Apple UK open store in PC World

Written by: Dave Cryer

Categories: Editorial

Apple UK PCWorldApple’s website detailing a new shop they have opened within PC World at Enfield, Middlesex, UK. My previous experiences with buying Apple kit from a PC World has left a lot to be desired, so this news is very welcome. The page on the Apple website explains how the full range of desktops and laptops are on display, with regular demonstrations of the kit and related software. Good move, let us hope this helps to spread the word.

EA Makes Big Announcement at WWDC

Written by: Charlie George

Categories: Editorial

Bing Gorden co-founder of Electronic Arts announced that they want to and are going to be in the Mac game(no pun intended). This is what I’m talking about and what some of you said in the comments section on my previous article.

EA is answering the call by releasing at the same time in July Command and Conquer 3, Battlefield 2142, Need for Speed: Carbon, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix(believe it or not, but it looks pretty good). Bing also announced that they would also be releasing simultaneously their Madden and Tiger Woods games to the Mac.

ID founder John Carmack also made an appearance to show off some new technology they are going to be implementing into their new games which will be shown off at E3, it would be a safe bet to say it will have an OSX release, only what is it, plus the fact that they are at the conference gets me all excited.

So a huge announcement from EA saying they are going to give us Mac gamers what we want, and making it a timely release. Now we have to show them that we want this by supporting them, and purchasing the games.

What do you think about these new developments?

Who knows whether you MacCast readers will even see this before the actual Apple World Wide Developers Conference Keynote happens, but a few of us on the MacCast crew thought we’d take a shot at some (harebrained?) predictions for what we might see (or at least hope to see) tomorrow at WWDC.

Live Maccast Chat: If you are reading this before or during the keynote and want to chat about it live join us on iChat/AIM in the room: maccast. To access it using iChat:

1) Launch iChat
2) Go to: File–>Go to Chat… and enter ‘maccast’m as the chat name.

See you there.
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Why Mac Gamers Pay More

Written by: Charlie George

Categories: Editorial

The other day I needed to run to my local Apple store in Oak Brook, Illinois (The one in Orland Park is not open yet, but I digress) to pick up some A/V cables for the good old iPod and of course drool at all the new Mac stuff.

I have been in a few Apple stores and they are generally set up the same with the high end production software to the left of the register and the games, GarageBand loops, etc to the right.

I was perusing the latest additions to the Mac gaming world and over heard one teenager complain with a friend about the price of a game that is at least two years old, the name of the game I cannot recollect. He stated that the game was two years old, was already in the bargain bin at a local “Big Box” store, and was more than fifty percent cheaper. The question was; “Why should I pay more for something I can get for less?” His friend, who obviously was a Mac owner, looked around the store like a person who had just been publicly humiliated as his friends tone carried throughout the store. The Mac owner quickly retorted that playing on a Mac is better than playing on the PC.

At this point I was pretending to be interested in a foreign language teaching app so as to be discreet and not be seen being nosy. I had to hear the Mac owners reasons, I have my own but thought they would be different.

He said, “They look great with the Mac displays! Nothing looks better than an LCD screen.” He was arguing the case very good so far. “Did you know that the Macs have Intel chips in them?” The friend at this point looked like a deer in the headlights, he obviously didn’t have a clue about the new Macs having not only Intel chips, but Core 2 Duos. “That means you can run Windows, if you really felt the need, and play your PC games.”

I’m not going to say at this point that the friend went right up to the register and bought a Mac, but I will say that he was intrigued. He at least went up to one of the Mac specialists and asked questions about the graphics cards that came with them, and other options that could be had.

He may never own a Mac, but he will at least know why it’s fantastic to play games on the Mac. Think about it this way, the game you are purchasing may be two years old, but it’s has had patches and has had bug fixes that were not done at the very beginning, so in most cases you are getting the best product and not worrying if the program will crash. Because our PC friends have done all the beta testing for the Mac version for us.

What’s running on your Mac right now?

Written by: Jack Hodgson

Categories: Editorial

What's running now?

Looking at the application dock just now it occurred to me that that was an interesting collection of apps. Maybe not. But for better or worse, here they are (show us yours too if you like):

Grab — We start right out with an oddball. This is the standard screen grab utility that comes with the Mac, and I basically NEVER use it. But it’s open now cause I couldn’t get any of my usual tools to grab the application dock. But Capture->”Timed Screen” did the trick. I quit it the moment after I took the shot, and probably won’t see it again for a long time.

