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Friday, February 29, 2008

Emmons death investigation continues

Emmons death investigation continues: "ROSEBURG: Police have interviewed nearly 50 people during their investigation into the death of Lance Michael Emmons, though no arrests have been made in the case."

News Review - News -

Facebook Launches Band Pages

Facebook Launches Band Pages: "Look out, MySpace -- Facebook Music adds cool ways for bands to promote themselves on the popular social networking site.


Wired News -

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Java Master

Java Master: "Ha! A recruiter had me take an hour-long quiz today to assess my Jedi Java programming skills. Here's how I scored:

Weak areas: None noted. Ha!"

Zeta Woof -

Leopard “by far the best OS ever written for the vast majority of consumers”

Leopard “by far the best OS ever written for the vast majority of consumers”: "PC Magazine’s Edward Mendelson muses that ‘Leopard again raises the question of whether to switch from Windows to a Mac. I’ve found Vista to be a major disappointment that tends to look worse the more I use it.’ Mac OS X Leopard, on the other hand, ‘is easier to manage and maintain and I vastly prefer OS X to Windows for Web-browsing, mail, and especially for any task that involves graphics, music, or video. Leopard performs all such tasks even better than previous versions did—and Leopard is the only OS on the planet that works effortlessly and intuitively in today’s world of networked computers and peripherals.’ In fact Mendelson believes ‘it’s getting harder and harder to find good reasons to use anything else.’"

Apple Hot News -

New Apple TV — “fantastic”

New Apple TV — “fantastic”: "‘Downloading and watching recent movies — in high-definition, from the comfort of your living room — is a stupendous experience,’ writes Gary Krakow ( his review of Apple TV. Krakow ‘chose the fabulous Disney/Pixar feature Ratatouille to test the system. All I can say is wow! Apple TV video quality is spectacular. The audio is pretty special, too. All in all, video rental has never been this quick and easy.’"

Apple Hot News -

Arts & Letters Daily (25 Feb 2008)

Arts & Letters Daily (25 Feb 2008): "

Alain Robbe-Grillet's 1962 Last Year at Marienbad made little sense to its viewers, but it was perfect for its moment in the history of taste... more

Rudolf Nureyev's urgent need to keep dancing superseded any abstract, Platonic commitment to maintaining the dignity of dance, or of himself... more

Through history, Alan Wolfe says, every new outburst of religious passion has made ecstasy and revelation for some, and led to violence between the chosen and the damned... more


Arts & Letters Daily - ideas, criticism, debate -

Using iChat Theater for Remote Presentations

Using iChat Theater for Remote Presentations: "

Over the past two weeks, I've had the pleasure of giving two presentations at Mac user groups. In both cases, since the meetings were held in locations I couldn't travel to easily, I put Apple's latest and greatest technology to work, appearing by video and running my Keynote presentation remotely using iChat Theater. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it's a feature in the Leopard version of iChat that lets you share almost any kind of media - graphics, movies, Keynote presentations, and even iPhoto slideshows - with the other party during a video chat. I'd been looking forward to using this capability for a long time, and it has turned out to be fabulously useful.

Although both presentations went pretty well, I did experience several glitches and frustrations. As I've come to expect from Apple, the documentation available for using iChat Theater is sparse at best, so solving my problems required Web searches, trial and error, and luck. I haven't yet mastered everything there is to know about iChat Theater, so rather than presenting a detailed how-to, I want to share my observations, experiences, and a few tips I've discovered for improving the likelihood of success.

The Basics -- iChat Theater starts with an ordinary, run-of-the-mill video chat. The person who wants to share media (the 'sender' or 'host') must be running Leopard; although the other party can be running Tiger, Leopard's version of iChat produces better audio and video quality, so I recommend using Leopard on both ends. The most natural way to proceed is to get the video chat going first, and then choose the file you want to share. You can either drag that file into the iChat video window, dropping it on the 'Share with iChat Theater' region that appears at the bottom, or choose File > Share a File with iChat Theater and manually navigate to the file. (To share iPhoto, you use a separate command on
that menu, Share iPhoto with iChat Theater.) Once you do this, the audio portion of your chat remains active, and one of two things will happen with the video: it will enter 'side-by-side mode' or 'replacement mode.' This is where things begin to get interesting.

