Archive for January, 2007

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Macworld 2007: Steve Jobs Keynote Semi-Delayed Coverage

January 10, 2007

So I am online at 1 AM Singapore Time to check out whats up at MacWorld! Might as well putblish the latest and greatest on this Blog! So stay tuned…

Updates courtesy of PhilMUG, the Official Philippine Mac Users Group at http://www.philmug.ph

12:49 AM Singapore Time: Well, 11 minutes to go…

1:02 AM (SG Time): So apparently, someone has pointed out that Steve brought his family to the conference this year. Supposedly a first time.

1:05 AM: Any minute now…

1:09 AM: Sheryl Crow playing in the background…

1:10 AM: Picture of the event at: http://equiknox.ord.cachefly.net/p/1168362420-thumb.jpg

1:11 AM: Report is that Steve is about to take the stage.

1:12 AM: James Brown music playing now…

1:13 AM: Apparently… “AS VEGAS–Apple Computer faces some tough hurdles if it decides to launch a mobile phone built around its popular iPod music player, Microsoft’s entertainment chief said.”

1:14 AM: Steve is now on stage…

1:15 AM: “We’re gonna make history together today…”

1:16 AM: Steve talking about recent apple events… Intel transition, Mac OS, extremely successful year… thank you…

1:17 AM: Imacs compose half the Macs sold in the US. New intel chips for mac right as they are released… we even beat Dell to it… US retail stores over half of mac sales to people to have never owned a mac before…

1:19 AM: Update on Music…

1:20 AM: ITunes… over 2 billiion songs sold… unrivaled success

1:21 AM: 5 million songs a day, 58 songs a second… 5th largest music reseller… report is that when Jobs said “we’re only talking about macs today”, the stocks dropped like a rock.

1:22 AM: New partner… Paramount… All Star Trek movies… Over 250 movies offered now… Hope to add more as other studios join in.

1:24 AM: Talking about Zune… November data says Zune has 2% market shre. Ipod has 62%… showing new ads for the iPod… Colored silhouettes on black background, all dancing with 5G iPods…

1:26 AM: Talk about Apple TV…

1:28 AM: Apparently the Apply TV will have USB2, Ethernet, wireless, HDMI, component, RCA, 40GB HDD, 720p, Intel processor, Vidio, Music, Photos, 50 hours of video, sync 10 most recently unwatched movies to Apple TV, you can specify what gets auto-synced, BTO option of 200 GB… screensaver, cover art, 3D effects in High def… screen saver based on your photos, main menu same as Sept Event.

1:32 AM: iTunes Top Movies also accessible via Apple TV… using Apple remote… apparently great video quality…

1:36 AM: Demoing music… Music and Music Videos in the list of songs, shuffle songs feature at the top… checking out photos now on Apple TV…

1:39 AM: Phil now playing a demo from his laptop and streaming content to the Apple TV… “we think this is pretty cool”… USD299… Shipping in Feb… taking orders now…

1:41 AM: Talking about a revolutionary product… to be able to change the world since 1984… 2001 first iPod… WIDESCREEN IPOD… and the crowd goes wild!

1:43 AM: Breakthough internet communications device… one device… Apple reinvents the phone… revolutionary UI… no picture of the iPhone yet…

1:47 AM: Get rid of buttons… make a giant screen… (correction: NO stylus) stylus control…. use your finger… silver and black… ignores unintended touches… silver handset… big black grey face… various pics on http://flickr.com/photos/ipodlounger …. this is the next big UI after the click wheel… runs OSX… core animation…. desktop class applications… syncing… multi tasking…

1:52 AM: Pic at http://media.macrumorslive.com/p/1168364877.jpg …. 8GB…. syncs with iTunes… 3.5 inch screen… 1 button in front… 160 pixels per inch…. 11/16” thin… 2 MP camera in back… top headset jack… bottom speaker… black aluminum back… proximity sensor… ambient light sensor… another pic at http://media.macrumorslive.com/p/1168365119.jpg …. widescreen video… cover flow… Cingular…. “touch your music”… demo now… USD699…

1:58 AM: Demo details…. clock and battery plus signal… Cingular logo on top… full screen album art… turn to landscape goes to cover flow… clean 3D effects… rate music with finger brushes… very fast…. showing videos… showing tv show… reverse, play/pause, fast forward at bottom… easy toggle between playlists… artists, songs… move to widescreen is automatic… now showing pirates of carribean… built in speaker… best ipod they ever made… another pic here: http://media.macrumorslive.com/p/1168365660.jpg

2:04 AM: GSM+EDGE… WIFI… bluetooth 2EDR… push phone button on bottom, and screen changes like coming out of dashboard… scroll through contacts and to call just push his phone number… Steve is calling Johnny Ive now… speakerphone is loud and clear… big icons mute, keypad, speaker, add call… Phil coming in, Johnny on hold, push 2 buttons for a conference call…

2:12 AM: Features multiple message sessions… similar interface to iChat… 11 apps on screen… see all photos just like iPhoto… but faster… one photo was supposed to be landscape, he turned device and it switched automatically (??!!)… pinch up or down to zoom in or out… can make photos wallpaper to phone… so “Apple has reinvented the phone…” Internet features… rich HTML email on phone… any imap or pop… safari web browser… first fully usable HTML browser on phone… Google maps… Widgets… weather and stocks…. WIFI or EDGE, switches automatically for you… free yahoomail account to all iPhone customers… using push IMAP… looks similar to Apple Mail….

