Intel Core i5: Multitasking Awesomeness June 21, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews, Teen Info, Web , add a comment
Intel Core i5. Whoooosh!
OK, let me say this from the beginning – if you are buying a new laptop for school, for anything – get a Core i5.
I’ve had the opportunity to be able to try out a laptop with the new chips, and to sum it up – it’s fast. Really, really fast. Think of things that you do often on your computer – web browsing, gaming, note taking in word, watching videos on Youtube, listening to music on iTunes, chatting with friends in AIM, updating things on Twitter, watching shows on Hulu.
I went through a few days worth of these usual things – and the experience is insane. Load times when opening applications is effectively non-existent. Hulu videos just played, at full resolution, with almost 0 lag. CDs ripped into iTunes in minutes, and huge downloads – including the entire game of Portal on Steam, a task that brought my not underpowered Macbook down for almost a day, finished in under an hour. The game itself ran flawlessly. Flash games ran so fast that a friend of mine had trouble playing, being so used to a slower speed. Youtube videos streamed and loaded in seconds, even in HD. The Zune software, which I had been running at a snails pace on my netbook, was fluid and fast. Word, always a pain to load, taking forever to open, just was there.
Apple News from WWDC 2010 June 7, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Apple, Computers, Mp3 players and iPods, Music, Tablets , add a comment
News from Apple – WWDC 2010 Steve Job’s Keynote
Apple, as well, pretty much everyone expected, made a few new product announcements today. So let’s jump right in.
First off is an iBooks update, for those of you with iPads. Basically, added highlighting, notes, and bookmarking. Also can do PDFs, not just ePub formatted books. Nice.
Also announced was a Netflix app for the iPhone (summer), Farmville (end of June), and Guitar Hero (now).
Next, as was previously exploded over the internet a while back, iPhone news. Specifically, a new iPhone – the iPhone 4. It has a new design, being made out of steel and glass, and is a quarter thinner then the 3GS. Looking very slick.
What’s new? Hardware-wise, there’s a front-facing camera, and a second mike for better sound. The screen has been totally redone, using some new tech, for 4x resolution. Supposed to be much, much sharper. Furthermore, the Apple A4 chip of the iPad has been added to the iPhone as well, which helps battery life and speed. Battery life now supposed to be at 7 hours 3G talk, 6 hours 3G browsing, 10 hours WiFi browsing, 10 hours music, 40 hours of music, and 300 hours of standby. Motion sensing has a new gyroscope, for full 6-axis motion control. New camera, 5MP, but has a new light sensor (supposed to make pictures better). HD video recording, at 72op. (Niiice!), with flash and sharing built in.
Another note – you will need to get a new SIM card, as the iPhone 4, like the iPad, uses MicroSIM cards.
Software: iMovie for iPhone – to go along with the new HD video camera. Looks insane – transition, effects, text, themes. On an iPhone. Can add in audio tracks from iTunes, photos. Built in geolocation for map effects. Again – this is on a PHONE. Will cost $5. Bing Search added along Google and Yahoo!.
On the iPhone OS 4.0 – it’s been renamed. Now called iOS 4. Some further showing off of the multitasking, Folders, iBooks for iPhone, and other updates.
And the last thing – that front facing camera? It’s for video calling! Called FaceTime, works over WiFi (no 3G, although they’re working on getting it soon.) iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only, obviously. Works with both cameras, in both portrait and landscape.
iOS 4 will be out June 21st, and FINALLY for free for iPod Touches all well. (Seriously, this was needed). Full upgrade for 3GS and 3rd-gen iTouches, iPhone 3G and 2nd-gen Touch get limited. (But it’s FREE!)
So! Pricing is $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB. Colors will be black and white, launching on June 24th. 3GS still available in 8GB for $99
So, that’s it. I’ll be posting a review of the iPhone 4 as soon as I can get my hands on one. Check back here soon!
[Pix from Apple.com]
Caffeine – MiniReview May 23, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews , add a comment
Caffeine. Need. Caffeine.
