Koolio

Thoughts & news on technology…well, mostly

Performance benchmarks for Intel Penryn mobile processor


core2duo-image.jpgAs some of you know, Intel has just released their next mobile processor – Penryn. In a nutshell, the Penryn processor is similar to the current Core 2 Duo (aka Merom) processor – the biggest change was the size reduction from 65nm –> 45nm and the increase in L2 cache from 4MB –> 6MB. This yields better battery life, less heat emitted from the CPU, and a slight improvement in performance.

Anwyays, check out the great performance review from AnandTech’s Intel mobile Penryn benchmarks.

Some findings worth highlighting:

  • Increase of 23 – 55 minutes in battery life (depending on the load on the CPU)
  • Battery life increased 18 minutes during DVD playback
  • Overall performance increase was around 4.5%

Personally, with all of the rumors of an updated MacBook Pro coming soon, it’s worth the wait. Although, I almost cracked since I’ve been waiting to buy a MBP since Jan/Feb 2007.

For you PC-buyers, fret not, Dell/HP/Sony have already announced release dates for Penryn-based laptops (shipping in February 2008).

[via AnandTech]

Filed under: Computers, Laptop, Mobile Computing

1st Ducati Desmocedici hits the UK


One word describes my reaction to watching and hearing this bike: incredible. Man, it’ d be nice to be able to spend $73,000 on a motorcycle.

[via TwistingAsphalt]

Filed under: Ducati, Motorcycles, Video, YouTube

Another PC user switches to the Mac


macbook.jpgWow, this week was an incredible week…my girlfriend (a PC user all her life) just decided to replace her Dell Latitude D620 (Core 2 Duo – 2.16Ghz) machine with the black MacBook (Core 2 Duo – 2.2Ghz). I think her experience speaks volumes about Mac OS X as well as the dedicated Mac applications…because it was a combination of the two that convinced her to switch.

Here’s the net of it, she needed to build a simple yoga website – Om Circle Yoga – (she’s a certified yoga instructor). I told her that I got this great web design software (RapidWeaver) from a MacUpdate promotional bundle back in December and that it would suite her needs perfectly. So, she gave it a shot and within a couple of hours, she learned how to use RapidWeaver, built her website, and launched it. Here’s the best part: after she launched her site, she commented on:

  1. How easy it was to learn and use RapidWeaver
  2. How easy and fun it was using Mac OS X (I’m running Tiger)

The interesting thing is that my girlfriend has used my Powerbook in the past for browsing the web and her impression was that it’s just another computer and does the same thing as a PC. The minute she did something on the Mac that was more than surfing the web or checking email she realized how much more productive she was on the Mac and began to appreciate what us Mac-heads/geeks have been raving about all these years.

So, big props goes to the folks at Realmac Software for making RapidWeaver such a great app and to the RapidWeaver community for building various add-ons…and, of course, to Apple, for making Mac OS X such a great operating system.

Filed under: Apple, Computers, Laptop, MacBook, MacOSX, Mobile Computing, Notebook, Software, Windows

Last day for the Macheist bundle


As of the time of this post, there is 23 hours left to buy the Macheist software bundle. You get 12 apps for $49. Two notable apps in the bundle are Snapz Pro X and Pixelmator. Hit it up at http://www.macheist.com.

(sorry for the short post but it was done on my iPhone via the mobile WordPress site)

Filed under: Apple, Bargains, MacOSX, Software

MacBook Pro updates coming soon?


According to MacRumors, there is some talk of updates coming soon to the MBP…man, I REALLY hope this is true and that these updates happen within the next 2-4 weeks. I know, I know…I’m wishfully hoping it’ll be soon but one can hope, right?

Here’s the quote from this posting at MacRumors.com:

In looking back at the sources of the most accurate rumors, we also find enticing reports of items that didn’t come true at Macworld, but did come from credible sources.

