That’s the word on the new iMacs announced this week. The upgraded venerable all-in-one Macintosh has gotten bigger, faster and brighter! Now featuring the Intel Core 2 Duo processors the new iMac line has new entries both on the low and high end. Adding a $999 17- inch model on the low end and a spectacular 24-inch model on the high end, Apple has a powerful line of iMacs ready for the end of the year. I want one of those 24-inch models to replace the TV in my bedroom. I can’t wait to use the Apple remote to watch movies, look at my photos or control music. With the HD resolution it will work great with my HD satellite system, too. We’ll go into some more detail about these new machines later in this issue of Kibbles & Bytes. Apple also gave the Mac mini a speed bump this week. There’s an Apple media event on September 12th that is the talk of the community with a lot of predictions. Suffice it to say that the media invite said “It’s Showtime!”.
We have a big announcement coming on September 12th, too! Really, we didn’t plan it to coincide with Apple’s announcements but we will be holding our own press event and announcing our plans for Project Burlap. We will talk about it in some detail next week but all we can say for now is “WOOF”.
I love three-day weekends, don’t you? We took a nice long ride on the motorcycles on Saturday and then in the throes of the remnants of tropical storm Ernesto we tackled a flooring project on Sunday and Monday. I’ve installed a few different types of flooring but never hardwood laminate so it was an interesting experience. I only hammered my finger once and except for the fact that we ran out of materials, I think we did a great job on the new floor. The pups were a little scared of the shiny new surface but soon were sliding across the hardwood.
I guess it is still officially summer but this is really a spectacular time of year here in Vermont. As I ride to work there is a a beautiful mixture of colors ranging from the golden tassels of the corn waiting to be harvested to the bright green fresh mowed hay fields to the touches of brown and yellow from the trees who realize that winter is not far behind. Every now and then a solo maple will be ablaze in bright red color. Fall foliage time is still a few weeks away and our local expert, Susan Roy (mother of Kailey our intern, now at college) has declared that October 10th at 10:10 AM will be peak foliage. I think she’s a bit late this year and expect us to reach peak by the first week in October.
Exclusive – Save on the Apple Hi-Fi!
At Small Dog Electronics, there are two high-end speaker systems we love – the Audioengine A5 speakers, and Apple’s Hi-Fi. Both typically retail for $349, and feature big, beautiful, clear sound. This summer we’ve been getting extra milage with the Apple Hi-Fi. It’s elegantly simply, and because the Hi-Fi can be battery powered, it’s possible to bring it outside. We’ve used the Hi-Fi to play incredibly rich music at barbecues, while tailgating before concerts, and on private camping trips on Lake Champlain. We are offering a special one-week- only coupon on the Hi-Fi. You can see it here:
Dissecting and Discussing the new iMacs
Like Don wrote above, “Whoa!” was the most common word heard around Small Dog on Wednesday, when we learned about the brand new iMacs unveiled by Apple. The new 24″ model captured the most attention, but all the iMacs feature interesting revisions.
There are now four standard iMac configurations: a 1.83 GHz 17″ iMac for $999, a 2.0 GHz 17″ iMac for $1199, a 2.16 GHz 20″ iMac for $1499 and the all-new 2.16 GHz 24″ iMac for $1999.
All the new iMacs are powered by the the 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor. It’s actually two processor cores on a single chip, and it can execute 64-bit instructions. The new imacs have 4MB of shared L2 cache, double what was previously available. With such substantial L2 cache, data instructions can be kept close to the two processor cores, greatly increasing performance and allowing the entire system to work more efficiently. Because the processors share the 4MB of L2 cache, either of the processor cores can use the entire amount if the other core happens to be idle.
The Intel Core 2 Duo processor introduces an enhanced, 128-bit SSE3 vector engine to the iMac family. According to Apple, since the new iMac is “able to handle 128-bit computations in a single clock cycle,” a single instruction can be applied to multiple data. That means you can get more done in less time, especially in applications such as iMovie HD, Final Cut Express, or Final Cut Pro that need to render effects.
