Reviews

Casio Exilim EX-V7 Digital Camera

From Macworld
Pros: 7x zoom lens; manual exposure options; excellent battery life.

Cons: Ineffective image-stabilization features; awkward controls; clunky docking station required to recharge battery.

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HP Photosmart A826 Photo Printer

From Macworld

Pros: Extremely intuitive and innovative user interface; attractive kiosk-shaped design.

Cons: Dark prints appear flat and dull due to processed blacks; rounded, smooth design makes printer clumsy to handle.

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Nikon Coolpix S50c

From Macworld

ros: Wi-Fi system for e-mailing photos straight from the camera; useful in-camera editing tools.

Cons: Soft images; limited Wi-Fi connection choices; hair-trigger power switch.

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Painter Essentials 4

From Macworld

Pros: Friendly new interface; informative brush stroke previews; RealBristle brushes emulate the real thing; integrated print services.

Cons: None significant.

(Shawn's Comment: Another *great* review from my favorite Macworld.com reviewer! :))

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The Starbucks iTunes WiFi Music Store Reviewed

From Gear Live
As promised Apple and Starbucks started their rollout of the Starbucks WiFi Music Store in select cities. Gear Live is lucky enough to be in Seattle, the first city to get the special version of the iTunes Music Store in our Starbucks. The service allows laptops, iPhones, and the iPod Touch users to connect for free to the iTunes store while sipping lattes without having to pay for for a T-Mobile Hotspot account. Click through for our full impressions on Apple’s new partnership with the coffee mega-store Starbucks.

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First look: Pixelmator

From MacFormat

Touted as everything from a Photoshop-killer to an 'image editor for the rest of us', it's safe to say that Pixelmator has been one hotly anticipated application. The final build of 1.0 was posted for download during the wee small hours, and as someone who regularly uses various image editors on both Mac and Windows, I just had to take a look.

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iPod touch

From PlayList
After much speculation that a “phone-less” iPhone held a prominent spot on Apple’s “To Do” whiteboard, Apple released what many anticipated would be such a device in the form of the iPod touch, an iPod that shares most of the iPhone’s multimedia features and a small subset of its communications tools. Yet it bears the iPod name rather than allying itself with the iPhone. As an iPod touch its main mission remains media.

For some expecting a hybrid of the iPod and iPhone, the touch will come as a disappointment. But even without skewed expectations, the iPod touch is an imperfect player—offering a somewhat arbitrary feature set, no physical or remote controls for adjusting volume or controlling the player, very restricted video output capabilities, and, at best, an under-whelming display (and, at worst, one that’s virtually unwatchable when viewing dark video).

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Canon PowerShot TX1

From Macworld
Pros: 10x zoom lens; above-average image quality; swiveling LCD view screen; good image stabilization.

Cons: High-quality video format gobbles memory; awkward styling; expensive.

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Fake Steve Jobs' 'Options' is Funny, but Optional

From CNET

Lyons preserves some of the hilarious writing style from the blog that kept the tech media world amused during the last year, but a novel is the wrong outlet for Fake Steve. The plot exists seemingly to kill pages between the funny anecdotes, and it steers clear of the skewering of Valley executives like Google's Eric Schmidt (known as Squirrel Boy to FSJ's readers) and Sun's Jonathan Schwartz (My Little Pony) to focus more on Steve's internal angst.

Still, it's an entertaining read for the tech industry veteran and a quick one, perfect for your next "nerd bird" flight between San Jose and Austin.

Click here to read more "Fake Steve Jobs' 'Options' is Funny, but Optional"

Review: 80GB and 160GB iPod classic

From PlayList
As of September 5, 2007, the full-sized iPod turned six (as in sixth-generation) and, because of the existence of the iPhone-like iPod touch, was pronounced a classic—the iPod classic. Offering increased capacity, a thinner form factor, a full-metal enclosure, an enhanced (and sometimes sluggish) interface, and incompatibility with some accessories that get along quite happily with earlier iPods—in short, the high-capacity version of the third-generation iPod nano—the iPod classic is mainly about size and storage. If you want to pack every speck of digital media you own into your pocket, this is Apple’s best iPod option.

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Painter X

From Macworld

By Lesa Snider King (YAY!)

Pros: RealBristle brushes simulate true painting experience; compositional tools aid learning and cropping; enhanced photo painting with Smart Stroke brushes.

Cons: Challenging learning curve for beginners.