Another random little Mac application. And yet, so useful. To ask a simple question – ever have to download some really big file (say, Portal) or need to sync, backup or restore your iPod (a task taking slightly less time then the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy). But even more annoying, is when you’re doing this on a laptop. A laptop, which goes to sleep to conserve battery life after around 15 minutes. So, you’re stuck either messing around with your battery settings or waiting at your computer for hours. Enter Caffeine. Caffeine is a little application that sits in your menubar, and has one purpose. Click on the little coffee cup icon, and your computer stays awake – no screensaver, no sleep, nothing. Hence the name, Caffeine.
It works flawlessly though, and is absurdly useful. Streaming an episode of Chuck from Hulu? Caffeine, eat dinner, and enjoy. Converting a movie? Caffeine. It’s singularly purposed, but incredibly useful.
So, go on – download it here. It’s free, so you’ve got no excuse. And next time where you’re trying to process a video for history class at 4 AM – at least you’ll be able to keep the computer awake.
Apple Updates the MacBook May 23, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Apple, Computers , add a comment
Looking for a MacBook with all the basic specs but not interested in spending an extra $200 on the all-aluminum design of the 13-inch MacBook Pro? Apple has announced this week some modest, yet nice updates to the MacBook line that pretty much puts the two models in the same ballpark.
As we saw in the recent MacBook Pro update, the big gains on the Macbook were not in design (the Macbook still rocks the new unibody plastic with the glass multitouch trackpad, and still lacks the SD card slot found on the MacBook Pro) but graphics and battery life. It boasts the new NVIDIA 320M graphics and a 10 hour battery, while also bumping up other specs like the Intel Core 2 Duo processor (up to 2.4 GHZ standard like on the MacBook Pro 13, compared to the 2.26 GHZ of the previous models).
The best part though is that Apple did all this while keeping the price the same old at $999 (with the Education Store offering it for $949), which is still $200 cheaper than the 13 inch Aluminum MacBook Pro. Its worth noting, however, that the Pro ships with 4 GB of RAM compared to the MacBook’s standard 2, though for $100 you could upgrade the RAM to 4 GB, and for another $50 the hard drive to 320 GB– a significant increase from the 250 GB standard of both models. All that still leaves the Macbook $50 cheaper.
Why Apple would update this to be so close to their high end line in terms of pure specs I’m not sure, but in any case– anyone out there looking for a new MacBook gonna go with this over the MacBook Pro 13?
The new MacBooks are available now from Apple.com.
First Look: Microsoft Office 2010 May 16, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Computers, First Look/Reviews, Microsoft , 1 comment so far
A lot (if not pretty much all) of us have relied on Microsoft’s Office software for our lives over the years, whether for notes, school papers, or creating fliers. Every couple of years Microsoft introduces a major revision to the Office line, and 2010 is another one of those years. And while the basics of PowerPoint, Word, OneNote and all the other Office programs have stayed the same, there have been some pretty solid improvements that while may not be “must haves,” are without question appreciated and make Office even better and easier to use.
I’ve been testing out the beta (i.e. testing, not final) version of Office 2010 as my main Office suite for the past couple of months– using it to write papers, take notes, manage email, and create presentations; and I got to say– I really like it better than the older Office 2007. I’m not gonna go into a full out review of the new Office yet (partly because not everything is finalized in the beta I’m using), but here are a few thoughts.
HP Introduces the New Envy 14 and Envy 17 May 8, 2010Posted by Eli Blumenthal in : Computers , add a comment
So you’re in the market for a new sleek, stylish, all-aluminum laptop but don’t want something from a company with a fruit as it’s logo. What you gonna do? If I were in your spot I’d take a look at HP’s updates to their high-end Envy line (which you may recall we covered last year). HP really is providing some solid alternatives to those MacBook Pros, particularly with these new updates on the new Envy 17 and Envy 14 (which replaces the Envy 13). What’s in these new laptops? Read on for all the details.
Doxie – Scanner of Awesomeness? April 14, 2010Posted by Chaim Gartenberg in : Computers, First Look/Reviews , 2comments
Doxie. Saving my back in the near future?
