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Posted on October 22, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Apple’s sweet October: stock hits all-time high and users are hit by new Macs!

I’ll leave the boring economic & stock details to those really interested into this [so click here to read more Apple stock news], but Apple’s shares got up to $ 205.04 – super-atmospheric price!

For us, geeks, Mac-users and -lovers, what’s more important?

New products, of course!

On Oct 20th Apple introduced so many new produts and updates I barely can name all of them here, so let’s get a list to begin.

imac 2009new iMac, it’s that simple: 21.5 and 27 inches display, new CPUs up to Core i7 Quad processors, up to 16 GB Ram (from the 8 Gig previously allowed). Simply gorgeous!
Several built-to-order options for Graphics cards, CPU, hard disk units available.
new MacBook: white policarbonate chassis but with unibody construction style, multitouch trackpad, 13.3 Led display.
new Magic Mouse: almost an iPod touch or a multi-touch trackpad – in a mouse! All the mouse surface is smart enough to keep track of your gestures!
Mac Mini: despite all rumors (and death bell tolls) it’s still alive – and fine! The 2009 Mac Mini sports a faster processor, twice the RAM, energy-saving features and a lot more!

A product I’m really interested in is the Mac Mini with Snow Leopard.
A special edition Mac Mini fully loaded with 4 Gigs of RAM, two 500 GB hard disks and pre-installed Snow Leopard Server with special remote management features.
Right now it’s the best way (and the most affordable yet) to get a great Mac server for your Home/Office and to fully integrate PCs and Macs!

Most Apple product should be available by the time you read this or eligible for pre-order; here are some prices:
Apple iMac 21.5-Inch starts at US $ 1.199
Apple iMac 27-Inch starts at US $ 1.699
Apple MacBook available for US $ 999
Apple Magic Mouse available for US $ 69
Apple Mac mini goes starts from US $ 599
Mac Mini with Snow Leopard Server (unlimited license) is available for US $ 999.

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Posted on October 4, 2009 at 11:05 am

One month with Snow Leopard: the first aftermath

It’s been a month today since I installed Snow Leopard on my MacBook Pro 15″ unibody (late 2008) with 4 GB of RAM.
Final judgement?
It simply works, and slightly better indeed!

A few features I loved and checked with ‘real life’ test drive (on a unibody MacBook too, thx Alex!):

Installation process

Installation process is truly pain-free and foolproof: no fear, no complex settings, no need to be OS X-skilled! Just put in the Snow Leopard DVD, double click and wait!

Installation time

Installation time: it took less than 30 minutes on the MBP and a little more on the MB.
I guess the worst part of it goes with the slowness of DVD read cycles.

Don’t touch my settings!

All settings were preserved, no data loss, no settings loss!
I found each and every icon, Finder settings, Safari cookies, documents and application history…
Just as I switched off Leopard and switched it on again: apparently no sign of 10.6 intervention!

Blazingly-fast boot time

Boot time: my MBP now takes 45″ (yes, that’s 45 seconds!) from ‘pressing the ON button’ up to ‘full operating computer’ with a desktop that’s (still, my fault) cluttered with icons! With Leopard, as far as I can recall it took at least 1’40″…
On the MacBook it takes a little more, going near to one minute to get a fully working Mac.
Try that on a Win-based PC 😉

(Disk) Space: the final frontier

Before installing Snow Leopard on my MBP, I managed to get 17 GB of free space (out of the 250 GB size of the internal HD). After installing Snow Leopard, free disk space jumped to 25 GB!
It’s the first time ever in my (computer) life I ever see an operating system upgrade that frees (that much) space!

Browser wars

I confess… I’m a hungry Firefox user with tons of FF windows and tabs always taking up more CPU % than what’s available 😉 and I’m used to Safari just as a second-choice browser (work with a lot of FF plug-ins, BTW).
Now that Safari is the only (AFAIK) 64-bit browser available on my Mac, I see that the same amount of opened web sites on both browsers gives Safari a clear edge over FF!
CPU % and memory usage is a lot more efficient!
I guess here’s where Grand Central Dispatch (GCD) gets nasty and makes the difference.

