OWC Tips & Deals 12/31/2007
Here's wishing you a Happy New Year from all of us at Other World Computing! It's really time to close the book on 2007, but what a great year it was for Apple. Mac market share way up, new iPhone huge hit, and heck - new record share price crossing the $200 mark. What a year for a company, that not all that long ago, according to various media, was all but buried.
Just as we are every year, OWC is open on New Year's eve - but closed on New Year's Day. We know there are a lot of you making those last minute tax deductable purchases and we're here for ya. And then we'll be off - like you - to welcome in 2008.
Have a Great New Year's & Be Safe! Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter in 2007 and I'm looking forward to writing and sending to ya in 2008!
Macworld Expo San Francisco: January 14th to the 18th
The 2008 Macworld Expo San Francisco starts on Monday the 14h with conferences/seminars - but the real action starts the following day with Steve Job's Keynote address followed by the official opening of the Expo Hall... which is where all the new goodies Jobs talked about and introduced + the lasted from Apple developers (like OWC and NewerTech) in then on display for all to see (and typically play with too).
Entry to the expo hall costs $45... unless you already took advantage of the OWC Free Pass which required registration online by December 14th. If you are now planning to go to the show and have not already registered, you can still hold on to an extra $45 by using our code to have your entry discounted to $25. Our code also provides discounts for the conference events if you are considering attending any of those as well.
For OWC's part (Booth #2210), we'll have our award winning OWC Mercury and Neptune FireWire/USB2/eSATA lines on display + a brand new line we're excited to show off. FWIW, if you see any TV or Movies, listen to any music, play any games - you've most likely partaken in media that at some point had one of our storage solutions involved with the production. These same solutions that are top of line for home use are built right that the pros use them too. Each year we're always pleased to ever extend that line to meet the needs we hear from you, our customer - and at Macworld we'll have the latest to show off.
NewerTech (Booth #S-2645) has a bit more to show off this year as well. The highly acclaimed miniStack v2 and new v3 models will be center stage. In addition - the MaxPower 7448 Processor upgrades, iPhone accessories, and replacement batteries are all showcased as well. Got a good Macworld first announcement for NewerTech too. Got to keep it interesting. :)
As in years past, our 'OWC Technology Theater' returns to the MW '08 show with it's always interesting schedule of presentations. From hands on with hardware to special sessions with leading Mac software developers, all the sessions are to help you learn more and be better able to get the most from your Mac. A full schedule of these sessions will be online a little later this week.
So that's a little in brief and there's no doubt, the show is all about you. The best part is always the opportunity for the team and I to interact in person with friends new and old. It's the one thing I miss being that we're not a retail walk in store per say... at least for now that is. :)
Macworld Expo: The Rumors and likely realities
Going into the the 2007 Macworld show, the rumor mill was pretty well dead. And right in line with that - Apple had no major new MAC announcement... the iPhone was introduced of course... and right in line Apple Computer, Inc. became just 'Apple, Inc.' - that too announced at the once a year major US Apple Mac 'Computer' show. No, I've still not let go of that.... Regardless, while the show was a little light for us Mac users - Apple certainly didn't disappoint with the Mac roll outs that occurred throughout the rest of 2007. Anyway... there's a little more life out there this year and this show looks likely to live well up to the 'Mac'world name. These are the things I hear and how they rank to me:
#1 - Funny enough, the same Apple 12" Superslim notebook that was the only real new Mac rumor prior to the 2007 show is the number 1 rumored Mac expected at the 2008 show. It's evolved a little - possible use of a flash (solid state) hard drive and featuring a multi-touch enabled display (like the iPhone) would well set it a part from Apple's current line as well as pretty much any other notebok out there.
#2 - Expect to see new Mac Pro Quad and 8-Way Xeons.. with a new 1.6GHz FSB (current is 1333MHz), with more massive on-chip cache, and clock speeds up to 3.2GHz or possibly 3.4GHz. Although that is just a little faster in clock than the current 3.0GHz offering - the faster bus + larger processor caches are said to increase performance by as much as 45% - huge!
#3 - HD format support finally introduced. You can get an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray for a PC and the software to author as well as watch movies has been available on Windows for quite some time. To this point, the same devices on a Mac are good for Data storage only. Going with Disney's choice of Blu-ray + going against all things Microsoft which includes Microsoft's strong support of the competing HD-DVD format, I expect that Apple will officially introduce full Bly-Ray support as well as make Blu-Ray drives an option or the full line of iMacs, MacBook Pros, and Mac Pro systems. The video chipsets in all of these Macs now have specific HD video playback optimized support and Blu-Ray players are available in both slot load as well as the 5.25" desktop versions. In the case of the Mac Pro, there have been two unused SATA ports on the logic boards since first introduction.... the latest optical drives area all going to SATA interface and the Mac Pro has two optical drive bays. Probably not going to be unused for much longer.