Taking Sides -- In side-by-side mode, the live video image shrinks down to a small, slightly angled box in the lower left corner of the window, while your newly shared media fills most of the window. (Both images, of course, enjoy the trademark Apple reflection effect at the bottom.) This is what Apple always shows in demonstrations and on Web pages, and is the desired effect for most people - you can see the other party as well as the shared media. In replacement mode, by contrast, the video feed from each camera goes away completely, and the media alone fills up the entire window. You can continue talking and listening, but you lose visual contact with the other side.

You might ask what determines whether you get side-by-side or replacement mode, and the surprising answer appears to be: there's no way to know for sure. Side-by-side mode clearly requires more oomph on both ends than replacement mode, and by 'oomph' I mean both processing power and bandwidth. Apple lays out all the specifics in a table at the bottom of its Mac OS X 10.5: iChat system requirements Web page. Basically, the claim is that the sender needs, at minimum, a dual 1 GHz G4, a G5, or an Intel processor, plus 384 Kbps of both upstream and downstream bandwidth - but make that 900 Kbps upstream if you want your Keynote slides to appear at iChat's maximum supported
resolution of 640x480. The receiver needs a 1 GHz G4, a dual 800 MHz G4, a G5, or an Intel processor, and only 128 Kbps of bandwidth up and down. Anything less than these requirements, on either end, and you get replacement mode.

Except that's not all there is to it. For example, try as I might, I've never been able to get side-by-side mode working on a 1 GHz PowerBook G4 acting as receiver. Apple's Web page states, 'Side-by-side view is available on all Leopard-compatible Macs capable of participating in a multi-way video conference,' but even though iChat's Connection Doctor window on my PowerBook G4 has a friendly green checkmark next to 'Join Multiperson Video,' side-by-side mode doesn't work on this machine. (Glenn Fleishman reported similar problems with a dual 1.25 GHz Power Mac G4.) On the other hand, side-by-side mode works just fine when the Intel-based Mac mini on the other side of my room is the receiver, and has also worked when the receiver was a
MacBook halfway around the world with a lower-bandwidth Internet connection than I have at home. So clearly the actual system requirements are higher than what Apple says, though the specifics are unknown.

Bandwidth is another area in which Apple's specs don't seem to match up to reality. At various times, I've measured upstream bandwidth from my MacBook Pro here at home to be anywhere from the mid-500 Kbps range to the mid-700s - never even close to the 900 Kbps minimum Apple says you need for 640x480 video and Keynote slides. And yet, receivers appeared to have gotten the full 640x480 video from me. (It would be nice if iChat actually told you what the resolution was on the other end, but I know of no way to get a definitive answer. The video certainly seemed to be much higher-resolution than the next best choice, 320x240.) Meanwhile, there were some audio dropout problems during my most recent presentation that went away when
the receiver switched from an 802.11g AirPort connection to wired Ethernet (even though the AirPort connection should have provided plenty of bandwidth - far more than the upstream Internet connection).

In short, I'm saying that it's extremely difficult to guarantee that side-by-side mode will be available, even if both computers and their respective Internet connections appear to meet Apple's specs; and, even if side-by-side mode does work, there's no way to guarantee that your image and media will be delivered at a high resolution. (That's maybe not such a big deal for the image of your face, but it can be a deal breaker if the people on the other end can't read the text on your Keynote slides because it's too low-res and pixelated.) What's irritating is that I'd make much different choices when preparing a presentation if I knew that I'd have less resolution to work with than I was expecting, or that the viewers wouldn't get to see
my face - but I have no way to know what the parameters will be. So pre-show testing is mandatory, preferably far enough in advance that changes can be made if necessary.

