January 2005 Archives

i don’t know if you can really call it speculation, but ever since the mac mini was announced people have been drooling over the idea of the perfect home theater box. i for one could not agree more with the idea and am doing a little searching to find the perfect equipment that will work alongside the little machine to make it the perfect digital jukebox/moviebox.

the very first thing that needs to be tackled is the sound. yes, the mac mini has a stereo plug in the back, but what good is a 2 channel plug going to do when 5.1 has become the minimum anyone wants and 7.1 is the sound that people desire to have. well, the option is now simple really. the mac mini features some other very useful ports on the back, firewire and usb. since the mac mini doesn’t exactly have any pci slots to fill up, we have to go with an external soundcard. let’s look at our options:

griffin technology firewave - i mentioned this a few days ago when i initially talked about the possibility of the mac mini becoming a home theater system. this little box allows for 5.1 surround sound, and being from griffin, is mac compatible straight out of the box.

m-audio high resolution 7.1 sonica theater - this external soundcard is a usb interfaced soundcard that is fully powered by usb and offers up 7.1 surround sound in addition to the standard dolby digital 5.1 and dts.

terratec aureon 7.1 firewire - this looks to be the box i want, although i have yet to confirm mac compatibility. this beast gives out 7.1 surround sound through firewire and allows you to connect to it with analog line and phono inputs (with preamp) or digital i/o (s/pdif, optical). it has a headphone jack with separate volume control, a mic input with a gain knob, and a master knob to control the overall volume. an added benefit: it also comes with a remote.

sound blaster audigy 2 nx with remote - another one that i have been unable to confirm mac compatibility as all that is said is that it is the requirements are pc specs. this one is highly unlikely to be mac compatible, but certainly worthy of a mention. it has a usb interface, comes with a remote, and in addition to offering 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound, claims to improve cd and mp3 playback through eax acoustic enhancements.

next up: using the tv as your monitor (dvi, s-video, etc) and how to interface with the mac mini wirelessly.


powerbook g5?

it has been reported by the register that the next upgrade for ibooks and powerbooks will happen within the next 6 months (in q2 ‘05). this upgrade would not be just a speed bump for each machine, but rather a bump in processor from a g4 to a g5. let the speculation continue as i do not see how this is possible. this topic has come up many times before and recently as in the quarterly report conferences as reported by macslash. this news from the register is currently being discussed at slashdot with much doubt.

apple . com

well. it has been quite some time since my last post, but oh well (once again that is)

well, the macworld expo is over and was a very big success. among the items announced were iwork, ipod shuffle, and of course the mac mini. there were many others, but these were the top 3 on my list, and these are how they hold up in my book.

iwork - this is an excellent surprise that the apple/mac community have been begging for for quite some time. this too is a blow to microsoft, but unfortunately not as big a blow as i had hoped. yes, this is the revamp that appleworks has needed for quite some time, but it is missing one huge app…a spreadsheet application. being in the business world, i would be unable to do my job without a spreadsheet application such as excel. hopefully this is in the works and may be announced at the apple developer conference?? but pages? wow, now that is how you do a word processor, and as everyone knows, keynote is superb. keynote 2 is much welcomed as the successor. both are absolutely beautiful in every way possible. we now have exchange compatibility (not perfect, but its there), a microsoft word killer, and a powerpoint destroyer. now for the spreadsheets apple. let’s move on.

ipod shuffle - now this is the way to gain what is left of the mp3 market. apple, very impressive pricing as well. you have taken what was a horrible way to do mp3 players and once again blown it out of the water. the shuffle idea is a very smart move as is the autofill feature in itunes. i believe the ipod shuffle will take over the remaining portion of the flash market for 3 main reason: the current reputation of the ipod, the compatibility and use through itunes, and the amount of space compared to others at the same price point. the fact that it doubles as a usb flash key is simply a bonus. the surprising aspect is that the pricing is even competitive to usb keys. nice touch.

mac mini - now for the item that i have been waiting to see apple release. although a little bit hesitant on the desire to see a “cheap” mac available, i believe that apple has pulled it of with a little more pizzaz than even i could have thought. the computer is one tiny machine, but more importantly, it is priced for anyone to buy. now, there have already been discussions as to what geeks can do with the machine. there have already been mention of beowulf clusters for little geek projects to a replacement machine for pc people to switch (the reason that steve noted for its existence). but the one that really has me desiring one is the media center concept. i have wanted to use my mac for this for years, but now the mac mini opens the door and screams, “sit me next to the dvd player, stereo, tv, and vcr.” with an item like griffin technology’s firewave we will be able to enjoy 5.1 surround sound. add an express remote to the mix and you are on your way. then of course you may want a mac “tivo” right? well, your choices there would be an elgato eyetv 200 or mythtv. you see where i am going with this. a movie and music jukebox the size of a few slices of bread. this little mac will be sold out for months to come, but like all apple’s current products, you will see a steady stream of updates to current lines, and plenty of third party accessories. the sky is yet again the limit.

all images copyright apple computer, inc.