Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HP Mini 5101 - New High End Netbook

HP dropped the new Mini 5101 Netbook today, and I have to say it looks like a winner. HP is kindof an odd duck in the Netbook world and they have had a somewhat incoherent product suite. Their first Netbook had the form factor and design right (sporting an Apple like aluminum case and awesome keyboard & display), but it was saddled with a high price, Windows Vista and the less than stellar Via processor (rather than the de-riguer Intel Atom). HP then followed that up with a me too Netbook that offered nothing to diferentiate itself from say, the Lenovo S10 I am writing this on. Add to that a "Mini" with a 12" screen and stir. The Mini 5101 looks like the inexplicably good looking child of awkward parents. More... It has a 10 inch LCD available in the standard 1024 x 600 resolution, or you can opt for the high end 1366 x 768 sortof HD. Like the first Mini it features exemplary construction with a brushed aluminum lid and magnesium chassis and 95% full sized Macbook like chicklet keyboard. The new HP Mini has an Intel Atom processor and a unique set of Hard Disk options. The standard drives are high performance 7,200 rpm spinning disks, but optional are the first (to my knowledge) high capacity SSD (solid state disks) offered in a Netbook @ 80 or 128 gb. I could not find specs on the SSD's however and they vary dramatically in performance, given the high price of decent SSD's (The OCZ SSD I mentioned in an earlier post - which will outperform a 7200rpm drive) I suspect they are the low end, but the pricing details will reveal that. You can get the Mini 5150 with XP, Vista or some McLinux and it starts @ $450. This is a pretty serious computer though, and like HP's other Netbooks and many German cars, the "as ordered" price will probably be at least 1/3 to 1/2 higher than the loss leader.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CopyTrans by WindSolutions iTunes Copy Utility Review

After acquiring the Buffalo LinkStation NAS, the next step was to move our photo's and music onto the new drive. Having wrestled with iTunes before and experienced the difficulty of rebuilding your iTunes library on a new machine, I hopped over to the iPod Lounge (www.ilounge.com) to search for a better way. Unsurprisingly, this was one of the most popular topics, and as usual iPod Lounge delivered a nice succinct rundown of the available options.More...The preferred method seemed to an iPod utility called CopyTrans, which promised to re-build your computer iTunes library from your iPod. Long and short, it worked exactly as advertised and everything was wrapped up in 20 minutes. WindSolutions also sells some other iTunes utilities, including one that can purportedly repair corrupt iPod files. I can't vouch for that one, but I can tell you I am very happy with CopyTrans. CopyTrans is available in a free trial version (only does 100 songs) or the unlimited for $20.

Nice Statistical Summary of Disputed Iranian Elections

Here is an incredibly damning report out of the U.K. summing up the "official" Iranian election results and comparing it to past elections. It's very readable and worth a look, if for nothing else than to get an idea of just how blatant and ham fisted the current regime is. If you're going to lie, at least make it plausible. sample blurb

"In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that
Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former
centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former
reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two

1923 Megola Sport Racer - Rotary Engine Motorcycle

Now here is something you don't see everyday, a motorcycle with a rotary engine driving the front wheel. It's not a Wankel rotary engine (a la RX-7), but rather a radial rotary of the type found in early airplanes. In this instance the crankshaft is actually the front axle and the engine rotates with the wheel. The crank was hollow and did double duty as an intake manifold. It seems crazy now, but the Megola was actually competitive in racing and won the 1924 German Championship. While the engine may look small, it is actually 640cc, about the same as a modern midsize bike (though it only produced 14hp). According to the Wiki's 2000 Megola's were made, but only 10 serviceable examples remain. If you would like to see a restored one in action check out this youtube video here

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Turbo Button !

Remember the "Turbo" Button ?

Hawk Attacks a Remote Controled Plane

Raptor attack! from Billwhit on Vimeo.

via Jalopnik

Google Voice - This is Gonna be Huge

In '07 Google acquired Grand Central, a VOIP telecom company
and Grand Central services are about to be re-launched as Google
Voice. Currently the service is only open to legacy Grand Central
users, but Google has just acquired 1 million phone numbers from
Level 3 in Boulder. Just from the basic information on the Google
Voice home page, Voice seems to have an exceptionally rich and
deep feature set, covering the gamut of VOIP features and best of
all, it's free (at least for individuals). While it's clear that it is going
to be a slam dunk for consumers, it's less clear but potentially more
revolutionary for the Enterprise.
With the addition of Voice, Google has a very wide and complete
communication & collaboration product set, but where is it all leading?
Currently, there is little integration between the various products on
the Enterprise side. The possibilities are staggering, imagine if Waves
and Voice were integrated, now you're cooking with gas, all of your
project communications Voice, SMS, E-Mail, BBS, Documents and
Instant messaging could be accessed from one place, and most
importantly searched with Google's familiar search. Why not add the
RSS feeds as well, Project Tweets, Calendar and etc. The possibilities
are really intriguing, The trouble for Google in my opinion is how to
maintain focus and avoid falling into the same trap as Microsoft, who's
Massively integrated product suite is clunky, complex, bloated and
just really tries to do too much, ending up doing none of it well. I
have no idea where this will end up for Google, but it is terrifically
exciting and I can't wait to see what happens.