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The iPod gets a Makeover

From Ars Technica
iPods iPods iPods! That was the theme of Apple's September 5 event, titled "The Beat Goes On." And as expected, what came out of the event was all sorts of iPod news: the shuffles got new colors, the iPod touch (touchscreen iPod) made its debut, and Apple updated its old standbys, the iPod classic and iPod nano. This review focuses on the latter two in the list, because they both saw the same general changes to physical design and also use the same new UI.

We will go over the physical differences of each iPod separately first and then address the UI as a whole.

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Noise Canceling Headphones

From PlayList
Given how frequently iPods and other portable media players are used in noisy environments, headphones that reduce some degree of outside noise have become popular accessories. Although there are several approaches to such noise reduction, today I take a look at nine full-size, noise-canceling headphones.

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iWeb '08

From Macworld
Pros: Easy to use; new support for Web Widgets; integrates well with other iLife apps; new templates; indexes photo albums and videos.

Cons: Can be difficult to set up personal domain forwarding; does not support one-click publishing to personal domains; no manual image optimization; does not include some common blog options; difficult to add third-party themes.

Click here to read more "iWeb '08"

Rival Phones No Match for iPhone

From Yahoo! Finance
The iPhone makes me mad. Not, mind you, at the iPhone itself, but mad at cell-phone manufacturers who have saddled us for years with interfaces that lure us into labyrinths of menus.
The buttons that are supposed to guide us through this maze do different things on every screen: a single button can mean "Back" on one screen, "Cancel" on another, "Exit" on a third.

The iPhone has one button on its face. It always does the same thing: takes you to the top menu, where icons representing all functions of the phone -- music player, Internet browser and more -- are laid out in a clear manner. Wham, you're out of the labyrinth.

This makes me mad, because this isn't just the way it should be done, it's the way it always should have been done. This became clear to me as I set out to look at the iPhone along with two other top-of-the-line phones, the Nokia N95 and Helio's Ocean.

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Drobo USB Storage

From Macworld
Pros: Automatically protects data from drive failure; available storage expands automatically; comes with anti-theft cable.

Cons: USB 2.0 only; 2TB volume size limit; no power switch; usable capacity considerably less than installed drive capacity.

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Chestnut Hill Sound George

From PlayList

Pros: Impressive RF remote with built-in iPod-menu display; very good sound quality; excellent FM reception; upgradeable software; useful and varied alarm-clock features; future hardware add-ons promised; customizable appearance.

Cons: Expensive; short remote battery life; slight screen ghosting; audio sounds best directly on-axis; no video output.

Click here to read more "Chestnut Hill Sound George"

LightZone 3.0

From Macworld
Pros: Simple interface; styles can be saved, shared, and applied as batch processes; ability to constrain adjustments to certain areas with Region and Blend mode features.

Cons: History pane records adjustments tried but not applied; regions cannot be saved.

(Shawn's Comment: Another *great* review...but then again, I'm biased :) )

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iMovie '08 - Perfect in Some Ways, Lacking in Others

From APC Magazine
I've been using iMovie since it's first release and am very comfortable with it. So I got a small shock when I loaded the new iMovie '08 onto my MacBook Pro. It's a completely new program, not just a modest upgrade with a re-jigged toolbar and support for the new AVCHD codec (now popular in Sony and Panasonic cameras).

After spending a couple of nights creating a five minute movie I can tell you that it's a vast improvement from the old version, and as promised, lets you create movies much faster. But those comfortable with the old way are in for a bit of a shock.

Click here to read more "iMovie '08 - Perfect in Some Ways, Lacking in Others"

Olympus Evolt E-510 Digital Camera

From Macworld
Pros: Excellent image quality; extensive feature set, including exposure, flash, and color balance bracketing; Live View mode lets you view images on the LCD screen instead of in the viewfinder; light and comfortable to carry.

Cons: Accessing advanced functions can be confusing; no manual focusing switch on lens.

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3 TV Tuners for the Mac

From InformationWeek
Are you a Mac user who wants to create an entertainment center? Well, you have two choices. You can blow more Mac Bucks on an AppleTV, which is basically a wireless media hub that allows you to move multimedia content from your computer to your TV and stereo equipment (a.k.a., your "media center"). Or you can beef up your current Mac with a TV tuner.
TV tuners allow your computer to receive and capture TV signals, recording your favorite shows onto your hard drive. Connected to, say, a Mac Mini (which was my system of choice), you can also use the computer's 802.11b/g wireless capabilities to handle streaming video and audio from an upstairs network, its integrated Bluetooth to offer freedom of a wireless keyboard and Apple's wireless Mighty Mouse, and you can capture your favorite TV shows for later viewing.

