Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Mac Ads

It looks like they're back on form - Surprise was my fave, but Top of the Line isn't bad either (I bet if you talked to that guy long enough he'd tell you he worked in technology....).

And Snow Leopard is out Friday don't forget. A whole new operating system for 30 bucks - I'll be calling into the store on the way home from work I think...

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lie Detector for the iPhone


If you've just got a new iPhone for Christmas, and aren't quite sure what the most useful things to do with it are, try out this lie detector. Not guaranteed to be fool proof, but might be worth a go to make sure that sales guy in Best Buy isn't trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Life Improvements

Today, my life improves in the following ways:

• decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
• significantly improved battery life for most users
• dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
• improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
• faster installation of 3rd party applications
• fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes if you have lots of 3rd party applications
• improved performance in text messaging
• faster loading and searching of contacts
• improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
• repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
• option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
• Genius playlist creation

Actually, that's just the list of improvements my iPhone is getting, but as it's an integral part of my life since I got it, I'm sure the improvements will be a direct pass through.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

iPhone Here, Celebrate with iBeer

The iPhone turned up on Thursday (some 10 days earlier than AT&T predicted), so I've had a weekend of playing with it now. Of course, it would be better if the battery life was better, but I think with a few minor modifications, I can survive. The trouble is it's just so pretty that you want to keep playing with it all the time, which I don't think helps.

Anyway, once I got all the things I really needed sorted out (300 on video, and a few choice tracks on the music side) I started messing around with a few of the apps you can download (Bejewelled and Texas Holdem are the current favorite games, and I got the expected response from the wife when I started waving around my light saber), but the winner so far has to be below - enjoy.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mercedes iPhone Dock


Confession time - I put in my order for a new 3G iPhone yesterday, so only a month or so to go before I get my hands on (please, please let the exchange synching work like a dream). Obviously, Mercedes were thinking about me when they announced this little toy yesterday - the iPhone dock. It charges your phone, hooks it into the phone system in the car, and allows you to get at your music from the hifi. Now all I have to do is work out two things - can they retrofit it to existing cars, and can the wife survive without the CD space....

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Dear Steve


You know what I really want from your new service, that's meant to keep the mobile and not so mobile life in order? I want a way to keep all my music files in synch across my home and work machines. Trying to remember and then copy up to .Mac the individual music files that I bought (from iTunes I might add) on one computer or the other, then download and import, is slowly driving me crazy. And that's before I even get into the "is it on my computers hard drive, or on the connected external hard drive" conversation - you need to work out a suitable Apple easy and it works solution for that too so I don't get duplicate tracks, and can easily "checkout" files from my main library so they're on my hard disk when I hit the road.

Baby steps first - how about just keeping track of the music I bought on iTunes and allowing me to download it again at some point in the future if it's not already on my machine? Amazon let me do this with books I bought for my Kindle. And the copyright protection still exists - the files still need to be ran on the machines I've authorized, so it's not like I can do something naughty with it. Please Steve. You normally answer my (gadget inspired) prayers. Don't let me down now.

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Thursday, March 06, 2008

iPhone Analysts Missing the Point?

I have a vested interested in Apple stocks shooting up to unbelievable levels, as I own some, and it would help soothe the pain of the last few months performance on the stock market. OK, disclaimer over, even though I didn't need to do one in the first place.

There seems to be a lot of stock analysts who started off the week (or the last 18 months I guess) continually pinging the iPhone as something that will never work for business users. With today's announcement that it's going to support ActiveSynch and Exchange out of the box, it's got one business user here who's likely to move over once he can justify spending money on two different phones in one year (and yes, 3G would help make my decision a lot easier), and I suspect a lot more out there in the so-called business world (but do people really differentiate between their work and other life anymore, especially if they need a business phone that connects them to the office full time?).

Some of the analysts are still now saying that business users won't switch due to the lack of a tactile qwerty keyboard. I'm sure some won't, but I bet it's not everyone. I've tried typing on an iPhone, and it was a lot better than I thought it would be (and I never manage to get a full sentence right on my BlackJack II anyway, so not much difference there).

But, and it's a big but, I think the biggest part of todays news wasn't the business support - the iPhone will get new users in the business world who had been holding out, but there was a whole new market segment that appeared magically today - Gaming (and I mean real games, not Tetris).