Incidentally, if for some reason you prefer replacement mode even though your setup supports side-by-side - you really don't want the person on the other end to see your face, just your media files - tough. Short of turning off or disconnecting your camera (on machines where that's possible), you're given no choice; if the technology supports side-by-side mode, that's what you get.

Remote Presentation Mechanics -- Let's go back to the presentation itself. Once you drag your media into the window to start iChat Theater, what actually happens? For simple media files, such as JPEGs and PDFs, not only does the graphic show up in your iChat window (scaled down, of course); it also appears in a second floating window, similar to the Quick Look display but smaller and non-resizable. So you can get a somewhat higher-resolution view of whatever you're sharing and, if it's a multi-page document, you can scroll through it. If you drag in a Keynote presentation, Keynote itself launches (be prepared for a delay or, better yet, have Keynote running beforehand). Then, in a small window provided by
Keynote, you see your presentation. When that window is active, you can use the keyboard to control your slides, or click control buttons at the bottom of the window. Needless to say, you'll want to position this window in such a way that it doesn't interfere with the video window, and be sure to have it in the foreground when you want anything to happen in the presentation.

If you choose Share iPhoto with iChat Theater, you see a window in which you can select any iPhoto album or Web Gallery. When you click Share, iPhoto launches and the other party sees an iPhoto slideshow, complete with music, dissolves, the Ken Burns effect, and whatever else you've configured in iPhoto. (To change these settings beforehand for the desired effect, select your album, click the Play Slideshow button at the bottom of the iPhoto window, adjust the items in the Settings and Music panes to your liking, and click Save Settings.) On your side, iPhoto displays a small, floating control window that lets you pause, advance, and rewind the slideshow.

When you're done sharing whatever media you've chosen, you can either click the close button in its separate window or choose File > Stop Sharing with iChat Theater. The video feeds on both ends then zoom back to fill the whole iChat window. I've had uneven results trying to go directly from one piece of media to another without that intermediate step - sometimes it worked, sometimes not. If you need to stop a Keynote presentation (to go back to video-only, or to show something else) and then you share the same presentation again, it helpfully picks up on the same slide where you left off (though at the beginning of the slide - not necessarily the exact spot where you stopped).

You Seem So Distant -- If you're fortunate enough to be using side-by-side mode, you get to continue looking at the person or people on the other end while you give your presentation or discuss whatever file you're showing. But they'll be in a very small window. If you're using a standard-size iChat window rather than full-screen mode, the image is quite small indeed; if you're presenting to a large group of people, each person is smaller still; and if the lights were dimmed in the room so that everyone can see the projector, well, you might not see anything at all. They can still see you, of course (assuming your image is filling a large screen), but you won't get much visual feedback.

Speaking of feedback, audio can be a problem. If it's just one person on each end, and if the participants are both wearing headsets, then you won't have to worry about echoes. But even if you, the presenter, are wearing a headset, you'll hear your own voice, delayed by a second or two, coming from the other end - your voice comes out of their speaker, goes back into their microphone, and returns to you. I find this enormously distracting, so I have to ask that the other side mutes their microphone, or I've got to turn down the speaker volume on my end. Either way, I don't get audio feedback during the presentation - I can't tell if people are laughing at my jokes, snoring, or asking questions.

Thus, bereft of both visual and audible feedback, I find the experience of giving a live presentation with iChat Theater a rather solitary one. I basically talk to my computer screen for an hour and hope that the people on the other end are getting something out of it - but I really don't know. For someone accustomed to giving presentations in person and relying heavily on real-time feedback from the audience and eye contact with individual audience members, this can be highly weird and disorienting.

