RaaD Movies, News and Technology

Dany's RaaD Roundup

Apple’s New Toys for the 2010 Holliday Season

Steve Jobs made quite a few announcements about newer smaller  iPod shuffles, iPod nanos, iPod touches, a new iTunes and a new Apple TV along with many more updates on September 1st. You can watch the whole 90min conference here (subscribe to their keynote podcast here) including a performance at the end from the lead of Coldplay, Chris Martin. You can watch the musical performance here:

Of all the announcements, I thought the most interesting were the new social network Ping that is built into the new iTunes store, also accessible on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. They made a big deal about having over 160 million customers already with access to the store itself who now have access to this music social network. Considering that you’ll now be able to follow your favorite artists and friends, get local concert information, post videos, music and photos and get customized music suggestions based on who you follow, the facebooks, myspaces and twitters of the world should be wary, especially since Apple has a clear business model already tied into this network since it’s another way to open up people to new songs, albums and artists. It’s only a matter of time before this expands to include TV shows and movies. Facebook’s 500+ million worldwide active users still seems to top the charts, but I’m guessing Mark Zuckerberg‘s ears perked up when he heard this news.

The other interesting story from the conference I felt was the new Apple TV. Jobs admitted that since 2006, when the original Apple TV launched it wasn’t the biggest hit, but now they have added a lot of new features to integrate it with all the other products, with the ability to stream content (movies, TV shows and photos) from their computers, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches.  They added Netflix streaming support for Netflix subscribers along with TV show and movie rentals ranging from 99cents up to $4.99 for new movies being released on the same date as their dvd, there is also the ability to listen to and watch all the podcasts you subscribe to, which brings online content almost onto an equal playing field as movies and TV shows for access to your HD TV. The new Apple TV box is a lot smaller than before (the box almost fits in the palm of Steve Jobs’ hand),  probably because there’s no storage space on the device (everything works via streaming internet), the menu system seems easy to use. You’ll need a TV with an HDMI port since that’s the only output port, but it has built in WiFi and an Ethernet port for faster connections. I think with the new $99 price point for the Apple TV, they will basically put Roku‘s streaming box and anyone else like them right out of the market.

The photographer in me was very impressed with the demo of the new camera feature that was added to the iPod touch camera, high dynamic range (HDR) option. Using this, you can take a picture in bright light and the camera will take 3 quick pictures in succession, one at normal exposure, another underexposed one to bring out the colors from a bright sky and a third picture that is overexposed to bring out the dark sections of the picture and then blending the three pictures together to have a final photo with an enormous dynamic range of color and detail in the shot. Here is one example Apple has up on their site:

and here is an example that the great folks at AppleInsider created with their iPod touch with the original on the left and the HDR image on the right:

Thanks to Apple and AppleInsider for the above pictures. Also, if you want to see some professional HDR images from higher-end cameras check out this Flickr page and SmashingMagazine.

Enjoy

Dany

September 2, 2010 9:26 pm Posted by | apple, art, clips, HD, movies, music, music videos, photography, podcasts, software, technology, tv | 2 Comments

Arizona Immigration and The Daily Show for the week of May 1st, 2010

The Daily Show has an interesting take on the Apple next generation iPhone appearance in the tech media, especially interesting with Jon Stewart being a huge Apple fan. Apple in 1984 was fighting the man and now in 2010 may have just BECOME the man.
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In this 3 part extended interview, Jon talks with Ken Blackwell, writer of The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency (buy it here), it’s an interesting discussion of rhetoric vs policy.
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Even though the US feels like it’s in perpetual election season these days, other countries hold campaigns and elections as well. The British are going through their first election cycle with US style TV debates and microphone gaffs now. Let’s see how things are going for them.
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The other major piece of news out of the US has been the immigration debate stemming from Arizona passing an immigration bill. Most news sources aren’t talking about what the impetus was for the boarder bill (read the bill here). Pretty much only the author of the bill, ABC (in 2009) and the guys on No Agenda (subscribe here): Phoenix, AZ has become the #2 city in the world for kidnappings, only behind Mexico City and the kidnappers have primarily been Mexican gangs. Now, I disagree with the way the bill has been written, but I do think that SOMETHING needs to be and boarder control isn’t unreasonable, I just think that there are serious problems with local police being tasked with asking for citizenship papers from people who look suspicious. I just wish that this was brought up as part of the debate on the immigration issue by more people.