If anyone saw a couple of the possibilities in the presentations today, you know it's going to be a pretty perfect platform for mobile gaming. Apart from pretty impressive frame rates (and the gorgeous graphics) to make games look pretty, the API for the motion sensor makes this the new mobile Wii. There are so many possibilities out there for this thing, and if it's as easy to develop on as they say, we just witnessed the next generation of gaming without even realizing.

So, I think Research in Motion has a(nother) viable competitor, but the real company who should be worried is Nintendo - the DS is great, but there's no movies or music. And if you could have a Wii for the road, that fits neatly in your pocket and makes phonecalls, wouldn't that be cooler? The PSP held me captive for a good few years with it's fantastic screen and decent games, but it ain't got no motion sensor.

Isn't gaming one of the big new markets the analysts watch these days? Didn't Microsoft sink a couple of billion into getting the XBOX to be accepted as a kick-ass system (even if the red flashing lights of death always appear at some point)? Didn't Sony help win the HD format war with the PS3? Don't Nokia come out with a crappy N-Gage every couple of years, trying to get us to pretend gaming on a phone would be the next big thing? Well, I think today, gaming on a phone just became the next big thing.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best Internet Ad Ever?

I think so - might only be there for today though, so if you click through and don't see a Mac ad, sorry.

NY Times

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

MacWorld unleashes Air to the world.....


So the Keynote finally happened, and the result was the thinnest notebook in the world. It's actually so thin I think I might be scared to snap it if I owned one, but given the case is all aluminium, it's probably a lot sturdier than it looks. So, highlights are all wireless, touchscreen, backlit keyboard, LED screen, the usual fast Intel processor and the option of a solid state hard drive (which is way too expensive for most people to tick, but no doubt it's already ticked on Mr Batty's order sheet). Videos and many more pics and details can be found here.

Also on the list today was the update to the iPhone software that had been leaked a few weeks ago, as well as a similar update for the iPod Touch (but will cost you an extra 20 bucks on the none phone version). Mail on the Touch now seems like a pretty cool idea if you ask me.

Two things that are probably most likely on my list (well one I get for free anyway) was an update to AppleTV, and the new Time Capsule

The Apple TV gets a few much needed updates to take away the need for a computer to run it, along with buying from the box itself (the new rentals and actual purchases) along with HD Movies (something I was waiting for before I did any more movie purchases from iTunes. They also brought the price down by 70 bucks, which is always nice.

Time Capsule looks the most likely to be on my purchase list - I was contemplating buying a 1TB drive to plug into the new desktop at home (and stop me from filling up the hard drive with all my movie backups), and upgrading your wireless networking performance is always a good thing. Time Capsule combines both - a wireless N base station, with a 500GB or 1TB hard drive stuffed in the bottom. This also allows wireless backup using Time Machine, which solves the laptop problem of keep having to plug in a hard drive every time you wanted to do a backup. I guess technically you could get a 1TB network storage drive, and then a wireless N router and plug them together and save a couple of bucks, but looking at the prices recently, I don't think you'll save that much, plus it'll never look that pretty.

So, that was pretty much it - I'm still hoping for one day version 3 of AppleTV which is actually a Mac Mini with a Blue Ray (or HD if that ended up winning the "war") disk, combined with Tivo on there - that would really make me happy. And why doesn't Steve do his "One More Thing" anymore - is that just occasionally? My heart always sinks when they roll in the singer....

Update - here's a video - turns out the gestures are on the trackpad, not the screen like I orginally thought, but they still look cool...

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Monday, January 14, 2008

MacWorld Keynote Tomorrow

And as a public service, here's a quick (and by no means exhaustive) list of a couple of live blogs if you're not actually out there watching Steve (possibly) change the world.

Engadget

Gizmodo

MacRumors

CrunchGear

Time will be 9 Pacific, 12 Eastern, and most importantly for me, 10 Mountain. That means 5 in the UK 8-)

I do like how this show always is kind enough to time itself a month before my (sometimes non-existent) bonus check arrives. It gives me hope for balance in the world. Or something like that.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Macworld is going to be BIG (maybe..)

So this week is CES, where all the technology companies around the world, apart from Apple, release their latest and greatest on the world. Next week, at MacWorld, there's going to be one of Steve's famous Keynote speeches, which everyone is in full speculation about as no-one really has any idea about what will be announced.

However, with the release of updated Pro and Server machines this week, Gizmodo is speculating that next week must be pretty big - if they can release upgrades the week before their "official" release date, they must have something pretty big lined up for next week.