Share and Share Dislike -- One thing I would have liked to do, but didn't, was to share my screen during these presentations so that I could show some software in action. iChat in Leopard does support screen sharing, no problem - just choose Buddies > Share My Screen With User Name. And that works, as far as it goes - after the other side grants you screen sharing permission, their screen fills up with a duplicate of what's on your screen (with their own screen displayed in a little floating window); two-way audio continues as you'd expect. The problem is what happens next. Let's say I, as the presenter, want to stop sharing my screen and go back to straight video. I can choose End Screen
Sharing from the iChat menu, but that cuts off the entire connection. Likewise, if the other party turns off screen sharing, the entire connection goes away. If there's any way to transition smoothly back to regular video or iChat Theater after screen sharing without starting an entirely new connection, I haven't discovered what it is. The hassle of having to deal with all this makes it impractical for me to include live demos during my remote presentations.

iChat Theater Tips -- If you want to use iChat Theater, especially for giving remote presentations to a group, the following tips might help you to have a better experience.

  • Free up as much bandwidth as possible. Before your presentation, turn off anything on your end - not just on your own computer but on your entire local network - that might be hogging your bandwidth, particularly upstream bandwidth. That may include things like online backup programs, file sharing programs, and iTunes. Ask the party on the other end to do the same.

  • Turn off bandwidth throttling. In the Audio/Video pane of iChat's Preferences window, make sure the Bandwidth Limit pop-up menu says None. If it's set to anything else, you may be artificially eliminating bandwidth that could help to make your presentation larger and zippier.

  • Avoid wireless. Anecdotally, I've gotten better results (smoother, less choppy audio and video) when both sides had physical Ethernet connections rather than Wi-Fi. Your mileage may vary, of course, depending on which flavor of 802.11 you're using, proximity to the base station, what other devices are using your wireless network, and so on.

  • Try initiating from both ends. In my tests, I've found that it doesn't merely matter who's sharing the media, it matters which party initiated the connection. Sometimes, the overall audio and video quality is better on both ends when I initiate the video chat, and sometimes it's better when the other party does. Try it both ways and see which gives you the best results.

  • Use Connection Doctor. If you aren't getting side-by-side mode, your call quality is off, or the presentation is suffering in any other way, choose Video > Connection Doctor, choose Capabilities from the pop-up menu, and look for anything with a red X. (Do the same thing on both sides.) This can give you clues as to the source of problems. (By the way, if you get a red X next to Host Multiperson Video with the explanation 'Slow Network' and you're positive you have plenty of upstream bandwidth, it could be that iChat last checked your bandwidth at a moment when it was temporarily low and hasn't updated its preferences recently enough. To fix this, try quitting iChat, opening ~/Library/Preferences/ in a text editor,
    and changing the value for 'bwdup' to a higher number - say, something over 600000. When you relaunch iChat and check Connection Doctor again, that red X should have disappeared.)

  • Think big. In your presentation, choose large font sizes and put fewer items on each slide. Resize graphics so they're considerably larger than you'd normally need. Even in the best case, they'll be scaled down to 640x480 and then scaled up to the size of the window (or screen) on the other end, which will make everything fuzzier. The larger they are to start with, the less pronounced this effect will be.

  • Look your audience in the eye. As I mentioned in 'Looking Video Chat Problems in the Eye' (2008-01-31), I'm a big fan of the See Eye 2 Eye device, which gives you a teleprompter-like effect so that you can be looking at your presentation but the people on the other end feel like you're looking them in the eye. Watching a presenter look down the entire time, rather than straight at the camera, gets old after a while. But a special caution here: when you size your iChat window to fit in the See Eye 2 Eye frame, you may cover up the buttons at the bottom - such as Mute, which I accidentally clicked during one of my presentations. So try to make sure you leave enough of the window visible
    that you can at least tell when something like this happens!

  • Replace the replacement. If you're stuck with replacement mode, switch out of your Keynote presentation and back to video every few slides or so (always right at the beginning of a slide) to keep the overall presentation more visually interesting.

