Awkward

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts

Dilbert.com

A little Dilbert Siri humor for your Friday enjoyment.

Thank You Steve. Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts

Thank you steve

apple.com/stevejobs

Strange iPad 2 Camera Glitch

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts, Troubleshooting

I was doing some testing of the camera in the new iPad 2 and had this strange artifact start showing up on the sensor. It seems to be triggered by bright white points. I’m not sure at the moment if it is a defect or simply a shortcoming of the low end camera sensor Apple is using in the iPad 2. I get the effect in both video and stills. If you are experiencing similar issues or are a smart camera sensor engineer and know what’s causing this, please post in the comments or shoot an email my way (maccast at gmail dot com).

iTunes 10 brings iBooks to Apple TV? (updated)

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts

booksontv.png

While certainly not a new concept (I think Levar Burton and Reading Rainbow beat Apple to the punch), today I noticed iTunes 10 lists a “Books” entry under my Apple TV. There doesn’t appear to be a corresponding tab for syncing (or streaming) book content to the device though.

booksgohere.png

So, could this be a sign of a feature to come? Most likely not. It’s probably just a glitch that will be remedied in a future software update. I don’t think there would be much value in being able to sync or stream iBooks to your Apple TV. The one possible exception would be the new “enchanced” iBooks that have multi media features built in. Even then I don’t think there is enough demand to warrant Apple TV support. Plus, the feature seems even stranger if you consider you can’t buy or read iBooks on your Mac yet. Seems like Apple would add support to the desktop long before they’d bring books to the boob tube.

Update:
@h1ro on Twitter mentioned that the Books section might be for syncing of Audiobook content which does fall under the Books section in iTunes. Makes perfect sense and that though occurred to me too. Trouble is, as pointed out above, there is NO corresponding tab in iTunes 10 to manage that content on the Apple TV.

Update #2:
OK, so as @Jose_Gutierrez pointed out, @h1ro is correct. The Books section IS for audiobooks, I just couldn’t see it. Even though I own 15 audiobooks and those are in my iTunes library I can’t sync them to my AppleTV. You see, the feature only supports audiobooks purchased directly from iTunes. Mine were purchased from Audible.com and added to my iTunes library. Even though I can play those books in iTunes, sync them to my iPhone, iPod, and iPad, I can’t play them on my Apple TV. To make things worse and even more confusing, the audiobooks sold on iTunes are “presented by” Audible.com. That is seriously messed up. See kids, this is why DRM is a fricken bad idea.

Testing Flash “Gala” Preview

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff, News, Random Thoughts

Electronista has a post reporting that Adobe has a new Flash preview release dubbed “Gala” (10.1.81.3). With the arrival of “Gala” Adobe has added support for H.264 video hardware decoding on Macs with OS X 10.6.3 and NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M graphics chips. Since I own a 15″ unibody Macbook Pro with an NVIDIA 9400M I decided to see how much of a performance difference the new Flash build might offer. For my testing I didn’t use any traditional benchmarking suite, so please take the results accordingly. I do think my tests should represent a “real world” type scenario. Basically, I played back a 720p HD video from YouTube and monitored the resulting Flash Player Plug-in CPU load in Activity Monitor. I found that when running the test on the latest “non-Gala” version of Flash the CPU load on my 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Macbook Pro with 4GB of RAM went up to about 90% CPU utilization. Also the fans on my Macbook kicked in about halfway through the video which runs about 4:30.

flash_default_cpu

When I ran the same video after installing the “Gala” build of Flash I saw a significant drop in CPU usage. The CPU load hovered between 30 and 40%, roughly about a 50 to 60% decrease in load. I also didn’t have my fans kick in.

flash_gala_cpu

With “Gala”, you can tell when the Flash hardware decoding has kicked in by the appearance of a small white square in the corner of the video. Adobe says that in addition to improved playback of H.264 video the hardware enhanced version of Flash should also result in improved battery life. Might be welcome benefit for long Hulu video watching sessions when away from a power outlet.

To be fair I also switch YouTube over to the HTML 5 beta and tested the same video at 720p. Again in my very non-scientific benchmark test I noted that Safari’s CPU load went up to about 20% with the video playing.