Finder — Ah the Finder. At Merlin Mann’s suggestion, I tried Path Finder for awhile, but Finder is good enough for me. I’ve even gotten used to the left-hand-icon-sidebar of Tiger. Although I really wish we could get consistent about what a single- vs double-click does on an icon.
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Macs and Integrated Card Readers

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

Belkin Express Card ReaderOne of the early “Get a Mac” ads featured the Mac being able to communicate with a new digital camera while the PC just looked on, bewildered. Apple computers are supposed to “just work.” Yep, they “just work” with some peripherals if you happen to have a USB cable handy. Why is this the case?

Apple has always been an innovator. They dropped the floppy disk drive much earlier than other PC makers, included wi-fi in their laptops before many others and of course, Apple’s industrial design has influenced many other computer makers.

But for some reason, Apple has not integrated a media card reader into their laptops, nor their desktop lines. I own a MacBook Pro, and a couple of more slots on the side of the laptop would not look odd or ugly. iMacs could also benefit from a few slots for SD or CompactFlash cards artfully placed below the CD/DVD drive. It’s absolutely inexcusable that the Mac Pros do not have such slots. These are pricey computers; they should have features that are available on low-end PCs. However, I am not sure where on the Mac mini Apple could place easily accessible multimedia card slots.

You would think that since Apple is geared towards the creative, with software like iPhoto and iMovie, that there would be an easy, USB cable-free way to get the data on to your Mac so you can create. Who wants to search for cables when creativity strikes?

If you have a MacBook Pro and are dying to have a card reader, there’s a solution from Belkin that keeps your MacBook Pro’s form factor intact. You can view the product over at Belkin’s site. As of this writing, Belkin is out of stock of their multimedia card reader.

Thoughts on Digital Convergence

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

The MacCast always seems to get me thinking. This time, Adam, you got me thinking more and more about the topic of Digital Convergence. There are so many things going on in this area right now, I thought I’d share with you some of my observations.

The impact of the following issues are nothing less than dramatic . . .

  • Professional music and video is now competing with amateur music and video (the democratization of content).
  • New devices are being introduced daily that can support all different kinds of media.
  • People don’t have any more TIME to spend on content/media absorption
  • than they already do today (most important).

  • Viewing habits of an attention-span challenged generation are kicking in (people want shorter bursts of content).
  • VOIP is now ubiquitious and PC video chat applications actually work.

Traditional media, brick and mortar retail stores, service providers, and new network-based services are all hardening for battle. The consequences of this battle will be severe and permanent.
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Just in the past few days, the digital protections (or DRM) in which TiVo wrapped its recorded programming were defeated to allow the content to be played on a consumer’s networked device of choice. And I’m sure I’m not the only member of the MacCast community who has been waiting for the TiVoToGo functionality, but I’m excited at the possibility of watching even more recorded content on the go.

What I find interesting is that in the few days since this hack was made available, some previously held DRM hostages are wishing they had never been freed.
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Who cares if it’s true, lets Digg it!

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

Seems like the best way to get publicity (and hits) for your web site these days is to report on a highly questionable story with no supporting evidence or facts, tack on a Digg worthy headline about Apple selling porn to minors and sit back as the swarm attacks the honey pot. The original report appears on The Consumerist, a consumer watch dog blog, and as of this writing the 2 sentence post titled, “Apple Sells “Refreshed” Laptop Filled With Porn To 11 Year Old Girl” has garnered close to 1300 Diggs and is rising fast. Now to be fair the post does also include a transcript of a chat with a friend of the owner of the new, porn laden, MacBook. In the transcript the friend says the laptop was sold with a “desktop full of JPGs” containing porn. Later in the same chat though, he admits that he doesn’t know how much porn, what type of porn and there is no evidence of the porn as the owner already restored the machine from the original system DVD. Now of course this is hardly definitive evidence that the story isn’t true, but come on. True or not, my point is not many Diggers will even bother to read that far into the story. Heck, I doubt they even click anything other the “Digg it” link.

Refreshed or Refurbished

Now another problem with this story is that while the headline on the Consumerist website clearly states it was a “refreshed” MacBook, most blogs picking up the story are reporting it as a “refurbished” model. The semantics are subtle but there is a big difference.
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I’m sorry, but this is going to be a bit of a rant…here goes.

Today’s article in the Financial Times titled Studios push anti-piracy rules on Apple reports that the studios are pushing for tighter copy-controls on Apple’s iTunes movie distributions. They write:

After months of discussion, a sticking point has emerged over the studios’ demand that Apple limit the number of devices that can use a film downloaded from iTunes.

And in the very next paragraph, FT.com states that the studios want to avoid piracy—demanding that Apple introduce a new distribution model for movies.
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