The MacBook Pro updates are certainly coming — and soon. Even without our rumor sources, the MacBook Pros are simply due for refresh. But the most interesting tidbit is that there have been reliable reports that the Pro machines will incorporate Apple’s new multi-touch trackpad.

Also, here are a couple of the posts I’ve seen on MacRumors’ forums:

  • Someone is seeing discounts being offered on the MBP at their university store and that they only do this when an update/upgrade is ~2 weeks away
  • Some people are seeing discounts on MBPs at various retail stores
  • One person claiming that he works for a printing company that prints all of Apple’s brochures, boxes, and banners – he claims that the updates are coming very soon

As always with Apple, these are just rumors and people’s wild guesses but time will tell…but it’s killing me since I’ve been waiting to buy a MBP since August 2007!

EDIT: AppleInsider just reported some more details on the soon-to-be-released updated MBP. The gist of it: the MBP was supposed to be updated and announced at MacWorld but execs decided to delay it by several weeks because they needed the resources to focus on the MacBook Air.

EDIT (January 27, 2008): More rumors of the imminent MBP update.

EDIT (Jan 30, 2008): And some actual evidence(?) that the updates are coming.

EDIT (Feb 27, 2008): Finally!

Filed under: Apple, Laptop, MacBook Pro, Mobile Computing, Notebook, Rumors

Looks like Blu-ray is going to beat HD-DVD


bd-hddvd-logo.jpgI’m a bit sad to write this but it looks like Blu-ray is going to win the HD DVD format war now that Warner Bros. has gone Blu-ray exclusive. Now, Blu-ray has a large majority of the studios supporting it – the only exclusive studios supporting HD-DVD are Universal Studios and Paramount. However, there have been rumors that they will also go neutral or Blu-ray exclusive but I don’t think we’ll see them go Blu in the near future since Universal publicly stated that their ‘current plan is to continue to support HD-DVD’ (notice how they used the words “current plan” which tells me they’re starting to think in Blu).

Let’s make this easier, here’s a list of what’s happened since Warner Bros. went Blu-ray exclusive:

Yeah, these are very dark times for the HD-DVD consortium and mostly for Toshiba since they are the primary backer of HD-DVD…and these are great times for the Blu-ray Disc (BD) consortium – especially Sony since they’re the primary backer of Blu-ray. However, I don’t think it’s gonna be a cake walk for BD to win the format war due to various reasons – the primary being that Universal and Paramount are still HD-DVD exclusive and the high BD player prices.

Personally, since the Warner Bros. announcement (Jan. 4) I broke down and bought a Blu-ray player (Playstation 3). I bought it about a week after the WB announcement. Needless to say, I think the writing’s on the wall for HD-DVD and it will die a slow death, which is very unfortunate because I’ve been a HD-DVD supporter from the beginning and I am NOT a Sony fan by any stretch of the imagination. I supported HD-DVD for various reasons that I won’t list because this post on Gizmodo sums it up almost perfectly.

Needless to say, I’m tired of this format war and am ready for it to end. Blu-ray has around 75% of Hollywood studios supporting it…and it hurts to say this but “go Blu.”

Filed under: Blu-ray, HD DVD, HDTV, Home Theater, Playstation 3

HD-DVD & Blu-ray: Buy 1 Get 1 Free at Best Buy


hd-dvd_logo_resized.jpgBest Buy is offering a buy 1 get 1 free deal on HD-DVD and Blu-ray discs. And, yes, there are some good movies that qualify for this offer.

blu-ray-resized.jpg
FYI, I was in a Best Buy store yesterday (Watertown, MA) and there were no advertisements for this offer so this offer may be online only. If you need the discs before Christmas, just buy online with in-store pickup – that’s what I just did.

