Bag Maker Lowepro Turns 40

From Macworld

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, bag-maker Lowepro has introduced the $280 Primus AW, an all-weather camera backpack designed for professional photographers.

At last week’s PMA digital photography conference in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to get a closer look at the new bag, and I have to say I was impressed. Not just because the bag was designed to be environmentally friendly—it’s made from 51 percent recycled material, the equivalent of 22 soda bottles—but also because of the attention to detail that went into its design.

The bag’s camera compartment can hold a professional digital SLR with attached zoom lens, plus two other lenses or flashes. You can reach your camera via a small opening on the side, for quick one-handed access without taking the bag off, or via a larger zippered opening on the back, which adds extra security. The bag includes a weatherproof cover with heat-sealed seams, an adjustable tripod support, and additional compartments for personal items and accessories.

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Top 22 Mac OS X Products

From InformationWeek

While Mac OS X is a top-notch operating system, there are always things it can't do, or could do a bit better. This applies to every OS, because if they were all perfect, then no one would make money writing third-party software! I know the Internet abounds with various list of "Mac Software You Can't Live Without"; if you can stand one more, I've compiled what I've found to be some cool and useful tools. No, I don't think you can't live without any of them, but they've all made my Mac experience more complete, and a little more fun, too.

Click here to read more "Top 22 Mac OS X Products"

MacBook Inferno

3am last night. I woke up to my housemate screaming (yelling "Matty!") and the dog barking. As I was running I saw a fire. At first I thought that the lamp had fallen and set fire to the curtain. As I got closer I realised it was my mac book .... burning!

Update: Apples service has been fantastic. They are replacing the laptop with a aluminium case macbook pro and will probably compensate for property damage where appropriate. Someone is coming to my house tonight to collect the damaged unit. That way they can quickly assess what has happend and take appropriate action. To initiate a recall, they first need to know what caused the incident.

I have to say, I am really please with the way this issue has been dealt with. Kudos to the Australian Apple team, they have made me feel like a properly cared for customer - a rare thing for big corporations these days.

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Getting Out of a 2 Year Cellphone Contract Alive

From The New York Times

The two-year contract. It is the bane of a cellphone owner’s existence, especially one who must have the latest hot phone at a discounted price.

Two years is a long time, and few other marketers can get away with demanding it, much less adding to it. Every time you walk back into the cellphone store or call the customer service operators, it seems, the contract is extended. Lose the phone or ask for a replacement, and the contract is extended. Sign up for a family plan, same thing.

But try getting out of a contract early? You can do it, but you will have to pay an early termination fee of as much as $240.

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Microsoft's Windows Vista Marketing may Benefit Apple

From InformationWeek

Steve Jobs may want to send Steve Ballmer a thank-you note. Microsoft's marketing of its new Windows Vista operating system could pay off handsomely for the company's old rival Apple. "We think Vista is good for Apple," ThinkEquity Partners financial analyst Jonathan Hoopes says. "As people upgrade their PCs, we expect them to increasingly consider the Mac alternative."

In a report issued on Monday, Hoopes and financial analyst Michael Lew argue that Apple hardware sales will benefit from the "Vista tailwind," from the imminent release of Apple's new operating system, Leopard, and from the upcoming availability of Adobe's Creative Suite 3.

"We think Vista has established a 'hardware upgrade' mind-set among PC users," the report states. "Meanwhile, Apple's strong retail store presence; all the buzz around the iPhone, the hugely successful iPod/iTunes combo; and Apple's popular Mac ad campaign are likely to combine into a 'maybe I should buy a Mac' decision. In other words, we expect Apple to be a significant beneficiary of the Vista marketing effort."

The Real Goals of Apple TV

From the iPodObserver

I believe that Apple has very modest and mixed goals for the Apple TV, and that is going to make it very hard to compare that product to all of its competition.

Every company on the planet that owns video content is looking for a way to either develop a delivery system or partner with a company that can deliver Video on Demand (VOD.) There have been many stories and editorials on this subject lately, and so I won't recount all of them. In short, the alternatives to Apple TV are staggering.

What interests me more is Apple's own motivation for the Apple TV.