Enjoy

Dany

May 3, 2010 1:03 pm Posted by | apple, Arizona, books, clips, DC, economy, health, Law, London, podcasts, politics, tv | Leave a comment

Tech Roundup for the Week, Roger Ebert’s New Voice, US National Broadband Internet, Apple vs Google and even Nanomicrochips Inside Living Cells

There were a few interesting technology related stories I came across while sifting through Engadget recently, so I thought I would share what I found.

First, Roger Ebert, one of the most profound and prolific film reviewers in history has had many medical problems of late, thankfully he is still with us and reviewing films again, the problem is after all his health ordeals, he was left without a lower jaw and unable to speak… until now with some interesting help from CereProc. Here is the Engadget article, but just watch the video below, it’s hard to deny that this is an amazing step forward in science:

Recently, the FCC submitted its National Broadband Plan (download the pdf) to Congress, which includes a laundry list of goals for the next decade, essentially to provide access for “every American” to “robust broadband services,” meaning 100 million US homes with “affordable” access with 100MBps download and 50Mbps upload speeds, which sounds wonderful, but let’s see what their definition of affordable turns out to be. Here is the Engadget story with the reactions from Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Google and Comcast executives.

The above illustration is from Daniel Adel of the New York Times and it adds to the hyperbole around the idea that Google and Apple chief executives that were once close are now at war, iPhone/iPad vs Android. Here is the Endadget article that goes into the details.

Lastly, it looks like we’re on the road to implanting microprocessors… or in this case even smaller nanoprocessors into living cells. At this point, current research has been able to obtain 90% cell survival after such a dramatic procedure. It will be interesting to see where this ultimately takes us in the coming decades. Here is the Engadget story along with the original research article by Gómez-Martínez R.

Enjoy

Dany

March 18, 2010 9:43 pm Posted by | apple, art, cartoons, clips, crazy celebs, DC, economy, Law, movies, nature, newspaper, politics, science, software, technology, vaporware, Verizon, Washington, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Walt Mosspuppet Interviews Steve Jobspuppet

Let’s just call this the cynic’s view of the Apple and their latest iPad… and I LOVE it. I was laughing my head off at this piece of golden tech opinion.

Thanks to Hoggworks and Walt Mosspuppet for this interview with Steve Jobspuppet!

Enjoy

Dany

February 7, 2010 8:42 am Posted by | apple, clips, technology | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the Apple iPad Announcement

Yesterday Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, announced the upcoming iPad, Apple‘s take on a tablet computer, smartbook, slate or whatever you want to call it… maybe just GIANT iPod Touch.

After seeing the keynote (watch it here), there were some interesting things I noticed and wanted to talk about with this new device. First off though, I currently use a 4+ year old Dell Inspiron 700m laptop and I carry around a 60gb iPod Video. Both of which I will need to replace sometime soon as both are starting to slowly die on me. With that, I’m always looking to see what I can replace each device with without breaking my rather small bank account in half as a poor medical student.

The most surprising part of the whole announcement for me was that this iPad is running an Apple customized A4 processor. So, Apple is almost completely vertically integrated now, they make their processors, their own batteries, their own multi-touch technology, they control every piece of hardware that goes into their machines, they write their own operating systems and control their own online store where you can buy music, movies, television  shows, applications, games, podcasts (free), educational materials (iTunes U) and now electronic books (iBookstore). Jobs now claims that Apple is now the largest mobile devices company by revenue… something that should concern Jobs at some point because the US has laws against monopolies and while being as vertically integrated as I mentioned just now is fine for a small company, once that company gets large enough, that kind of power starts to get noticed by government officials.

This new iPad is very similar to the iPod Touch/iPhone (it just doesn’t have a phone). The iPad basically runs on the same operating system as the iPod Touch, it’s just BIGGER (almost 10inches compared to the 3.5inch iPod Touch), can play HD video and with a longer battery life (10 hours of use with 1 month of standby time). The iPad will also run virtually all of the 140,000 applications that are already available for the iPhone/iPod Touch.