Here's hoping for the mini laptop with touchscreen, cheap enough price for me to go and buy, and a 32 GB (or more) iTouch. Or something like that anyway.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

iBoob


The perfect Christmas gift?

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Monday, November 26, 2007

New Computer Ordered

It must be the week for it - after last weeks just in time arrival of a new work laptop (Dell D630 if you care), the wife and I decided to do the joint Christmas pressie to ourselves of a new iMac. Our current one was an old (5 years I think) iMac with the metal "neck" - still working as well as the day we got it, but lacking any more disk space, or the processing power to keep up with our ever increasing need to make videos, store loads of music, and view billions of pictures. Although all the apps on there still work, the whole thing was just getting too slow, and on the video side especially, it was making some things unusable. I also realized (when my brother bought a iPod Touch the other week when he was here) that it doesn't even have a USB 2.0 port, which meant no synch up for him from the Mac.

So, we splashed out a little (although I'm quietly confident I could easily spend a years salary in an Apple store and come out happy), and went with the 24 inch version, complete with extra memory and a slightly larger hard drive. It should arrive either at the end of this week, or the beginning of next, as for some reason I went with the cheapskate delivery option. Now of course I'm pining for an immediate delivery, but because they've already prepared it for shipment, it's too late to change it. We made the buy on "Black Friday" so we got an extra $110 off the list price, which combined with the wife's work discount, meant we got a bit of a deal.

So - plans for when it arrives - lots, but getting everything off the old one and onto the new one is first, followed closely by lots of messing around with Leopard (the old one would have died under the strain of a new operating system). I have a grand plan of encoding a lot of my DVD's as well, so that I can push them up through my Apple TV to prevent me from searching through the ever expanding DV collection, but that may take a little while (although hopefully not the 14 hours per DVD of the old machine). And of course, some video editing of some of the existing stuff I've got in digital format, including the eventual post of all the wedding stuff we got taped (only 2.5 years since that should have been done...).

Plenty to look forward to (for me anyway) - now I just have to prey the Fedex gods are nice to me...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Apple Rumors - The Tablet

It's been a while since I wrote about any Apple rumors, so I thought I'd show this complete mockup of supposedly Apple's latest and greatest, the touch tablet.

As always, I'm hoping there's at least some truth to the rumor, coz it would be a kinda cool thing to throw in the laptop bag, or have lying next to the couch.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

New iPods


Today is new iPod day - the "fatty" rumours were real, and now you can get an iPhone without the phone bit on it. I'll add in more details later, but the pics were too pretty not to post straight away.

Oh yeah, and the iPhone price went down by $200 (already!) - decisions, decisions (not really - they're all off limits as we're saving for a new Mac, plus I just got an iPod Nano back in March, and I love it to pieces).

Update: OK, got a little time now to list the changes. Starting small and working our way up, the Shuffle hasn't really changed, just some new pastel colours, and also the product (red) version (it's red, and a portion of the money goes to fighting AIDS in Africa). The Nano is now short and fat, so that you can fit on a screen that will play movies in a watchable format. This was the one that was leaked a few days ago on the internet, but I don't think anyone realized how small this thing actually is in real life. Also, it gets a price drop - we're now down to 150 bucks for the 4 GB and $199 for the 8GB version.

The "normal" iPod is now called the iPod classic - if you can't stand being without your songs or movies, this is the choice for you - you can get the "small" 80GB version for $250, or a new 160GB version for $349 - this even has enough space for Mr Stone to carry around all of his songs.... It still plays movies, and now has coverflow on it (like the Nano - the moving of the album covers back and forwards as a means to browse around your collection).

The big new product (which people hoped and wished for, but weren't sure would happen so soon) was the iPod Touch - basically this is an iPhone without the phone or camera bolted on. The gorgeous touchscreen approach, widescreen video playback and available in 8GB and 16GB formats. It also has WiFi included, which means Safari is on board for browsing the web, as well as a YouTube app like the iPhone and Apple TV.

Two other things - one is there's now a mobile iTunes store, so you can buy songs (but apparently not movies/videos) directly from your iPod, and a team up with Starbucks that allows you to buy the songs you hear in the store just by hitting a button on the iPod. This didn't really seem like a very exciting thing when I first heard it, but then thinking about it, it's kinda cool - not for the actual "oh, I can purchase a song that I'm hearing in a store" kinda way, but more that it pointed towards the future way of the world. It reminded me of the Minority Report, when the adverts in shops scanned your iris and gave adverts specifically targeted to you. I'm not saying we're anywhere close to that, but it's a start.

