China Apple Online Store To Go Online Soon

•July 8th, 2008 • 3 Comments

Very simple actually! The meaning is exactly as the title of the post.

When you ask? Well maybe tomorrow, maybe in a week or even a month but maximum a month!

What’s the guarantee… None at all!

Well there might be one sure shot guarantee, You can hardly expect Apple to open as many as 5 retail stores in China (2 during olympics) and not open the online store… Never heard of before!

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MobileMe to Launch by July 9th

•July 3rd, 2008 • 7 Comments

Apple has officially announced the launch date and time of its new MobileMe (not Mobile Me) SAAS. Apple Inc., let this slip through due to the announcement it made for .Mac subscribers to forewarn them of the .Mac inaccessibility on the 9th July at 6pm PT.

The folowing image details this:

MobileMe roll over

MobileMe roll over

MobileMe is Apple, Incorporated’s latest SAAS (Software as as Service) which wil be replacing their current offering in the same genre known as .Mac. The new service, touted as ‘Exchange for the rest of us’ brings in many new features (or maybe not so many) the biggest of them being the ravishing new gorgeous and beautiful interface (built using the SproutCore Engine).

The sync feature of .Mac receives an upgrade in MobileMe by making the sync automatic (thus Push) rather than manual or timely syncs (yes a problem for people with slow or erratic internet) and immediate (as immediate as switching your computer or iPhone/iPod Touch on)

If you liked reading my post, please subscribe to my feed by pressing the RSS button in you browser address bar or by clicking here. Please comment on the posts. Your comments are really valuable and encouraging.

Please note, I have strong information that as of July 6th, Apple has already rolled out the service unofficially as a part of its beta testing to certain customers in the Japan, New Zealand, India and Spain and to select Media and Technology ‘Reviewers’ in the US! My post has been edited to acommodate the changes. [The beta testing is not being carried out through the “me.com” domain name]

Rogers’ iPhone 3G Plans Drive Canadians Crazy

•June 30th, 2008 • 9 Comments

Why, I say they are acting very calmly. Had it been AT&T, you would have found me outside their HO with a board in my hand. The rates are completely unjustifiable. Its as if Rogers Communication ,Inc. is holding the nation by its neck and seemingly they don’t have a choice!

And with Apple’s new ‘unlock’ prevention techniques, it seems that the helpless canadians will also be unable to look to something ‘other than legal’. (Not to mention, even if they manage to get something like that Rogers is the sole EDGE/HSDPA carrier in the country)

If you think that, “Ok well, what could be so bad?”, below is a table (courtesy: Andy Peatling) comparing the rate plans for the iPhone 3G from 3 different carriers in 3 different countries (Rogers and Canada being one of them, respectively):

iPhone 3G Plans      

 

From the above table, we can watch how the carrier, well known for its sky high rate plans, extorts and threats the nationals. A 3 year long contract, 400MB data plan, 75 SMS and just 150 voice minutes sum up to a $3,225 iPhone 3G. What’s more is that you have to pay $15 for caller display! And no, Im not joking. 

 

If you want to do something for the helpless canadians raise your voice and click on the link below to help achieve the 25,000 petition goal. 

RuinedIphone.com

Think no one’s listening? CNN Money and Reuters Canada are already there. And you can get many more by just putting in a little effort and time. Click the link above and comment on as many related posts as possible.

                                                

Maxtor OneTouch IV Mini 250GB Review

•June 29th, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Maxtor OneTouch IV

The Maxtor OneTouch IV Mini series of 2.5″ external hard-disk drives are, as the name suggests, manufactured by Maxtor, a subsidiary of Seagate Technology. Today, we’ll look at the Maxtor OneTouch IV Mini 250GB HDD, the tiniest (tiniest indeed) member of the current Maxtor product line up.

