Multi Touch Comes to Magic Mouse

Apple’s key to success:

Come up with an amazing technology and use it on everything.

First the iPhone, then iPod touch, soon after macbook trackpads, the newest apple product to adapt multitouch is their new revolutionary “magic mouse”. It’s the first mouse I’ve seen that is without a single button. The entire surface of the mouse is sensitive and can detect your fingers.

Like any apple fan I decided that I needed to go try this out, so I headed to my local apple store to give it a shot. During my short time using it I notice it was surprisingly easy to use and enjoyable. The scrolling was simple and had no learning curve whatsoever, two finger swiping worked near perfectly. I do wish that apple would have kept a way to trigger expose but who says that cant be fixed with a creative software update. All in all the mouse was easy to use and I think I’ll be picking one up sometime soon.

Mac OS X: Force Quit

If you’re switching from Windows you may be familiar with an old friend, the Task Manager. Apple provides a similar tool, with an easy way to force unruly applications to quit. I’ll get to why you’d want to do this in the moment. To access Force Quit, you can either go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen, and choose Force Quit… Alternately, you can press three keys at once: Command + Option + Esc. It’s sort of the Mac version Ctrl-Alt-Delete.

Why would you want to force an application to quit? Sometimes applications get “struck” for whatever reason and can’t recover. If you notice the “rainbow wheel” spinning when you try to access the application and it just won’t do anything. Check the Force Quit tool and see if the name of the application is red and there’s a parenthetical warning “not responding”. This is your cue to use Force Quit – just be aware that sometimes an application might not be responding, but might still be “alive.” Typically what I do is go grab something to eat, and give the app 2-5 minutes to get itself together. If it is still stuck, I force quit.

Required Graphics Cards for Snow Leopard

Apple’s Snow Leopard page has revealed some details about hardware support for the H.264 acceleration and Open CL.

The latest MacBook Pro’s offer hardware acceleration for H.264 video playback. While Apple has included graphics cards that have contained hardware support for H.264 decoding, the company has only recently taken advantage of this hardware acceleration. Snow Leopard specs have support but it seems to be available only to a limited number of graphics cards. It does not appear that this support will extend to older video cards. Hardware decoding of H.264 video improves the performance of video playback while, at the same time, leaving your computer’s CPU free to do other tasks.

Here are the list of GPUs that will be supported for the upcoming hardware acceleration and OpenCL:

-NVIDIA Geforce 8600M GT, GeForce 8800 GT, GeForce 8800 GTS, Geforce 9400M, GeForce 9600M GT, GeForce GT 120, GeForce GT 130.

-ATI Radeon 4850, Radeon 4870

Some companies have found a 5x speed increase in video encoding when using OpenCL-esque technology

Microsoft Counters Apple With a Terrible Ad

Microsoft has a new ad that is getting a lot of attention.

The punchline: Microsoft Windows Laptops are cheaper than Macs.

The ad is a reflection of Steve Ballmer’s line last week:

“The economy is helpful,” Ballmer said at a conference today in New York. “Paying an extra $500 for a logo on it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in this economy.”

I think the ad is odd and misguided:

1- Instead of building a better OS and suite of products they focus on price. They should be a bit embarrassed they don’t have an answer to iLife. Focus on products not price.

2- Are we gonna see ads that say that Microsoft Windows Mobile powered phones are cheaper than iPhones? Would that matter?

3- How much is Microsoft Office again? Do they really want to talk about price? I just bought a Mac for my home. It’s the first Mac I’ve ever bought that doesn’t have Microsoft software. I’m going to use a combination of Google Docs and Apple iWork ($50). I’m sure I’m not alone.

Even though I use Macs, I am a fan of Microsoft for many reasons. But this ad doesn’t shine a light on the right stuff.

The New Mac Mini

Mac Mini 2009 Edition – video powered by Metacafe

Is this the New Mac Mini?

Mac Users Still Buy Office?

Apple may be the poster child for showing the industry how to compete effectively with Microsoft, but the company isn’t free of Redmond’s long arm just yet.

Despite spending years, and millions of dollars in research and development, on its own suite of productivity software, 77% of Mac users stick with Microsoft Office, according to a TechFlash report.

I love my Mac, but it would be hard to use it without Office. In this, I’m sure I’m not alone, which must give Apple pause whenever it celebrates its rising Mac market share.

Perhaps this is why Apple is releasing a SharePoint-esque knockoff designed around its Pages and Numbers programs, taking Microsoft head-on in document collaboration.

The strategy won’t work. Until Apple actually starts winning market share with its iWork suite, it won’t matter if the five or six customers who actually use it can collaborate with each other.

No, to end Microsoft’s latent stranglehold on its Mac market share, Apple needs to do one of two things vis-a-vis office productivity: go disruptive with a Web-based offering in the manner that Google has, or invest deeply in OpenOffice.org to make it a viable, rock-solid enterprise competitor to Microsoft Office. The first path leads to Moutain View (Google). The second? to Menlo Park (Sun).

Regardless of which path Apple takes, at some point, it must address Microsoft Office. Yes, people oculd just run Office ina virtual machine or through Boot Camp, but tat really only deepens its dependence on Microsoft.

What do you think Apple should do?

Apple to Develop a Home Media Server?

According to 9to5Mac, Apple has been working on a home media server to access your iTunes and other files anywhere yo have internet access. The site compares it to HP’s Media Smart Server which offers a centralized location for backup, storage and file delivery to your computers locally as well as remotely:

Your music, photos, videos and other media are part of your life — but they’re scattered over multiple computers, disk drives, CDs, DVDs, and MP3 players…. Macs and iPods too. The HP MediaSmart Server centralizes all your files, from all your home computers, in one place so you can grab them anywhere you have an internet connection and share how you want.

Apple’s take on the system would reportedly expand out Time Capsule’s functionality from being a single drive backup system into a more robust mutli-drive backup server. In addition, tie ins would be made to Apple’s MobileMe services to deliver access to your files and media from anywhere on the internet.

9to5mac suggests that media could also be shared to your iPhone and iPod Touch, providing full access to your media while mobile. The device could also serve media files to other computers at home as well as to your Apple TV.