Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

Work Related Thingies

Sun, 10/30/2005 - 16:02 -- rprice

So, Apple auto-upgraded my Dual 2.3’s to Dual 2.7’s, FREE. More after the jump, as they say on Boing Boing, or Engadget, or one of those type sites.

I also found out Charlie and I will be attending the Consumer Electronics Show in Vava Las Vegas!

Ok, on to the email from Apple.

> To Our Valued Apple Customer:
> Apple is pleased to announce a new generation of the Power Mac G5!
> Your Power Mac G5 order has not shipped yet, so we would like to offer you
> these two options:
> 1. Keep the previous model Power Mac G5 at the same price with an upgrade to
> the Dual 2.7GHz PowerPC processor. If you chose custom options they will be
> transferred to the upgraded model.
> OR
> 2. Upgrade to the new Power Mac G5, which will increase the cost of your
> order. Please visit the Apple Store at to configure
> and price your new Power Mac G5.
> Our new Power Mac G5 includes an updated PCI bus. Some PCI cards may not be
> compatible with the new PCI bus. Before you decide how to proceed with your
> order, you may want to check the specifications for peripheral devices that
> you plan to use with your new Power Mac G5 to be sure that they are compatible
> with the new PCI options as described here:

> Please visit
to make your selection.
> After you make your selection online, we will send an email within 24 to 48
> hours confirming that your request is being processed.
> We would like to hear from you by Friday October 28th, so please visit our
> website and make your selection soon. After Friday October 28th, we will
> release your order to ship with the previous model Power Mac G5 at the same
> price with an upgrade to the Dual 2.7GHz PowerPC processor.
> For the latest information on your order please visit
. The online order status site will keep you
> up to date throughout the purchase process. Once your order ships, you will be
> able to obtain tracking information here as well.
> Thank you for choosing Apple!
> Sincerely,
> Apple Store Customer Support

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Flock Web 2.0 Browser

Fri, 10/21/2005 - 09:00 -- rprice

I got my invitation to Flock. I have installed it, but I don't have time to check it out just yet. I will be posting my report along with some news soon.




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Fri, 10/14/2005 - 08:29 -- rprice

Yesterday I got 2GB of RAM I can do nothing with until the nice boys in Cupertino (well, China I guess) put my machine to gether. I also have this big fancy KVM Switch coming (for using two computers, but sharing the peripherals) that I consider to be a long-term investment, because it cost an arm AND a leg AND my left nut. Unbelievable.

For the curious, I am getting:

Dual 2.3GHz G5 PowerMac
2GB 400MHz Memory
256MB Radeon 9650 8xAGP
16x Dual Layer SuperDrive
My 17? ViewSonic CRT for now.

As of about a week ago, I work for Cervo Systems and Charles Kreuger. Basically, his means any work I am currently doing, professional or non-profit, if it falls under the jurisdiction of what Cervo Systems does, I have to at least give them (us) credit.

More later… got distracted.

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Apple releases iPod Video

Wed, 10/12/2005 - 10:13 -- rprice

People have been saying this was coming for years, and now it has arrived. The iPod Video is no longer an iPod with a color display, but a full-blown video player. The new iPod is thinner with a larger screen; 320 x 240 vs. the old 220 x 176 pixel screen. The physical device has actually grown in height and width, but shrunk in thickness. iPod Video also comes in two sizes in every sense of the word: the standard 30GB model ($299) claims 14 hours of music playback, 3 hours of photo slideshow playback, and 2 hours of video playback, while the fatter 60GB model ($399) has 20 hours of music playback, 4 hours of slideshow playback, and 3 hours of video playback.

Even though we all knew this was coming, what will now happen to the thousands of existing iPods with color screen? Will they be marked down for quick selling? Apple has pretty much cut them out of the store and all the advertising as though they no longer existed. Sure, this happens every time they release a new device, but geez... At least the higher capacity video models are priced the same as their older cousins. That will help them sell ten thousand units before the christmas season.