 

First lets have a look at the build quality and design. The external drive is designed and cased well using metal and rubber. Being a portable drive, and a good one at that, Maxtor has done well to make sure the drive can survive some drops and dents. Its really small and thin, fits beautifully in your shirt pocket and is lite enough to remain there for a long time. The body frame is covered with rubber and so is the bottom. The upperside is built of aluminum and if you press it, you can actually feel the cushion system implemented in the drive by Maxtor because the aluminum roof visibly gets pressed inside!Maxtor OneTouch IV Thin

 

Maxtor OneTouch IV

 

It definitely looks good and elegant and unlike the glossy MyBooks it doesn’t attract too many fingerprints, oil smudges and dust. It also does a great job of complementing my MacBook Pro and actually can easily blend in with just any cabinet and laptop because of its dual shade and perfectly done serenity.

On the length side of the frame is a Y type USB connector and on the breadth side is a bluish white activity light which also doubles up as the ‘OneTouch’ button.

Design and Build Quality:5 Stars

 

Now coming up to its features and bundle.  Not much to speak here since it doesn’t have many at all. One strange thing here is the connector cable provided by Maxtor. First of all, it has two USB heads (the normal ones with which you connect the HDD to your computer). One of them reads ‘POWER + DATA’ while the other one reads ‘POWER’. This can be a real problem because most laptops only have 2 – 3 USB ports to offer and all of them captured by the HDD can be irksome. Though the drive works fine with just the Power + Data cable connected, Maxtor recommends to connect both heads and they also recommend against using a flimsy one headed cable, like the one that comes with your digital camera. The second thing thats strange about the cable is its length. The 3 headed (2 USB & 1 Y type) cable which is already so short is linked with the Power + Data USB in between rather the Y type. This causes a strange loop formation if the USB connecters in your computer are close (which is usually the case). But even after the strange cable, it is really nice and helpful to get rid of the AC adapter!

 

Maxtor Mini Cable

 

Maxtor OneTouch IV

 

The software which ships with the HDD is, in one word, pathetic. | {The HDD comes formatted in NTFS so Mac users might prefer to copy the data before initializing the disk} | The Maxtor self designed and manufactured software is amazingly inefficient and irksome. On the Mac, it simply fails to recognize the drive forget about everything else. On the PC things improve but only ever so slightly! It manages to recognize and register the drive with Maxtor’s website but beyond that its useless and a resource hog while performing stupefyingly slow and erratic backups. The only 2 nifty features of the software are the OneTouch button configuration and data encryption!

I would strongly recommend getting something like EMC Retrospect for performing backups on the PC and Mac (though there are some ways like the Automator to configure the button to perform a Time Machine backup instead!)

Features and Bundles:2 Stars

 

And finally we come to performance. It is a really speedy drive, though not a monster, but far above average! With some excellent write speeds, it easily beats a majority of its competitors in the market. 

The performance charts :

All figures are time (in seconds)                                                                                                               Shorter bars are faster

2.5 Ext HDD Performance

Withe the fastest read speeds and equally blazing write speeds, its no brainer that the drive is a show stealer!

Performance:5 Stars

 

Overall, the Maxtor OneTouch IV Mini HDD is a great external drive, highly portable and an excellent performer but unlike its cousin the Seagate FreeAgent Go, which bundles the stunning Creedo software, it fails to impress with its bundles! Whats more, at a price point of $99 (from BestBuy) for the 250 GB version its a great drive meant to both, stay on the table and in you pocket.

Price: ~$110

Overall:Star 4

Value for Money:Star 4

Good: Excellent performance, great looks and sturdy.

Bad: Horrible software package, strange irksome and short connector cable.

 

 

iPhone 3G Lands in India on July 22

•June 26th, 2008 • Leave a Comment

 

The iPhone 3G, a product of Apple, Inc., will be launched in India on this 22nd of July, I have heard from certain sources from Vodafone International! 

 

Of note, both the Indian iPhone carriers are now starting to advertise and pre register for the iPhone 3G. Gearing up for the launch it seems!