  • Ask for feedback. I heard that iChat introduced some visual distortion into images that were on the screen for more than a few seconds; adding another bullet point or switching slides cleared this up. I don't yet know the cause or the solution, but now that I know it happens, I can be on the lookout for ways to reduce that effect. The more you can learn about how things look and sound on the other end, the better equipped you'll be to make improvements in the future.

Although I could wish for many improvements to iChat Theater, it's so much better than what I had before (having someone manually run a slide show on the other end) that I can't imagine going back. I'll always prefer personal appearances when possible, but with enough bandwidth and CPU power, iChat Theater is currently the next best thing.


Copyright © 2008 Joe Kissell. TidBITS is copyright © 2008 TidBITS Publishing Inc. If you're reading this article on a Web site other than, please let us know, because if it was republished without attribution, by a commercial site, or in modified form, it violates our Creative Commons License.

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Apple Drops iPod shuffle Price, Introduces 2 GB Model

Apple Drops iPod shuffle Price, Introduces 2 GB Model: "

RAM is cheap and getting cheaper. Apple has now passed along some of their savings to those looking for an iPod shuffle by dropping the price of the 1 GB model from $79 down to $49. Simultaneously, Apple announced the release of a 2 GB iPod shuffle, to be priced at $69 when it ships later this month. With prices dropping at this rate, a 1 GB iPod shuffle will appear in cereal boxes within a few years.

With news like this and Apple's announcement of a pink iPod nano (see 'Apple Ships Pink iPod nano, Apologizes to Tonya,' 2008-01-22), it's hard to do more than state the facts, so let's once again peer closely at Apple VP Greg Joswiak's quote in Apple's press release. He said, 'At just $49, the iPod shuffle is the most affordable iPod ever. The new 2 GB model lets music lovers bring even more songs everywhere they go in the impossibly small iPod shuffle.'

What's this? The iPod shuffle is 'impossibly small?' Come now. 'Impossibly small' means that you worry about accidentally inhaling it, that Apple has to use magnification in product shots, and that it's impossible to imagine Apple releasing another iPod that's even smaller. Is it painfully obvious that I'm really stretching here? I thought so.

Seriously, thanks for the price drop and the 2 GB model, Greg. But I'm still betting that Apple releases an even smaller iPod within a few years.


Copyright © 2008 Adam C. Engst. TidBITS is copyright © 2008 TidBITS Publishing Inc. If you're reading this article on a Web site other than, please let us know, because if it was republished without attribution, by a commercial site, or in modified form, it violates our Creative Commons License.

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Blu-ray Wins High-Definition Disc Format Battle

Blu-ray Wins High-Definition Disc Format Battle: "

After less than two years of head-to-head competition in the marketplace, HD DVD developer Toshiba has resigned the side, choosing to drop further development of their format. The Sony-backed Blu-ray high-definition (HD) disc specification has won. This must be an especially sweet victory for Sony, which lost decades ago in the VHS versus Betamax battle, despite some superior technical characteristics of Betamax.

The two HD formats both provided a digital-rights-managed (DRM) approach for playing movies and other video from a high capacity disc to an HD television set at substantially higher resolutions than was possible from an ordinary DVD. Both formats support resolutions up to 1080p, which is 1920 by 1080 pixels, and most movies released are in this format. (Not all HDTV sets display 1080p; some display 1080i, in which lines of pixels are painted in alternating passes; and many show 720p, typically 1280 by 720 pixels.)

Both Blu-ray and HD DVD employ lasers that use blue light for reading and writing. Blue has a shorter wavelength than the red and infrared used in standard CDs and DVDs, and a blue-light laser can read and write information at a much higher density. Blu-ray has some storage and throughput advantages over HD DVD, but I never saw any side-by-side testing that indicated Blu-ray was better in other ways.

