Why No Apple Netbook?

I do not expect to see Apple come out with a sub-$500 netbook. There’s not enough margin at that price point yet. It would also blur the line between iPhone and MacBook. Now people don’t decide between these – they get both.

Even back in the Newton era people speculated on all the formfactors for the NewtonOS. In the end there was only the Newton and eMate.

AppleTV Update at MacWorld

When trying to devine what may be coming next from Apple it is necessary to look at the absense of information and product releases Apple released a new updated 24″ Cinema Display but did not update the 30″ monitor. Why not? Apple has not changed the AppleTV hardware in a while despite the updates to the software. What happens when you think about these two things together?

You get an updated 30″ monitor with a built-in AppleTV. Is 30″ big enough? It is for me. Putting a CPU & hard drive into the TV would make it remarkably like an iMac.

What else is due for a refresh? What about the Mac Mini. I do not think this is a product that Apple cares about. I also think Apple needs to keep it on the price list as a gateway drug for people who already have a monitor and want to switch to the Mac.

The Next Leap in Computing

Apple released some new MacBooks this week. Aside from the manufacturing technique there is a new feature of these machines that is not getting much press. For me this feature is more significant than the case. That feature is the GPU. I do not pretent to know the virtues of the particular brands. The mere existence of the GPU is what I care about.

Apple has already described OpenCL which will allow everyday programs to be able to access the power of the GPU without having to write code specific to that GPU. OpenCL will be in the core of Mac OS X 10.6. Machines like the old MacBook would be left out of this revolution but not anymore. When Apple releases 10.6 they will be able to claim a performance boost on all these new machines.

Chase’s New ATM Deposits

I noted a small sign on the teller machine at my bank. It said that it now accepted deposits. This was not remarkable. I was able to make deposits with my Marianne Card way back in 1983. Back in ’83 the pocess was simple. I would fill out a deposit slip, endorse my check, and put the whole mess in a special envelope. Then I would tell the ATM the amount of my deposit. The ATM would accept my envelope and print something on it. I assume that it was my account number and the amount I claimed. The deposit would show as a pending transaction until a human opened the envelope and confirmed what I had said on the deposit slip matched. It was a glorified night deposit box.

Twenty five years later I thought nothing had changed. I was wrong. First off, no special envelope was needed. You can feed up to 30 checks at a time. Each check is scanned. The ATM shows the check on the screen and asks you to confirm the amount which it has already read correctly. Once all the checks are loaded the reciept is printed with an image of each check. This is very cool.

Naturally this is all the result of the Check 21 regulations that were put into effect after 9/11. However it came into being it is a great benefit for customers.

iPhone Plug Replacement Arrived

I got a rather large package on my doorstep this morning. It actually was not on my doorstep, the DHL delivery driver was nice enough to toss it in my garden. Fortunately a kid found it. Who know how long it had been out there. UPS actually left a different package on the doorstep — but I digress. What was in this package from Apple? It was my replacement power plug. The new plug looks identical. I cannot tell them apart. The new one has a green dot on it. Otherwise they are the same. It looked fully to see this tiny little plug in a box that measured 8″ X 6″ X 4″ and lined with black foam. I put the old one in the box and now I just have to find one of those mythological DHL drop-off locations. I guess I’ll have to call to arrange pickup.

Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others

A friend of mine asked me what I thought of the new Clone Wars TV series. I knew it was coming but had missed its premier. Luckily for me it was already available for download on iTunes along with a free preview episode. It is also being repeated several time throughout the week on the Cartoon Network. The DVR is now programed.

I have had a chance watch the first episode called “Great Leaders Inspire Greatness in Others”. This text appears in blue where we usually see “A Long Time Ago…”. Instead of a long scroll of yellow text going off to infinity we get a cheesy voiceover. This is not only more time efficient but it actually fits the intended style of a Saturday serialized action show.

This paticular episode featured Yoda and a handful of clones against a minion of Duku. Apparently each episode will ecapsulate a single story focusing on a single character. In this way the formula worked.

I enjoyed the episode and look forward to watching future episodes starting with Episode 2 that aired right after this episode.

Free AT&T WiFi at Starbucks

I had an opportunity to try the free Wifi service at Starbuck provided for iPhone customers by AT&T. It actually worked pretty well. My experience wasn’t exactlly painless so I wanted to share my experience.

First thing I did was look for a wireless network called either Starbucks or AT&T. I found neither among the myriad wireless networks there was only one that was open: T-Mobile. I tried it. It let me connect with no trouble. I opened a web browser and tried to hit a web page. I got the T-Mobile intercept page. The URL bounced around a couple times before landing on a Wayport URL.

The page had a large T-Mobile banner and a little tiny AT&T box about 100 pixels square. My hopes soared. This might actually work. I clicked on the box. I got bounced around and landed on an AT&T sign-in page. There was a space for my username, a popup button for the domain, and a password field. I filled the form out with my DSL account info and waited a second.

It actually worked. I got a small popup window with a timer. I was able to launch my VPN software and get some work done. I’m always amaized when stuff like that works. It did seem a bit hidden. I’m curious to try another Starbucks.

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