HD-DVD

  • 300 ($34.99)
  • Arctic Tale ($34.99)
  • Blades Of Glory ($29.99)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum
  • The Departed HD-DVD ($34.99)
  • Disturbia ($29.99)
  • Evan Almighty ($19.99)
  • Harry Potter & Order Of The Phoenix ($32.99)
  • I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry ($29.99)
  • Knocked Up: Unrated ($19.99)
  • Mr. Bean’s Holiday ($29.99)
  • Ocean’s Thirteen ($34.99)
  • Shooter ($34.99)
  • Shrek The Third ($29.99)
  • Transformers ($29.99)

Blu-ray

  • 28 Weeks Later ($29.99)
  • 300 ($29.99)
  • Are We Done Yet? ($29.99)
  • The Condemned ($29.99)

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Bargains, Deals, HD DVD, HDTV, Home Theater, Movies

Get $600 worth of Mac software for $50


macupdate.jpgMacUpdate has another software bundle for sale and there are some really awesome applications in the bundle. In short, you get 10 applications for $50…but it’s offered for a limited time and expires in 7 days. I bought the bundle and would highly recommend them. So far, my favorites are Yep and RapidWeaver.

Here’s the skinny on the applications included in the bundle:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Apple, Deals, MacOSX, Software

Why Circuit City is getting killed by Best Buy


Before I begin telling you my recent shopping experience with Circuit City I want to say one thing: for any retail or consumer product/service company, I believe, at a minimum, Sr. Management (CEO, VP, COO, etc.) should be *required* to purchase their own products.  This way, they experience what their customers deal with and can resolve them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Retail, Shopping, Thoughts

Bargain: Toshiba HD-DVD Player for $100


Looks like Wal-Mart will be selling the Toshiba HD-DVD player (HD-A2) for $100 this Friday, November 2 and Best Buy is already selling it for $100 (sold out on their website, though).

Not good enough?  Well, rumor is Sears will be selling the newer HD-A3 Toshiba HD-DVD player for $169 on Black Friday (compare that to Best Buy’s current price of $249).

If you’re thinking about buying an HD-DVD player now is the time!

[via Engadget]

Filed under: Bargains, Deals, HD DVD, HDTV, Home Theater, Movies

Apple updates MacBook & MacBook Pro notebooks


macbook-pro.jpgApple quietly updated the MacBook and the MacBook Pro today. Here are the deets:

MacBook

  • The clock speed of the Intel Core 2 Duo processors got a small bump: 2.0 -> 2.0Ghz and 2.16 -> 2.2Ghz
  • The architecture has been upgraded to Santa Rosa (finally!), which provides an 800Mhz front side bus (compared to the older 667Mhz front side bus)
  • Upgraded the Intel graphics card to the Intel GMA X3100 w/144MB of DDR2 SDRAM

MacBook Pro

  • Option to upgrade the 2.4Ghz processor –> 2.6Ghz
  • Option to upgrade the hard drive to 250GB SATA drive @ 5400 rpm
  • Option to upgrade from 160GB (5400 rpm) to 200GB SATA drive @ 7200 rpm (previously, 160GB was the only option if you wanted a 7200 rpm SATA drive)

One thing to keep in mind: this is NOT the MacBook Pro processor upgrade that we are hoping to see in January 2008 – i.e., the upgrade to Intel’s Penryn processor.

The Penryn processor will provide 6MB of L2 cache vs. 4MB L2 cache and reduced from 65nm –> 45nm (this means a bit faster and will run a bit cooler). So, if you were waiting for that, keep waiting…like me.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, Computers, Laptop, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Notebook

Toshiba HD-DVD player for $200


toshiba-hd-a2.jpgHave you been waiting for a cheap but good quality HD-DVD player? Well, your wait is now over. You can now buy Toshiba’s 2nd generation HD-DVD player (HD-A2) for $200 at Circuit City and, starting next week, at Wal-Mart and most likely Best Buy.

I was an early adopter and own the 1st gen Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player and love it. The picture and sound quality is amazing…assuming you have a calibrated HDTV and a good surround sound system.