2:30 AM: Still doing all sorts of demos…

2:39 AM: Still doing all sorts of demos… Google CEO came in a few minutes ago and congratulated Steve…

2:42 AM: Doing a comparison now… showing pics of other devices… Now showing Bluetooth accessory headset, with a mic switch… turns on and off… pairs automatically… 5 hours of talktime… 16 hours of audio playback… over 200 patents in it… And the price………. If a 4GB Nano is USD199, smartphones are 199 to 299, the iPhone is– 4GB at USD499, 8GB 599 both with 2 year contract… June availability in US with Cingular, 4Q in Europe, 2008 in Asia…

2:59 AM: Name change from Apple Computer to Apple Inc.

3:00 AM: Steve thanks crowd to a standing ovation…

3:03 AM: Live music now playing with John Mayer

So apparently thats it… my personal commentary tomorrow. Good night….

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Two Weeks with the Linksys WRT54G3G-ST Mobile Broadband Wireless Router

January 8, 2007

I was able to try out the new Linksys Mobile Broadband Wireless router over the holidays.

So what exactly is a “Mobile Broadband Wireless Router”???

Basically, it is exactly the same as your run of the mill WIFI routers except that in addition to allowing connectivity to the Internet using DSL like a regular Broadband Wireless Router, the “Mobile” version allows Internet connectivity through a 3G or HSDPA network. Basically, this works through an additional 3G or HSDPA PC Card slot built into the router, and software to manage connectivity to the 3G/HSDPA network. The connectivity can then be shared to the rest of the internal network, whether wired (ethernet) or wireless (WIFI 802.11b/g). This means that a WIFI network can be setup just about anywhere, in a house, middle of a shopping mall, or even the middle of a football field (with the aid of a very long power extension cord).

Setup

Setup was sort of a semi simple process. I am a sucker for punishment so I didnt bother setting up the router using the install CD that comes with the unit. I opted instead to go old school through the browser based management utility at 192.168.1.1. The management utility had all the usual Linksys features like port forwarding, access control, etc. However, it also had connectivity settings for a 3G network, such as APN, userid and password.

There is also a set of radio buttons to select connectivity mode, 3G/UMTS Preferred, 3G/HSDPA Only, or GPRS Only. Initially, I had the “Preferred” button selected, but later changed it to 3G/HSDPA Only when I finally placed it in an indoor location where the relatively weaker 3G signal was making the unit switch to a slower GPRS connection.

After setting up all the correct settings on the unit, I did have to reboot the unit a couple of times because the setting were done before I actually inserted an HSDPA PC Card. However, if the PC Card is inserted while the unit is powered down, then there should not be any issue. For the test, I used a Huawei E620 HSDPA PC Card. When inserted correctly, everything was working fine and the unit connected properly. It must be noted that like my experience with a wired DSL connection on a regular router, the best mode of connectivity for the router is to set it to always-on. This will avoid connectivity setup time and the possibility of connection failure when you start a new browsing session. Of course, this assumes that an unlimited plan is used.

Interestingly, the unit had a prominent red buttion in front that was some sort of a “press to connect” switch. I tried using a number of times and it didnt seem to trigger anything with the unit.

Usability

Once I got the router setup and running at my house, using the service was a pretty idiot-proof affair. I would just connect my laptop to the WIFI signal from the router, and surf away. Connectivity was very simple and everything just worked, similar in experience to a typical Linksys DSL router.

Speed was excellent when connected to the HSDPA network, which I was connected to pretty much the whole time. Using the service was no different from using a wired DSL connection. After a couple of sessions, I practically forgot that I was actually using a Mobile Data connection to connect to the Internet. I was getting anywhere from 300 to 700 kbps connection speed, which is a pretty good DSL replacement.

The only problem I had was setting up wireless security. WPA didnt work, WPA2 didnt work, even WEP didnt work. I thought it was because I was using a Mac but a colleague was using another test unit and was connecting on a PC and wasnt able to get the thing to run with security as well.

Best I could do to secure the connection was to change the SSID, disable SSID broadcast, and limit the number of DHCP clients to 3 instead of the standard 50. Of course I had to change the router password as well.

Well, running out of time to continue writing now, will continue later…