent me this story about the iPod Touch, three days after mine was stolen.

Sheesh. Why not give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it while you're at it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Stupid Smug Mac User

Okay, I'm trying not to be smug, but our internet is out at home so I'm at the library. The guy next to me is using a fancy new Vista machine, and is swearing under his breath. Two phone calls to tech support on how to get it working and he's still not having any luck. He's been asking me about my Mac. Little does he know that I'm one of *those* type of Mac users. But I'm playing it cool, telling him how reliable it is, and how simple it is, and he's getting into even more of a stew about Vista....I even dropped a bone about how Windows 7 is supposed to be "quite good".

There are some days I love what I do....

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Safari 4 and Wordpress

I know this is a blogger blog, but most of my sites are powered by Wordpress.

I've been using the Safari 4 beta for a while, but mostly what I've been doing is making straight photo posts.

So I thought I broke something when I went to add a link and everything broke.

The way Wordpress 2.7 does links is it pops up a lightbox and you type your link info there.

Well, the grey overlay pops up, and the link box tries to pop up, but it gets buried under the gray overlay, and there's no way to get out of it.

There's been lots of complaining, but there is a solution, posted here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mocking Macs

You know that Macs have hit the mainstream when the Ottawa Citizen is making fun of them. Of course, the argument has been disproven many, many, many times over in the past, but you know, whatever.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spaces is broken

I love the idea of Spaces. When I first got Leopard, I was quite excited by it But the execution in those early days left a lot to be desired and disappointed, I turned it off.

A few weeks ago a friend reminded me of Spaces, and I remembered how much I liked it. So I decided to give it another go to see if it worked for me.


Two of my most used programs are Lightroom (for when I have my photographer's hat on) and Word (for when I am playing writer). Both are broken by Spaces, or possibly vice versa.

I had my spaces set up so that Space 1 was me writing, space two was me online and space three was me as a photographer.

Let's say I'm over surfing the Digital Wedding Forum in Safari, and decide to go do some work in Lightroom. I use Apple-Tab to switch to Lightroom and...

Nothing happens. The menu bar changes, but I do not switch from Space 2 to Space 3. I have to do that manually. Not a big deal, but annoying.

Word, though. Same scenario. I'm working in Word and I switch over to Space 2 to do some online research. And the document I'm working on comes with me. How convenient. Except when I try to switch back to that document. In this case, the document doesn't come back with me to Space 1. So I switch to space 2 again and try and just click on the document, but as soom as Word comes into focus, I switch back to Space 1, leaving the document back in Space 2. So again, I have to manually change to space 2, and this time, the Word document is accessible.

Not sure what it is. Maybe it's multiple spaces and dual monitors confuses the system. Maybe it's just poor coding. All I know is it is annoying. And so I have given up Spaces again. My last best hope shall be Snow Leopard, whenever that is released.

How bout you? Using Spaces? Does it work for you?

Friday, March 20, 2009

HD Movies come to iTunes

iTunes US, that is. And, of course, no sign of when it will come to Canada.

The new movies are priced at $19.99, five dollars more than a regular movie. Oh. That's USD. If the pricing holds true, then the price, when they finally come to Canada, will be about $24.99.

But we'll see.

No word yet on what Apple's version of HD means. They've had HD rentals for AppleTV. Is it going to be the same quality as on that, or higher? Is it going to be HDCP-enabled (or disabled, as the case may be)?

End of a very short era

Spiral Frog, the ad-supported music network that was taking the world by storm has shut down.

Who, you say? Exactly. Most of you wouldn't have heard of them because their songs wouldn't work in iTunes or on the iPod.

While that left a 25% market share that could still theoretically listen to music from Spiral Frog, the fact is, few did.

Now the question becomes: was it because they eschewed the single largest market segment or because ad supported music is a broken model? It could be argued that people can make a nice living in the niche (the Macintosh, for example, and all the companies that surround it), but even Apple has reached out to the PC market with their iPods and iTunes. Could they have been as successful without a Windows version of iTunes? No. Would the iPod still be a going concern without it?

Actually, there are a number of other factors that could be at play. Ad supported music could be a fine model, but Spiral Frog's implementation might have sucked. For now, though, I'll stick with iTunes, where you'll soon be able to purchase the debut album from my band, Heavy Things. You will not find it, however, at Spiral Frog. Sorry.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Aw, man....

Apple's product announcement announcements have been lately losing that air of mystery to the point of this latest gathering, where the announcement was titled "iPhone OS 3.0 Software".

And it had a picture of a blueprint. So even if I'm not quick enough to pick up on the fact that that means the software isn't going to be released, I should be smrat enough to figure out that we're going to be talking about iPhone OS software.

So why are "observers" looking for more info on a Tablet "going home disappointed", according to The Street's Jim Cramer? That's like showing up for a U2 show and getting annoyed that the Rolling Stones didn't get up and play.