FYI, the latest HD-DVD player is the HD-A3 and HD-A35 (3rd gen). You can check out the specs of the HD-A2 and the rest of the HD-DVD players on Toshiba’s site.

[via ArsTechnica]

Filed under: Deals, HD DVD, HDTV, Home Theater, Movies, Surround Sound, Video

Mac OS 10.5 Leopard Feature: Remote Desktop


leopard-2.pngOkay, this new feature has convinced me to upgrade to Leopard: Screen Sharing via iChat. In a nutshell, it’s a built-in remote desktop feature that doesn’t require any fiddling with your router or NAT settings. Why am I so excited about this feature? Because it will make my life SOOO much easier in troubleshooting and fixing issues on my Dad’s iMac. Yes, you can use VNC (which is what I’m currently using as my ‘family tech support’ tool) but it’s still a pain in the ass due to router config settings, telling my Mom or Dad to start the VNC server, etc.

Here’s the description from Apple’s site:

Instant Screen Sharing from the Finder

Start an interactive screen sharing session with other Macs on your network. Just select the Mac from your sidebar and (if authorized) you can see and control the Mac as if you were right in front of it. Change a system preference, publish an iPhoto library, or add a new playlist to iTunes.

Truth be told, I haven’t tried Screen Sharing but it seems to ‘just work’ like almost everything else in the Mac ecosystem. GWhiz posted a video that shows how easy it is to use this new feature.  You can also see a high quality video of Screen Sharing via the Leopard Guided Tour video on the Apple site.

Filed under: Apple, MacOSX, Software

MacBook Pro processor upgrade in January 2008?


This is a pretty old tidbit but I thought I’d post it anyway since a few friends didn’t know about this rumored update. The processors will be upgraded to Intel’s new Penryn processor. Here are the details of the new Intel Penryn processors. There aren’t any rumors as to which ones Apple will use in the MacBook Pros but my guess will be the 2.4Ghz and 2.6Ghz processors.

The size of the Penryn chips will also be reduced from 65 nanometers (nm) –> 45nm, which should allow the chips to run a bit cooler.

For reference, the current MacBook Pros come with either 2.2Ghz or 2.4Ghz processors.

macbook-pro-penryn-chips.gif

FYI, the price reflects the purchase price in 1,000-unit trays from Intel so it’s not the price we would pay. 😉

So, if you’ve been thinking about buying a MacBook Pro, I’d recommend waiting another 3 months…that’s what I’m doing.

EDIT (January 16, 2008): Well, Steve Jobs did NOT announce any updates to the MBP during yesterday’s MacWorld keynote. Needless to say, I’m extremely bummed b/c I’ve been waiting for 6+ months to upgrade my Powerbook G4. There are rumors that Intel is having/had an issue with the thermal sensor on the Penryn chips and that supply will be tight through February. If this is true, we prolly won’t get updated MBPs until March/April. I’m hoping when the MBP is updated with Penryn we’ll also get the multi-touch trackpad and the revised keyboard layout/design like the MacBook Air.

EDIT (Jan 28, 2008): More rumors that the upgrade will happen within the next 1 – 4 weeks.

EDIT (Jan 30, 2008): Some actual evidence of the new MBP?

EDIT (Feb 27, 2008): Finally!

[via AppleInsider & Engadget]

Filed under: Apple, Laptop, MacBook Pro, Mobile Computing, Rumors

It’s official: iPhone will support 3rd party apps!


Ah, finally…Jobs has stated that Apple will be releasing a SDK in February, 2008. Man, I’m psyched! Hopefully, I’ll see SplashID (or an equivalent) come out for the iPhone early next year.

Jobs announced it on Apple’s Hot News section of their website – here’s an excerpt:

Let me just say it: We want native third party applications on the iPhone, and we plan to have an SDK in developers’ hands in February. We are excited about creating a vibrant third party developer community around the iPhone and enabling hundreds of new applications for our users. With our revolutionary multi-touch interface, powerful hardware and advanced software architecture, we believe we have created the best mobile platform ever for developers.