While both formats were introduced in prototype form in 2002, players didn't reach the market until 2006, with HD DVD appearing first. The HD players became associated with gaming systems: Sony included a Blu-ray player in every Playstation 3 they shipped; Microsoft offered an inexpensive HD DVD upgrade kit for its Xbox 360. Apple never signaled its interest in the higher-capacity formats, except for HD DVD burning support in DVD Studio Pro; the company sometimes moves slowly with regard to optical disc formats. After betting on the never-popular DVD-RAM technology for writing DVDs, Macs were late to market with CD burners. With the format war over, it's possible Apple will now make its move with a built-to-order option on Mac Pros;
Blu-ray drives so far have been seen as too expensive, bulky, and power-intensive to be an option for most laptops.

Warner Brothers, in early 2007, showed a prototype HD DVD/Blu-ray hybrid disc that could have made the studios agnostic as to format, and LG, an electronics firm, introduced several models of Blu-ray/HD DVD players - that cost more than separately purchasing a PlayStation and an HD DVD player. But these hybrid and dual-format efforts were for naught because Sony and partners shipped enormously more Blu-ray players than the HD DVD alliance, and Blu-ray wound up with more studios on board releasing titles than its competitor.

Toshiba and other news sources report that about 1 million HD DVD systems of all kinds were sold worldwide, with roughly 300,000 in the form of Xbox 360 upgrades, and 300,000 as drives used in PCs. But Sony has shipped 10.5 million PlayStation 3 systems worldwide with Blu-ray drives since the gaming system went on the market, according to the BBC and other sources. At least another 1 to 1.5 million Blu-Ray players and drives are estimated to have sold as well.

The real market decision comes from what media consumers purchase - Sony could have sold Blu-ray players until they were, uh, blue in the face, but if consumers didn't buy movies in Blu-ray format, we'd have seen a different outcome. From the time discs were sold using both formats through November 2007, over 4 million Blu-ray titles were reportedly sold around the globe, and over 2.5 million HD DVD titles. That difference doesn't seem huge, but the worldwide numbers understate the support for Blu-ray in Europe and Japan, and the upward curve of higher Blu-ray player and disc sales in recent months.

Blu-ray was behind in the count for some time in terms of studio support, but it gradually won over most of the large studios. Universal was firmly in the HD DVD camp, Warner Brothers was developing discs for both formats, and Paramount and DreamWorks said that they'd support only HD DVD instead of both formats back in August 2007. (That last deal reportedly involved large payments to those studios to cover costs and pay for potential loss of revenue.)

Warner Brothers dropped its support of HD DVD in late 2007, which gave Blu-ray five of the seven largest movie studios, and apparently kicked the legs out from under HD DVD. Netflix then said it would support only Blu-ray rentals. And, finally, Best Buy and Walmart announced they would stop selling HD DVD movies and hardware, which nailed the lid on HD DVD's coffin. Today, on the heels of Toshiba's announcement, Universal said it would, of course, switch to Blu-ray as well. On 24-Feb-08, Microsoft confirmed it would stop selling HD DVD players for the
Xbox 360.

Each standard had a variety of technical differences in its approach to interactivity (Blu-ray supports Java, HD DVD uses a Microsoft standard), security, and storage density. Blu-ray can store 25 GB on a single-layer disc, and 50 GB on a dual-layer disc; HD DVD offered just 15 GB and 30 GB for single- and dual-layer discs. Blu-ray can also pull audio and video data off a disc at an effective playback rate more than 50 percent higher than HD DVD (48 Mbps for Blu-ray versus 30 Mbps for HD DVD). Both playback rates are far higher than necessary for full 1080p content, however.