H.264 video: up to 768 Kbps, 320 x 240, 30 frames per sec., Baseline Profile up to Level 1.3 with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats

MPEG-4 video: up to 2.5 mbps, 480 x 480, 30 frames per sec., Simple Profile with AAC-LC up to 160 Kbps, 48 Khz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats

Also announced are two new official Apple accessories: the Universal Dock and the Apple Remote. The Universal Dock fits all shapes and sizes of iPods with Dock Connectors, has A/V and S-Video output, and the most interesting feature, the IR port for the Apple Remote, which looks a lot like a Shuffle, with just 6 simple buttons for play/pause, menu, forward/backward, and volume control buttons. The cool thing is your Apple Remote can also control your iMac home-theater style.

That was another announcement from today: the new iMac. The iMac is slimmer with a faster processor, more memory standard, a SuperDrive (now burns DVDs instead of just reading them), and a built in iSight webcam. The Apple remote is intended mostly as a control for the iMac, which is Apple's version of a Media Center PC. I guess this could be OK if you have a desk near your entertainment center, but an iMac is not the kind of toy I would want to use just for music, photos, home movies and DVDs. It is a full-fledged PC with a 64-bit processor, not an appliance. It would be a shame to hook it up to an HDTV and waste the built-in display. A crying shame. Still, I like the direction you're going in. Give me the entire digital lifestyle in a one-stop shop. Now that Sony is starting to open retail stores, Apple may have some competition in that market.

Pretty cool Apple: you finally caught up with the rest of the market by offering video. Now what kind of content will you have? What will it cost? Who will be the first company to sell me a movie to play back at tiny resolutions? Wait and see.

Some facts taken from Wikipedia's iPod listing.


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Viral Marketing that Works

Tue, 10/11/2005 - 05:05 -- rprice

If you haven't yet visited Carlton Draught's Big Ad Website, you should check it out. You will be asked to trust a Java Applet that helps play the ad in full screen. Then you see thousands of people in colored robes running across an Australian valley a la Lord of the Rings. People in primarily yellow robes led by a man on horseback running toward another group of people mostly in red robes. At least hundreds of people are really there in the camera shot. I don't doubt that computer graphics was used at some point to fill in the rest.

This ad has got a couple of things going for it: humor in a few places, a catchy song (everybody knows Carmina Bruana), and most of all the "WOW" factor. The production quality is also excellent. All of these things are there to make you send the web link to your friends an coworkers, and it obviously works. I love the last line of the song, "Hopefully this ad will sell some bloody beer!" I'm sure that's what all the Cartlon Draught people are thinking.

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Boca Raton, FL

Thu, 10/06/2005 - 14:47 -- rprice

I am going to visit my brother Eric in Boca this weekend. Google Local says it will take 3 hrs 16 mins to get there, but I know there will be construction and lots of rain rain rain. two dying hurricanes were hovering around this week, and there was a flood warning issued for most of South Florida this week.

My bro has been trying to get me to visit him since I got back in town, but I am going now for three reasons:

  1. I want to hang out with my brother in his natural environment for the first time in 5 or 6 years.
  2. I am building a world-class website for my bro, so he can promote things and build his evil empire.
  3. Eric works at the Apple Store, and he gets a family discount: hooray PowerMac G5!!

More news to come once things get a little more official.

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Griffin Technology Rocks

Thu, 10/06/2005 - 02:54 -- rprice

I was cruising around looking for deals today and I once again came across Griffin Technology’s iTalk voice recorder for iPod. I always wondered “can you ever get that audio of your device?” In the process of searching for the answer, I saw some other great products that make life easier.

iTalk - Turn your iPod into a simple monophonic voice recorder. This device has a built in speaker and microphone, but also has a mini-jack for mono input and one for standard iPod stereo out. I think this takes the term Podcasting to a new level. Also see the iFM that loses the mic in and stereo outs, but allows you to listen to or record FM (but not AM) radio.
Records to 8kHz 16-bit mono WAV files. Yes, you can remove the files from your iPod.

iBeam - turn you iPod into a flashlight or a laser pointer. Cheap and fun at a presentation.
$1999 (street $10)

radio SHARK - Basically, this is a TiVO for AM/FM radio. It comes with software to help you set up favorite shows and preset stations, and even has the feature that lets you pause live radio.

iMic - A simple USB preamp for $40. Need I say more? iMic supports both Mic level and line level input. It also supports line level output for connecting speakers or an external recording device. Great for music hobbyists and poor geeks.