The Core 2 Duo supplies the iMac with power to handle truly professional applications. The iMac is up to 50% faster than it was previously.
The $999 base model iMac began production as an education-only model. While it does have a 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, some of it’s other architecture is simplified. It only has 2MB L2 Cache, ships with 512 MB RAM, has a basic Combo drive, lacks bluetooth (but does have Airport), lacks the Apple Remote (but does have Frontrow installed), and, most important, only has 64 MB of Intel graphics. Here are the new iMac specs:
17″ 1.83GHz $999 US 1440×900 resolution Built-in iSight 2MB L2 Cache 512MB RAM 160GB SATA HD 24x Combo Drive Intel GMA950 64MB Airport Extreme
17″ 2.0GHz $1199 1440×900 resolution Built-in iSight 4MB L2 Cache 1GB RAM 160GB SATA HD 8x Double Layer Superdrive ATI Radeon x1600 128MB Airport Extreme & Bluetooth Apple Remote
20″ 2.16GHz $1499 1680×1050 resolution Built-in iSight 4MB L2 Cache 1GB RAM 250GB SATA HD 8x Double Layer Superdrive ATI X1600 128MB Airport Extreme & Bluetooth Apple Remote
24″ 2.16GHz $1999 1920×1200 resolution Built-in iSight 4MB L2 Cache 1GB RAM 250GB SATA HD 8x Double Layer Superdrive NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT 128MB Airport Extreme & Bluetooth Apple Remote
The 24″ iMac not only has the largest display (30% more screen real estate than the 20″ iMac), it also has the brightest and highest resolution display. Graphics are powered by a powerful NVIDIA 7300 GT graphics processor with 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM dedicated graphics memory (delivering a 60% performance increase over the 20″ iMac). Or, for $125 extra, you can choose a GeForce 7600 GT with 256 MB VRAM. The 24″ iMac is fully HD compliant.
All the new iMacs offer about 50% power and speed at a lower price than the previous generation of iMacs. Now there is no debate – the new iMacs are perfect for both consumers and high-end professionals.
Erase Data on Your Mac Safely and Securely By Holly @ Smalldog.com
An article on CNN.com about cell phones not keeping your secrets (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/ptech/08/30/betrayed.byacellphone.ap/ index.html), and my own recent purchase of an Intel iMac got me thinking about what I needed to do if I ever decided to sell my PowerBook. Well in all honestly it was my sister who asked the question. I think it’s because once she saw my new iMac and she has a Bondi blue model, she started thinking about upgrading her own computer!
What do you do when you’ve decided it’s time to buy a new computer and you don’t want to keep your existing one? A couple answers come to mind — recycle, donate, sell — but there’s one important step you need to take regardless of which avenue you choose. You need to erase all your personal data.
Don’t think that simply by putting all your sensitive files in the Trash that emptying it is enough. Destroying data is difficult and even damaged disks can yield secrets when inspected by forensics experts. Okay, so maybe that’s a bit extreme but if your computer will have new owners consider it a courtesy to the them because it will improve the computer’s performance. Or you could keep in mind the “6 degrees of Kevin Bacon” game in that someone you know will eventually find your personal data. Okay, that last one is WAY out there and I’m skewing how the game supposedly works, but I couldn’t resist! 😉 What’s really important to delete? Internet files and saved data.
Web browsers store a sundry of information about your internet use, most of it kept to save time and bandwidth when accessing favorite websites. The code and graphics that make up all the sites recently visited are stored, and many sites store small text files (cookies) on your computer when you view them, and these can be very useful, for storing login information to sites that require registration. Deleting all the cookies is an option, but you will have to re-enter usernames and passwords on sites that require them.