Well, duh.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Analysts, redux

Over at, there is a report from NPD's Steven Baker.

He says that Apple may be in for some tough times ahead. And he calls for the fruit to drop its prices.

Colour me cynical, but I don't see Apple doing that. Sure, I'd love a Macbook at $799, I can't see that happening. Heck, the Mini is creeping up to that price point.

Here's the thing. Macs have a lot going for them. Design, OSX, usability, a loyal fanbase.... but as soon as they start playing the pricing game, people are going to start judging them based on that, and it's a game they can't win. Someone will always offer more for less. Apple's strength has always been that it makes things better. And while there is a premium for better, I for one value quality over quantity.

As long as it isn't too pricey....

Safari 4

Tabs at the top lasted about fifteen minutes. I thought I would be too lazy to turn them off. I was wrong. What a horrid implementation.

New Shuffle: Voices inside my head

Hang on. It's Wednesday. Whatever happened to Tuesday as the product release cycle?

Anyhew, Apple announce a new iPod Shuffle that is not only half the size of the previous model (about the size of a double A battery).

Because the device is so small the controls have moved onto the headphone cord.

More importantly, the device can be programed to tell you what you're listening to, allowing you to select music by song, artist and (rejoice runners everywhere) playlist.

I have stated before that I'm not really big into reporting the rumours, and I don't follow any rumour sites closely, but usually there is some mention of these sort of things on the mainstream sites. I saw nothing. Which is not to say that there was nothing out there, just that it never made the mainstream. Well played, Apple. Who says that they're becoming more porous without Steve?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Music disappearing from Canadian iTunes store?

Here's a recent question over at ehmac from fellfromtree:
"This has happened a few times. Purchase a tune from iTunes, go back a few days later to get more from that artist or album, the artist no longer shows up in the iTunes store. Clicking the song link from my iTunes music library gets the message box "The item you requested is not currently available in the Canadian store". 
Most recent example, I picked up a few 'The Airborne Toxic Event' tracks, now they don't exist on the Canadian store.
Am I missing something here? Is this a regular thing?
So what say you, Macintites? Has this happened to you? Any specific examples? 

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Christmas in March

Wowsa. What a day.

After months (and in the case of the Mini, years) of speculation, the entire Mac desktop line has been refreshed. iMacs now come with processors up to 3.06 GHz, double the memory and up to one terabyte of hard disk, as well as the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics card. 

The Mini starts at $729 Canadian, which isn't quite the $399 price point some pundits have been calling for, but it looks like the pictures were real: it comes with five (count 'em) USB ports, a Firewire 800 port, and dual display with Mini Display Ports or DVI. 

The Mac Pro has been refreshed, too. It can be maxed out with two 2.93 GHz Quad Core Xeon processors, up to 32 GB of Ram (as before) and up to four terabytes of on-board storage. 

I've been hearing from a lot of people who are using the Mini to drive their entertainment centres, and that's an option I may start looking at, since the Mini is much more functional than an Apple TV. Then again, an Apple TV is about half the price. 

Then again, right now I can afford neither, so why bother speculating.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This just in: some analysts are complete maroons!

This via Cult of Mac:

Over at Trading Markets, there is a story on how some poor fools who have Windows Media Devices still can't play files from iTunes, because their devices don't support AAC. 

And they blame Apple. 

"Well, the problem is that Apple's 'unprotected files' are in the AAC format, which Windows Media player does not support. But the Zune software does. Unprotected AAC files are not the same as unprotected MP3 files, which eMusic pointed out when it retracted a statement applauding Apple's decision to sell music without digital-rights-management software."

But what about us poor iPod and iTunes users who can't play Windows Media Files on our iPods? Is that the fault of Microsoft, for selling the file, or Apple for not allowing us to play the file?

What was that? Blame Apple, you say. Sure. Because that one is appropriate. But if you are going to blame Apple for not making an iPod that plays WMA files, then blame Microsoft for making Windows Media Player not play AAC audio files. 

I must point out that the Creative Zen X-Fi *does* play AAC files. The trouble that our pundit is having is that Windows Media Player doesn't. 

It'll play MP3 files, which are a proprietary format. It will play WMA format, which are also proprietary. Will it play AAC, which is an open standard, not, as some might think, a proprietary Apple format? No. (It also won't play FLAC and ogg, I bet....don't hear many people complaining about that, though, do we?)

As one commentator over at Cult of Mac says: "So because Windows Media Players are less popular it’s ok for them to only play a proprietary media format, but apple is bad for using a non-proprietary media format that isn’t supported by a proprietary media player?

My head hurts."


Monday, February 9, 2009

Another option for winterbound Canadians: DIY iPod Touch Gloves

Over at Cult of Mac, they've got a really cool solution to the iPod Touch glove issue: Do it yourself. 

