Recent Articles By Dave Hamilton [RSS]
Dave Hamilton, en route to Cupertino for the Mac 30th celebration, takes a mid-flight moment to reflect on all the Macs he's owned and just how much impact the Mac has had on his life.
Late on Wednesday Apple released an update to iTunes, version 11.1.4. In addition to the "stability improvements" common in most release notes, yesterday's update reported "This version of iTunes adds the ability to see your Wish List while viewing your iTunes library." The thing is, we can't find it and neither can anyone else.
Today in our deals section you will find our latest Name Your Own Price Bundle. Inside the bundle are 11 great Mac apps. Highlights include Snagit, MacX Video Converter Pro, Mariner Write, Flux, and Boom (one of my all-time favorites!). You literally can name your own price. ANY price you name (yes, any!) gets you four pre-selected apps. But if you offer more than the average price you get all eleven. At the time of this post that average price is just US$7.53, so act quickly and get yourself a heckuva deal. Or you can choose to pay more and put yourself on the leaderboard to get entered into a contest for an 11" MacBook Air. Several ways to win, and they're all cheaper the sooner you act!
Next Friday, January 24th, will mark thirty years since Steve Jobs took the stage at the Flint Center in Cupertino and introduced the Mac to the world. And on Saturday, January 25th, 2014 (yes, that's next weekend!) that same venue will host a celebration of what has happened in the thirty-years-and-one-day since. Through several panel discussions you'll hear from Mike Markkula, Randy Wigginton, Daniel Kottke, Bill Fernandez, Steven Levy and some unnanounced special guests, as well. To cap off the evening the Macworld All-Star Band will play (yes, with yours truly on the drums). The event starts at 7pm and you tickets are available through Ticketmaster. I hope to see you there!
If you want to scan documents at home and on-the-go to your Mac or your iPad (using the iPad to USB adapter), the Doxie Go scanner is something to consider. Two years ago our own Nancy Gravley reviewed this scanner and, even at $199, she said it was "worth the price." Amazon beats that by a bit down to $188, but for the next thirteen days you can get this portable, battery-powered (and rechargable) scanner for just $149 through our deals section.
3D printing had its presence in quite a few places at CES this year, and 3D Systems booth may have been the most impressive of all. The highlight was a four-piece band with each of the instruments – keyboard, bass, guitar and drums – being made primarily out of 3D-printed parts. As you can see from the video, the drum shells and bass are entirely made from 3D printing, and each is printed as a single piece. This is especially impressive on the bass where you can see the New York City skyline embedded in the body. The musicians all said the instruments played very easily, though obviously the non-solid drum shells caused more of the tone to come from the head than anywhere else. Definintely Cool Stuff Found!
Parrot, long known for their AR.Drone, was showing off their new products at CES this year, including the MiniDrone and humorously named Jumping Sumo. Both products are remote-controllable with your iPhone (or Android device), with the MiniDrone using Bluetooth Smart and the Jumping Sumo using 802.11ac. The MiniDrone literally will fit in the palms of your hands, and includes (removable) wheels to both help protect the blades as well as to let you drive around the floor. The Jumping Sumo is a hyper-agile device, mainly built to drive around the floor, but it can also jump (by way of a plunger-type device) over two-and-a-half feet in the air. The Jumping Sumo also includes an on-board video camera that streams back to your remote. Check out their quick demo in the attached video we filmed on the show-floor. Pricing has not yet been set and both products will be released sometime in 2014.
Need 4G Internet access on-the-go without breaking the bank? Our deals site is featuring the Photon-branded, Freedom Pop-based 4G HotSpot (think "MiFi") now with a data deal that includes 1GB per month for an entire year baked right into the price. Check your coverage area first, of course, then grab one of these and enjoy connecting up to eight devices simultaneously while on-the-go. These are super-handy when stuck in airports and also to avoid those costly hotel Internet fees. Even if you only travel a few times per year this unit can easily pay for itself (but, again, check coverage of places you visit first, though most common travel destinations we checked are well-covered). If you need more than 1GB of data in any given month, each additional GB is just $9.99, and there is no contract whatsoever. Just pay for what you use.
I've long been a fan of Buffalo's dual-band wireless routers (I run three of them in the house and office) and now Buffalo has shown (and is about to release) a dual-band, 802.11ac-capable, portable wireless travel router. The AirStation AC433 (model WMR-433) is a tiny, two-inch square device that plugs into your hotel Ethernet and then shares the connection to all your devices over either 5GHz or 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. It's built to be set-up once and then just work in whatever hotel room you're in. It can reach speeds of up to 433 Mbps on the 5 GHz band (hence the model name) and 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. The band is user-selectable via an on-device switch allowing the user to choose which is best (and, in most hotels, 5GHz is where we'll find the least contention). The AirStation AC433 is due out in April and will be available for a street price right around US$50.
Today at CES2014 we got a chance to demo Scosche's new gaming accessory, the smartROLL Bluetooth Smart dice. Built to be paired to a computer or mobile device, these evenly-balanced dice have built-in accelerometers and motion sensors which allow them to be used for all types of applications. Certainly the obvious dice-rolling in games is possible, but you also could use them in a trivia game where you shake the die to "ring in" and then face one of six sides forward to indicate your answer. Scosche is holding the release of these while they're actively soliciting developers. But once developers get rolling with these, the sky's the limit!