The web page history is another file you might want to remove. When a web address is typed into the browser, it’s saved and will appear when you begin to type it into the address window again. The pages that have been visited are stored in folders filed by date – clicking the links within the folders will take you straight to the page. History can be very convenient for reaching websites that are often visited, but it also provides a list of your web habits to anyone else using the computer. When deleting any web information, the first thing to check is that you’re not online; there’s no point clearing the files if a web page is adding new ones at the same time. Shut down all other programs as well.
Files saved and stored on a hard-disk are more difficult to remove permanently but thankfully Mac’s have a great utility called Disk Utility (located in Applications/Utilities/). There are 2 methods to use in Disk Utility for erasing everything on your hard drive. The first is to choose the Erase tab and click on the Erase button. The chosen disk will *appear* empty but in actuality what’s gone is only the catalogue directory, or the “pointers”, to the files. To make sure your data is truly gone, click on the Security Options. You’ll see a number of erasure options, including Zero Out Data, 7-Pass Erase, and 35-Pass Erase. When you select multiple passes, the drive is erased multiple times to remove all data traces; naturally the more passes the more time it takes.
Here are a couple documents from Apple on using Disk Utility:
Disk Utility 10.5 Help — http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html? path=DiskUtility/10.5/en/duh1011.html
Mac OS X 10.4: About Disk Utility’s secure erase options — http:// docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303462
While thieves may be targeting big companies to steal information, there’s not AS much to worry about for a home user. However, given the rise in Identity Theft, it’s in your best interest to securely erase your personal information. Plus it is a nice courtesy to take your data off an old computer. The new user wants to create their own collection of personal data, and if the browser constantly tries to put your personal details into web pages, it will make annoying surfing for the new user; not to mention a security risk for you. Deleting data helps make the computer run better, saves storage space and, most importantly, makes sure you are in control of what’s seen and what’s not.
A G5 for the 24th Century! By Ed @ Smalldog.com
A couple of weeks ago, Don Mayer received an email with the intriguing subject, “A G5 for the 24th Century?” The email was from Charles Root of Retro Film Studios, best known for their highly regarded and hugely popular web-based series Star Trek: New Voyages.
If you are a Star Trek fan or simply a fan of great web-based movies, you’ve probably heard of New Voyages. For everyone else, New Voyages is a highly regarded, broadcast-quality, fan-created series set in the Star Trek universe, focusing on the fourth year of the Starship Enterprise’s five-year mission. It is distributed on the web for free. Episodes produced so far include the pilot, “Come What May,” followed by “In Harm’s Way.” “To Serve All My Days” will be released on September 8, 2006, at the Star Trek 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration & Conference. Two more episodes are in preproduction: “All The World and Time” and “The World Above, The Sky Below.”
According the the New Voyages website, the idea of the series originated with James Cawley. He had already assembled a large collection of Star Trek set pieces and props, and had even built an extremely impressive set based on the original Starship Enterprise bridge. He had an idea to make a fan film, and with input from director Jack Marshall, the series was set to launch.
New Voyages has attracted great interest from Star Trek alumni. “In Harm’s Way” featured Eugene Roddenberry, Jr. as a consulting producer. The excellent special effects are handled by Max Rem, who also worked on the Enterprise television series. Several writers from various Trek series have pitched in as writers and even actors. The next episode, “To Serve All My Days,” was written by D.C. Fontana. Indeed, “To Serve All My Days” will feature Walter Koenig in his famous original role of Pavel Chekov — truly amazing for a web-based series. George Takei will return as Sulu in the next episode, set to begin shooting in September.
The New Voyages website proudly declares “STAR TREK LIVES!” Some of the actors may only vaguely resemble the original cast, but the sets, music, costumes and uniforms, and alien makeup seem as if they were beamed from the late 1960s to the present day. It feels like a bona fide, CBS-produced Star Trek TV series. Indeed, most of the effects (especially space and ship scenes) are superior to the effects in the original series.