Disc burners were available for both formats, but HD DVD is now a dead end, and was never a preferred choice due to its lower capacity. Philips updated a popular model for PC systems with new firmware this month that allows burning double-layer Blu-ray discs at their full 50 GB capacity (minus overhead). Amazon offers this burner for $400. LaCie has a Mac-compatible FireWire/USB 2.0 Blu-ray drive that handles dual-layer 50 GB discs ($740), and includes Toast 7.1.1 Platinum with Blu-ray support; Toast 8 Titanium can be
purchased separately with built-in Blu-ray support, too ($80 with $20 mail-in rebate). Single-layer recordable discs cost about $12 to $15 each; dual-layer recordable discs, about $35. As far as I understand it, Blu-ray discs can't be mastered with desktop burning software for video and audio playback, only for data storage.

For the average consumer, this may all come as news. The format war affected mostly early adopters, and, as the numbers show, the majority of them opted for Blu-ray.

[Correction: This article was modified after publication to note that some laptops do include Blu-ray drives, even though it's not a typical option. The article had stated that no laptops had Blu-ray as an option.]


Copyright © 2008 Glenn Fleishman. TidBITS is copyright © 2008 TidBITS Publishing Inc. If you're reading this article on a Web site other than, please let us know, because if it was republished without attribution, by a commercial site, or in modified form, it violates our Creative Commons License.

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Apple Releases New Penryn Based MacBooks

Apple Releases New Penryn Based MacBooks: "

In a not entirely surprise release, Apple has updated the MacBooks based on Intel's Penryn processors. The update arrives alongside the long anticipated MacBook Pro updates.

Featuring a gorgeous 13-inch glossy widescreen d..."

MacRumors -

Sugar Pine Inn homicide investigation continues

Sugar Pine Inn homicide investigation continues: "The Roseburg Police Department is still conducting an active investigation in the death of a Roseburg man at the Sugar Pine Inn almost a month ago."

KPIC - News - Local & Regional -

William F. Buckley Jr., 1925-2008

William F. Buckley Jr., 1925-2008: "Remembrances of the National Review founder by James Michener, Jackie Robinson, Ted Koppel, Andrea Dworkin, Oliver North, Mike Wallace and other notables."

Salon -


"Penelope": "In this modern-day fairy tale, Christina Ricci, wearing a prosthetic pig snout, proves she's nothing to snort at."

Salon -

"The Other Boleyn Girl"

"The Other Boleyn Girl": "There's lots of soft-focus sex in this genteel bodice-ripper starring Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson."

Salon -

Apple’s Time Capsule now shipping

Apple’s Time Capsule now shipping: "Apple's Time Capsule, the wireless hard drive you can use to back up multiple Macs using..."

MacDailyNews -

Gordon Meyer: One Week with EyeTV Hybrid

Gordon Meyer: One Week with EyeTV Hybrid: "

Over on the new O’Reilly Mac site, Gordon Meyer posts his thoughts about the EyeTV Hybrid:

‘The EyeTV Hybrid is very portable; it’s not much bigger than a typical USB ‘thumb drive.’ It’s not as portable if you need an antenna, of course, but you might not need one. I live in the city, and can literally see the broadcast towers on nearby skyscrapers, so I was able to receive 10 digital and 12 analog channels just by plugging the unit into a free USB port.’

If you’re thinking about revisiting EyeTV, you might want to take a look at Gordon’s post.


MacDevCenter -

Now Google Wants to be Your (Website) Creator, Too

Now Google Wants to be Your (Website) Creator, Too: "New tools designed to allow almost anyone to create a website will be made available for free by the company, which says 'We are literally adding an edit button to the web.'


Wired News -

Forget Dark Matter: This Astrophysicist Found the Fastest Way to Board a Plane

Forget Dark Matter: This Astrophysicist Found the Fastest Way to Board a Plane: "Astrophysicist Jason Steffen has found a way to get people aboard an airplane that's at least four times more efficient than what most airlines are doing now. It will save you time and the airlines money.


Wired News -

The Cold War-Era Assault on Comic Book Culture, Revisited

The Cold War-Era Assault on Comic Book Culture, Revisited: "Author Dave Hajdu tells the story of an infamous time in magazine history in the United States in his new book, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. While today's gamers eagerly await the latest version of Grand Theft Auto, we recall a time when the ten-cent comic book was about as titillating as it got, and what the U.S. did to try to purge it.


