Another Week Another Mac Clone

May 29th, 2009

quoThis is becoming an all too common occurrence, Psystar is already selling their Mac clones (although they’ve filed for bankruptcy) and last week it was “Russian Macs” now comes Quo, obviously looking to upset the status… quo ok bad pun but hey it was too easy. Quo however is looking to do something other Mac cloners haven’t tried thus far, they actually want to open a retail location.

The California based company states their showroom and website are a go for an early June launch. “It’s exciting. We are trying to stay as close to Apple as we can with our products,” Rashantha De Silva, Quo founder, told CNET News. “We are trying to mimic things as much as we can. I’m hoping that Apple sees the value in what we are doing.”

Something tells me they won’t and Quo will be another in a long line of litigants with a looming court date with Apple. But… on the other hand, this constant barrage of would be OS X original equipment manufacturers might eventually wear Apple down, or more specifically wear down Apple’s board of directors. Never mind the Hackintosh community for a moment, the legitimate (or would be legitimate) companies already lined up and all but begging Apple to license OS X to them would certainly boost the company’s bottom line by a considerable amount.

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Weekly Twitter Updates for 2009-05-25

May 25th, 2009
  • More Mac Clones Surface: According to Jim Dalrymple over at C|Net news another Mac clone manufacturer has s.. http://cli.gs/Q60qMa #
  • The forums are finally back up and running, feel free to drop on by http://cli.gs/qzMs3B #

More Mac Clones Surface

May 21st, 2009

rus_macAccording to Jim Dalrymple over at C|Net news another Mac clone manufacturer has surfaced, but the majority of us will never see one of the “Russian Mac’s” as they’re, you guessed it marketed and sold only in Russia.

RussianMac is the latest company to release a Mac clone and test Apple’s resolve to stop companies from selling its operating system. On its Web site, RussianMac says that a full version of Mac OS X Leopard comes pre-installed on its computers. The company also confirms that the operating system is able to receive automatic system updates from Apple once installed.

Ethical judgments aside It’s interesting to see another Mac clone manufacturer pop-up, can we expect other to wade in and check the water? Again without passing judgment either way as to the legitimacy of selling non-Apple PC’s running OS X it does raise a serious question.

Wouldn’t Apple stand to profit by selling their own universal X86 version of OS X?  Of course that’s for Apple to decide themselves but if I’m a Apple shareholder that’s a question I want answered. Has that possibility been explored (I’m sure it has) and if the decision was made not to move forward on it, why?

B.Greenway

Voice Command and Control for the iPhone?

April 21st, 2009

steve-jobs-apple-iphoneSo when I first read about voice command and control for the iPhone I skipped right past thoughts of “dial mom” or “dial pizza hut” and went right to ”DVR” and “channel 808”. Obviously I’m jumping ahead of things quite a bit but voice automating some common control functions in a home theater might be handy.

The first useful application I could envision for a voice activated home theater interface might be something like “lights!” another could be “off!” yeah I know these are things you could accomplish with a remote but sometimes searching around for a remote in a dark room can prove to be a frustrating experience.

Another cool what-if feature could be something like a bookmark, or look-up command for a song playing that you want to find later. The possibilities really are endless and as the iPhone as a remote platform gains strength, the more functionality the better.

B.Greenway

The Apple (Air)Remote, You May Already Own One

June 13th, 2008

I just ran across this over at CEPro, finally, could this be the remote control solution Apple heads have been waiting for? No time for a full post but this is just too cool; I can’t wait to get my hands on this.. uh.. this iRemote? oh no did I just say that?

iremote

London-based integrator Steve Moore has created AirRemote, “the greatest little TV remote you’ve every used,” he says, “and way cheaper than most of the things in [CE Pro's] Remote Control round-up.”

Along with the AirRemote application for iPhone, the heart of the system is a low-cost communications box from Global Cache, which takes IP commands from the iPhone and converts them to infrared, serial or contact-closure for controlling everything from a home theater system to lighting controls to motorized blinds.