You'll need a spool of $20 (USD I assume) conductive thread, which makes the whole process not as cheap as you might have hoped just for one pair of gloves. Then again, convert two pairs, and it becomes reasonable. Heck, convert a pair of mittens. Convert all your friends gloves. Go into business selling iPod Touch (okay, okay, and iPhone) gloves on the interweb. Whatever. You have the power to DIY. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bioshock for Mac? Be still my beating heart

Another day, another rumour. This one says that Bioshock might be coming to Mac.

You know. Bioshock. That's the game that came out August 2007 for the X-Box 360, and in July of last year for the PC. 

Colour me jaded, but I really don't think that it's gonna sell. I mean, by the time it comes out, the game will be two years old. Anyone who has any interest in playing the game will have played it already on either of those platforms. Or on Playstation 3, which it is also on. 

The Mac crowd has a reputation for not being big into games, but I think here's a perfect example of why it appears that we're not gamers. Here's an A-list game, making its way to the Mac two years after it was first released. Those of us who are into Macs and gaming gave up in frustration 18 months ago and bought a copy for our X-Box 360, or in my case, for my Brother in Law's X-Box 360. 

When the game comes out, the truly hardcore mac gamers will buy it, but the rest of us will be standing in line waiting for Bioshock II: Sea of Dreams. 

I mean, seriously, how do you expect the Mac to be considered a serious gaming platform when the serious games arrive two years late?

Movie rentals and the north

So, I finally decided that, since I've got the kids tonight, might as well download a movie. I mean, I was excited when movies came to the iTunes store, but I've just been so busy, I haven't been able to pull together the time to watch one. 

But the wife is away, and I can't work and watch the kids, so lets watch a movie. 

Horton Hears a Who, how bout?

I just hit rent and....

Seven hours remaining to download. 


I love life up north sometimes. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Remember that bit about iTunes going DRM free? Turns out that it'll cost you $0.40 for each song you want the DRM stripped from. 

That's $0.10 more than it costs in the states. 

I still haven't come across any music that costs more than $0.99. Or less than, for that matter. If you do, please let me know what it costs, and if it is more than the American store. 

Rogers sucks. Wait, I mean Roger's iPhone sales suck

The Globe and Mail's Report on Business says that iPhone sales dropped by 50% last quarter, despite the fact that overall, the business is doing better than expected. And, as expected, it got crushed in the stock market. Why? Because even though they did better than expected, they should have done unexpectedly better or some fool thing.

Me? I think it might have something to do with the fact that there are about 20 people who are covered by Rogers 3G network, so the paying a premium for the whole 3G thing doesn't appeal to most people.

As always, I'd love to get an iPhone, but Rogers doesn't even offer coverage where I live, let alone 3G coverage, so don't expect me to get hands on with an iPhone any time soon. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh, and two more one more things.

17 inch MBP with 8 hours of battery life.

iTunes goes DRM free, but tiered pricing.

I'm still not sure what I feel about the whole thing. Give me a day or two to process.

I think I was really looking forward to Snow Leopard, and wouldn't it have been nice to have come out sooner rather than later. 

But DRM iTunes. That's nice. And I bet most of what I listen to would be 69 or 99. Will the prices for the Canadian store change? We'll have to see. I'm not seeing any change yet. 

Three things...

iLife 09.

iWork 09.


Oh. One more thing. 17 inch notebook. 

Macrumours feed hacked

Macrumours live feed from the Ste...Phil Shiller keynote has been hacked. 

Steve is not dead.


Oops. There goes the feed. 

Oh, yeah, right, and Phil is announcing a bunch of stuff. iLife 09 right now. 

Monday, January 5, 2009

Oh, come on

Cnet has taken Steve's letter and turned it into...well, I'm not sure. Something bad. Something evil. Something wicked and nasty. 

For some reason, Steve coming out and saying "I aten't dead yet" is seen as some sort of stonewalling from the company. Really? Is this some sort of way for Apple to screw us over? Because the way I see it is there was enough people crying about Job's health that they finally said "yes, Steve's health is a private matter, but since you all have been speculating and rumour mongering and digging graves left right and centre, let us set you straight."

On matters of health

While CNET is using words like "shocking" and "unexpected", the truth is often less shocking than the rumours and speculations. 

You see, Steve Jobs wrote a letter today, explaining what was up with his health. A hormonal imbalance that has been "robbing" him of proteins. While there has been breathless speculation about his health online, and this will surely fuel the fires, at the same time it is pretty mild. No Steve not being able to do his job, no Steve on death's door. 

Of course, as the conspiracy nuts will be quick to point out, the letter doesn't go so far as to say this is the only thing wrong with Steve, but I'll take the news on face value.