I think that's about it - Apple has the Christmas market pretty much covered as far as music/video players for your pocket is concerned, with enough new features for existing customers to go back and upgrade, and maybe even entice some of the holdouts to join the iPod club (I'm talking to you Mr Thompson ;-)

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Time Travel

If you're stuck in the 80's still, this might be the perfect dock for your iPod.....

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

New iMacs

They're pretty.......

Also, new iLife 08 (despite Leopard not being released yet), new .Mac functionality (and more space), new iWork with a spreadsheet app now included and other bits and bobs along the way.

TUAW has loads of coverage of it all as you'd expect but here's the link to the iMac details if you're lazy.

Oh, and the official ad is here - when it looks this good, you don't really need to do anything...

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Parallels for Mac Ads

Harmony in the world (or something like that). Maybe I'm still a little in shock (and happy) that Microsoft actually stepped up to the plate and made everyones XBox360 warranty magically last for 3 years instead of the original 3 months/12 months). It means I get my $140 back - now if they could only get the delivery process to be a little quicker ;-)

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

iPhone's Extra Functionality?

Still resisting, despite an ongoing full pressure assault (mainly by myself on myself, in my head - although Nick did post a comment on Pete's site that he still can't believe I didn't get one - trust me mate, it's day to day).



Oh, and might I take this completely inopportune moment to announce that FROSTIES IS BACK!!!! And Mr Hartley at some point in the past decided that he'd start updating his site again. The world is a better place, although I'm not really into the whole discussion on how to write musical notes. If you've ever been anywhere near me when I felt compelled to sing, or try to play an instrument, you'd understand. Not pretty, and definitely not clever.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Phone From Jesus?

Not really, but as Brad said, probably the best product lauch ever (in terms of user generated hype anyway). I'm still holding out (I guess you can't activate the iPhone yet with a biz account, and the thought of having to pay for my own phone plan after so many years having one company or another pick up the tag gives me cold sweats these days), but not sure how long that will last.

Anyway, Pete (after chastising me for my lack of patience) posted a decent number of reviews on what he thinks so far, and they're all on his blog.



Oh, and given I made it back into town at the weekend (first time for way too long), I did manage to download the Apple TV update for viewing YouTube on your TV. And it's bloody great!

Other things I managed to catch up on were finally speaking to a real live person on the XBox support line, who kindly removed $140 from my bank account for the priveledge of fixing their self destructing 360 one month after the warranty ran out (very bitter, can you tell...), getting the car washed, mowing the lawn (cutting the grass in English), and spending some quality time hanging out with Heidi and Fynn.

I now get (if the plans stay in place) at least a whole 2 weeks in Denver to enjoy the decent weather (almost a 100 for the next 3 days), and try and catch up on a little sleep.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

iPhone Reviews are coming out

Well, technically actually out now - Walt Mossberg's is here, and The New York Times one is here. If Pete gets one like he says on Friday, I might be driving down to his on Saturday to bang on the door until he lets me in to play.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Random iPhone Request

I'm a big fan of Last.fm, even before it got bought for billiosn of dollars (well, a lot anyway). It's good for the tech industry in the UK to show that they can live with the Silicon Valley boys, and hopefully will need to more of the same coming from England.

Anyway, the only thing that gives me a hard time about the app is that I'm currently running low on disk space on my work computer (I'm holding out for a little while until the "can we move to Mac's question is answered before I put in my request for a new one"), so I'm pretty low on music on that. Which means I carry around my super duper 8gig nano, and listen to that in the office when I'm not on the necessary evil of back to back conference calls. All my iPods (all 2 of them ;-) synch up to the Mac at home, which means they don't connect to my PC for running through iTunes on the laptop. And here is my problem, my Last.fm account doesn't update. I have a scrobbler at home that picks up what I played on my iPod when I redock it, and ships it up to the site then, but given the battery life on the new iPod compared to my 4 or 5 year old one I was previously using, I don't really need to dock it much.

So, this means my current (and only from what I can remember) request for functionality for the new iPhone is to have the ability to use Last.fm, automatically send up the tracks played. There, not hard (or it shouldn't be anyway). It would make me happy (which is obviously an easy thing).

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

MacBook Pro Updated


They're oh so pretty. And now even faster (who thought Apple moving to the Intel platform was a bad idea?).

So, performance boosts, more memory, bigger hard-drives, faster graphics card and slimmer and lighter to boot. Now if only I could work out how to afford one of these things (and justify it in my head that it's worth it, despite having a work laptop and an iMac in the house).

