18/05/2006

Apple release new MacBook

Apple have released a new MacBook based on the Intel Core Duo processor. It's somewhere between the old iBook and Powerbook being cased in shiny white or black polycarbonate plastic.

It's got a 13 inch widescreen display and is under an inch thick, so it should be perfect for playing DVD's on long journeys instead of doing some work.

The white model starts with a 1.8GHz CPU and 512MB of RAM (expandable up to 2GB) and a 60GB disk. It has USB 2 and Firewire 400 and Gigabit Ethernet. Apple have dropped the internal modem (at last) and opted for that as an extra. 802.11g and Bluetooth (EDR) as also included.

There is a 2GHz CPU option and up to a 120GB disk.

The black model comes with the 2.0GHz CPU and a 80GB disk, though a bloack model is still more expensive than an equivalently specified white version, so black plastic comes at a price.

It's a shame there's isn't a 13" MacBook Pro.

15/05/2006

T-Mobile to filter VoIP

T-Mobile have been offering a "web and walk" service which includes unlimited data for a fixed monthly fee. They've now realised people can use that for VoIP too which means they lose revenues on voice calls (which is really how mobile networks make money).

So they've now decided to block VoIP access so people will have to use the phones to make voice calls.

It won't take long for someone to get round it, but it's probably the start of a trend with more companies blocking access to services they don't like.

Adobe announces an AJAX toolkit

Currently available through the Adobe Labs site and called Spry, they've released a toolkit to devleop AJAX (Asynchronous Java and XML) sites.

It's currently only a framework, but it's likely to develop into a fully featured development program.

There are others out the like Zimbra (which is also used in the Zimbra Collaboration Suite server package), but Adobe felt it was too complicated and made their own.

Everyone is developing AJAX sites, so if Adobe can make it really easy, their probably on to a winner.

SGI files for bankruptcy protection

SGI in the US has filed for protection. Currently other international SGI units are not affected.

SGI used to be the mainstay of the film industry, but have been overtaken by cheaper systems running Windows/Linux/MacOS X. Linux on PC hardware has thought to have been a major part of this, especially as software vendors have ported high-end video applications to the platform (like Discreet's Inferno).

SGI they'll be clear in 6 months, time will tell.

Apple and Softbank to develop iPod phone

Though Apple and others declined to comment, it looks like Apple and Softbank have come to an agreement to develop an iPod Phone that can download tracks from the iTunes music store.

Rumours have circulated for a while about an iPod Phone, with no comments coming from Apple.

Though many users like having seperate devices and phone and a music player does make sense. SonyEricsson have been trying with their Walkman phones - but an iPod phone could kil the competition in one move. iTunes still dominates the legal download space.

PS3 launch data and pricing announced

The Sony Playstation 3 will go on sale in Europe on November 17th for 600 Euros. This is the high-end unit which includes a 60GB hard-disk drive, a memory card reader, a Wi-Fi adaptor and a digital high-definition video connector.

A lower price version will cost $499 with a 20GB drive and none of the other features. Both versions will have USB, a Gigabit Ethernet adaptor and Bluetooth.

The lower end version does not include an HDMI connector which means it may be useless for playing HD Blu-Ray content which can be encrypted/encoded to only use that iterface, therefore only allowing sandard definition.

Estimates are that the Cell processor and Blu-Ray drive are the highest costs of the console with the whole thing adding up to about $900 worth of components, so Sony need to make money on games to cover the loss.

The PS3 is considerably more expensive than both the Xbox 360 and Nintendo revolution.

It will take a while for games designers to take advantage of the Cell's multiprocessing capabilties (which are difficult to program for) - though new tools are being developed for it, so initially games are unlikely to be spectacular which may be their downfall.

BBC starts a trial of HD broadcasts

The BBC will start broadcasting HD content this week, Initially only available to satellite viewers, it's likely it will be extended to NTL Telewest at some point soon, but definately in time for the World Cup and Wimbledon which will be simulcast in HD.

From July various drama, documentary, events and music will be broadcast in HD for a few hours each day.

It seems HD is really starting to become available.

Dreamweaver updated

Adobe has updated Dreamweaver to version 8.0.2. This fixes the embedded content problem whereby users have to click on content such as Flash.

It also fixes some server side code which minimise the risk of databae SQL injection.

Of course real programmers don't use wimpy tools like Dreamweaver and write code themselves.

Microsoft to support HD-DVD, but only for movies

Microsoft is to offer an add-on the the Xbox 360 to support HD-DVD movies, but games will still be produced on dual layer DVD (DVD-DL). The 8.5GB DVD-DL format stores enough information for games in 720p (progressive) which is the highest resolution that the Xbox currently supports for games and the graphics subsystem is optimed for that.

In future that may change as Microsoft say the system is designed to be future-proof but no plans at the moment.