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Pink Pod September 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, iPods, Issues, iTunes Store.
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The US retail chain Target is selling a special edition pink iPod shuffle, complete with a US$15 iTunes Store Gift Card for US$79, with a portion of the proceeds of up to US$25,000 going towards The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

It is yet unclear whether or not this is just a clever (and worthy) repackaging, or if it’s a partnership with Apple, but whatever the case may be, we should have more of these.

(Via AppleInsider)

[Quick Aside: As a professional editor, I’m compelled to point out a typo in the product name. Target, “shuffle” is not supposed to be capitalized. The weird Apple Capitalization Rules extends to its other products, which among others states that the second letter is usually the one that should come in caps – iPod, iMac, iTunes, or that words coming after iPod or Mac should never be capitalized – iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod classic, iPod touch, Mac mini.]

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The One September 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Announcements, Hardware, iMacs, The Other Side of the Fence.
6 comments

It seems the fading Gateway still has some fight left in it. The former computer giant has unveiled its contender for the iMac throne with something Gateway calls, simply, One.

Tale of the tape:

  • 3.6″ thick all in all
  • 19-inch widescreen LCD
  • 2 models at US$1300/US$1800
  • 1.5GHz/2GHz Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB/3GB memory
  • 320gb/500gb hard drive
  • special online-only model at US$1500
  • all black front
  • metal shell
  • all cords and most ports out of sight (all on the power adapter)
  • side-mounted slot-loading DVD burner
  • no announced date of availability, but soon

Now call me silly, but doesn’t that look like something we all know?

What’s next? September 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., New Stuff, PDAs, Rumors.
2 comments

It seems the MacPic in the previous post is prophetic; I was even idly ruminating about it as I was posting it. I own a working Newton Messagepad, and know first-hand how great it was way back when, even if it wasn’t its time yet.

And lo and behold, on the same day, AppleInsider‘s brought up the notion that next in line in the Jobs Saga is a new Newton, built on what has been, and what’s new. Given that, this Apple PDA rumor I sorta give a lot of credence to.

The hardware groundwork is there. The apps are there. The new OS is up to it. Multi-touch is begging for something meatier than a phone. They’ve done PDAs before. Steve has even hinted and clearly, and on record, alluded to it as something they’ve made but not yet released. What’s not to believe?

*cackle*

MacPic of The Day: Before & After September 26, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, Legacy Hardware, MacPics.
1 comment so far

Google Calendar interface for iPhone upgraded September 26, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Apps, iPhone, Updates & Patches.
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The Google Calendar graphic interface has just been upgraded to have an iPhone-specific look when using the popular phone.

Being tailored for the iPhone, it’s now a perfect fit, and can show distinctive colors based on your calendar preferences. iPhone users can just point their Safari browsers to http://calendar.google.com.

For more info just head on over to the Official Gmail Blog here.

Heads-up: MacBook/MacBook Pro update September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Apple Inc., Downloads, Hardware, Notebooks, Updates & Patches.
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Apple’s just issued MacBook/MacBook Pro Update 1.0 via Software Update.

This update enables file system journaling on MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook computers. Some MacBook and MacBook Pro systems were shipped with file system journaling turned off. Journaling is recommended on all Mac computers as a preventative measure against file corruption.

Eh? The 660KB download is explained further on the Apple Support Page here.

iPhone relocking hack September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Because You Can, Hacks, iPhone.
2 comments

The coming firmware update strikes fear into the hearts of the thousands of users of unlocked iPhones, as Apple has declared a long, drawn-out and protracted “cat-and-mouse” war with them and the firmware updates are likely to intentionally brick the iPhones and turn them into nice high-tech paperweights. Unlocks have been shown to be largely impervious to software updates and upgrades, but firmware updates are another matter entirely – even without all this cat-and-mouse stuff it’s a dicey proposition in the best of times.

(Personally, if I had an unlocked unit that works, I wouldn’t really have the urgent need to update it if there’s a chance it could be bricked. Besides, it’s just a matter of time before the usual suspects find a way to get around that little roadblock. Just wait. Then again, I understand how having a firmware update that you can’t install can get under your skin.)

TUAWs wonderful Erica Sadun (who posted one of the first unlock procedures) has posted a relocking hack that’ll restore your iPhone’s legit status so that you can update the firmware, and then re-unlock it again (this is getting ridiculous, really), assuming that the new firmware doesn’t break the unlock procedure, which is why the firmware is probably being issued in the first place, which makes you wonder why you want to upgrade it in the first place.

All in all, a silly, self-imposed conundrum we find ourselves in. And all for a phone.

Anyway, you can get Ms. Sadun’s relock procedure from TUAW here. Or from the iPhone FAQ, from iphonegoboom.com (great name!) which has everything else you might need to know.

