RIP Apple TV, Hello Apple TV

After finally admitting that the company did a poor job with the Apple TV, Steve Jobs in his Macworld keynote today unveiled a totally new interface with loads of functionality that should be enough for any Apple zealot to jump for joy. But how much faith do people really have in Apple to make its new offering a success when the product was relegated to the shadows and generally ignored over the past year? Read more over at NewTeeVee.

Living a Microsoft Office Free Lifestyle

As part of my Leopard switch, I set one goal for myself: run nothing but Intel native applications. That meant finding a clear alternative for Microsoft Office.

Pages

Pages Sticking with the iWork ‘08 trial, I began my migration quickly and easily. All my Word documents changed peacefully to Pages by default and all opened just fine. The only minor issue I ran into was not having Microsoft’s font book, and therefor several obscure fonts were reset to Times New Roman. If anyone has a quick fix for this, I’d be interested to hear. I imagine I could take the font book from a Mac with Office installed and simply replace my font book with it?

Opening new documents was simple. Using the Blank template I was able to manage around Page’s Inspector. However I quickly ran into problems re-saving edited documents. Pages by default saves in the Pages format. So even editing a .Doc requires you save it as Pages. That’s a bit frustrating. You can export a file into Word for convenience, especially if you’re planning on sharing those documents with others. But it would be much more convenient to be able to choose your format directly from the Save screen. So I began saving my documents in the Pages format and getting rid of the normal Word documents when done editing them. Fortunately for me, I didn’t need to export documents as much as I thought I would. But again, it is frustrating after awhile. At least offer a keyboard command to quickly access the export feature so I don’t have to rely on my mouse as frequently.

The one real benefit I found with Pages and iWork was how quickly it opened. I imagine since Office is currently not Intel native, it requires more time to open. We’ll see how that remedies when Office ’08 goes on sale. But it’s nice not having to wait for a document to open. So far I’ve been happy with Pages, until it comes to creating a new flyer, not based on any of their templates. When creating a new layout or design, I can get more done and faster through Photoshop.

Keynote & Numbers

Keynote I’m lumping Keynote and Numbers together because as a writer my main focus lies solely on document editing. So for a more precise comparison, I recommend trying them out yourselves.

I think watching Steve Jobs’ Keynotes has created a bias for me. Or if you’re more familiar with An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore relies on Keynote for his presentation. Feature wise, Keynote offers very similar features as PowerPoint, just in a more clean, streamlined fashion. Since it meshes directly with iPhoto and iTunes, it’s a lot simpler to import music, photos, or even videos. One feature I truly love about Keynote is my ability to export it directly to iPod. When giving presentations I find it easier to carry around my iPod and A/V chord instead of a laptop and chords. Much less fuss, and much more streamlined. You may not retain as many features, but for someone that needs something portable, it’s a great idea. Over all I feel more satisfied with my Keynote presentations than I have with PowerPoint, so I’m going to stick with it.

Numbers Numbers was an interesting one for me. I could open my previous Excel files fine, but if they contained drop down menus, or set fields I began running into issues. Not a spreadsheet fiend, I think I’d prefer Excel only because of its familiarity and the fact it seems a business staple.

Recommendation

One thing I appreciate overall with iWork and Mac is the attention to detail. For example iWork allows you to move a document currently being editing to another folder without any errors. The document will kindly ask whether too start saving there, or save in two locations. Between Pages and Keynote I feel satisfied for most of my current office needs.

For students, something to keep in mind, is universality. Obviously Office is the preferred choice for schools and teachers, so it might be best for you to stick with it. Especially for note taking, I remember enjoying Word’s Notebook feature. Not only could I simultaneously record lecture from within Word, I could write clear outlined notes using its Notebook format. It was simple, efficient, and helped a lot.

If price is a factor for you, be sure and check out NeoOffice. It provides a classical approach and is completely free. iWork can be purchased for $79, and it looks like Office ’08 will run you up $150 for the Student/Teacher edition or $399 for Office Basic. If you’re running low on hard drive space, try testing out Google Docs and Spreadsheets, ZoHo, or Adobe’s new Buzzword. There are a variety of ways around office applications, so find what works most efficiently for you. If you have any recommendations or ideas, feel free to comment.

Friday poll – choose one: integrated WiFi or WWAN

Free polls from Pollhost.com
If you could only choose one integrated radio for your mobile computer, which would it be?
WiFi   WWAN (EV-DO or HSDPA)   

I mentioned this yesterday, but the more I think about it, the more I think a poll might be in order. When I had my UMPC cracked open yesterday for some RAM swaps, I was looking at the PCI Express mini slot that holds the wireless chipset. I know that some EV-DO and HSDPA modems use the same PCI Express mini factor and was thinking about which would be more important to me: integrated WiFi or integrated WWAN? Everyone’s needs are different of course, but when I’m out and about, I’m usually not at or near a WiFi hotspot, so I’ll be voting for WWAN. I could live with a smallish USB dongle for WiFi at home if I needed to; having lower bandwidth speeds but increasing connection availability by magnitudes is more appealing to me personally.

Have at it in the voting for a few days and we’ll report back what the mobile consensus was!

Battery life in XP: 4 hours. Same battery in Vista: 3.5 hours.

Fujitsu_umpc_2The topic du jour appears to be Vista’s impact on battery live and just so folks don’t feel the issue is constrained to us in the blogosphere, I had to point out this quote from PC World. The magazine took a look at the new Fujitsu UMPC, the FMV-U8240, and provides their first impressions. Buried towards the bottom of the article is this quote:

"Using the standard battery the machine will run 4 hours on Windows XP and 3.5 hours on Windows Vista."

There’s no indication if that statement comes from hands on testing or from Fujitsu at this point. I believe that it would have to come from a Fujitsu source as opposed to a PC World test, simply because the device was just announced. While PC World potentially could have had an advance review unit, the rest of the article has no real benchmarks or test results, so I’m thinking the statement was provided by Fujitsu; would love for someone in the know to comment and clarify. Meanwhile, if you’re running Vista on a notebook or UMPC, be sure to check out the freeware app Vista Battery Saver.

NuPower ViDEO+, 80 hours of juice for iPod music

Vidplus_silverweb_sideNewerTech just announced this handy little rechargeable battery pack for 5th generation iPods: the NuPower ViDEO+. Essentially, this is a $50 external battery sleeve for 30-, 60-, and 80-GB iPod videos. NewerTech claims a whopping 80 hours of music or 16 hours of video on a single charge; I like that the unit recharges in just three hours.

Like many external battery packs for computers, you can also use the device to charge your iPod’s internal battery. Another nice touch: external LEDs on the back to show the unit’s current battery capacity. Nice!

Greg Maffei does a 360, defects to Oracle

Et Tu Greg?
Greg Maffei, had the world on a string as the CFO of Microsoft. And then he was overcome by the fumes, and decided that he wanted to be part of the optical boom. So on he went to 360Networks, one of the many fiber networks with millions of mile of fiber but no profits. 360 went bankrupt, and now has restructured by becoming a smallish player. The plan to rule the broadband world didn’t exactly work out – so he is back to crunching numbers – as Oracle’s yet another president and CFO. The good news is that unlike other broadband CEO/CFO types, he is scandal free! GMSV reminds me of all the acqusitions made by Greg when at Microsoft. AT&T, Comcast etc, got Money from MoneySoft. Funny those things still haven’t paid off!