Techie details are here if you're interested in that sort of thing.

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Official iPhone Date

It's real this time - not relying on any dodgy Cingular sales rep, but real live ads on TV and everything - June 29th. Oh yeah, and you need a minimum 2 year contract to sign up. It's not going to be cheap, but it might be worth it ;-)

All the Apple ads are here.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Leopard Delayed - It looks like it

Fresh news coming off the wire this afternoon that it looks like Leopard (the new Apple operating system) is going to be delayed until October. Original estimates were for "spring", which had been interpreted as the WWDC in June, but now it appears only a beta version will be available then, and the real deal will come out just before the Holidays.

I just hope this means that they've got a lot of very cool stuff in there - it seems a little weird for Apple to be late on an operating system, especially when they were giving Microsoft so much grief about Vista last year. I'm betting on no longer needing Boot Camp and Parallels - they've just built virtualization into the desktop - double click an app, and it just works, whether it's an OS X app, or a Windows app. But that's just me speculating.

Oh, just got the official reason - looks like they pulled some of the developers off Leopard to work on the iPhone - here's the full text

iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. We can't wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is. However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price -- we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS(R) X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Apple TV Shipping

I'm probably getting way over-excited about this, but my AppleTV has left the building, and is heading it's way over to me as we speak. It looks like it should make it here by 10.30am on Friday morning (the exact time when I was going to be breaking my snowboarding duck for the season), so barring any major weather catastrophes (think Christmas present ordeal and start to shiver...) we should be good to go for the weekend.

Update - it's in the country (if you really do count Alaska as in the country - never really sure about that one!

Mar 21, 2007 1:06 PM, Arrived at FedEx location, ANCHORAGE, AK

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New UK Apple Ads Released

Well, maybe not quite new now, but they're here anyway.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Apple TV Delivery Moved Up?

I'm pretty certain the last time I checked, my expected delivery date was the last week in March. But, being the optimistic sole that I am, I just went and checked again, and look what I found....

APPLE TV-USA
Ships by: Mar 20
Delivers by: Mar 23
I'm so excited, you just wouldn't believe.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Apple TV Delayed


Despite my order status still saying it's shipping on Wednesday, Apple announced tonight that they're delaying shipment for a couple of weeks. Trying to look on the bright side, I guess this increases the chances that I'll be at home when it finally comes.

Apple TV hits snag, delayed til mid-March - Feb. 26, 2007

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

M5 Tuned, Shuffle with Colors

Any excuse for a decent car pick - this is the 560bhp M5 from Lumma Design, with 21 inch wheels, and low profile tires so low you can barely see them. Still not 100% on the two tone paintwork (or maybe is carbon, in which case I'm a believer).

Oh, and speaking of colors, Apple released multi colored Shuffles today. They're pretty....

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iPhone is Real

And I got excited when they announced Apple TV (which is great).

All this is live, so more details later, or you can follow along here.

iPhone is better than anything anyone dared imagine - it's the phone and video iPod rolled into one. Here's a pic.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Random Reading

No real theme to this one - just catching up on a couple of things from last week that I never quite got to posting (and next week is probably going to be worse, looking at my schedule and workload).

OK - inside Apple insight - or more importantly, how to get a job at Apple (possibly my next career if something drastic happens to the meteoric rise of the current endeavour). There was actually a few good posts on this site that I haven't had time to finish reading yet, but it's on my list.

Also Apple related (can you tell I'm getting excited for the impending Macworld next week), is the 10 things I wish I knew before switching to a Mac. (This one's specially for the family back in England, who have their shiny new iMac to play with). Oh yeah, and here's what Steve Jobs is really like in a meeting (along with reasons why there won't be a tablet Mac tomorrow).

Life on Mars (but NASA killed it). Maybe....

Wiki After Dark - all the things that you wanted to ask but were afraid to - and this isn't parent or work safe from what I can tell, so you've been warned.

13 photos that changed the world (although personally, I'm not sure if this is the top 13, but it's still pretty interesting).

The real reason behind the Iraq war quietly becomes clear (in the UK press).

Scientologists are infultrating Britains schools?

And finally (for now), a woman who falls into a coma every time she says "I love you" - that's gotta suck.....

OK, the now lasted 3 seconds - totally forgot, but Mr Flangio is posting a never ending stream of boarding and skiing highlights from the season. Almost makes me want to get back up there for a quick blast.

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