Reviews

Firefox 3.0

From Macworld

Pros - Dozens of useful add-ons; first-rate rendering engine; improved interface.

Cons - Significantly slower rendering than Safari; bookmarks must be edited in separate window; a few minor bugs.

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Review of USB Microphones

From Macworld
Grateful as some are that Apple builds microphones into the iMac and its laptops, no one with a fully-functioning set of ears would claim that the results of recordings undertaken with these built-in mics are wholly satisfying. No, to avoid the kind of background noise and generally-lo-fi results you get from Apple’s mic you need an external microphone. And one of the easiest ways to connect one to your Mac is via the Mac’s USB interface. A variety of companies make USB mics that work with plug-and-play simplicity.

I recently rounded up a collection of popular USB mics, compared their specifications, and recorded test files; I now present the results of my work.

Click here to read more "Review of USB Microphones"

Internet Cleanup 5.0

From Macworld
Pros - Can schedule tasks to run automatically; securely deletes files; merges bookmarks; blocks unwanted Internet content; protects against some phishing attempts.

Cons - Can’t search cookies or browsing history; doesn't remove Mail attachments from IMAP/MobileMe accounts; can’t unblock individual Flash items on the fly; doesn’t delete Skype transcripts; produces many false positive warnings.

Click here to read more "Internet Cleanup 5.0"

iPhone 2.0 Software

From Macworld
Pros - App store enables powerful third-party applications; robust enterprise support; push synchronization for MobileMe users; bulk e-mail management; better e-mail attachment support; broadened international language support; numerous small improvements.

Cons - Certain features still lacking: no built-in support for task management; no support for iCal event invitations; Safari lacks password management; Notes do not sync; some instability issues.

Click here to read more "iPhone 2.0 Software"

The Second Coming: Ars goes in-depth with the iPhone 3G

From Ars Technica
Buzz about the next version of the iPhone began before even the original iPhone was released just over a year ago. Although the EDGE-capable "2G" iPhone ended up being a smash success during its one-year reign, critics wanted a 3G version from the very beginning. And so Apple giveth. Even though the iPhone 3G may not seem much different than its predecessor to the average person on the street, that didn't stop the Apple RDF from permeating excited customers' brains as iPhone Launch Day 2.0 drew near.

Unfortunately, most of us know what happened on Launch Day 2.0. Activation woes galore turned what could have been a hype-worthy day that surpassed the original iPhone launch into a headache for pretty much everyone involved—and not just in the US, but across the entire world. Whether this affected Apple's first-day sales in any significant way we will probably never know. However, launch day is just one day, and things appear to have smoothed out since then. Customers lined up down and around the block for days in a row after the launch, making the iPhone 3G launch apparently far more successful than the original iPhone's launch.

In this review, we take a long, hard look at the iPhone 3G, both as a consumer device and as an enterprise device. After all, part of the appeal of the new device is that a number of software improvements have finally made it enterprise-ready, or so claims Apple's marketing. From a business user's point of view, however, if you think that the iPhone is a drop-in BlackBerry replacement, think again.

Click here to read more "The Second Coming: Ars goes in-depth with the iPhone 3G"

Xerox Phaser 6130

From Macworld

Pros - Easy setup; prints clean, legible text.

Cons - Slow; color prints look faint and lack detail.

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Canon Vixia HV30

From Macworld

Pros - Shoots stellar high-definition video with vividly accurate colors, smooth motion; includes microphone jack and accessory shoe; user friendly.

Cons - Awkward design makes for clumsy handling; still images are slightly noisy.

Click here to read more "Canon Vixia HV30"

Griffin iTrip AutoPilot

From iLounge
Having only recently reviewed Griffin's iTrip Auto with SmartScan, a good but not great FM transmitter and car charger released early this year for iPods, we don't feel it necessary to rehash all of the details for today's review of iTrip AutoPilot ($100) -- a newly revised, iPhone- and iPod-compatible version. But there's no question that iTrip AutoPilot is a substantially better product, limited only by a price tag that makes it as expensive as cabled FM transmitters get.

