YouTube to Offer Major Studio Films

YouTube will start streaming ad-supported feature films from “at least one of the biggest Hollywood movie studios,” according to a report from CNET this morning. The videos could hit the site in the next 1-3 months.
youtubescreeningroomThe CNET story falls in line with the vibe we’ve been getting from YouTube, where they’re casting their recent win of full-length CBS TV episodes as the first of many premium content deals in the pipe. YouTube’s official line to CNET’s Greg Sandoval was that it’s “in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies.”
Though YouTube’s video quality is still bottom of the barrel, it’s hard for any content producer to pass up its gigantic audience. A big push for premium content would bring the site into closer competition with the studio-spawned Hulu.
Read More about YouTube to Offer Major Studio Films

Last Gen MacBook Pros $700 Cheaper, MacBook for $849

Apple may not have broken the $900 mark with the new line of laptops they unveiled at Tuesday’s event, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a never-before-used Mac at that price. As long as you’re willing to bury your head in the sand and pretend no new models exist, or your computing habits don’t require the absolute latest tech, you can get some pretty good deals on previous generation Apple notebooks.
Amazon.com, for instance, is offering a $700 (compared to its price at the Apple Store before Tuesday’s release) discount on MacBook Pros, which makes this 15-inch model not much more expensive than the now-discontinued black MacBook. While this is a great deal for those looking for a still-powerful laptop at an affordable price, those hoping for the sub-$900 laptop Tuesday likely won’t see $1,780 as much of a deal.
Read More about Last Gen MacBook Pros $700 Cheaper, MacBook for $849

MacBook Air Updated: Spec Bumps All Around

The new MacBook Air, announced this morning, is a significant upgrade to the ultralight portable from Apple. The machine retains the same appearance, but the technology inside has been updated with some of the new features of the all-new MacBook and MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Air continues to come standard with 2GB of RAM and remains at the same price points of $1799 and $2499, but the specs at those price points are much improved. The exciting changes are in storage options, CPU bumps, and the dramatically improved graphics capabilities of the new MacBook Air. The updated Air will ship in early November.
The new MacBook Air comes with either a 120GB SATA drive or a 128GB solid-state drive. The drive performance is likely to be the same as the original MacBook Air, but the 50% bump on the SATA drive option and the 100% increase on the solid-state drive is welcome news. In my opinion, hitting 120GB is a minimum for any laptop that you plan to use on a daily basis.
Read More about MacBook Air Updated: Spec Bumps All Around

What Makes a Cloud Computer?

Cloud computers: Some call them ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs), some have dubbed them Netbooks, while others refer to them simply as handhelds. Regardless, there are certain features that any device in this new category must have. Continue Reading

Ready, Aim, FIRE!

With all the success of the amazing MacBook Air and iPhone, Apple has set itself up squarely in the sights of companies competing for svelte design.

When the MacBook Air was announced, the Lenovo Thinkpad camp was quick to point out that the X300 was better, weighing in at 2.93. Now, Toshiba claims that their new laptop weighs in at 2.4 pounds, making it the lightest laptop on the market. The Protege R500-S5007V (the name makes up for the difference in weight) is 0.77 inches thick, has a 128GB solid-state drive, 1.33-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7700 processor, 2MB of cache, and 2GB of RAM. The 12.1-inch screen is also smaller than the Air. And it costs $3,000!

You remember from a while back that the Samsung Instinct launched an attack solely on the iPhone. Not to be outdone by Apple’s price-drop, the Sprint answered back. Originally, the Instinct was going to be between $250 and $300, but once the price drop was announced, Sprint reduced it to compete penny for penny with the iPhone at $199. Now, however:

…the Instinct is no iPhone. And although it’s a nice phone in its own right, it doesn’t match up well with the soon-to-be-unleashed iPhone 3G.Sprint understood all too well what that would mean for sales, and today lowered the price to $129.99, with a $100 mail-in rebate and a two-year service contract. -Gary Krakow

HP, Sony, and Dell have all-in-one PCs to compete with the iMac.