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11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac

From Low End Mac

Every now and then, my Macs begin to feel a little sluggish. There are many potential reasons why: I tend to run 8-10 applications all the time - and sometimes push 15 or more. This alone will bog down any Mac. At other times, I realize that it's been weeks since I restarted the computer, and a simple restart will solve a lot of these woes.

When those don't speed things up, I've found a number of things I can do to encourage my Macs back to their youthful snappiness. Here are a few tips I've found for restoring my Macs to full speed without spending a penny.

Click here to read more "11 Ways to Optimize Your Mac"

Apple to Improve iPod After-Sales Service in China

From ChinaTech News

With the approach of International Consumer Rights Day on March 15, Apple says that it will improve its after-sales service to better serve Chinese consumers. Apple has sent a letter to Shanghai Municipal Consumer Interest Protection Commission and said that it will make improvements on its after-sales service, which has seen many complaints from Chinese users.

Starting last year, Apple's after-sales service has been a frequent target of Chinese consumers. Chinese consumers' complaints mainly focus on two areas: Apple's shortening of the maintenance period from one year to three months for the iPod and its use of refurbished iPods to replace problematic electronics.

On December 23, 2006, Chinese media reported about Apple's unfair after-sales service for iPods sold in China, saying that Apple's Global Repair Policy contradicted the Consumer Law of China. However, Zhao Jiaoli, secretary general of SMCIC, says that Apple is the first international company that has made such commitments to improving its after-sales services after listening to Chinese consumers' requests.

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Music's New Gatekeeper

From The Wall Street Journal

Every day, the roughly one million people who visit the iTunes Store home page are presented with several dozen albums, TV shows and movie downloads to consider buying -- out of the four million such goods the Apple site offers. How do bands get these boosts? Who decides whether Arcade Fire is plugged at the top of the iTunes site -- or whether Nickelback gets no mention?

Apple -- now one of the largest sellers of music in the U.S. -- offers home-page placement in exchange for things such as exclusive access to new songs, special discount pricing or additional material such as interviews with stars.

The decisions by the small group of Silicon Valley and music-industry veterans running iTunes can help put an unknown band on the map, adding millions of dollars in sales, while relegating others to the obscurity of the site's virtual back bins.

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Macworld Expo Attendance Breaks Records

From Macworld

IDG World Expo announced audited attendance numbers for January’s Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, Calif. The company said that 45,572 attendees visited the show in 2007, compared to 38,441 in 2006, an increase of 19 percent.

The audience attendance figures were certified by BPA Worldwide. IDG World Expo vice president Paul Kent said that the numbers were “a great exclamation point” on the event.

“The Mac market is a vibrant and robust environment that continues to attract new customers for the most innovative products in the world. We look forward to carrying this momentum forward as we work towards an even bigger event in 2008 with new expo attractions and conference content,” said Kent.

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Geophoto "Pins" Photos to Earth Model

From Macworld

Ovolab announced the release of Geophoto, a Mac OS X application used for browsing, collecting and sharing digital photos. Geophoto was first previewed in January at Macworld Expo. Geophoto costs $49.95.

Geophoto displays local and remotely shared photos on a 3D model of the Earth, pinned to the location where the photo was taken. You can pan, zoom and fly through the photos, drag them to a specific location to “geotag” them, and share them with other users. The software integrates with iPhoto and can also work with the photo blogging site Flickr. (It doesn’t require an Internet connection unless you’re using online-specific features.)

Geophoto works with JPEG files, RAW images and other formats, supporting GPS metadata. It also works with the Space Navigator, the 3D input device from 3Dconnexion.

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Play List Men's Blazer Designed for iPod

From PlayList

Later this month Israeli designer Bagir will introduce the Play List Jacket, a tailored blazer designed specifically for men who want to carry an iPod. It will retail for $248.

“Wires hanging and the device bulging through the fabric can ruin the lining of a good suit,” said the company in a statement. The Play List Jacket circumvents this by featuring a strategically placed pocket and hidden loops on the inner lapel to hide earbud wires.

Soft touch controls are built into the inner lapel, so you don’t need to haul out your iPod in order to find change tracks or adjust volume. The jacket itself has received the Made for iPod authorization from Apple, according to Bagir.

