• New MacBook Pro’s with Retina Display

    Screenshot 2013-11-07 13.22.11

    I had a dell laptop with a screen resolution of 1440×1050 and that wasn’t even the highest that was available at the time. It was great to be able to have multiple items on the screen at a time and get some work done.
    The last few years have been a drought of lower resolutions for some reason and I’m happy to see the Retina Display MacBook Pro’s let you just set the resolution to 1920×1200 which is great. Finally a laptop feels like there is room to get stuff done.


  • Getting a Raspberry Pi

    Rapberry Pi is a small computer that runs Linux and is great for a lot of fun little projects.

    Raspberry Pi Hardware

    Raspberry Pi

    Raspberry Pi Revision B Hardware

    The hardware is about the size of a deck of cards. Power is provided via a microUSB connection that requires 700 milliamps (must us a 1amp power plug like iPad charger), a powered USB hub gives us a spot for keyboard and mouse and the HDMI port lets us plug it into a TV or monitor.

    The Processor is a 700MHz ARM11 family processor that is able to be over-clocked safely to 800MHz from what I hear. Software compiled for the Intel x86 family will NOT run, but the Linux world is full of source code that can be compiled to run on the hardware. Running lots of normal desktop software is not what this was designed for. It’s to be used to create your own little programs and projects that do stuff. Think using the GPIO (general purpose input output) to interface with other hardware and components for electronic projects combined with the Python programming language to do something with that data.

    It has 512MB of RAM and an SD card slot for adding up to a 32GB SD Card with Linux and room for applications and programs.

    Full Specs below:

    • SoC Broadcom BCM2835 (CPU, GPU, DSP, and SDRAM)
    • CPU: 700 MHz ARM1176JZF-S core (ARM11 family)
    • GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV, OpenGL ES 2.0, 1080p30 h.264/MPEG-4 AVC high-profile decoder
    • Memory (SDRAM): 512 Megabytes (MiB)
    • Video outputs: Composite RCA, HDMI
    • Audio outputs: 3.5 mm jack, HDMI
    • Onboard storage: SD, MMC, SDIO card slot
    • 10/100 Ethernet RJ45 onboard network
    • Storage via SD/ MMC/ SDIO card slot

    Linux

    Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 12.26.24 PM

    Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi hardware. Get this loaded onto an SD card, plug it into the Raspberry Pi and you are ready.

    PythonPython is a programming language that is pretty easy to pick up and even has some books for kids to learn.

    Kids

    The Raspberry Pi was designed with kids using these inexpensive boards to learn about computers, programming and electronics. There are books to learn about programming in Python, educational ebooks and more.

    Some ideas

    Chameleon Linux which has a lot of old computers emulated.

    I wish I had this when I was younger. A $35 computer with an open architecture to play, learn and grow in computer knowledge.


  • Two Step Verification

    I’m a huge fan of the two-step verification from Google and now Dropbox has added it. I’d recommend setting it up if you haven’t. Basically you will have an app on your smartphone (iOS & Android) that provides a number that changes every minute. Without this you cannot login to your account even if you have the username and password. With Google you can create unique passwords per app/device so it’ll stay logged into an app. If the app supports two step verification it will ask you to reverify every two weeks or so. I only have to do this a few times a month which isn’t too much of a pain. There is a super code that you will write down and store in a secure place to help recover your account in the case of losing your phone or whatnot.


  • Mountain Lion – 10.8

    Kudos to John Siracusa for the amazing OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion review on Ars Technica. I have found a lot of information has come up when someone mentions “I haven’t loaded Mountain Lion yet, but what do you think?”

    Geoffrey Goetz has a good article on gigaom on the mess of How many Apple IDs your family should have? lt will give you some insight into what accounts are doing what on your Apple devices. If you have had to deal with multiple accounts or many devices with a single account you may have experienced some pain when you run into an Apple “limit”.

    I have a good handle on the finer details of Apple products, accounts and services, being the resident expert in our group, but it’s getting to be more to keep track of as Apple expands it’s Walled Garden web to encompass so much more of our world. It’s a great system if you don’t mind the locked down hardware, limits on what developers can do with software (and it’s getting worse). For the most part all the stuff I buy in iTunes and the App store get littered across all my devices so I can watch/read/listen to it when it’s most convient, which is awesome. The part that sucks is when I’m looking to “see other technology” and the especially jealous Apple and Content Providers say no.

    [Awesome photo of a Spider with an Apple logo on it spinning a larger web and capturing customer in it goes here.] <== Wish I knew to draw awesome pics!


  • Trapped in the Apple System

    Part of me really dislikes the idea of the Apple EcoSystem and what it means to the freedom of my content. *cough* DRM *cough* My music has freedom to roam, but TV Shows and Movies are trapped in there once purchased from Apple. They can roam around Apple products with my account and it’s a good user experience, but they are barred from playing on anything else.

    I can go through the trouble of converting my purchased DVDs to a friendly format, but if it’s a Blu-Ray disc the poor HD content is trapped on the disc (Stupid DRM!).