Air Remote works with the iPhone and iPod Touch. Here’s an example of the compatible IP to IR interface: Global Cache Home Network Adapter-8114

B.Greenway

Elgato EyeTV 3.0.2 Update

May 14th, 2008

Elgato has released an update to their Mac OS X PVR software. Unlike most other updates lately there is a detailed list of new features available. From the update page on Elgato’s web site:

Full Support for H.264 Broadcasts

EyeTV now fully supports digital television H.264 broadcasts in standard TV and HDTV resolutions. More and more countries are adopting the H.264 video compression standard for digital television. H.264 provides excellent picture quality at lower data rates than MPEG-2, thus reducing the amount of bandwidth required per channel. The end result is that television stations can broadcast more channels, while using the same number of transmitters.

Closed Captions Support in QuickTime Format Exports (North America only)

EyeTV now supports the exporting of ATSC/NTSC Closed Captions for use on iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV. The Closed Captions are also supported for playback in QuickTime and iTunes.

Separate Deinterlacing Options for Standard TV and HDTV

EyeTV now has separate deinterlacing options for Standard TV and HDTV.

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HBO Shows in iTunes

May 14th, 2008

Apple posted a press release on their web site today announcing that HBO original programming will now be available for purchase in the iTunes music store. From the press release:

HBO and Apple® today announced that programming from HBO is now available for purchase and download on the iTunes® Store (www.itunes.com). New HBO programs on iTunes include the Emmy Award-winning programs “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Deadwood” and “Rome,” as well as the critically acclaimed hits “Flight of the Conchords” and “The Wire.” The iTunes Store is the world’s most popular online TV store with over 150 million episodes sold and features the world’s largest catalog with over 800 shows (over 20,000 episodes).

Shows are priced at $1.99 or $2.99 per episode (apparently depending on how bad HBO thinks you want to watch a particular program.)

A quick peek at the iTunes Music Store revealed a dedicated link for HBO Programming. Is this the next step in replacing cable with ala carte programming? Stay tuned… News at 11.

Matt Brinkhoff

FrankenMac as a HTPC?

May 13th, 2008

Thanks to Psystar and their “Open Computer” Mac clones (aka FrankenMacs) have been all over the Internets lately. As a Mini owner and a FrankenMac dabbler I thought I should weigh in on the issue as it relates to the Home Theater environment. The short version of the story? Move along, nothing to see here. The long version is that there are really 5 main reasons to choose a Mini over the Psystar box.

1. It’s small.

The Mac Mini lives up to it’s name. It’s compact and it’s form factor integrates easily with most home theater setups. If you think that having a mini tower sitting on the floor next to your entertainment stand is 733t then there is a reasonable chance you’re not a huge fan of OS X anyway.

2. It’s not ugly.

Let’s face it… Apple has some kick <bleep> designs and the Mini shows it. It’s clean lines and understated brushed metal finish look very much at home parked underneath your fancy new flat panel set. This is in sharp contrast to almost every other PC maker’s beige/black/silver box offerings.

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iPhone Quickie

May 12th, 2008

iphone

So I’ve had an iPhone for a few weeks now but was just too busy to update. Simply put this thing rocks, without beating already familiar review points to death I’ll try and keep it brief. The learning curve on this thing is incredibly low, outside of not being able to connect to my mini because of an un-powered (underpowered) USB hub and not being patient enough to actually read the instructions, I haven’t had any significant problems whatsoever with the phone.

I have to say being able to catch up on Twitter and Digg while standing in line or waiting on someone makes me wish I’d dumped my “traditional” phone a long time ago. I’m screwed if someone comes up with a compelling game for this thing… Yeah I had a bit of buyer’s remorse right after the purchase but now that the sting of dropping the coin has subsided I couldn’t be happier with it. More importantly I couldn’t imagine going back to my old, cheap, featureless Nokia phone.

B.Greenway

AppleTV 2.0.2 is Out

April 15th, 2008

Late Monday Apple unleashed a new version of the AppleTV “Take Two” software. Coming in at 2.0.2 this (apparently) minor update contains some non-specific behind the scenes bug fixes. (In other words it’s a typical bugfix update from Apple. “We’re gonna fix a bunch of stuff but you’re not gonna know what we fixed MMMMKAY?”)

Some users on the Apple support forums are reporting that they have noticed increased responsiveness and even some fixes for crashes when using the 5GHz band with 802.11n transfers.

AppleTV owners can update their boxes by choosing Update Software from the Settings screen. The download time will depend on your connection speed and how many others are greedily pulling down the update. This is the second AppleTV update so far this year.

Matt Brinkhoff

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