 

Here are the pics:

iPhone 3G Vodafone IniPhone 3G Airtel In

* It has been verified that the pre registration forms have been put up about 4 hours ago on both Airtel and Vodafone sites!
** I accept no responsibility of the claims made here and myself cannot fully confirm the truthfulness of my sources! 

 

Adobe CS4(CS3+1) Interface Change

•June 24th, 2008 • 4 Comments

Adobe Color Wheel

The ultra popular Creative Suite (CS) series of professional applications, developed and sold by Adobe Systems, Inc., will be upgraded to version 4 (CS4) sometime soon in  the coming 4 months (most likely in  October). So what’s so special about it ? Adobe has released upgrades almost every year! This time, Adobe aims at overhauling the complete interface of many of its apps especially imaging apps like Photoshop.

 

Photoshop CS4 v11 is currently in its beta form but Adobe delivered some very obvious and exciting changes to its latest beta. Some of the most notable are:

  • It facilitates N-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) document layouts that adapt as you adjust the interface. Think “live window tiling”–great for comparing, compositing, etc.
  • It makes it easier to move the entire application and its contents, including from one monitor to another.
  • It prevents documents from getting obscured by panels (palettes).

Mac Only:

  • Blocks the contents of the desktop, minimizing visual clutter. (A number of Mac users have requested this option for many years. Certain people currently achieve this by opening a small blank document, hitting F to put it into full-screen mode, and then putting it into the background to hide the desktop.)
  • Optional new interface, may revert to old interface at any time!
  • The UI is full of unique elements that don’t appear elsewhere in the OS–e.g., custom scroll bars sitting next to OS-standard ones.

CS3 v/s CS4

Photoshop CS3

Photoshop CS4

 

A video demonstrating the new features.

And for those wondering as to why I’ve mentioned a CS3+1 for CS4, its because Adobe has asked people from refraining to use the term CS4. This definitely means we can expect a name change (and probably deletion of ‘Adobe’ before every app name!).

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Snow Leopard: Mac OS For the Masses ?

•June 22nd, 2008 • 15 Comments

Apple Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard will be the next major release of Mac OS X v10.6, the Macintosh operating system developed and ‘nurtured’ by Apple, Inc.. It will succeed the current version named Leopard, v10.5, released in October 2007! Snow Leopard is scheduled to be launched ‘in about an year or so’ as stated by Mr. Bertrand Serlet, Senior VP of Software Engineering Apple Inc.

 

“We have delivered more than a thousand features to Mac OS X over the last five years. We are going to hit the pause button on new features [to focus on] foundational features”. That was Steve Jobs, about 10 days ago at WWDC 2008, speaking at the preview (covered under NDA). So, what are these ‘foundational features’ ? Well, Apple has done a great job of answering that! Even 12 months before launch, Apple has already unveiled features (fundamental, though) like OpenCL (Using Graphics Card for Processor computing purposes), Grand Central (Multi core Processor Support) and ZFS (New Enterprise Level File System) and smaller system footprint(lesser HDD space utilization)  among many others and without doubt these 12 months will see a plethora of more of these added!

 

But the point to ponder is why did Apple decided to take such a step when most people transition to Macintosh because of two reasons: 1. Features (Time Machine, iLife, Gorgeous GUI, etc.) & 2. Performance (which is already phenomenal) ? My guess  is that there were/are (possibly) two major reasons. First, Apple has a pretty clear vision of what’s coming in he next 2-4 years and its preparing for that. Second, Apple is planning to release their OS for the PC family (yup, thats what I mean ‘for the masses’). I know this is stupid but well why is Apple dropping PowerPC support when its trying to improve its performance for not-so-powerful computers. Also recent events like rebranding of .Mac (Apple’s internet SAAS) to MobileMe and making the service fully PC compatible also doesn’t help!

 

Its still a full 12 months before we see anything and a lot can happen in 365 days! So the only thing we can do is to wait for Apple to demystify the mystery behind this one! Time will tell……