Since Apple’s current 3.5inch hardware has 2 different skews that have been immensely successful, it’s not too surprising that there are going to be 2 separate skews for the new iPad, a wifi version that starts at $499 (basically a GIANT iPod Touch) and a version that also has a 3G internet data subscription option starting at $629 (almost like a GIANT iPhone, just minus a phone or camera).

The other thing I noticed that was interesting after reading Engadget, is that Apple now has a way for you to buy into their vertically integrated ecosystem for almost any amount of money. To gain direct access to all the different online stores from Apple’s mobile hardware you can pay as little as $99 to buy an iPhone (with a 2 year contract), you could pay $199, $299 or $399 for an iPod Touch, now you can pay $499, $599 or $699 for a wifi iPad with 16, 32 and 64gb of storage space respectively, you could buy any of those previously mentioned iPad with wifi models and add 3G internet access from $629 – $829, after that if you shell out $999 you can spring for their basic 13inch Macbook and from there you can pay buy into the 13inch Macbook Pro for $1199, the 13inch Macbook Air for $1499, $1699 for their 15inch and $2499 to start for their 17inch Macbook Pro and you can customize those laptops to your hearts content to set the price to any amount under $6,500 FULLY loaded for a single purchase. So it seems that Apple is basically bridging the price gap between their $399 iPod Touch and their $999 Macbook to give customers new ways to access all of their online stores.

From previous experience with the iPhone/iPod Touch, I was not surprised when the wifi only iPad didn’t have a either a front-facing web camera (for video chat) or a rear-facing camera (to take pictures) since the iPod Touch doesn’t have either of those features, BUT I was VERY surprised that the iPad with 3G DIDN’T have either or BOTH of these cameras since all iPhones have rear-facing cameras and ALL of their laptops have built-in front-facing web cameras. Maybe this is a feature that will come later, maybe not. Who knows?

It is also disappointing that with the larger screen and faster processor that you can only run one application at a time. That means you can’t surf the web while also keeping a chat client open.

I am not going to try and guess how successful this device will be since Apple has done quite well ever since Steve Jobs returned to Apple, but at this point, when I replace my 6ogb iPod and my old Dell laptop, I will probably just go with a new iPod Touch and a Windows 7 laptop for now, iPad or no iPad.

Thanks to Apple for the above pic.

Enjoy

Dany

**Update 2009-1-28 – Upon further analysis it will also be interesting to see how specialized industries, like the medical profession write applications and start utilizing this type of device, it is specialized markets like this that have already shown the willingness to utilize tablet technology in the past. Maybe companies like Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health will write special charting applications to use for accessing medical records in a more hands-on sort of way. Time will tell.

January 28, 2010 3:03 pm Posted by | apple, ATT, books, clips, medicine, movies, music, music videos, podcasts, software, technology, tv, Windows | Leave a comment

Verizon Wireless Hits AT&T Where it Hurts… Their Highspeed Network Coverage

Verizon Wireless has come out with some pretty scathing advertisements recently and now, they have started cranking out a fresh set of new Christmas themed ads… sure it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but the early bird catches the worm, right?

Now I still think the iPhone on AT&T is still going to sell better than gangbusters this holiday season, but now AT&T‘s biggest competitor is really taking their ad campaign hard at AT&T‘s sparse 3G internet network availability.

Thanks to Engadget for pointing this out!

Enjoy

Dany

November 10, 2009 6:39 pm Posted by | apple, ATT, clips, commercials, technology, Verizon | Leave a comment

Macworld and CES 2009 Opening Keynotes by Apple’s Phil Schiller and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer

This week has brought us two very important keynote presentations. First there was the Macworld 2009 keynote by Apple‘s Phil Schiller (the last keynote Apple will give at Macworld) replacing Steve Jobs, who has traditionally given this keynote, then came the opening of CES and Steve Ballmer delivering this year’s keynote, a job that Bill Gates had traditionally filled in years past.

It was very interesting seeing both lectures for their similarities: all the cool hardware and software they were promoting, and the differences: Microsoft made a concerted effort to show off many different hardware and internet vendors, not just their in-house products.

Watch the 135 minute Macworld 2009 keynote here or get the HD version (subscribe to the iTunes podcast here) and watch the 123 minute CES 2009 keynote here.