    I think about the other options I have, but don’t want to mess with them. I have devices that play well together and I don’t have to worry about an awkward experience that requires a lot of work. So I will continue gathering my media into iTunes and streaming it to an Apple TV and watching on my iPhone.


  • 30 Month Old Laptop

    Running CoconutBattery has not only informed me my batteries maximum charge is 90% of what it was when new, but also I am using a 30 month old laptop. Wow. Way to go little notebook.

    Another interesting thing is I could buy a new one from an app on my iPhone. Which is an example of software and service being the shit when it comes to cool factors. Also my notebook keeps saying “When I was a young nobody purchased notebooks from a phone.”


  • I miss my notebook computer

    Long story short. MacBook Pro needed a reinstall of Snow Leopard and since it hasn’t been my week for technology it hit a few bumps, ran over a digital deer and fell into a crater. The availability of the Lion (OS X 10.7) really makes me want to run that on my notebook, but that is really asking for trouble since it’s months away from release.

    The testing I’ve done so far with Lion has revealed a couple of necessary apps I use everyday are not functional yet. Which makes me sad as I’m such a upgrade junkie when it comes to updates and especially major versions. I wish Apple would make some improvements to freshen up Finder. Maybe 10.8 will be “We’ve done it again. This time Finder has been upgraded to stupid awesome.”

    Update 3/24/2011: MacBook Pro has been revived with a new hard drive and a migration from my old drive.


  • Onlive MicroConsole

    I got my OnLive MicroConsole setup today and it’s pretty neat. There are a few reviews online and I’ve posted links for a few at the end of this post for those curious about what people are thinking of it.
    It gets me to thinking about how many services I can get by just paying a monthly fee. Let’s think about this.

    Subscription:
    Music: Napster, Zune
    Movies: Netflix
    TV Shows: Hulu Plus
    Games: OnLive

    Piecemeal:
    Music: Napster, iTunes, Zune, Amazon
    Movies: CinemaNow, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon, Blockbuster
    Games: Steam, Xbox Live, PlayStation Store

    Subscription services that give you full access to their entire streamable / downloadable items tends to be limited in the number of titles. It’s great to get access to so much content with the ability to try something and if you don’t like it move onto the next. I’m not stuck with a $20 movie that I’ll never finish watching. I can listen to and find new music without having to commit based on the cover art or a couple of 30 seconds clips.

    I guess the whole thing reminds me of sci-fi shows where there really are not any stores. Everyone just kinda has stuff they need. I don’t recall any of them subscribing and paying a monthly fee. Maybe subscriptions will be the next bubble to burst as people just end up with too many of them to support.

    http://technologizer.com/2010/12/01/onlive-microconsole-review/
    http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/02/onlive-ushers-in-the-microconsole-with-all-you-can-eat-game-plan/


  • Sprint 4G EVO Connection

    The idea of using a Spring 4G connection as a main Internet connection in a home has come up in conversation so I thought I’d give it a try this weekend. It took a couple of hours as the Sprint EVO hotspot connection was having problems with the Linksys router, but I’ll get to that.

    Hardware: Sprint HTC EVO, Linksys WET610N Wireless Bridge, Linksys E3000 Wireless Router, Xbox 360, LG BD390 Blu-ray disc player.

    The Sprint HTC EVO is sharing it’s 4G Internet connection to the Wireless Bridge that is plugged into the Internet port on the Linksys e3000 that is the main router for my home network. I had to fight a strange problem where the router would only get a 127.0.0.1 from the EVO and I finally determined that the IP’s used by the EVO needed to be changed.

    1. Settings, Wireless & networks, Sprint Hotspot settings
    2. Press the “menu” button and select Advanced then LAN settings.
    3. Change the IP address to 10.0.0.1 (It will give an error, don’t worry the next step will fix it.)
    4. Change the Starting IP to 10.0.0.10

    I’ve noticed the EVO HTC will hand out all kinds of crazy IPs instead of sticking to .10, .11 it will hand out IPs that end in .178 which wasn’t expected by me. Once I changed it to a very different IP range it started working through the bridge with my wireless router.

    Speedtest.net is giving results of 4.6 MB/s down and .92 MB/s up which is pretty awesome for a mobile phone connection. I’ll be doing some actually usage this weekend to see what is working well and what isn’t over this connection.

    Actual Usage Results

    So far I’ve been able to stream from CinemaNow although it did pause to adjust due to a slowdown a couple times and the quality wasn’t the highest. Netflix is also working pretty well and didn’t notice as much of a pause, but it may have to do with me watching an Anime show which probably compresses a lot better.

    Impressed so far. It’s amazing what we can do with technology today.


  • Samsung Captivate

    A friend at work and I were talking about the Samsung Captivate vs. his Nexus One on T-Mobile. I mentioned how AT&T blocks installing any applications that are not in the official Android Market. His reply: “This is just another instance of AT&T cuddling their customers to death with a lack of options and free will.”