#4 - A new AppleTV media station - in so many ways Apple has crippled the functionality that the AppleTV could offer. Without a desire to play iTunes content, there are far better solutions (like the Ziova) which cost less and play more formats with less hassle. Such solutions deliver what customer's want and I'd love to see an AppleTV product that goes more open to achieve more of just that. Then... maybe not - in various rumored deals, including one to get iTunes compatible versions of a movie included on distributed DVDs - there will be a real cost for that convenience that we should be able to have for free, the convenience being a right to play owned media via the method of choice. FWIW - software out there already lets you (albeit in the gray) do that without having to pay that extra. We'll see... Still, I like the AppleTV concept - and it's a huge winner if it's just opened up some.
#5 - My own ongoing pipe dream.... My hope is still there for a mid-level 'headless' Mac. Maybe the size of the original Cube G4 - with fast Core 2 Duo processors, two PCIExpress slots and a convenient Express34 card slot.. Not a Mac Pro, but nicely expandable - unlike the iMacs and the especially crippled Mac mini. I'd bet such a system in the $900-1500 price range would sell like crazy just for the upgrade flexibility. Alright, I can dream.
#6 - not so much else... we know Microsoft Office 2008 is finally getting it's official intro at Macworld -this is good news, Intel Macs have been out for two years now - about time Office goes native. Probably see some speed bumps to other existing Mac lines, seems about the right time - be it video or some processor upgrade. Noise about the next iPhone is out there, iPod stuff... but that's about all I got for Mac.
At last year's show, Apple kinda disappointed. The iPhone is certainly the product of 2007 and all - but as the only major new hardware at the Mac expo and not a Mac and not available till June... Anyway - I'm betting this year will be loaded with Mac Action and maybe a few well kept secret zingers to see first light too. Today's speculation is just two weeks from revelations to reality. :)
These Specials are for you - Reader's Exclusives
Every week I update deals on the Reader's Exclusive Specials Page. What makes this page more special than our regular 'specials' page are the extra special reader prices. Currently there are 87 featured products with well over half offering some pretty nice extra discounts vs. our regular site. Some of these include:
Apple OS 10.5 Leopard Single $109.00 or 5-User Pack for $175.00
4.0GB of MacBook/MacBook Pro/iMac Intel PC5300 DDR2 Memory for $95.00
1.0TB SATA 3.5" Hard Drive for $269.99, 500GB for $109.00, 300GB for $69.00
FireWire 800 PCI Add-On card for $35.00
500GB Elite-Pro Firewire/USB2 HD for $179.00
802.11n PC-Card / USB2 / PCI Wireless Adapters for $62.50
NewerTech USB2 to 2.5/3.5 Universal IDE-ATA-SATA HD Adapter $25.00
ProSoft Data Rescue II for $55; Drive Genius for $67.50
250GB WD Scorpio SATA Notebook drive for $139.00
OWC Mercury On-The Go 2.5" SATA HD Enclosures from $29.00
These are samplings from the different categories you'll find specially discounted for you as a reader. Be sure to check this page out - we're competitive on the good stuff to begin with, but often you'll find even just that extra more there.
Also of some interest is our new clearance deals implementation. Never has it been easier to check out the one of a kind, refurb, discontinued, genera time for OWC to move out deals. Taking advantage of our recently implemented search technology, it's easy to zoom in right to the categories that an item you might want fits into. We recently did the big year end update/posting of items - and actually still making an update or two. Never hurts to check it out now and again.
Finally - I know some of ya are all about what the next special reader deal is. Published about once a week is our 'Hot Deals Blast' that's all about such deals. It's a simple text mailer and cuts right to it. Plenty of deals that are notified via these blasts don't last long enough supply wise to even make it into this tips newsletter... If you like deals, you definitely want to be on this one's send list.
Post-final - just a special mention - Elgato has been a great partner with OWC in 2007 and in that we've been able to offer very competitive prices on their new product lines as well as a continued access to like new Elgato refurb products that provide a truly exceptional value. If you're interested in watching/recording TV on your Mac - importing video from VCR, Camcorder, etc - using your Mac to display video for a game console, video source, etc - Elgato has got the product for you.