Anyway, Xmas wishlist: please, bring me Firefox 64-bit!

Airport status menu

At last, the Airport status menu gives the only information a Mac-road-warrior needs: Wi-Fi signal strength before attempting to hook a wireless network, besides the usual “lock” sign stating a closed/password-based wi-fi hotspot.

Which applications dislike Snow Leopard?

Until now, only Chromium (a not-so-official Mac porting of the Google Chrome browser) refused to launch and closes immediately.
I’ve been checking this useful list (http://snowleopard.wikidot.com/) against 10.6-incompatible software and found just a few notable missing titles.

Hardware support

All the previously supported hardware still work with Snow Leopard.
Even my phone carrier HDSPA USB key from an obscure Taiwan company with almost indie drivers (rated for 10.5.x only) and vanishing support has been working from day one.

Suggestions

Any operating system upgrade should be done with a little planning, even on a Mac.
I love SuperDuper ease of operation and power: it allows you to almost replicate a fully working system on multiple drives.
If you need a proof of this, check Ken Rockwell’s blog and his “Free New Computer” post where Ken explains how he managed a disk upgrade on a Mac Quad G5 (not Intel!).

Conclusions

Go for it!
For less than US $ 30 you can get yourself not only the very latest operating system, usually a tech-geek desire, but a really useful and powerful way to revive your system, so go and grab a copy of Snow Leopard.
We’re not expecting miracles from Snow Leopard making older Intel-based Macs fly like an 8-Core Mac Pro, but at least you’ll get someting that fully exploits your existing hardware, makes a better use of available space and… eventually frees you from staring at a boot screen.

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Posted on March 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Apple updates Mac Pro, iMac and Mac Mini

Stop all rumors!
Apple has just updated Mac Pro, iMac and Mac Mini (after a few hours of down-service for world-wide online Apple Store).

Mac Pro -> new versions with 4- and 8-core, both with a redesigned interior,
iMac -> four versions: from 20″ (now US$ 1,199) and three 24″ versions (all with 4 GB RAM),
Mac mini -> all rumors confirmed: it’s totally revamped with NVidia 9400M graphics, in two models.
The new Mac mini sports two outstanding features:
– it’s the “greener” products from Apple ever (less than 13 W of power when idle, Apple says)
– has a crowded backside with 5 USB 2.0, DVI and mini-DisplayPort (and yes, FireWire 800!).

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Posted on February 28, 2009 at 1:11 am

Upgrading to 8 Gig a MacBook Pro 17″

Long-tim friend and Mac-Guru Lux has just received his brand new MacBook Pro 17″ unibody and couldn’t stand booting anything but and 8 GB behemoth!

Here’s the complete upgrage process, taking the unibody MacBook Pro 17″ from the out-of-the-box 4 GB RAM up to full 8 GB!

[ for truth’s sake: Lux’s MBP 17 comes fully equipped with the top 2.93 GHz processor and top 320 GB @ 7200 RPM ]

macbook pro 17

First screw…

macbook pro 17

… putting them all together (tiny screws slip easily away)

macbook pro 17

Off we go! Three bigger screws and a bunch of little ones and you can finally see what’s inside.

macbook pro 17

And here we go… taking off the lid!

macbook pro 17

A full top view, from top left, clockwise: SuperDrive DL, twin fan, hard disk 320 GB @ 7200 RPM (!) and (last but not least) the huge non-user-replaceable battery!

macbook pro 17

… side view…

macbook pro 17

The battery seal.

macbook pro 17

Upper top, the RAM dual banks.

macbook pro 17

Again the RAM banks.

macbook pro 17

No RAM at all!

macbook pro 17

Again, no RAM at all!

macbook pro 17

two 4-Gigs RAM modules fitting!

macbook pro 17

Closing the cover and…

macbook pro 17

Here’s the result: “About this Mac” reveals amazing details!