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EyeTV Developer Yanks License from Miglia

From Macworld

Elgato Systems has announced it has “terminated the licensing agreement” between itself and Miglia Technology. With the agreement terminated, Miglia can no longer ship, sell or advertise TV tuner hardware bundled with EyeTV, according to Elgato.

EyeTV is Elgato’s Digital Video Recorder (DVR) software for Mac OS X. It enables devices such as Miglia’s to work with the Mac, viewing and recording television programs. Elgato also sells its own line of EyeTV-branded hardware interfaces that come bundled with the EyeTV software.

End users that have purchased hardware from Miglia already bundled with EyeTV can continue to count on Elgato for support, confirmed Lars Felber, Elgato spokesman. “It’s not the customer’s fault that the licensing agreement between Miglia and Elgato has ended,” said Felber.

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EU Commissioner Criticizes iPod/iTunes Tie In

From Ars Technica

European pressure on Apple to open up its iPod-iTunes ecosystem is growing, as EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva has spoken out against the tie-in between the iPod and Apple's iTunes Store. Speaking on the topic of DRM, Commissioner Kuneva says in comments reported in German-language magazine Focus that she believes consumers shouldn't be locked into the iPod by music they purchase from Apple's iTunes Store.

"Do you find it reasonable that a CD will play in all CD players, but an iTunes song will only play on an iPod?" asked Kuneva. "It doesn't to me. Something must change."

Kuneva also said that the industry needs competitive pricing and uniform sales contracts, in addition to a "cooling-off" period during which consumers could "return" downloaded music. She plays to discuss these initiatives in Brussels later this week.

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SXSW: Where have All the Macs Gone?


A year ago, at the 2006 South by Southwest festival, I noted with a bit of a twinkle in my eye that one way to know the conference was the coolest place on Earth was by press rooms. The standard province of broken down Wintel desktops had been had been blessed with gleaming new MacBook Pro laptops. And we all know, don't we, that where there are Macs, the cool and hip factors are higher.

So how cool is that, I thought?

At SXSW 2007, however, the coordinators of the pressroom apparently decided that cool was out. How do I know? Instead of shiny new Macs, there aren't even faded old Macs. Rather, the pressroom has 10 seemingly new Dell laptops.

Why? Who knows.

(Shawn's Comment:'re a *reporter*.....covering SXSW....why don't you...oh...I don't know....GO FIND OUT!? Or use common sense. How much do you want to bet that Dell either charged less for the machines than Apple or donated them outright to the conference? How about you go do some reporting instead about carping on the computers in the press room?)

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Beware Apple's iPhone Froth

From Forbes

Some investors are no doubt looking at the recent pullback in the equity markets as an opportunity to bargain hunt. Given the 10% drop since mid-January, shares of Apple may look particularly attractive, especially with the highly anticipated launch of the iPhone expected in June.

The product has already received its share of accolades. Indeed, the technological innovations it seems to offer in terms of design and functionality have many betting it will become the next big moneymaker for Apple.

Yet buying the stock now solely on the faith of this new product could come back to haunt your portfolio later in the year.

(Shawn's Comment: Interesting comments from Forbes. Read the article - do you think Apple may be overreaching itself with the iPhone #'s?)

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(PRODUCT)RED Team Slams False Reports

From Macworld UK

The Bono-backed (PRODUCT)RED charity has hit back at recent reports suggesting its fund-raising and awareness campaign has failed.

It has been suggested that the charity and its partners have spent in excess of $100 million on marketing only to raise just $8 million for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS in Africa. These suggestions first surfaced in a report on AdAge.

The charity has many high-profile supporters, including Apple. Apple sells a (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano. The way (PRODUCT)RED works is that products are marketed as part of the scheme and a slice of every sale is donated to the charity.

According to Contact Music, "sources" close to the campaign are annoyed at these lazy reports, criticising them because they have been less than objective.

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Aaron's Anti-DST Rant

DST is stupid, and there’s no real justification for it. At least two states and four territories in the US don’t recognize it, and half the world by location, and likely population, doesn’t recognize it. Most importantly, the fact that clocks move ahead or behind an arbitrary number of hours at arbitrary dates at some places in this country and at some places in the world totally defeats the purpose of providing consistent, predictable time, the reason for time zones to begin with.