OWC/Axiotron Modbook: 'The Fantasy is finally a Reality'
The introduction of a new product is always a labored process... when the product is the first true OS X Mac Tablet Solution, you can take that up quite a few notches. The Modbook, 2007 Macworld Best of Show winner, had initially expected to ship in April... then was pushed back to July... then end of this year. I have to say, we had some very frustrating moments with Axiotron and probably them with us - but one thing for certain, each delay was put towards creating benefit for the customer and although relatively quietly there, today's Modbook takes full advantage of today's Macbook platform of which it is built upon.
As a quick refresher, Axiotron has designed a full conversion which allows us to take a standard Apple MacBook and convert it into the world's only true Mac Tablet. This should not be confused with Apple's multi-touch technology - the pen digitizer Wacom based Modbook allows for precision pen input making this ideal for a wide variety of applications, including - although not at all limited to - drawing applications. As an added bonus and offering even a wider application range, the Modbook also ships standard with a WAAS enabled GPS. So, in addition to all the great Mac applications that benefit from tablet input - it can also serve as large format tablet GPS too.... DVDs play quite nice as well on it's high-resolution screen... Barely scratching the surface (it's screen surface is hardened and practically scratch proof too -btw) and you can find out more on our site... but some highlights on now to be shipping solution:
Since the original planned April shipping date, Apple has upgraded the MacBooks twice. Most recently and most significantly in November. Whereas the original Modbook was to be limited to 3.0GB of memory, 4.0GB is now available. The original had the aging Intel GMA 950 video chipset, now we benefit from modern GMA X3100 video. The original was to include Leopard 10.5, would have ended up including Tiger due to 10.5 being delayed first to June and then to October - and of course will now ship with the latest 10.5 Leopard. The original digitizer sensitivity was doubled from the original advertised 256 levels to the now standard 512 levels. The largest hard drive option had been 250GB - now it's 320GB and for less than the original 250GB option had cost. There is more too, but of final mention here - that WAAS GPS originally was a $100 add on option and now it's included as part of the base price with no additional cost associated.
Starting about a week ago, with the latest information from Axiotron - we moved into full swing with every expectation to begin shipping Modbook solutions starting on or before January 8th. The marketing tag we've had on the Modbook as has been 'Make your Fantasy a Reality'.... Just darn happy to see it's not just a fantasy any more. And who knows... with all the benefits of the past year + it being an actual shipping product, perhaps it'll make Best of Show again at Macworld 2008. :)
NewerTech's Guardian MAXimus FW800/USB2 Plug n' Play Mirror Praises
There is an incredible amount of important and/or prized 'data' we put on our hard drives these days. That data includes our music libraries, family photos, our business accounting, work projects, you name it. The NewerTech Guardian MAXimus is a plug and play solution designed to give a transparent, RAID-1 Mirror 'Live Activity' backup redundancy of this data. The Guardian is as ideal for use a a production data drive as it is for the likes of Time Machine backup, where dependencies of the version histories could still leave you in a world of hurt. Employing a hardware RAID-1 Mirror, should a drive inside the Guardian ever fail - operation continues seamlessly due to continued operation of its second identical drive. This even includes while in the middle of a major job where you're rendering video, processing audio, etc - not only is your work safe - but you're able to complete said work without interruption. An indicator panel on the front of the solution indicates drive health and RAID status. That's what we've got to say about the Guardian, this is what's being said by others:
In July, American Photo Magazine named it Editor's Choice 2007 as a "convenient and reasonably priced solution" for protecting your data.
Also in July, the MacObserver called the product 'Outstanding' and gave it their highest rating commenting "The case design, fit and finish, the engineering, the price/storage ratio, speed, and the simple operation make for a great user experience, great value, and high confidence that you'll never, ever lose any data in routine, daily work -- assuming good backup software."
In August, MyMac gave it a 4.5/5 with the writer considering one of his own drive 'incidents' with the Guardian as the the means to "never take that chance again."
And now, this month - PhotoShop User gives the Guardian a perfect 5/5 score commenting "Perfect Space-to-Speed Ratio That's So Important to Graphic Professionals, Digital Photographers and Designers."
The Guardian MAXimus is available from 250GB to 1.0TB starting from $319.99 - or you can purchase the 0GB Kit for $149.99 and add two of your own SATA Drives. It comes complete with FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 connecting cables/support and is fully interoperable and plug and play on any system supporting one of those interface options. These products are truly prized by the pros, but priced so anyone can enjoy the date protection peace of mind the NewerTech Guardian provides. :)
320GBs inside and on the go in your MacBook, MacBook Pro
It's about a 18 months ago now that we first started working with the Western Digital Scorpio line of 5400RPM 2.5" notebook drives. Due to some less than favorable recent history with WD, we proceeded with caution - but were very favorably surprised. It should be said that every hard drive manufacturer seems to have it's ups and downs... in fact, most recently, Seagate has had an issue with a drive model that can experience total total and virtually unrecoverable data loss when a read/write head inside catastrophically fails and chews up the platters inside. In fact - this affected a bunch of Macbook owners as it happened to be a couple models that Apple used OEM (OWC at no time used the affected). Stuff happens - and ideally, lessons are learned and without need for a refresher. Anyway...