Check all pictures here.

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Posted on January 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm

MacBook Pro 17 unibody: huge, powerful and… available!

Have you been to Mars when Apple early this January announced the new MacBook Pro 17 unibody?
Time to refresh your memory, since it’s now available!

At first glance, you could easily mistake the new 17-inch MacBook Pro for its predecessor, the legendary 17-inch PowerBook G4 ( ; January 2006 ). The new model has roughly the same dimensions—at 15.4-by-10.4-by-1.0 inches and 6.8 pounds, it’s a shade wider, but a tenth of a pound lighter—and it retains the familiar aluminum enclosure and sleek design.

Inside, however, the new top-of-the-line Apple laptop incorporates not only a completely different processor, but a slew of other changes you should consider before deciding whether—or when—this is a machine for you. (you should…)

The MacBook Pro 17″ desktop replacement of Apple can also be classified as a multimedia notebook, because of its 3.1 kg and only 2.59 cm height.

Feature list at a glance:

  • Built-in lithium-polymer battery. Up to 8 hours of wireless productivity.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT discrete graphics processor and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics processor; 512MB of GDDR3 memory
  • 320GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
  • 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 memory; two SO-DIMM slots support up to 8GB
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    Double heart and double brain – 2 processors convince with the MacBook Pro 17 inch. The outstanding workmanship, the good battery runtime in MacOS X and the competitionless small weight for 17 inch notebook even allow a mobile usage. The disadvantage is a large heat development, like already with 15 the inch notebook.

    According the performance the flat 17 inch racer exceeds the 15 inch notebook somewhat and does not show any performance weaknesses.

    So? What are you waiting for?

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    Posted on January 7, 2009 at 11:10 am

    MacWorld 2009: a few new -yet cool- things introduced

    Still have to sort out all stuff that’s been announced yesterday.
    In a nutshell:

  • Apple MacBook Pro 17″ with unibody, 8-hour battery (even though non user-replaceable) and up to 8 GB RAM (!!!)
  • iLife ’09 which, along with all updates, introduces an interesting Garageband feature: music school lessons with the best artist around!
  • iWork ’09
    that introduces iWork.com, right now a public-beta online service for document sharing
  • iTunes pricing changes:

  • All Songs DRM-Free
  • Users Can Download Songs Directly Onto iPhone 3G Over Their 3G Network for the Same Price
  • In April 2009, Songs on iTunes Will be Available at Three Price Points
  • (check our partner site iPodPalace.com about this iTunes-related topic)

    Highly recommended: check these Garageband previews with music lessons from selected artists!

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    Posted on February 26, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    New Macbooks & MacBook Pros

    Just announced today!

    Apple Introduces New MacBook and MacBook Pro Models
    Multi-Touch Trackpad Comes to MacBook Pro

    Apple today updated its popular MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook lines with the latest Intel Core 2 Duo processors, larger hard drives and 2GB of memory standard in most models. In addition, MacBook Pro includes the latest NVIDIA graphics processors, now with up to 512MB of video memory, and Apple’s innovative Multi-Touch trackpad, first introduced in MacBook Air.

    Not that much to say, always better as usual… and some price slashing as well!

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    Posted on January 18, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    MacBook Air, Time Capsule and more: first hand experience

    Just attended Apple’s presentation for MacBook Air and all other products coming from MacWorld Expo 2008.

    macbook airImpressed by the MacBook Air: so thin, so usable!
    Manage to get your hands on one of these and see for yourself.
    It’s so easy to forget this is an ultra-portable computer: full size keyboard, 13,3″ screen (LED-driven, immediately bright and soooo much shiny).
    2 Gigs of RAM and a 5-hours+ battery get you running & working for a long time!

    Quite impressed by Time Capsule: a must for every serious Mac (and Windows) user.

    Will put update all info pretty soon; for some picture, have a look at my Flickr page.