I tested three USB tuners to see how they rated as components in a Mac-based entertainment center: Miglia's TVMax+, Plextor's ConvertX PVR PX-TV402U, and Eskape Labs MyTV.PVR.

Click here to read more "3 TV Tuners for the Mac"

Nikon D40x DSLR

From Macworld
Pros: Excellent image quality; improved resolution over D40; well-chosen features; excellent interface for shooting and viewing images; very useful in-camera help system.

Cons: No depth of field preview or exposure bracketing; lacks dust-control system found in competitors.

Click here to read more "Nikon D40x DSLR"

Soundbooth CS3

From Macworld
Pros: Intuitive interface with saved workspaces; effective and easy-to-use noise filtering and effects; handy AutoCompose feature.

Cons: Missing true multitrack support; can’t create multiple background music tracks for a single video; lacks some editing tools that sound pros would expect.

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Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset

From iLounge

Pros: A minimalist monaural Bluetooth earpiece that lets you hear and talk on cell phone voice calls or PC/Mac voice chats without any wires between your ear and the phone or computer. Designed specifically for the iPhone, benefitting from especially easy pairing with iPhone, and on-iPhone battery monitoring features. Includes travel charging cable and special charging/synchronization dock for itself and iPhone. Acceptable talk time on rechargeable battery.

Cons: Sound quality and battery life are nothing special for the relatively high price, and static-free range is only okay; small earbud without ear hook may not be stable or secure in your ear. Though it includes nice dock, lacks advanced ambient noise filtering or wall charger included in top competitors priced at similar or lower levels.

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Premiere Pro CS3

From Macworld
Pros: Numerous professional features missing from Premiere 6.5; includes multiple and nested sequences, standard approach to transitions, and unified effects; efficient panel-based interface; multiple-camera editing; surround-sound support; numerous export options including Blu-ray discs and mobile devices; ships with Encore DVD-authoring software; Dynamic Link feature integrates nicely with After Effects; Clip Notes feature facilitates review process.

Cons: No Mac version of OnLocation software; no scene detection or Capture-panel monitoring when capturing HDV; lacks support for common HD formats; inconsistencies in the interface; built-in titler lacks character-based text animation; indistinct upgrade path; lacks OMF-export capability; no batch rendering; Trim panel edits not fully interactive.

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MacBook Pro Drive Shootout

From Bare Feats
We finally got our hands on a Western Digital Scorpio (WD2500BEVS) 250GB 5400rpm notebook drive (courtesy of Wiebetech). Many of you are wondering how it compares to the Seagate Momentus 7200.2 160GB 7200rpm notebook drive optional on the newest MacBook Pro and the new Hitachi Travelstar 7K200 200GB 7200rpm notebook drive. For power users, these are the three notebook drives of the greatest interest.

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A Review of IRC Clients for OS X

From the Joy of Apple
Are you stuck trying to decide which IRC client is the best for you? To help make the job easier for you, I have reviewed all of the most popular IRC clients for OS X here, listing their pros and cons and including screenshots. I have tried virtually all the clients available for OS X and finally selected one. This is my list of reviews of the various IRC clients available at the moment. From best to worst.

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Mac Pro 3GHz 8-core

From Macworld
Pros: Highly configurable and expandable; excellent performance in 3-D rendering.

Cons: Little to no improvement in many tests; expensive.

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Final Cut Pro 6

From Macworld
Final Cut Pro 6 (FCP 6) is the newest version of the popular non-linear editor (NLE), and things have gotten very interesting. Packing in new features, plus the usual assortment you know and love, FCP 6 is the most powerful version yet! We take a look at some of the new features in this review.

Click here to read more "Final Cut Pro 6"

Parallels Desktop 3

From Macworld

Pros: Many substantial new features; 3-D accelerated graphics support; Snapshots and Undo Disks features allow you to easily revert a system to its previous state; support for Boot Camp partitions as virtual machines; Explorer program facilitates easy transfer of files between operating systems.

Cons: 3-D graphics support still has some problems; Shared Application support may be overkill in some situations; tech support still somewhat complicated.

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