SmartDeck - This is great. If you use your iPod in your car through a tape deck, you will love this device. It connects to the accessory port on top of the iPod amd iPod mini and turns your tape deck controls into forward, back, play, and pause. Automatically pauses iPod when tape playback stops (i.e. turn of the radio or change radio mode). Only $5-$10 more than a regular “car kit”.

TuneJuice - Backup battery for iPod that won’t bust your wallet. Takes a standard 9 volt battery. Boasts up to 8 hours of playback time like all the other accessories, even if it is not as sleek and player-hugging. Since Li-ion batteries take more power to charge from a full drain, gets more like 4 hours from a dead iPod battery. I personally would choose this solution over a $70 rechargable battery or a $30-$50 car power adapter. Well, maybe the $25 PowerPod wouldn’t be too bad.

Turntable Grounding Cable - For the vintage music lover, the Turntable Cable provides the classic left-right-ground input to a standard stereo mini-jack for attachment to your computer, iMic, or other input device. The grounding wire helps eliminate electronic interferance from your classic turntable. Griffin also provides free recording software with filters and equalizers designed to help you archive your vynil.

I doubt I would buy all of these products, but the the iTalk and TuneJuice are definitely on my list, and the iBeams are just so cheap, but I already have a laser pointer. Most of the other products are out of my price range, or duplicate functions of products I already own.

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Devices I’d love to see for real

Mon, 10/03/2005 - 15:23 -- rprice

Doing some random browsing, I came across a concept device showcase from NEC, makers of random devices we see everywhere. Here are the two I thought had merit:

Soft-shell mobile phone, AKA tag:

“tag” is a new, malleable, casual communicator. It is not only soft but also flexible, for example, it can be hung from a belt or wrapped around the user’s arm. Shape-memorizing material and multiple pressure sensors allow the phone to change its shape according to the mode. The user can also alternate the mode by changing the shape.

This is cool because of a few things:

  1. No more sitting on your phone.
  2. No more phones in pockets.
  3. Probably e-paper, which rocks.
  4. Flexible electronics, fun times!

For serious, this sort of thing shoudl just be possible now, and needs to be on the shelf. true flexibility of design. Sure, the iPod Nano is small, but it is still locked into a rectangular shape! When I can see a device in the shape of a football, or integrated into my hat or headband (imagine the tag with a bit of elastic strapped to your head). Where are the voice commands, too? I also heard about guesture-controlled devices, but we have yet to see them on the market.

A mobile PC with dual displays, AKA duo-pc:

We use our favorite notebook on the desk and in a mobile environment. Then, why do we have to have more than one PC? Using short-range wireless connection and COG technology, a laptop PC will have more flexibility just like paper. This mobile PC has a multiple-layer hinge structure that allows users to open it as one large display on the desk and to use it as a tablet PC and a book browser for mobile use. It adapts to users’ environments and situations.

A cellular phone with dual displays, AKA duo-phone:

“duo-phone” is installed with a detachable display, which enables users to enjoy a videophone in a more natural manner, and a photo sensor adapting the next-generation barcode. It is a next-generation cellular telephone that can be also used as a “duo-pc” mouse and remote control.

Both of these devices, albeit prohibitively expensive, are where I wished the current generation of smart-phones and laptops/tablets would be headed. With devices serving so many functions these days, why constrict the input to straight up buttons. Using the phone as the mouse is an awesome twist. The form factor is also really nice, taking up the amount of space of an actual notebook. This small of a design would almost force flash memory or microdrives. I would pay $5,000 for a dual-display laptop with a configurable input side and a second screen for utility. Tablet PCs are also left-handed friendly, since you can rotate the display 90 degrees in any direction.

Gadgets are fun, but these gadgets just simplify things.


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