nullstream weblog - November 2005

Predictable Mini Rumors


November 29, 2005 01:26 AM PST

Well it is that time of year again for more Apple rumors in advance of Macworld Expo. This one is pretty much the exact consolidated Mac mini wish list that was on like a zillion blogs the day the original mini was announced. See Think Secret.

Lets review shall we (before Cringley gets wind of this and somehow bends it into the worlds greatest conspiracy to take over, blah blah blah):

Intel processor (six months sooner than expected)
Front Row 2.0 (more goodies and assuming built in IR for remote)
tuner and DVR functionality
Built in iPod dock
Possibly larger

So is Think Secret right again? (For that matter, are they just Apples stealth marketing arm keeping up the buzz?) Or is it another I wish list? A larger, faster drive and a tuner card would be required adding cost and size. One thing though, if they did manage to pull of a Media Center PC style box for under 800 I think it would really give MS a run for the money. Ahh, how cool would it be if you could actually run MS MCE on it? Hmm. Back to reality. I predict that the next mini will certainly have Front Row 1.x and the IR port on it. But I doubt Apple is ready for full MCE functionality with tuner.

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Obligatory Xbox 360 Post


November 21, 2005 09:52 AM PST

Well this is the week. I don't have much to say on the topic, just adding to the 360 blogging noise.

You can check BestBuy inventories here. 200 premium 360's for launch at the bellevue store. I predict that there will be more than that number who leave the store disappointed after they sell out Tuesday morning.

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Intel iBook Rumor


November 16, 2005 10:28 PM PST

powerbook.jpgThere have been two rumors lately that Apple will announce the Intel Mac this January at MacWorld. Forbes thinks it will be a Mac Mini. ThinkSecret thinks it will be an iBook.

Interesting that they both feel it will be a consumer based mac. This is probably a good bet. Also, January seems feasible. Apple often announces things that are not available for a couple months, and we know that OS X on Intel is at least far enough along to demo. ThinkSecret quotes someone as saying Apple will reduce the iBook prices to around $699 to "be competitive at the entry level." Ridiculous. iPod competes with much cheaper players and still does fine. I'd expect the new laptop to be around $999. In fact, I've commented before that Apple's current laptop prices are much more on par with the market than their desktop prices, which makes mac/windows laptops a great market for them to enter into.

ThinkSecret also mentions the possibility of dual-core mobile Yonah processors. Initially I thought that dual core would be nice, but suck too much power. But why couldn't you turn one core off? How cool would that be to run one core when mobile, and kick the other core on when plugged in. Regardless of what Apple does, I'm looking forward to seeing if this is the direction of laptops in general.

Running an OS per core is also be pretty interesting. You could feasibly run windows/mac in a window a'la VirtualPC, at almost full speed. Would be great for mobile development. I wonder how the virtualization goes about arbitrating the shared peripherals like ethernet.

All I can say is these apple laptops better OFFICIALLY run Windows as well, or they won't grow the market much. Microsoft is beatable now purely on tech (as we've seen with Google) If Windows people can buy a cool computer to match their iPod - they'll definitely boot into Mac to see what it's like. And since Apple bundles a lot more software than MS is allowed to now - they just might end up staying in OS X.

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Mezzo UI

Cool Tech

November 13, 2005 09:50 PM PST

Well it has been a while since I blogged about alternate operating systems and UI. In fact I think I've been mostly silent on the topic since I started working on this little project.

Well my curiosity overcame me. Iíve been taking a look at the Mezzo UI Concept by Jason Spisak. After years of using basically every OS out there, he decided to see if he could design something easier to use. The Mezzo concept is what he came up with. It is aimed at the novice user, and looks to be about as easy to use as anything Iíve seen. The Greypaper is a good read (warning pdf file link). Some of his personal pet peeves are scrolling, nested menus, and the file manager type metaphor. There are a few little nits I have with his concept, but overall it does seem quite elegant.