So, this one’s a bit out there for me, but it was too cool not to let you guys know about. Yes, a scanner. But hear me out. Scanning stuff, if you think about it for a student, is a great idea. And I carry around 50 pounds of folders every day to know that I carry around more paper with me then that produced by a court of law. But yesterday, I came across this. Doxie. A small, portable, full color scanner. Easily could fit in a schoolbag or locker – just slide the paper right through. Scans in color and black and white.
And suddenly, a vision came into my head. Of getting a handout from my history teacher – of all the hundreds of handouts I’ve gotten. And just scanning them in on the spot. Never having to carry around asignment sheets for essays, never losing another critical chart – the potential is HUGE, especially for a student. And if all it did was just scan, that’d be great. But Doxie takes it a step further – by having built in integration with a whole bunch of stuff – including Acrobat, Google Docs, Flickr, Evernote, Twitter, iPhoto – just scan and have it automatically imported, or sent out to the internet cloud. And the dream gets better – not just scanning all my school stuff, but having them available for my whole class on our Google Group through Google Docs.
Furthermore, it’s totally portable – just plug it into a laptop – it powers off USB, and you’re all set. It’s also got some slick photo scanning tricks up it’s sleeve – automatically straightening, cropping, and importing to the photo software or site of your choice. So for anyone looking to have a scanner for non-school stuff, it’s not bad.
The clincher though is price – $130. Before you start losing it over a scanner that costs more then a Benjamin, go to Staples or Best Buy and search for scanner. I’ll wait. Most scanners, you might have seen, cost equal or significantly more – arguably, they offer higher resolution, and such, but lack the portability and application support Doxie has. And lets face it, you’re NEVER going to need to do anything beyond basic scanning.
Basically – I seriously want one of these. A portable scanner designed for sharing, uploading, and documents sounds perfect for a teenager – whether you’re looking to go paperless in school, or just manage your old-school pictures.
Check out Doxie here.
(And to the guys out there – it comes with some skins for the device, so you don’t have to carry something around with hearts on it.)
[Photo credit - getdoxie.com]
HP Slate – the iPad Killer? April 13, 2010Posted by Zev Rosenbaum in : Computers, Microsoft, Tablets , comments closed
Back in January, we caught a short glimpse of the HP Slate, HP’s new tablet. Last week, Engadget uncovered some “unofficial” specs of the new tablet compared to the iPad. Later that day HP released a trailer of the Slate doing things that the iPad can’t do, including video chatting and taking pictures (that’s right, two cameras– one on the front for video chatting and one on the back for taking regular pictures), as well as:
- 8.9 inch multi-touch screen, with stylus support– While this is a drop smaller than the iPad’s bigger 9.7 inch screen, the ability to use a stylus for writing on it is very interesting, particularly for use in school.
- A USB slot– shown ironically through connecting an iPod cable to the Slate, which can run iTunes because…
- The Slate runs on Windows 7 (with some custom HP Touch software thrown in as well)
- Available with either 32 or 64 GB of storage– Like the iPad, just you can also add even more storage via an SD card slot with room to add up to a massive 128 GB! (Though don’t run for that 128 GB yet, as it probably right now costs about as much as the whole tablet, though still awesome for future use.)
- WiFi and optional 3G for $50 more– meaning that for $600 you get a 32 GB Slate with 3G, compared to $730 for a 32 GB iPad WiFi+3G (this is even cheaper than the 16 GB WiFi+3G which starts at $630). No word on what data plans for this will be like (if they’ll be like the iPads $15 for 250 MB a month and $30 for unlimited or like the usual $60 for a laptop data plan).
- Output to an HDTV through some sort of dock– so you can share your photos and videos on your big HDTV.
- A base price of $549 for 32 GB Slate and $599 for the 64 GB model (both without the optional 3G), whereas with the WiFi only 32 GB iPad starts at $600 and the 64 GB start out at $700.
Obviously, the Skype and camera features could make the HP Slate a thorn in the iPad’s side and we will see if these features will make the HP Slate more customer-friendly than the iPad (just as a note: HP hasn’t officially released a spec sheet of the Slate nor announced pricing, things– like pricing– is still very much rumor and subject to change). Check out one of the HP promo videos of the Slate, as well as the leaked iPad-Slate comparison sheet after the break.