This week on the Digital City, we consider the PlayStation 3's awkward Netflix implementation; marvel over the super-thin Sony Vaio X laptop; debate the fate of FireWire in new MacBooks; and review some gamer-friendly Halloween costume ideas.
We also plug the first round of Windows 7 laptop and desktop reviews; mourn the death of Geocities; and find out why Julie and Dan have swapped seats for a week.
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Microsoft said Monday it has canceled its sponsorship of a planned variety show with the creator of the "Family Guy."
In a statement, a Microsoft representative said the show--a variety show to be done by Alex Borstein and Seth MacFarlane--was not "a fit with the Windows brand." Microsoft had hoped to use the show to tout its just-released Windows 7 operating system.
"We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of 'Family Guy,' but after reviewing an early version of the variety show … Read more
Several users are experiencing issues with the Services menu in Snow Leopard not functioning properly. When the Services menu is accessed (via the Finder menu bar > Services) the menu reports that it is "Building..." but never completes the build.… Read more
By not coughing up a low-cost MacBook, as some had expected, Apple has ceded a potentially huge market to PC makers. But is this just all part of Apple's marketing genius?
The announcement Tuesday of the $999 white polycarbonate MacBook was pretty ho-hum as product refreshes go (same price, same color as before) but the implication was important: Apple is surrendering a large, emerging laptop market to Microsoft and its coterie of PC makers.
Not that it's necessarily a bad strategy. Market researcher Gartner said recently that Apple's shipments in the U.S. grew year-over-year by 6.8 percent to total 1.57 million during the third quarter, putting it right behind Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Acer. Comparatively, overall PC shipments in the U.S. grew by 3.5 percent from a year earlier.
But among those unimpressive overall PC numbers (HP's third-quarter shipments grew only 2.7 percent), was an impressive statistic for Acer: buoyed by Netbooks, Acer's shipments grew by 61.4 percent year-over-year, and it blew past Dell to become the No. 2 PC maker worldwide based on this growth.
Granted, Netbooks are a relatively low-profit segment (i.e., profit on a $400 Netbook is going to be a lot less than that on a $999 laptop). Nevertheless, they're a hot market. Intel CEO Paul Otellini has stated numerous times that Intel was able to create a market that grew faster than either the iPhone or Nintendo Wii. Case in point: Windows 7-based Acer Netbooks are now big on the Home Shopping Network--which claims to have sold more than 5,000 in one segment on Saturday.
And that's not the only market Apple is punting on. A new category of inexpensive, thin laptops has emerged with the roll-out of Windows 7 on Thursday. Like Netbooks, these laptops are light (typically 4 pounds) and don't include an optical drive. But they are relatively powerful and full featured. The 15.6-inch Acer Aspire Timeline, for example, with a 320GB hard disk drive and dual-core Intel processor is fairly well-endowed at only $500.
Apple is not receiving a lot kudos in the mainstream business press… Read more
In one of Apple's latest TV ads featuring the omnipresent Mac (Justin Long) and PC (John Hodgman), we see PC going retro. It's actually a cute ad as PC regresses back in time with various incarnations of himself through the years, each time promising that a particular version of Windows won't suck. "Trust me," he says. Sure thing, PC. And nice wig.
But since we're going retro, maybe we should look at a few of Apple's ads from around the time PC and Mac apparently met (according to the ad): the '90s.
For those who don't remember Apple's advertisements from then, I offer a collection of some of the most sucktastic ads Apple has ever had (remember Think Different? Yeah, me too). Enjoy them. You can thank me later.… Read more
Our Weekly Utilities Update report is a list of all the updates for many Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. While utilities can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our main focus in this column is to bring you those that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems.… Read more
Apple's new iMac all-in-one desktops impressed us, especially the massive 27-inch model we reviewed this week. But we're left wondering what happened to the rumored Blu-ray drive option. Playing HD optical disc content on that big 2,560x1,440 screen seems like a no-brainer, so we set out to see if we could successfully hook up an external Blu-ray drive.
First we connected a USB-powered external BD-ROM drive from HP to the new 27-inch iMac. The iMac's OSX 10.61 operating system allowed us to explore the file structure of the Blu-ray disc, but there's no … Read more