There are at least two OS projects currently underway that are implementing this UI. JDistro has a Ďmezzoí mode. (JDistro is a pure Java based desktop). And Jasonís own project Symphony OS, operated with Ryan Quinn. Symphony is a Linux distro implementing the Mezzo UI. I donít see any reason someone couldnít implement a Mezzo shell on top of Windows Ė but I donít see any projects doing this yet.

It might be fun to play with Symphony to see if the UI concept holds up to the real world use test. Sometimes ideas that sound good in theory fall flat in practice. Alas, however, my curiosity is currently not strong enough to overcome my serious lack of time.

Some other Mezzo references:

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Cool Tech

November 13, 2005 12:43 AM PST

Recently Microsoft bought foldershare. The assumed goal is to bulk up the folder sharing capabilities of the upcoming Live Messenger. They have now decided to make FolderShare free.

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Sony Who?


November 9, 2005 12:04 PM PST

As if Sony hasn't been acting dumb enough with the recent DRM root kit nonsense. Now they appear to have applied for a patent that will lock a video game to the first console that plays it. This is an attempt to destroy the pre-owned gaming market. There is not specific mention of the PS3 in the patent, but boy I hope they put it in. If that happens the PS3 will be dead from the starting gate. He's dead Jim.

Just another example of how these guys don't get it. This one has nothing to do with controlling piracy - just another example of trying to screw their actual paying customers. (Disclaimer: the timing of this revelation seems a bit fishy, so I won't be too surprised if it turns out to be a hoax).

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Furrygoat and USB Keychains

Cool Tech

November 7, 2005 10:19 AM PST

Furrygoat muses on the future of USB keychains. He mentions some strategies for running XP from USB via VM images. This could be done with various VM products including VM Player, which we have mentioned previously.

He has also championed the idea of 'portable CE'. This is running CE apps from a USB keychain via emulation.

There are a lot of resources floating around the web on how to get various apps (like Firefox) to run directly from flash. Many apps however don't lend them selves to this. More work will go on however as this idea becomes more popular. I find the prospect of carrying your favorite data and apps around with you very appealing. Another thing that would be nice would be for all your 'state' to be with you as well. This would be OS and app preferences, desktop settings etc. We are a little bit further away on this one.

Lastly a plug for a related idea that I've been hearing from some of my friends; In the wake of the recent hurricanes and other natural disasters, many people have found themselves not only without their homes and possessions, but without their important identity documents like birth certificates, social security cards, etc. The proposed solution is to scan these documents and store a copy via CD in a safe deposit box or with relatives. A variation is to keep them with you at all times on a USB keychain. I know a few people that do this, including photos of their family members for identification purposes. Of course security of this information would be a concern. To prevent identity theft I would strongly recommend encrypting this personal data somehow.

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Trade instead of buy?

Home Theater

November 2, 2005 01:12 AM PST

Here is something different. It gives the term peer to peer a whole new meaning. Peerflix is an online DVD service that allows you to trade DVDs rather than rent them. The idea is that you list the DVDs you have that you are willing to trade, and the ones that you want and they facilitate the transfer for .99 a trade (mailing envelope included). For each movie you trade out you earn Ďpeerbuxí toward incoming movies. You can even buy peerbux if you want to score up more movies than you trade. Their site is setup a lot like netflix. You enter your trading library using the UPC code on the back of the case. Pretty easy.

Iím not sure I would ever use something like this however. I tend to only purchase DVDs that I really, really want to keep, itís netflix for everything else. But perhaps there are others out there with large collections that are willing to part with flicks they are tired of. Someone out there seems to think so, they just got $8M in funding. What is your opinion? Would you use something like this?

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Windows Live

Cool Tech

November 1, 2005 02:37 PM PST

I'm just passing along something I read here, I can't confirm any of this.
It look like MS is working on some new stuff called Windows Live. At first glace it looks like it is using technology. There are some cools things coming from the article; advanced IM features, personalized home page with RSS feeds and sidebar gadgets, new email and more. There is a Live favorites feature I'm interested in. You can see some of the stuff they have planed here.

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