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Mac support for TiVo coming

From PVRWire, who digs deep in the TiVo community boards comes news that better Mac support is coming for Tivo in 2006.

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Have Tivo to Go on your PSP or iPod

Is TiVo trying to hitcho onto the iPod halo effect? According to gizmodo you’ll be able to move recorded shows from your tivo to your PSP or iPod. The current Windows-only method for getting shows off the Tivo onto a non-Windows device, involves stripping the DRM.

Testing of the software should happen in the next few weeks and all
TiVo users should have access to it by first quarter next year with a
one-time fee of between $15 and $30. TiVo also mentioned that it may
take up to to 2 hours to transfer the program.

This method probably adds in PSP or Apple friendly DRM, I suspect, so that you can’t play it on an unsanctioned device. But, if it is to be compatible with iPod, it’ll need to have a native Mac application – and don’t you know it but a few months ago Tivo was looking to hire an Apple developer. Will it be convenient enough to comepete with ABC/Apple (and other networks) schemes to distribute TV shows? I’m not sure it will be, you’ll still have to remember to have your TiVo record a program you want to watch, then wait for it to download to your PC and have it transcoded (resized) to play on your TiVo or PSP. But, you’re not restricted to only shows available on iTunes, for example, so for niche programming, like US Men’s World Cup qualifiers, it may be your only option.

According to PVRBlog, either TiVo and apple worked something out or the files will not have DRM.

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People are switching to Apple

I got my sister (mac mini) and her fiance (powerbook) to switch to apple this year and they’re happy.  Looks like this may be part of a bigger trend of users dumping their windows pc’s for macs.

No doubt Apple is experiencing an iPod "halo effect,"
whereby rising popularity of the digital-music player is reviving
interest in Apple’s other products.

But Windows users are also
moving to the Mac in increasing numbers for other reasons. Among them:
the perception that Mac users suffer less from the daily irritants of
viruses, spyware, and worms.

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Will your next music device be your cellphone?

If you replace your phone in the next year, then the answer is yes. Communities Dominate Brands believes 2006 will be the year the iPod dies. Not necessarily because something technologically superior, but because cell phones are replaced so often and new models will have music playback built in. So a lot of people will acquire a mobile music device without really thinking about it.

You don’t even start off by considering the mobile phone as a music
player. But portable music players do not sell 750 million units every
year. Mobile phones do. Portable music players are not replaced every
two years on average. Mobile phones are. That means that whatever is
the standard features of a mobile phone will be sold to us whether we
really prefer that device or not. Because of the overall size of the
market for mobile phones, and the speed by which they are replaced,
this means that the music player will become a common feature next year.

There headline is certainly sensationalistic, and I’ll try to remember to come back 12 months from now to see if the iPod is truly dead, but I doubt it. Here’s why, and this is basically a list of things my mobile phone would have to do to replace my iPod:

  • Connect to my Mac/Linux/Windows machine and let me play songs off of it.
  • Connect to my PC and let me move files (mp3s/podcasts in particular) on and off without restrictions.
  • Lots of storage (at least 6GB).
  • Let me buy music on my laptop, have it sync automatically to the device.
  • Let me hook it up to a receiver via a stereo cable, or have an short-range FM broadcaster, so that I can listen to my music in my living room or car. All without draining the batteries in a few minutes.

We will see cell phone providers try to lock down the phone you use as much as possible. So that you can only buy music from them and listen to them on your phone. Whichever carrier doesn’t do that, might have a chance of selling more units than Apple sells ipod. But even then, I doubt people will think of their phones as their primary music device.

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Patty switched to a Mac Mini

Two weeks ago, Patty bought herself a Mac Mini.  Today, I saw on the Security Awareness Blog that there’s a new Switch site at Apple who are ditching Windows.

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Two useful Mac apps

Found two very useful Mac applications yesterday that I wanted to pass along:

JHymn strips the DRM from iTunes Store files (without needing an iPod to unencrypt the files).  I was annoyed that 2 song’s I’d purchased and put on my iPod wouldn’t play at work, where I use a Linux desktop.  All the MP3’s played but not these files, which prevented me from buying more songs.  Thanks to JHymn, I spent $15 on songs last night.

iPhotoToGallery is a great little plugin for iPhoto that lets you export pictures from iPhoto directly to a Gallery album.  The functionality is integrate nicely into the Export option and can resize photos before uploading them.  Its a great example of a handy, specialized application that automates away the tedium that used to prevent me from uploading files more readily and promptly (ie close to an event like my Mom’s 4th of July Birthday Bash).