Enjoy! I actually think the Steve Ballmer keynote (watch it here) was more interesting to watch, especially since they showed off some cool flexible e-ink reading technology.

Dany

January 9, 2009 1:04 am Posted by | apple, clips, commercials, lectures, podcasts, technology | Leave a comment

Fake Newsflash! The Onion Introduces Apple’s Macbook Wheel

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I would stop posting The Onion’s videos (iTunes subscribe here)… if they weren’t consistently hilarious. This latest video is a great send up on Apple and their (at times) lemming-like hardcore fan base.

Just enjoy the absurdity of the revolutionary keyboard-less Macbook Wheel.

Dany

January 6, 2009 3:11 am Posted by | apple, clips, comedians, podcasts, technology | Leave a comment

Saturday Night Live’s Vice Presidential Debate and Hilarious show with Anne Hathaway

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The political commentary has not been sharper than what is coming out of Saturday Night Live during this presidential election and the hilarity of their take on the recent Vice Presidential debate (video) is only surpassed by their initial Palin/Clinton joint press conference. I never would have thought to make the connection, but Queen Latifah playing Gwen Ifill (who I still hope takes over as the Meet the Press anchor after the election) was an inspired choice along with Jason Sudeikis playing a funny Joe Biden and the AMAZING job that Tina Fey did again as Sarah Palin.

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I just WISH that NBC would post full episodes of Saturday Night Live on either NBC.com or Hulu. If they did, I would be able to SHOW you this entire episode, because it was easily the best entire episode of SNL in the past few years. Anne Hathaway did a great job as host, I even liked her intro, when I usually find that SNL intros are annoying or boring. I’ll post the rest of the funny clips I’m allowed to show. I’d post more, but that’s how I got my youtube account canceled (master1228). If anyone from NBC is reading this, please start posting entire episodes of Saturday Night Live. Hulu has been such a great success, you’re making money off the comercials on Hulu and you’d make your SNL fans extatic.

I know you sell each episode for $1.99 on iTunes and Amazon, but Joss Whedon did this on iTunes AND offered (and still offers) up Dr. Horrible on Hulu and monitizes through their commercials as well and the fans LOVE it. I know no one at NBC really cares what I think, but they should. NBC was one of Hulu’s founders, you’d think they’d support it fully by offering up ALL their shows on the platform that they want to succeed, especially the shows they air on free network television.

Enjoy

Dany

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October 6, 2008 12:39 am Posted by | apple, clips, comedians, DC, New York, NYC, politics, software, technology, tv, Washington, Washington DC | 1 Comment

Apple’s New Announcements – Kevin Rose was Right

Well, it looks like Kevin Rose‘s leaked rumors were true. Steve Jobs announced today that Apple was releasing a new iPod Nano (8 and 16gb versions for $149 and 199 respectively) that looks exactly like the leaked photos, that they were reducing the prices on the iPod Touch (8, 16 and 32gb versions for $229, 299 and 399) and letting loose iTunes 8.0.

I was very surprised that the leaked Nano photos were legit though, the idea that Apple is moving from flat screen displays to a curved glass display is very strange. I could understand if they only curved the metal/plastic body, but curving the glass introduces a lot more reflections into your viewing experience and if they’re heavily promoting the video experience with these new players and their newer, larger screens, this is a very odd turn indeed. Remember the glare you used to get on your old tube televisions and monitors before they all went to the more expensive flat screen models?

Now, I haven’t gotten my hands on the new Nano yet, I’ll be heading over to an Apple store to get a hands on before my final judgement, but from what I’ve heard, they’ve vastly shrunk down the thickness of the Nano to an almost wafer thin state, which sounds quite nice.

The only other major change to their lineup is that they consolidated their iPod Classic lineup by cutting out both their 160 and 80gb versions and splitting the difference with a new thin 120gb version for $249. This was surprising since the new Zune was leaked to be only 120gb, but this brings down the high end version of the iPod Classic down to that same capacity for less than a dollar more than the rumored Zune.

Thanks to Engadget for the above pic and the best live blog of the entire event today.

Enjoy

Dany

September 9, 2008 10:36 pm Posted by | apple, audiobooks, movies, music, podcasts, software, technology, tv | Leave a comment