I guess imitation really is the best form of flattery.

X300 ThinkPad: One Week Later

Dan Farber has a new home for his blog, Outside The Lines. I was reading it using the best Windows RSS reader, FeedDemon, this morning when I stumbled upon this little video by Lenovo that pokes fun of the MacBook Air. Funny stuff! It also reminded me that I needed to share my early impressions of this new device. First, it has been great to have it around since I am watching the Twenty20 cricket tournament that is going on in India right now.

Willow.tv only works on a PC and Internet Explorer, which is seriously lame. Still, it has forced me to use ThinkPad X300 for about four hours a day, and I can understand why people rave about solid-state hard drives. This machine (running Windows XP) is fast — and I mean fast — for basic computing (or the cloud computing tasks we typically do these days.) I wish I had a Macbook Air with SSD to do a one-on-one comparison.

My very quick take after spending a week with X300: If you are looking for an ultra-portable with a great keyboard, decent screen, you like using Windows XP and money is no object, then there is no way you can go wrong with x300. Automattic CEO Toni Schneider just got one.

SXSW: Whither the MacBook Airs?

Wandering around the South by Southwest Conference in Austin this weekend and yesterday, I was struck by how few people were sporting MacBook Airs. iPhones, on the other hand, were everywhere. I watched four impromptu demos of new sites on the iPhones of four different entrepreneurs. The interface was awesome, but the EDGE network certainly gave the entrepreneurs plenty of time to talk while their sites finished loading. When quizzed about computers, however, some said they didn’t bring one to the event while others confessed that although they thought the Air was sexy, they weren’t sure it was for them. And yeah, Twitter is still big.

Is MacBook Air good enough to be your only computer?

Mac-erati are busy debating about the virtues of the supermodel skinny. John Gruber, who was a bit lukewarm earlier, compares MacBook Air to a convertible coupe and writes, “it’s a secondary car, but for anyone without kids and with no need for significant storage space, it works just fine as their only car.”

David Heinemeier Hansson, the brains behind Ruby on Rails is impressed as well. “Dismissing it as merely a 3rd computer vanity accessory, as I’ve seen many do, is misguided and not based on actually using one for a longer period of time,” he writes.

macbook smallOf course, there is the other view. Being less of a web-app zealot as others, I am still on the fence on this one, and even after using the Macbook Air for close to two weeks, I still can’t make up my mind – whether to keep using it as my only machine or pair it with the MacBook.

One 3G USB Modem That Works With Macbook Air

A few days ago, Engadget reported that the recessed USB port on the Macbook Air made it virtually impossible to use a 3G modem (USB version) with the skinny machine. It was one of the machine’s shortcomings that felt like a real deal breaker.

evdo_modem_macbook_air.jpg

Nevertheless, I had already purchased the Macbook Air, so it was a little late for recriminations and remorse. And since I happened to have Novatel Wireless’ U727 USB modem for Sprint’s EVDO network lying around, I decided to plug it in and see for myself whether or not it worked. I’m not sure if Engadget used this modem, but for me the device plugged in without problems, showed up on the desktop, and after some minor tinkering, got me online at decidedly 3G speeds. [digg=http://digg.com/apple/One_3G_USB_Modem_That_Works_With_Macbook_Air]

Read More about One 3G USB Modem That Works With Macbook Air

Macbook Air Goes On Sale In SF, Out OF Stock

“First come, first served” took a whole new meaning at the San Francisco Apple store today, where Macbook Airs were out of stock within minutes of hitting the shelves. There were only a lucky few who got their hands on the ultra-light laptop that has received mixed reviews thus far. Throngs of curious onlookers, however, didn’t pay any attention to what experts had to say. Their question: When can I get one? Yeah, I asked the same question and then walked back home. Here are a couple of photos of the MacBook Air station at the SF store.

macbookaironsale.gif