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5 must have Apple Mail Enhancers

From Apple Gazette

Apple Mail is a great email client…

…but there’s always room for improvement, and if you get a lot of mail, or compulsively check your mail, there are some really excellent Apple Mail plugins that can help you get more work done, and still stay on top of those forwards you love getting from grandma….

I’ve compiled a list of my favorite 5 Apple Mail Enhancers that I think are must haves for anyone using Apple Mail that has to deal with more than a few dozen emails a day.

Click here to read more "5 must have Apple Mail Enhancers"

HP Photosmart D5160 Photo Printer

From Macworld

Pros: Easy and convenient CD/DVD printing; very good text and color-document quality; inexpensive; fast; attractive design.

Cons: Photos are oversharpened; reds look dark; control panel and included software have irksome limitations.

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Pool Side at the Golden Nugget

The Golden Nugget has just (a week ago) opened their "Dive Bar", a really cool area where you can relax, drink, gamble and watch the fish swim by!

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Panasonic and the Red Rock Desert

Thanks to the folks at Panasonic, we went to the Red Rock Desert early Friday morning to shoot the desert with some of Panasonic's latest consumer cameras:

The trip was a lot of fun and not only because we got to ride in real military spec Hummers, thanks to Desert Fox Tours:

The Hummer was an absolute blast and an amazing ride. We actually went off-roading in the beast and experienced first hand its agility and incredible climbing power.

Getting a Fix on Daylight Saving Time

From Macworld

Starting this year, in most locations in the United States and Canada as well as in numerous other regions around the world, Daylight Saving Time (DST) will begin on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November. This is an earlier start and a later finish than in previous years.

This can spell trouble for any device with a built-in digital clock that provides automatic adjustment for the shift between DST and Standard Time. The problem is that, unless these devices are updated for the new rules, they will shift to and from DST on the wrong dates. And those devices can include your Mac.

Happily, Apple was ahead of the curve here.

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PMA 2nd Day

Just got back off the show floor. Here are today's photos!

PMA 2nd Day

TripleHead2Go hooks up 3 DVI displays

From Macworld

Matrox Graphics used this week’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco to introduce the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition. The device enables you to hook up to three DVI-based displays to a Mac or PC using a single dual-link DVI connector. Coming in the second calendar quarter of 2007, the TripleHead2Go Digital Edition will cost $329.

The TripleHead2Go Digital Edition is the latest of Matrox’s Graphics eXpansion Modules (GXMs). It works in tandem with your computer’s existing video RAM and display output to enable you to create a virtual display up to 3840 x 1024 pixels. One dual-link DVI input is broken into three DVI outputs using a small black box that’s powered by USB.

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Adobe to Release 2 Versions of Photoshop CS3

From Macworld

Photoshop is about to become a one-two punch. Adobe will unveil two versions of its flagship image editor when it announces the rest of its Creative Suite 3 bundle on March 27, the company plans to disclose Thursday.

Photoshop CS3—which is already available as a public beta—and Photoshop CS3 Extended will share many of the same features, but the Extended version will target some new markets for the company.

The new markets Adobe is reaching out to with Photoshop Extended include professionals in architecture, engineering, medicine, and science. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes the same tools as Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities for integration of 3-D and motion graphics, image measurement, and analysis.

“At one point in time, we considered separate versions, but we found a lot of overlap in the features that these people needed,” Connor said. “That led to another type of strategy for Photoshop. Rather than create a new application, Extended is a superset of features that can specifically benefit people in those markets.”

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Need a Welcome Mat?

Very clever use of typography!

PMA in Las Vegas!

Your Mac Life is at the Photo Marketing Association Convention in Las Vegas this week.

We went to a wonderful dinner last night, thanks to Canon. But I couldn't take any pics - After all, it was a Canon event and I carry a Nikon but we had a great time and learned a lot about the new EOS-1D Mark III Digital SLR:

This morning, we were up at *4AM* to take a Hummer ride out to the Red Rock Desert, Thanks to the nice folks at Panasonic.

That ain't right. in Las Vegas, you should be going to *bed* at 4Am - not getting up!