When will Apple say "Goodbye" to the Combodrive?

Today Apple released the long awaited updates to the MacBook Pro, and tagging along we also got an updated "non-Pro" MacBook.

Looking at what's new with these updates, one can quickly point:
  • Penryn-based Intel processors
  • 17" LED-Backlit display option
  • Bluetooth 2.1 on the MacBook Pro line
  • Multitouch trackpad on the the MacBook Pro line
  • Better video cards on the MacBook Pro line
  • More storage accross the board
Although they may not be groundbreaking updates, they are nice updates. One thing that really caught my attention tho, was Apple's continuing insistence on offering a Combodrive on the entry-level MacBook.

This discrepancy would've been OK circa 2003, but not today. I mean, how much does it really cost Apple to include a DVD-RW burning on the entry-level MacBook? Nowadays I'm betting the price different between a super- and combodrive is nonexistent. It's understandable the storage difference, even the slower CPU, but this?

What's the point of shipping iMovie with all its HD-editing glory when u can't burn the content to a DVD so you can watch it on a TV? Maybe Apple has a warehouse full of combodrives since 2003 collecting dust and they wanna get rid of them any way possible. Perhapsd eep inside the Curpertino-HQ somebody still thinks that Combodrives are useful? Who knows..

To me this is just a greedy move. There's no "cutting-corners" excuse that will hold up today with the prices of DVD-RW DL Drives. So when will Apple say "Goodbye" to the Combodrive? By the look of things, not any time soon.

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Posted by Sebastian at 2/26/2008 09:59:00 PM | 30 comments read on

10.5.2 is Out! - Quick Impressions thus far

Going against my speculations of when it would be out ( I said a week ago), Apple finally released the long awaited 10.5.2 update to the masses of Mac users anxiously awaiting yesterday. Weighting in at a hefty 353 MBs (for the combo updater), it sure brought some fixing goodness for the Leopard. So how was it?
  • The delta updater was around  180 MBs on my 12 in. PowerBook running 10.5.1 with every other update installed.
  • The installation took a while (significantly more than any other OSX update I have done to date).
  • First time I see "Patching files" as an Updater status.
  • My PowerBook rebooted twice in a row, before going to the desktop (Intel Macs only reboot once so I've heard).
  •  The dock and menubar were slow to appear once the Mac reached the desktop.
  • There's a new Time Machine icon on the menu bar next to the volume, bluetooth, etc.
  • It's now possible to disable the transparency on the menubar. (Not available on my 12 in. PowerBook with an Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200)
  •  Stacks can finally be viewed as lists, or just show a folder icon instead of the contents (nice!)
  • After the 10.5.2 update there was a Leopard Graphics Update 1.0 available (48.9 MBs).
So what went wrong with 10.5.2?
  • Even after the suppose Airport fixes, my Airport performance is significantly weaker than it was on Tiger.
  • Another Airport Bug: After a machine restart the Mac doesn't rejoin the network as it should.
I have change the wireless encryption from WEP/SSID Broadcast: OFF to WPA/SSID Broadcast: ON to see if I can pinpoint what is going wrong with my wireless after 10.5.2
Besides the Airport issues, 10.5.2 has been behaving well thus far. I recommend updating if you are running Leopard, especially if you are a soon to be Aperture 2 owner.

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Posted by Sebastian at 2/12/2008 08:25:00 PM | 38 comments read on

Tooble - Save YouTube Vids to Your iPod

They are plenty of alternatives to the popular question in many people's mind: "How can I get YouTube videos into my iPod?" PodTube, TubeSock, Ares Tube on the PC,  something-Pod, or something-Tube, there's plenty to choose from. Problem is, some of them are payware, some are limited-demos, and some just plain suck.

Meet Tooble. Developed by a pair of high school kids, Tooble offers the ability to transfer YouTube vids to your iPod with an easy-to-use interface and most importantly, its free. It does rely on the wonders of Perian to make its magic happen (transcode .flv to .m4v). Should you not have Perian installed on your Mac, you are given the chance to download and install it on the first-run of Tooble.

As a free alternative Tooble works very well, matter of fact, it works better than some pay-for alternatives. So if you have a Mac, and you are looking for a way to move that evil squirrel look into your iPod, give Tooble a try!

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Posted by Sebastian at 2/08/2008 09:47:00 AM | 17 comments read on

Photo Booth - The Turtle App from 10.5

With the release of Leopard, many of us that have old macs finally got access to features that the newer Macs are shipping with for quite some time now, namely Front Row and Photo Booth. One of the first things I did after I installed 10.5 was to test out these "new" apps and see how they performed on my PowerBook.

Front Row runs amazingly well. All the features from the current Apple TV software (not the one demo'ed at Macworld) are available for use. Although the lack of a remote to control it from a distance, kinda kills the whole point of the application. Don't get me wrong, I can navigate the Front Row menus no problem using keyboard arrows and the Escape key..but...it's not the same.

Then we have Photo Booth. The whole premise of Photo Booth is pretty cool, I must say It's basically the photo booth from the Mall brought home, meets the House of Mirrors from the fair, best of all: -Free!. Since my PowerBook does not ship with a built-in iSight, i had connect my Sony DV-Cam via the firewire port. The camera works great, sadly Photo Booth does not.

Blame it on the under-performing G4 processor within, but the real-time Core video filters proved too much for the little 12 in. PowerBook that could. And this is why, with this type of hardware, Photo Booth gets the Turtle App award. The machine struggles to keep up with the live camera feed and apply those nifty Core filters, it's a beach ball frenzy. Maybe Photo Booth performs admirably well on my PowerMac with dual G5 processors, but on this machine its just not going anywhere.

So there you have it, my first Leopard report: Photo Booth on a 12-inch PowerBook is a no-go.

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Posted by Sebastian at 2/04/2008 06:24:00 PM | 16 comments read on

Unleashing Leopard on a 12 in. PowerBook

Earlier this week, after pondering about it for some time, I installed 10.5 on one of Macs. The victim? My trusty 12 in. PowerBook. How does Leopard behave on this old Mac notebook? Surprisingly well, I must admit.

My PowerBook has a 1.33 Ghz PowerPC G4 processor and just 768 of RAM. Far from what you may call a "great performer" when compared to the intel Macs these days. Despite my lacking hardware specs, 10.5 performs very nicely. Sure they are some very small hiccups here and there, but they don't take away anything from the great Leopard experience I am having on this hardware. All of the eye-candy is there, except for the non-transparent menu bar (which can be considered a good thing for some Leopard users). All the features that I could test work with no complain: -Screen sharing via iChat, Screen Sharing my other Mac from the network (pic), Spaces, the new iCal (now it shows the current date on the Dock!!), etc. Sadly, I couldn't test how well the Machine of Time makes a backup because I don't currently have an external HD.

I must say that so far everything is good with Leopard (even after the dreaded 10.5.1 update) on my 12 in. PowerBook. Stay tuned for a feature by feature break down of my trials and tribulations with Leopard.

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Posted by Sebastian at 2/01/2008 12:54:00 AM | 12 comments read on

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