Click here to read more "Griffin iTrip AutoPilot"

Aliph Jawbone Earwear

From iLounge

The first Jawbone was a wireless Bluetooth headset with breakthrough noise-cancellation abilities, but suffered from two serious issues: an uncomfortable design and a high price tag.

Retailer discounting eventually helped solve one of those problems, and now Aliph has taken care of the other one in a brand new version with the same name: Jawbone ($130), known alternately as Jawbone Earwear or Jawbone with Noise Assassin.

Simply put, the new Jawbone is the best Bluetooth headset we've yet tested with the iPhone -- the first one ever to receive our high recommendation -- and only two things stand in the way of it being a complete replacement for every other option we've seen.

Click here to read more "Aliph Jawbone Earwear"

Sorenson Squeeze 5

From Digital Arts
Pros - Powerful feature set; built-in FTP upload; excellent quality; fast encoding; intuitive interface; support for Blu-ray content.
Cons - Watermark filter needs tweaking; no built-in or bundled SWF or FLV viewer; expensive for basic compression tasks.

Click here to read more "Sorenson Squeeze 5"

Epson Stylus Photo R1900

From Macworld

Pros - Excellent print quality on all paper types; glossy output is superlative; speedy; supports thick fine-art media and roll paper; can print on optical media.

Cons - Doesn’t produce great black-and-white prints.

Click here to read more "Epson Stylus Photo R1900"

Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive

From Macworld

Pros Small; good bundled backup software; bus powered.
Cons Slow performer; drive activity light in rear.

Click here to read more "Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive"

Bon Jovi Rocks Kansas City, MO and I Was There!!

I saw Bon Jovi at home in Vancouver, BC back in December ’07 and next to Springsteen's 1984 marathon, it was almost as good, playing at just shy of three hours. The guys recorded three of their biggest albums in Vancouver so their show in my hometown was very special because of all the back-stories and memories they shared of those earlier days.

So when I made plans to visit John "Bynkii" Welch and his beautiful wife Mel in Kansas City, MO, I was excited to pick a time that coincided with Bon Jovi dates in KC.

Click here to read my mini-review and see photos and a video, from my "9th row on the floor vantage point".

Hope you enjoy!
~Sly

Photoshop Express

Pros: Free, reasonably powerful toolset, easy to setup and use, integrates well with social networking sites
Cons: Requires a fast internet connection, browser interface can be clunky

Click here to read more "Photoshop Express"

Photoshop Elements 6

From Macworld

Perhaps the hardest part of early 2008 wasn’t waiting for the cold, icy fingers of winter to release their grip here on the East Coast where I live—it was waiting for Adobe to release Photoshop Elements 6. A worthy winner of Best of Show honors at this January’s Macworld Conference & Expo, the Elements update was among the most anticipated product releases showcased at the annual Mac trade show.

Adobe promised to make photo editing easier than ever, and, boy, it delivered.

(Shawn's Comment: Make note of the review's author!!)

Click here to read more "Photoshop Elements 6"

Time Capsule

From Macworld

Pros - Allows both internal and USB-connected drive Time Machine backups for Leopard users; includes all AirPort Extreme features; archive option for simplified off-site backups; houses drive, power supply in one tidy case.

Cons - Can’t swap internal drive; Time Machine’s hourly backups are too often for networked system; storage capacity will be strained in multi-user environments.

Click here to read more "Time Capsule"

Penryn powers MacBook Pro Gains

From Macworld

Just as the hubbub over the MacBook Air has begun to quiet down, Apple has turned the spotlight on the rest of its laptop lineup. Last week the company introduced new MacBook and MacBook Pro models, replacing the Core 2 Duo processors with a new generation of faster chips and increasing the hard drive capacity.

We’ve put the new MacBook Pros through their paces and found that the changes add up to noticeable performance gains over the last-generation of Apple’s high-end laptop. More significant, the revamped MacBook Pro lineup is decidedly faster than the Core Duo-powered models that debuted two years ago.

