I religiously download all the freebies from the iTunes Store every Tuesday. Today, there are a few new items, including a free demo of Vortex, an iPod game (if you’ve got a 5G video iPod). This is the first time that I can recall seeing a free iPod game on the iTunes store. Personally, I think it’s great. The previews on the iTunes Store give you a small clip of the game in action, but I’d rather play a couple levels before I decide to plunk down $4.99.
Also free this week…
I was pretty impressed with the use of iPhone’s multitouch interface. The photo demo was really pretty cool. Someone just pointed me to this video from TED (Technology Entertainment Design) where Jeff Han (a research scientist from NYU) shows off some work on multitouch interfaces that his team produced in their lab. The video is from back in February of 2006, so many of you might have seen it before. Still, I love to geek out on the possibilities that something like this could unlock when creative people get a hold of it in consumer technology. The iPhone is just the first step in bringing this to all of us.
I was reading this article over at ZDNet about the iPhone’s missing features (this is actually part two, and is actually a pretty good list) and one item in particular caught my attention. Under software, #3 is “multi-threaded applications” so that you can browse the web while talking on the phone.
Now, I’m going to betray my background as a former wireless telecom guy. When PDA smartphones first appeared, my first reaction was, “I want to be able to use my Palm Pilot while I talk on the phone.” When bluetooth was first being imagined, I was really excited about the new technology because it was going to enable wireless headsets, which have now become ubiquitous. You could check your calendar while you were talking to someone on the phone that wanted to make an appointment with you. In my mind, a smartphone needs a bluetooth earpiece to go with it.
So, I was pretty excited about the bluetooth earpiece that Apple showed with the iPhone. It looks small, simple, and stylish and is bound to be the fashion statement / status symbol that white earbuds are today. BUT, if I can’t use the address book, calendar, and/or surf the web while I talk on the iPhone it’s going to ruin the whole experience.
I’m pretty sure that O’Grady is just guessing at this point, but it sure would be nice to know what features are accessible while making a call. There might be some technical limitations around using the GSM and EDGE features simultaneously, but I expect a lot from Apple here.
Just a quick note to say that Garmin has made their Training Center software available for download. Mblog put up a note that says that in order to import your history from the Windows software, you should make sure to upgrade to version 3.2.1 first.
Did I tell you I was really excited about GPS on the Mac in 2007?
Welll, I only scored 5/20 on my Macworld predictions. But then, I don’t think anybody anticipated that the entire keynote would be about AppleTV and the iPhone with no news about the Mac at all. What did I get right? Here’s a list…
- Airport update to 802.11n (Airport Extreme)
- Firmware update for 802.11n capable Macs (even though it’s going to cost $1.99)
- iTV got a name (AppleTV) and a release date (February)
- Another studio joined the iTunes store with full-length movies (Paramount)
I’m also going to take credit for a long-shot prediction that Apple would create a product to compete with Microsoft Home Server. The new Airport has a new Airport Disk feature that allows you to turn it into a NAS device simply by plugging in a USB drive. The lack of gigabit ethernet still bugs me though.
That leaves 15 predictions of things that I still expect to see from Apple. I hope we hear about them soon, because I’m about to buy a new Mac and I was waiting on MWSF to make up my mind. Now I’m in a holding pattern waiting for the inevitable hardware updates and a Leopard release date.
Categories: Apple 802.11n, Airport, AirportExtreme, Apple, iphone, iTMS, iTunes, MacWorld, microsoft, Paramount, wifi
Garmin is running a new promotion where you can get $50 back when you buy a Forerunner 205 or 305. To be eligible, you must purchase the forerunner between January 24th and May 15th. Details can be found on the Garmin promotions page.
I think these things are wicked cool. I’m not much of a runner, but I’ve thought it would be fun to wear one of these while playing Ultimate or soccer to see how far I run during a game. One of the objections to these devices was that they didn’t do anything for you on a treadmill (because you don’t move, duh!) or on a bike (because they don’t track cadence) but those concerns have been resolved with the new addons that allow you to use a pedometer device while on a treadmill and a nice quick-release handlebar mount and cadence sensor while on a bicycle.
Of course, if you’re of the Mac persuasion, you’ll be able to get a lot more out of this because you can now use Garmin Training Center on your Mac and you’ll soon be able to use the firmware updater and other tools that are being ported to Mac OS X.
Well, I upgraded to WordPress 2.1 today and all is well. I love how easy it was to update the blog. It took about 10 minutes, but about 8 of that was spent finding and downloading YummyFTP so I more easily upload the wordpress files to my site from the site (I’m not at home). I’ve been using Transmit, but I decided to try YummyFTP after reading about it on the Circle Six Blog (I’m a big fan!). I haven’t spent enough time to make a good comparison yet, but it worked great for SFTP.
I figured a new version of the framework behind my blog deserved a new theme as well. I borrowed this one from Small Potato who is challenging himself to create 30 themes in 30 days. Again, the ease with which you can update the site is brilliant. Not that it’s all plug and play. I ran into some issues with the way that the sidebars are handled and had to spend some time editing templates and .css to get AdWords, Digg!, and other features incorporated into the new theme. Actually, if you look closely, you’ll notice that I’m not done at the time I post this.
I’d love to get your feedback on the new theme and layout.
A post about the iPhone is coming up next (I know, I know – but really, I have something different to say).
I wrote a short bit just before MacWorld (isn’t that iPhone cool? even with the limitations) about how Garmin was going to release Training Center for the Mac. Well, they kept their word and handed out copies at the show. We’re still waiting for the download to be made available, but it should be coming Real Soon Now.
A few days ago, Chet’s Corner on the Garmin Blog let out that they were planning on doing a lot more with Mac support this year. In particular, we should see Mac OS X apps for doing firmware updates on your Garmin gear. It was also mentioned that the POI loader will be made available on OS X as well.
This will be a big deal for Mac users because you will no longer need to find a friend with a PC in order to update your gear to the latest revisions. You will also be able to do some things with custom POI’s that you couldn’t do before. Frankly, this is looking like it’s going to be a good year for Mac users and GPS.
I’ll post about Garmin again as soon as the Training Center download is made available.
Mostly I want something like the Microsoft Home Server, but from Apple. Seriously, storage is going to be an opportunity this year. More and more people are buying laptops, but the file sizes for digital media are growing faster than the storage capacity of 2.5″ drives. Where are you going to keep all those home movies, digital photos, downloaded music and full-length HD movies from the iTunes Music Store? On your 60-80GB laptop drive? On the 60GB drive in your Mac mini?
The ReadyNAS and the Buffalo system are good indicators of where a new market is developing. Netgear announced a new NAS box as well. I think the key would be if ZFS could make it to Linux so that someone can build an embedded system with 3 drive bays with a very reliable file system and the ability to add more storage to the pool on demand.
I love how ZFS has checksums built-in at such a low layer and can identify bad data right away. This would make the ultimate home storage appliance and would solve a bunch of issues for my home network.