New Voyages has the pioneering spirit of the original Star Trek series. In real life, New Voyages is comprised of a diverse crew working toward a combined goal. Charles Root, who sent the original email to Small Dog, plays Mr. Scott. The other recurring cast includes James Cawley as Captain Kirk, Jeff Quinn as Mr. Spock, John Kelly as Doctor Leonard McCoy, Andy Bray as Lt. Pavel Chekov, John Lim as Lt. Cmdr. Hikaru Sulu, Julienne Irons as Lt. Nyota Uhura, Ron Boyd as Lt. Vincent Desalle, Shannon Giles as Nurse Christine Chapel, and Katrina Kernodle as Yeoman Janice Rand. James Lowe, who is a Co- Producer/Art Director and Website Co-Administrator (and also plays an alien Federation Ambassador) wrote in with links to some pictures (all photos are property of Star Trek New Voyages):
Effects and editing for New Voyages happen on of a variety of computers and in a variety of software packages. Previous episodes were cut on Adobe Premiere, with ship animation created in Lightwave. Other post effects were added with Adobe After Effects. Some rotoscoping and additional visual effects were done in Combustion. Apple’s Motion program might be used for some of this in the future.
Previously, some editing was done on a G3, which simply could not keep up with production. Small Dog Electronics loaned New Voyages a 2.3 GHz Power Mac G5 to finish the current episode, “To Serve All My Days,” with Walter Koenig, which premiers September 8 at the Star Trek: 40th Anniversary Gala Celebration & Conference at the Science Fiction Museum in Seattle.
It is important to remember that the creators, cast, and crew of New Voyages do not profit from its production. The best way to donate is through gift cards from the retailers they buy supplies from. You can also contact them with other ideas.
Successful, incredibly popular productions blending professional knowhow, digital “prosumer” equipment, and amateur enthusiasm are uprooting the traditional movie creation and distribution model. If you want to see the future of media on the internet, visit New Voyages here:
Here are the specials for this week, valid through September 15 or while on-hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special pricing.
EXCLUSIVE – Save on the Apple Hi-Fi!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16918/mymac
LaCie 300gb Extreme Triple Interface Firewire 800/400/USB – $169, limited time only!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16858/mymac
2GB (2 x 1GB) 667MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC RAM for MacPro – $358!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16907/mymac +—————-+
4GB (4 x 1GB) 667MHz DDR2 fully buffered ECC RAM for MacPro – $699!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16906/mymac
iMac 20in Intel 2GHz 1gb/250/Superdrive/iWork installed – FREE SHIPPING! – $1825!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16915/mymac
MacBook 1.83, Canon iP1700 Printer, Belkin Surge Protector, Cable for printer, Ogio Case – $1199!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16817/mymac
MacBook 13″ 2.0GHz 512/60/SD/AP/BT white, Epson Printer, USB Cable, Surge Protector – $1389
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16916/mymac
MacBook Pro 15in 2.0GHz 1gb/100/Superdrive (r), Plus 3-year Applecare Protection Plan – $2189!
Mac Pro Intel 2.66 2 GB (512MB ECC RAM x 4) 250GB HD/SD/7300GT, 3- year Applecare Plan – $2869!
Brenthaven Edge I Black for 13.3in MacBook – FREE shipping, $39.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16881/mymac
I.R.I.S. IRISPen Express Pen Scanner – $114!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16913/mymac
Griffin Desktop Stand for Airport Express Base Station – $12.00
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16912/mymac
Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 2.0 Speakers – $90.00
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16876/mymac
iView MediaPro 2.6 Media Management – Now for only $145.00!
To order: http://www.smalldog.com/wag16914/mymac
It looks like a great fall/summer weekend coming up here in the Green Mountains. Time to finish up the flooring project and get outside before the weather starts to turn too cold. Look for some exciting news from Apple and Small Dog Electronics next week! Thanks for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!
Your Kibbles & Bytes Team
Don, Ed & Holly