CES Rumors and HP Secrets

Well, it seems that while Apple seems to be be taking over the news (again) with the rumored AppleTV that we all knew about since the release of the Walter Isaccson biography of Steve Jobs, HP seems to have a possible ace of its sleeve with a newly “leaked” trailer type video for a new ultrabook. Apple right now, is the leader in this market with the MacBook Air. There are others out there by Acer and Lenovo, but those two companies are much smaller than HP or Apple, so I don’t think they have the market cornered just yet. It seems though as Apple is already building some steam for the month of January, it may be one of the companies of 2012 to keep an eye on. The rumor mill is also stirring with news of the iPad 3, a January media event and hackers running iPhone and iPad apps fullscreen on the AppleTV.

HP will have to step up its game in these “leaks” if they want anymore excitement in this news. I think as the weeks pass and we all begin to overlook some of HP’s blunders, we may see more information leading up to CES 2012. I think that the HP WebOS is a possible sell off or it may even be brought back by HP with the sale of the HP touchpad over and over and over again this last year. Even with all that craziness that was 2011 for HP, I don’t think a new CEO will solve all of their problems either. I mean, her last job was eBay, not really a hardware company at all. Does she have the intellect and determination to make HP a great company again? Only time will tell.

I can say though, HP is everywhere when it comes to laptops though. Bestbuy and Amazon has to be two of the biggest retailers that sell their laptops like it is going out of style. Everywhere I go these days, all I see is that little HP logo or the Apple logo. I really don’t see Dell, Toshiba, Acer or really any other manufacturer that much out there. As for myself, my last two personal laptops have been HP. So will this newly “leaked” HP ultrabook be the revival of the HP name? Or will the logo change be all that they need? With all of this going on, and 2012 just now getting started, I hope the best for HP, and can’t wait to the see the Spectre at CES!!

Buh-Bye to Flash and Silverlight!

Well it seems that Microsoft maybe ending the life of Silverlight with SL5. There doesn’t seem to be any foreseeable future with a version 6. Do you even know what SilverLight is? Don’t worry, most of us never even installed it on our machines or really ever needed it to view content. Basically it was another plugin that was much like Flash, allowing you to view content in webpages that supported it. To be quite honest, I don’t think it ever picked up outside of the Microsoft camp anyway.
Speaking of Flash, it seems that Adobe has made it official, and said that Flash on the mobile platform is soon to be out too. It seems they will focus their attention onto the mobile APP platform instead of websites and flash video. They will start pushing HTML 5 as a standard. Which is kind of funny, because Steve Jobs called it, back in 2007. So it seems after 11.1, there will be no further development for the Flash base on any sort of mobile devices.

Will there be a replacement for either of these platforms in the future? Or is HTML 5 the answer for all? We shall see, but since Flash is such a memory hog, I don’t see why it didn’t die out a LONG time ago..

-Rusty G

Siri Has an Attitude (and knows the answer to ultimate question of life)

Well it seems as the iPhone 4S starts to trickle down to the rest of us over the next 24 hours, (or later) there are others who are already having some hands on time with the SIRI beta inside the iPhone 4s. I saw an article yesterday in which Jason Snell of MacWorld.com got to play with the SIRI beta in about an 11 minute video. If you go to about 5:18 in the video, you will see a funny reference to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book/movie.

Continue to watch, because just after that, it seems the SIRI programmers have added some quick wit to the digital assist as well. It’s a pretty funny little bit to watch. It’s pretty cool to watch exactly what SIRI can do on the iPhone 4S, and because it is still in Beta, there is a lot to be done. I do think, on a side note, that SIRI will come to the iPhone 4, eventually. Either way, as more and more people get their hands on the iPhone 4S, they are all trying out the new digital assistant to see what all it can do. There is even a few videos out there showing us what happens if you tell SIRI “I love you“. So as the days come and some of you start messing with it, let me know what you come up with. In the mean time, I think that this is the best one yet, and it happened just before iFixit started to do the teardown of the phone.

iFixit: “Siri, may we disassemble you for all to see?”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42”

iFixit: “I didn’t ask for the meaning of life, Siri…”

iPhone 4S (Siri): “42 is the number of seconds you have left until I initiate the self-destruct sequence…”

iFixit: “Message received.”

-Rusty G

Stop Cluttering my Screen with CRAP Apple!

Maybe I am the only one seeing this, as the iOS gets updated EVERY year, but I am seriously getting ticked at the amount of icons that I have to have on the home screen. Remember iOS 1? Those were the simple times. Look at this, my iPhone from stock now has to have 2 home screens to fit everything on it!