It will take until February to release an SDK because we’re trying to do two diametrically opposed things at once—provide an advanced and open platform to developers while at the same time protect iPhone users from viruses, malware, privacy attacks, etc. This is no easy task. Some claim that viruses and malware are not a problem on mobile phones—this is simply not true. There have been serious viruses on other mobile phones already, including some that silently spread from phone to phone over the cell network. As our phones become more powerful, these malicious programs will become more dangerous. And since the iPhone is the most advanced phone ever, it will be a highly visible target.

[via AppleInsider]

Filed under: Apple, iPhone, Mobile Software

Apple to allow 3rd party apps on the iPhone in January?


BusinessWeek has an interesting article that says Apple may offer a SDK for the iPhone in January, 2008 – i.e., at MacWorld.

Hmm, very interesting.  Personally, I think it’s only a matter of when Apple will official support and allow 3rd party apps to run natively on the iPhone.

Filed under: Apple, iPhone, Mobile Software

Bought a Ducati 1098 Superbike!


Ducati 1098As of last Thursday (October 4, 2007) I’m a proud owner of a brand new 2008 Ducati 1098. 😀 Some of you may know that I bought a 749 Superbike this past May…why did I buy another one? Because I low-sided it and my insurance company totaled it. I’ll miss my 749 since it was a great bike and because it was my first Ducati but the 1098 is just awesome…and visually stunning.

I’m not going to post a comparison between the two bikes since this is a technology-focused blog but if you’re interested in my thoughts, feel free to post a comment.

Filed under: Ducati, Motorcycles

Video of the Ducati Desmosedici RR…WOW!


For those of you who don’t know, Ducati is releasing a limited production replica of their MotoGP race bike – the Desmosedici RR.  Cost: $65,000 – $72,000 USD.  Michael Neeves of Motorcycle News (MCN) got to test ride it at the Misano racetrack.  In a nutshell, he said there’s power everywhere – from nothing all the way to 14,000 RPMs.

If only I were rich!

Filed under: Ducati, YouTube

How to get your iPhone $100 rebate


iphone-credit.jpgFor those of you who purchased an iPhone (like me) before August 22, here’s how to get your $100 Apple store credit:

  1. Go to the Apple iPhone Store Credit request page
  2. Enter your mobile number and your iPhone serial number
  3. Within 5 minutes, you’ll receive an SMS message with a store credit access code
  4. Enter the access code on the store credit request page and you’ll get a printable store credit coupon

There were rumors that the early, early adopters (i.e., those of us who purchased before August 22) weren’t eligible for a store credit but I can confirm that I received it. And, I purchased my iPhone 2 days after it was released (July 2?).

Now, go get your $100 credit!

EDIT:  Forgot to mention that the deadline to submit your claim is November 30, 2007.

Filed under: Apple, Apple Store, How-To, iPhone, Mobile Phone, Smartphone

Wanna help find Steve Fosset? Here’s how…


By now I’m sure most of you know about Steve Fosset and how his private plane disappeared somewhere in Nevada on September 4. So, what can you do about it? You can help find him by reviewing satellite images and marking them as either having ‘something of interest’ or ‘nothing of interest.’ The images that get marked as ‘something of interest’ will be forwarded to a team of experts for a more in-depth review.

How do you review these images? Go to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to begin reviewing the images. The Amazon Mechanical Turk allows humans to help accomplish a task (here’s a more detailed description), which is a very interesting way to harness the collective intelligence of humans.

Some interesting info on how Amazon got these satellite images: Google purchased 6,000 square miles of satellite imagery, at the request of Richard Branson (Steve Fosset is a friend of Branson’s), from one of the two companies they purchase satellite photos for their Maps and Earth products. The cost for these images: $100,000.

Now, let’s all hope Steve Fosset is found soon – whether the Amazon Turk site contributes to it or not.

Filed under: Amazon, Digital Photos, Search