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Pro Apple/Mac press growing

We may be witnessing the beginnings of a more mainstream backlash against Windows and the general frustration they inflict on average users.

I’ll start by adding that I still have 2 windows installations used solely for playing World of Warcraft. My main machine dual boots to Debian Linux, where I do the occasional bit of coding in my spare time. Finally, I have my Powerbook, which gets fired up for general browsing, e-mail, and iPhoto. I’ve started taking it to work occasionaly, iWork’s Pages is more than capable as a wrod processor as I found out this last week to write up a document for work (plus free PDF output, hard to beat that).

Last weekend, Patty’s fiance Kevin heeded my advice to get himself an Apple laptop. He’s been wanting a laptop to finish his dissertation and doing other school related work.I suggested an Apple since everything pretty much just works and because its based on a BSD kernel (right?) its more securely designed. Applications don’t get installed without you knowing it. Saturday he got a new 12" Powerbook and seems initially pleased with it. He got MS Office and hasn’t had any significant isssues with that so far. It’d be nice to hear a coment from him with his first impressions, if not I"ll try to follow up with him offline. So he switched and Patty threw out that she might "want a Mac Mini" now.

Now, the mainstream tech press seems to be picking up on the benefits of the Apple experience. In the Wall Street Journal, the CEO of Intel remarked that improving the security of the Windows platform was years away adding:

Pressed about security by Mr. Mossberg, Mr.
Otellini had a startling confession: He spends an hour a weekend
removing spyware from his daughter’s computer. And when further pressed
about whether a mainstream computer user in search of immediate safety
from security woes ought to buy Apple Computer Inc.’s Macintosh instead of a Wintel PC, he said, "If you want to fix it tomorrow, maybe you should buy something else."

A columnist over at Network World has also started documenting his switch to the Mac platform, echoing many of the same reasons that my mac-savy friends used to get me to switch.

I want my computer to function every time I turn it on. I want my
computer to not corrupt data when it does crash. I use a handful of
applications: Microsoft Office, e-mail, browser, FTP client and some
multimedia toys. Regardless of format, they should work without
crashing.
I live on the ‘Net. I do not want my browser to eat up all of my memory. In the WinTel world I need an assortment of third-party
tools to try to keep my PC alive. That’s just crazy.

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The Mac Mini

If you’re not one of the Apple fans obsessing over all the products announced recently, let me tell you about the one that’s peaked my interest the most: the tiny MacMini ( although I keep wanting to call it the MiniMac ). I’ve been a recent convert to the Apple camp, although I still have an AMD desktop machine, so please don’t think I’m just another raving fan boy.

The thing that most intrigues me is the tiny case that it comes in 6.5 inches square and 2 inches tall. For home-theater enthusiasts, this could be a good PC to sit near your receiver and TV to watch TV, stream Music, view Photos, and stream Video/Ripped DVD’s from another PC.

If you’re looking to replace your current PC, either because it is old or infested with spyware/viruses, then the MacMini is a great choice to look at. You can reuse your existing keyboard, mouse, and monitor with it. Starting at $500 you could have a brand new machine, though you’re likely to want to upgrade to the SuperDrive DVD-R/CD-RW drive (+$100), wireless card ( +$79 ), and throwing in some extra memory wouldn’t hurt (512MB+$75). I’m not exactly sure why going to 1 Gigabyte of memory practically doubles the price of the machine, adds $425! Still, you’re looking at an outlay of less than $750 that comes with a great bundle of software, including the new iLife suite.

I hope Apple does a lot to market to user’s who are ready to upgrade. For an all-purpose, PC you can’t beat such a small form-factor with such a stable and secure operating system. Actually, if I had it my way, we’d start replacing our computers at work with these.

Update: Apple’s Tipping Point: Macs For The Masses