Click here to read more "Penryn powers MacBook Pro Gains"

2GB iPod shuffle

From Macworld

Pros - Cute, rugged finish; good battery life; loud as you need; very affordable.
Cons - No Apple Lossless support; not the best iPod for listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

Click here to read more "2GB iPod shuffle"

Brother HL-4070CDW

From Macworld

Pros - First-rate print quality; fast; inexpensive; built-in duplexing; wireless networking.
Cons - Less-refined color-text print quality; complicated wireless networking setup.

Click here to read more "Brother HL-4070CDW"

MacBook Air

From Macworld
Pros - Weighs three pounds; bright LED-backlit 13.3-inch screen; full-size keyboard.
Cons - Slow processor; slow and small hard drive; limited configuration options; unswappable battery.

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Microsoft Entourage 2008

From Macworld
Pros - Excellent mail and calendar features; faster e-mail searching; improved Exchange support; better database integrity.
Cons - Light on new features; could do a better job of synchronization; minor bugs; My Day application is of limited use; Automator workflows don’t work under Leopard.

Click here to read more "Microsoft Entourage 2008"

Final Cut Express 4

From Macworld
Pros - AVCHD support; open format timeline; ability to import iMovie �08 projects and use iMovie as a video library; editing with most of Final Cut Pro�s features; lower price compared to earlier versions.

Cons - Soundtrack no longer included; limited number of included LiveType effects; modest changes from previous version may underwhelm would-be upgraders.

Click here to read more "Final Cut Express 4"

Sound Studio 3

From Macworld

Pros - Extremely easy to use; supports Audio Units plug-ins for access to powerful effects; allows automated workflows.
Cons - No support for VST plug-ins; poor time- and pitch-shifting tools; MP3 support requires additional software.

Click here to read more "Sound Studio 3"

Epson MovieMate 72 Projector

From Macworld

Pros - 720p high-definition capable; integrated, up-converting DVD player; very good audio quality from built-in speakers; USB port for displaying photos from a thumb drive.

Cons - No DVI port; no automatic keystone correction; no automatic focus.

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MarsEdit 2

From Macworld

Pros Set-up for existing Weblogs is swift and easy; managing images and photos is efficient; can set preferences for comments and trackbacks.
Cons Some of the best features are hard to find in menus; text-markup tags can appear to clutter entries.

Click here to read more "MarsEdit 2"

One Terabyte Drives - Hitachi versus Seagate

From Bare Feats
As promised, here is our shootout between the two new one terabyte 3G SATA hard drives (Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 and Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000). Until the "TBs" started shipping, the 750GB drives were the capacity "kings." For perspective, we included the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 and Western Digital Caviar SE16 750GB drives in the shootout.

Click here to read more "One Terabyte Drives - Hitachi versus Seagate"

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: the Ars Technica Review

From Ars Technica
As I see it, operating system beauty is more than skin deep. While the casual Mac user will gauge Leopard's worth by reading about the marquee features or watching a guided tour movie at Apple's web site, those of us with an unhealthy obsession with operating systems will be trolling through the internals to see what's really changed.

These two views of Leopard, the interface and the internals, lead to two very different assessments. Somewhere in between lie the features themselves, judged not by the technology they're based on or the interface provided for them, but by what they can actually do for the user.

As in past reviews, I've chosen to delve deeply into the aspects of Leopard that are the most interesting to me while also trying to provide a reasonable overview for the non-geeks who've decided to take the plunge into an Ars Technica review. (Hi, Mom.)

Okay Leopard, let's see what you've got.

Click here to read more "Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: the Ars Technica Review"

Mac OS X Leopard

From Macworld
Pros: Easy backup tools; major improvements in included applications; addresses numerous shortcomings from previous OS versions; improved security and networking functions.

Cons: Stacks and Dock features seem poorly thought out; illegible menu items with some Desktop backgrounds; some bugs in Spaces window behavior.

Click here to read more "Mac OS X Leopard"