We have found current WD models to truly deserve their 'best in class' recognitions with outstanding performance vs. other 5400RPM drives, excellent reliability, extremely quiet operation - as well as usually a very competitive value point. As a result, you'll find the Scorpios a wide array of our On-The-Go portable solutions due to their outstanding qualifications.
Cutting to the chase - earlier this year WD raised the bar with the first widely available 250GB 2.5" Drive (currently $139). This month, we are pleased to add and have immediately available their brand new 320GB model for $207.50.
320GBs is a lot of data to have on a device subjected to the abuse a laptop can incur through normal use. While a hard drive is the most likely device to fail in virtually any computer, be it a desktop or a laptop - and backups are best made the rule and not the exception - of the 5400RPM notebook options available on the market today, I find no problem once so ever in recommending the Scorpios by WD. And now with a WD Scorpio, that's 320GB you can be packing under the hood! :)
For Fun and of interest
Look - there is a place for Windows, there is a need for Windows, and for many, Windows is needed to get some jobs done. As a Mac user though, I can't help but smile and chuckle a lot watching this video rip on Vista (light expletives towards the end). The Microsoft TablePC Spoof is a close 2nd. And at number three... Been a long time since Steve Jobs and Bill Gates appeared together on an interview show... like never.
And to close the year with some JibJab fun... if only for the brief Steve Jobs insert... JibJab's 2007 Year in Review.
Quick Tip: Install OS 10.5 Leopard on older Macs & a 'resolution' revisited
I must say, I wish we'd had the time to get our own version done first and who knows what may be yet... but this is here now and it works now to the t.
As some of you already know, although Leopard 10.5 will not install on a Mac with a processor of less than G4/867MHz - even including DUAL 800MHZ G4 - there are other routes like target disk mode, cloning, etc - to get it on those systems and it runs JUST FINE. The 867MHz cut off is a soft cut off, and it's one that can be worked around.
You still need a DVD drive to load the Leopard DVD. A Quartz Accelerated AGP video card (anything better than the non-accelerated ATI Rage Pro if you've got a PowerMac G4 is an option providing a night and day difference) is of significant benefit. This also doesn't change that the Mac must be a model with a G4 processor and Bootable FireWire port... that includes all Titanium G4 PowerBooks - but would exclude a Pismo (even upgraded to a G4) that can't FireWire boot... would include PowerMac G4 AGP Sawtooth and later, but excludes The G4 PCI 'Yikes' just the same.
To the point - the iCode developer group has kindly released an NVRam utility that plays a simple trick to make the Leopard installer see your Mac as having a processor complying with the 867MHz min. For those of you with an AGP Mac, as previously covered - you can have your cake and eat it too by upgrading to an actual faster processor which negates this app need + gives you faster system speed. But if you've got an iMac G4, Powerbook G4, or eMac G4 - that's not even an option. So by utilizing Leopardassist, you can now directly install and reap those benefits that drive the desire for Leopard in the first place. Enjoy. :)
A good number of us resolve each year trim our own fat... With the use of a couple great Mac utilities, it's a sure thing to at least apply the trim down to wasted hard disk space.
This article goes back a year, but the iPhoto Buddy continues to be updated and has support the Leopard and the latest iPhoto version. Monolingual is presently supported for Panther and up to 10.4.11 Tiger... having said that - if you do upgrade/install Leopard - a simple trick to avoid needing that utility is to simple request to customize your installation and nix all the unneeded language sets that are otherwise installed by default.
It all adds up and you never know when a few extra gigs just might come in very handy!
Check out our Quick Tips Archive, Hardware/Software Review articles, and more - all in the OWC Product Reviews and Editorial center.
In a departure from the normal format, the 'intro closing' is the closing to this final 2007 OWC Tips n' Deals Newsletter. But you know what, with all the extra time before Macowrld Expo - you can count on the next 'normal' edition to get you updated with whatever latest we've got just ahead of the big event.
Till then - wishing you and yours a Happy and Safe New Years - and the best for a great 2008. Thanks for being a Tips n' Deals Subscriber!
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