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    Posted on January 9, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Apple’s announcement for the beginning of 2008: new Mac Pro – bi-quad-core! – and new XServe too!

    Ok, most of us won’t be amazed by the new XServe: only guys hiding in server farm will actually, but the value-for-money ratio is quite impressive.
    Under US$ 3,000 will get you a screaming Leopard server!

    The real news is about the (not only) improved Mac Pro:

    The fastest Mac ever, the new Mac Pro has eight processor cores and a new system architecture that delivers up to twice the performance of its predecessor.* It combines two of Intel’s new 45 nanometer Quad-Core Xeon processors running up to 3.2 GHz, powerful new graphics and up to 4TB of internal storage […]

    What about graphics?

    All-new high-performance graphics cards from ATI and NVIDIA make Mac Pro graphics technology even more cutting edge. The standard graphics card — an ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory, PCI Express 2.0, and two dual-link DVI ports — provides great performance for typical creative applications. And you get dual 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Display support out of the box.

    For motion graphics, 3D modeling, rendering, or animation, you’ll need the greater graphics horsepower offered by the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512MB of GDDR3 memory and latest-generation NVIDIA GPU technology.

    The optional NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600 graphics card is the ultimate workstation-class graphics card available, with a massive 1.5GB of GDDR3 memory and a 3D stereo port for stereo-in-a-window applications.

    All of these cards feature the latest-generation unified shader model support. Compared to dedicated pixel and vertex shaders, shaders are no longer special-purpose and can now be utilized based on the needs of the graphics application.

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    Posted on November 18, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Run Mac OS X On Your Asus Eee PC

    You may not know about Asus Eee PC: it’s an ultraportable PC (or UMPC), with tiny screen, no hard disk (it’s flash-disk based), a webcam and runs natively a Linux version under a Celeron-class processor or Win XP with some hacks.

    Since when it has beeb first annouced, the Eee PC has raised mixed blessings.
    From my point of view it’s an interesting approach to the portability issue: slimmer, lighter and power-savy.

    asus eee pc mac os xNow Tuaw comes with this pretty suggestion: why not try to run Mac OS X (intel version) on the Asus Eee PC?

    Quoting from Tuaw:

    Naturally, this hack falls into a legally gray area, so you’ll want to proceed with extreme caution. You also have to bear in mind that the build of Mac OS X floating around on BitTorrent isn’t exactly legal either, although the PC-patched copy makes for a “moderately easy install.” Based on the specs on the Asus Eee PC, you’ll probably want to stick with Tiger rather than Leopard.

    With all this hacking and modding, you’ve got to wonder why Apple hasn’t created a more compact version of the MacBook to compete against this beautiful UMPC. Call it the MacBook Nano and it’d sell like hotcakes.

    Full story on Tuaw.

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    Posted on August 3, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Upcoming iMac on Aug 7th? End-of-life for Mac Mini?

    According to several news sites, August 7th should see a “product presentation” from Apple.

    A new iMac, some rumors on new iPod Nano and an update for iLife suite.

    Check here and here.

    Speculation arises on Mac Mini’s life cycle coming to an end…

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    Posted on June 5, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Updated MacBook Pro: faster processor, LED-backlit display and upgraded graphics card

    As rumors predicted a new lineup of MacBook Pros has been announced today by Apple.

    Not exactly an update of the previous models: some brand new features have been introduced:

  • New Core 2 Duo processors, up to 2.4 GHz,
  • brand new NVidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics controller with 256 MB of GDDR3 VRam,
  • RAM now expandable to the full 4 GB (previously: 3GB max),
  • hard disk up to 160 GB (15″ model) and 250 GB (17″ model).

    Another welcome feature comes from the LED-backlit displays that provides a more battery-efficient and bright view on both 15″ and 17″ models.
    17″ has an option for 1920 x 1200 maximum high resolution, making the ideal choice for road warriors.

    Good news about the price: 1.999 for the 2.2 GHz 15″ model up to 2.799 for the 17″ (and some US$ 100 more for the high-res display)

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