Wired News -

Saturday, February 16, 2008

R.I.P. HD DVD: Toshiba reportedly ends the war

R.I.P. HD DVD: Toshiba reportedly ends the war: "Toshiba plans to withdraw from HD-DVD production"


Torrent Episode Downloader 0.92 - Find your favorite TV shows. (Free)

Torrent Episode Downloader 0.92 - Find your favorite TV shows. (Free): "

Torrent Episode Downloader 0.92

Torrent Episode Downloader (ted) can find episodes of any TV show you like to watch.

Uses RSS and Bittorrent technology to get you the newest episodes as fast is possible ted is free, easy to use and works on almost all computers.


  • Checks feeds from TorrentReactor, Mininova, TVRSS, The PirateBay, Mr. Twig and Isohunt for new episodes of tv shows
  • Fill in the current season and episode you are watching. Ted will automatically find new episodes that you have not seen yet
  • Built-in support for all mainstream shows (24, Lost, Topgear, Desperate Housewives, the Simpsons, South Park, Grey's Anatomy, Battlestar Galactica, etc.)
  • Add your own shows to Ted
  • Filter on filesize and on number of seeders
  • Use keywords to filter out fakes and unwanted versions of episodes
  • Use episode
  • and breakschedulers to save your resources and bandwidth from the torrentsites
  • Saves torrents of new shows to your harddisk and optionally opens the torrents in your favourite torrent client


MacUpdate - Universal Binary -

Buddi - Personal finance and budgeting program. (Free)

Buddi - Personal finance and budgeting program. (Free): "


Buddi is a personal finance and budgeting program, aimed at those who have little or no financial background. In making this software, I have attempted to make things as simple as possible, while still retaining enough functions to satisfy most home users.

Buddi requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher, with the Java 5.0 update installed. If you do not already have it installed, you can download the Java 5.0 installation package here.

If you like Buddi and want to help support future work on it, please consider donating via PayPal - you can use the 'Support this Project' icon on the bottom of the official Buddi homepage at:


MacUpdate - Universal Binary -

Digital TV Shift Will Affect Millions of Consumers

Digital TV Shift Will Affect Millions of Consumers: "The switch from analog to digital TV broadcasts will be complete in just one year, on Feb. 17, 2009, and many consumers are puzzling over how the shift will affect them. What exactly do they need to make the transition?


Wired News -

Friday, February 15, 2008

Report: HD DVD is dead

Report: HD DVD is dead: "'Toshiba is widely expected to pull the plug on its HD DVD format sometime in the coming weeks..."

MacDailyNews -

Wal-Mart axes HD DVD, to sell Blu-ray players exclusively

Wal-Mart axes HD DVD, to sell Blu-ray players exclusively: "Wal-Mart Stores announced on Friday morning that it, too, has chosen a side in the battle..."

MacDailyNews -

PC Mag: Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5.2 Leopard is strongest case yet for Windows PC users to switch to Mac

PC Mag: Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5.2 Leopard is strongest case yet for Windows PC users to switch to Mac: "Apple recently released its second update to OS X 'Leopard,' and the latest version..."

MacDailyNews -

Feds to start mailing digital-TV upgrade funds

Feds to start mailing digital-TV upgrade funds: "Next week, the government plans to begin shipping $40 coupons to anyone who requests help buying a basic converter box that keeps older TVs alive after the digital switch next year."


UCC computer system compromised

UCC computer system compromised: "WINCHESTER Umpqua Community College recently became aware that a learning management system called Moodle has been compromised and the college has shut it down, according to a press release."

News Review - News -

Review: Bento

Review: Bento: "With its extensive use of templates and an approachable interface for building records, Bento is the database 'for the rest of us.'"

Macworld -