What?!?! If you saw my post earlier, you saw I already don’t like the idea of Music and Video being separated into two different apps. They are doing the same function. Playing media, you know what else USED to do that? the iPod app. I don’t want my iPhone looking like an iPod Touch. It looks tacky. The bad part is, even apple groups together the crap you don’t use, under utilities. Voice Memos, which seemed to have turned blue? Did I miss that? Contacts? Why did we ever pull that out of the phone app? That is duplicating what you already have. I guess there was such an outcry to have a one click access to it? Who really uses the compass? The only utility I use is the calculator. I don’t use Weather or Stocks and I hardly use the notes app. Oh wait, we added a ‘new’ app. Reminders. I guess this adds a checklist or some other feature to reminders that are already in the calendar. I just won’t really ever use it. Also, why can’t the iTunes and App store be one icon? When I click on the iTunes store on the PC or Mac, it’s one place, why not on the phone too? I don’t need all this crap filling up my screen before I even get started. I LOVED the folders when they finally implemented it in iOS 4, and I think it was a GREAT design choice. Less clutter is better! Oh, Newsstand and Gamecenter, I don’t like you much either. I use the feature of gamecenter RARELY to find people to play with, but I never actually click on the icon. I don’t think I will ever use Newsstand either. The phone just has too small of a screen to read anything on. ALTHOUGH, the new reader feature in Safari is great! (Another GREAT design choice!) Why can’t I pick a custom install where I get to choose what shows up? Just like iBooks, I don’t have to install it, but if I want to, it is a free download away. Please work on this in the future. Maybe iOS 5.1? Here’s to dreaming.

Networked USB: How do you share?

I have always enjoyed the idea of being able to use my USB harddrives as NAS storage.  The problem was, I have never really taken the time to learn how to create my own NAS. The technology to do such a thing has been around for quite a while, just build a box, drop your flavor of Linux (FreeNAS preferably) and hook everything up. Not too hard right? But the Über geek in me has tapered off for the last few years as I have tried to become a tech journalist of sorts. I haven’t built a computer in a long time and not really done anything hardcore geek style like coding a webpage or hacking a neighbor’s wifi either. So I have come to the point in my geek life where, the quicker and easier is better for me.

So let’s see, I have a few USB harddrives laying around, 60GB, 120GB, (2x)500GB, 1TB & (2x)2TB drives. What to do with all that storage? Why can I not add these to my network like fileshares and have a fileserver. This would go the way of my previous mentioned Linux box, or I could go the Windows route and try out the Windows Home Server. HP actually released some nice pre-built machines like the EX490 Media Smart Server, but the problem still lies, that I have to have a box that is on all of the time. I never really have liked the idea of having a box online all the time. I also wanted a low power device as well, that didn’t take up a lot of space. So let’s rewind to the idea beginning, when I first started getting the idea of a unique piece of equipment that could connect to the network and allow me to connect things to it via the USB interface.

The first device that I came across was very basic, just need some software installed on the client machine so that you could access the device only on that client machine. Not the best idea, but a good start. This device was circa 2007 and was the Belkin Network USB Hub. The problem was, this device to me was very expensive when it first came out. At least expensive for what it didn’t do. The device (I think) originally sold for $99, but just didn’t have exactly what I wanted, but it had the basic idea down. I could take a printer, a camera or a USB harddrive and plug it in to this device and would be available on the network. The problem was, the client device has to have the client software installed. Also, I cannot access the connected devices outside of the network, easily. This was great for sharing media and devices within my home network, but not when I wanted to share it outside of that. I bought one pretty late in the game, and right before they dropped the price down to like $69.

So then comes the PogoPlug by Cloud Engines. They were funded in 2007 as well, and I don’t know the original release date of their first device, but I also, came late to the game on this one, but GLAD that I found them. This does a lot better than the Belkin device. It allows me to access the USB hard drives on my entire network and the web! There still is a client software that needs to be installed since there isn’t really a “server” on the other end, but after installing it, it treats the drives as mapped Network drives that automatically reconnect every time that you log back in. The client software also turns the client into “device” on the network and you can chose which folders to share on the network. Awesome. Even better, they give you a web based access so that you can access the drive outside of your network, on the web from anywhere in the world!!! SWEET. Oh yeah, they also build in a XBOX compatible share so you can stream media to your XBOX. Doublely Awesome!

The success of this device led Cloud engines to come out with a 2.0 device earlier in 2010 (again, I think, google it). They even now have added a PogoPlug black and a new PogoPlug Business that adds auditing abilities. Earlier this year (2011), they added the PogoPlug Video, that was meant specifically for video processing and transcoding on the fly, so you could throw any file at it, and stream it to any device. This device was $300, but well worth the price, because that means I didn’t have encode videos to specific format to make it work on a specific device. The only problem, this GREAT processing came at a price. This past summer, PogoPlug had to recall the device. I was heartbroken. I stood by them though, and I bought a $49 PogoPlug on Amazon and just deal with not being able to watch every media file on every device.

Now, following in the footsteps and trying to pickup on the craze, is LaCie. They are known for their impeccable harddrives and simple designs. I recently just bought a 2TB Minimus USB 3.0 and I love it! Their device is called the LaPlug. It is basically the same exact device that the PogoPlug is. It has the same 4 USB ports and same style web interface so that you can share EVERYWHERE! It is pretty much a feature for feature match up against the PogoPlug. So it could be a total toss up to the popularity of this device. I think that PogoPlug has them beat in the time frame arena, since it has been out a while and has a very good community built around it. They even have forums that show you how to expand your PogoPlug beyond its stock features. So only time will tell on this, but good luck LaCie. You have a good bit to catch up on. In the mean time, I have some (The.Big.Bang.Theory.S05E02.HDTV.XviD-ASAP) to download and watch on my XBOX.

Check out some YouTube videos about the 3 devices:

BuyTV talks about the Belkin Network USB Hub

BuyTV talks about the PogoPlug

Official Product Video for LaPlug

-rusty g