How I lost my memory

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Hints & Tips, Random Thoughts

Wheres my RAM

A friend of mine recently posted on Twitter an image like the one above. Very logically he posed this question… How does 3.65 + 0.35 = 3.75? Is this some strange new cult of Apple mathematics? There appeared to be missing 256MB of RAM. Concerned for my friend’s memory loss and a bit puzzled myself, I opened my Activity Monitor. You can see, I had exactly same result. Being the Mac geek that I am, I didn’t panic. I figured there had to be a logical explanation. Maybe this was like hard drives where they say 1 TB on the box, but in reality you get less. That happens because when marketing the hard drive they base the numbers on 1GB equaling 1,000 MB instead of the actual 1024MB that it should. In the case of my RAM that wasn’t it. So what gives?

A quick Google search revealed the logical answer. It’s something I should have realized immediately but didn’t. See, I have a newer 15″ Macbook Pro with an integrated NVIDIA 9400M GPU and it uses… You guessed it. 256MB of shared RAM.

Found it

Mystery solved.

iPad: Go Greased Lightning

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Follow-up, Random Thoughts

First let me say I am loving Apple’s new iPad. One of the first “killer” features for me is the ability to quickly and easily respond to email while sitting on the couch or in bed. In the past I have used my iPhone for this, but because typing on that device isn’t ideal I would often respond with more terse emails than I would have liked. The iPad’s on-screen keyboard is much more “typeable”. It resolves the issue but as I discovered this morning nothing is perfect. Checkout what awaited me when I finished my work and turned off the iPad.

iPad Fingerprints
iPad Fingerprints

Yup. A nice greasy virtual fingerprint keyboard. The iPad, like it’s smaller siblings the iPhone and iPod Touch, loves grease (and cat hair BTW). Luckily it also has the same oleophobic coating as the mini pads too. A simple wipe with a soft lint free cloth resolves the issue. Still kinda funny. For sure you’ll want to keep a cloth around and handy for when you finished fondling your favorite new iThing.

The 10,0000 pound Magic Mouse

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts

Yikes.jpg

I knew that you Mac Geeks across the pond were used to paying a bit extra for your Apple kit, but I hadn’t realized it had gotten this bad. As I write this, picking up this Mighty Mouse would set you back approx. USD $16,000 and change. Don’t know about you, but for that price I would expect it would have a whole different kind of multi-touch. What might be more amazing than the price tag on this item though, is they seem to be going like hotcakes. “Only 1 left in stock–order soon”.

Obviously someone in the Amazon.com stockroom wasn’t minding their comma and got over excited with the zeros. Thanks to Roz for the tip-off.

Movember Macstache is Back

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Random Thoughts

MacstacheIt’s that time of year again… Movember; and once again all this month I’m growing (as best as I can) a mustache to help raise awareness of men’s health issues and to fight prostate cancer. If you can, please donate to the cause.

What is Movember?

What many people don’t know is that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged 18-35.

So, during Movember (the month formerly known as November) I am growing a mustache to show support. The funds raised go to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG).

How to Donate

To donate to my Macstache you can either click this link to donate online now using your credit card or PayPal account

Or, write a check payable to ‘Movember Foundation’, referencing my Registration Number 353272 and mailing it to:

Movember Foundation
PO Box 2726
Venice, CA 90294-2726

All donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Thanks for your support,

Adam.

Scoble: My Macworld Doppelganger

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Cool Stuff, Random Thoughts

me_120.jpgjot_120.jpgscoble_120.jpg

For a long time now I have been a fan of the “Joy of Tech” comic produced by Nitrozac and Snaggy. As a matter of fact I have had a link to their comic on this blog since it’s inception. They do awesome work and are great contributors to Apple pop culture. You may also recognize their work in the TWiT podcast album art.

The past couple years, just prior to Macworld, the “Joy of Tech” has put out a Macworld celebrity sightings checklist. You can see this years edition here. Last year I began hoping that my Mac celebrity status might rise enough to someday earn a spot on their list. When the comic posted this year I carefully inspected the faces and was very happy to see friends and colleagues like Veronica, Leo, Andy, Chuck, Don, and others all prominently displayed. But alas I didn’t seem to join the ranks this year. Then I noticed a small grouping in the lower corner. There was Jonny, Woz, Sinbad, Derrick, Walt, and could it be? For a brief moment my heart swept and my ego swelled. Was that me? Should I fire up Twitterific and tweet it to the world?

Needless to say… no tweet went out. After that brief moment the euphoria wore off and I came to my senses. It was Robert Scoble. But hey, it’s not all bad. I apparently have a passing resemblance to famous tech blogger Robert Scoble. Plus, if anyone asks if it IS me, I figure I don’t have to go out of my way to deny it. Right?