Once again, caveat hax0r. According to the feedback comments, this thing is as risky as the first unlocks that came out. As Erica herself advises, if you must, wait a day or two for the procedure to be debugged. And be aware that there may be a hardware-based lock/unlock limit built into the iPhone, so think hard before doing this.

For the click-lazy, we reproduce Erica’s procedure here, purely for educational purposes:

  • (Take out your SIM from your iPhone.)–Still checking on this step.
  • Download the 1.0.2 firmware to your computer and unzip it. It uses a .ipsw extension but your unzip program should still work. Change the extension if you have to.
  • Extract the ramdisk as such: dd if=009-7698-4.dmg of=ramdisk.dmg bs=512 skip=4 conv=sync
  • Mount the extracted ramdisk.
  • From the ramdisk, copy /usr/local/bin/bbupdater, /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.eep, and /usr/local/standalone/firmware/ICE03.14.08_G.fls to your iPhone. Place these into a folder on the OS partition (such as /bbupdate) and not into a folder on /var/root. The /var/root partition is set noexec and you cannot run programs from there.
  • Disable com.apple.CommCenter.plist–either using UIctl or launchctl: launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • On the iPhone, navigate to the folder where you stored bbupdater and the eep and fls files.
  • Run bbupdater as such: ./bbupdater -f *.fls -e *.eep
  • Reload comm center: launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.CommCenter.plist
  • Reactivate with your favorite AT&T SIM. I personally like using iASign.

Coffee and a song: 50,000,000 iTunes tracks for free September 25, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Free Stuff, iPhone, iPods, iTunes Store, Music.
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Starbucks announced today that they are giving away 1.5 million songs everyday from October 2 to November 7 across its 10,000 branches in the United States, for a total of 50,000,000 by promo’s end.

This is part of the launching of the “Now Playing” arrangement with Apple that allows iPhone or iPod Touch users or those accessing the US iTunes Wifi Store at one of 600 initial Starbucks outlets in New York and Seattle to preview, buy and download the song current playing at the coffee shop as instant gratification. The “Song of The Day” promo will give customers iTunes cards for a complimentary song download for a specific track selected by Starbucks.

The songs will be selected from a wide variety of artists including Bob Dylan, Joss Stone, Dave Matthews, Bebel Gilberto, John Mayer, KT Tunstall, John Legend, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Keith Urban, Paul McCartney, Sia, Band of Horses, Hilary McRae, Frederico Aubele and Sara Bareilles. Customers have until the end of the year to download their free tracks.

MacPics of The Day: Why when I have just two ears? September 24, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Hardware, iPods, MacPics, Meta, Wala lang.
3 comments

The pods in the Doodler‘s possession at the moment. (Yes, that’s my grubby hand.)

Roughly a quarter of a terabyte of storage right there. And six pairs of headsets. Somewhere.

Conspicuous by its absence is the original 5gb I bought when it first came out in 2001 (yes, I am a shameless early adopter), when all this iPod mania wasn’t even a gleam in Jobs’ eye. In a moment of weakness I sold it, as I eventually would a white, button-happy 4th Gen. Shoulda kept them. Hope to add a Touch to this handful someday.

Another view:

Blogger thanks Apple for making him switch back to Vista (Eh?) September 24, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Alternatives, Hardware, Microsoft, Oddities, Operating System, The Other Side of the Fence.
2 comments

A blogger posted a big thank you to Apple for making him switch from Vista to Mac, then back to Vista. While on the surface this sounds like a back-handed compliment, it actually makes sense – I think.

Aviv Eyal, co-founder and VP of Grouper Networks (which was eventually acquired by Sony), and co-founder of Friskit, wrote in his blog that Macs made him appreciate Windows Vista, which had previously confounded him no end:

I was getting very frustrated with Vista on several of my PCs and laptops on a daily basis to a point that I stopped enjoying working on computers. On a clean Vista Pro install with just IE, Outlook and Office on strong Dell workstations and on a Vaio laptop, I kept getting hangs and crashes left and right. I now run Vista using the excellent Parallels Desktop for Mac software. It is worth every penny.

Eyal calls Windows the “light” side of the force, and Macs and OS X the “dark” side. He expounds further on this odd compliment:

With 4GB of RAM on a 2.4ghz Intel core 2 duo MacBook Pro laptop, I get very decent performance from Vista running virtually in Parallels, in full-screen mode it is easy to forget that you are not running Vista natively, so if I need to use word or powerpoint I just switch back to the dark side virtually on Parallels and if Vista hangs crashes I just quickly restore the virtual machine to a previous state while I keep working on my Mac apps.

Uh …ok. I think. At least this underscores that fact that there is no reason not to buy a Mac these days. Even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

Check out Eyal’s post on his blog here.