Tag Archives: Apple

COOL TECH: AstoundAudio Extender makes your Mac and PC Laptop Speakers Less Wimpy.

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I own a Macbook and a Dell Inspiron laptop, both have their issues, number one being the laptop speakers. I do think the internal speakers on my Dell blows the crummy Macbook speakers out of the water, then again, I did select higher end audio hardware for my Dell, something you can’t do with Macbooks, but that’s another story. To improve the audio on my Macbook I took the The AstoundStereo Expander from the folks at GenAudio for a spin. It’s software you can download from the Internet and will make your wimpy laptop speakers sound less wimpy. I’m not going to tell you the difference is amazing or astounding but the audio is noticeably fuller, richer and bouncier when you play it at top volume, not so much in the lower range. I can now play music on my macbook and hear it across the room. The difference is really noticeable when I plugged in my headphones, the base was thumping. Considering this is a software enhancement it would be interesting to test it out with different audio hardware, I didn’t notice as much difference on my Dell as I did on my Macbook, because the Dell already sounded alright due to it’s better hardware (I don’t want an Apple Vs. Dell flamewar, it’s just a fact that I selected all the top line components for my Dell and I have the high-end Macbook, the Dell has more oomph in terms of multi-media because I paid for high-end components). At $20.00 The AstoundStereo Expander is not a bad purchase and will give your laptop speakers a good little bump. But don’t take my word for it, go and download the 30 day trial at http://www.astoundstereo.com/. It’s very easy to install and run. It’s available for Mac and Windows.

Turn your iPod into an AppleTV for less money!

 

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Earlier this Apple released the latest version of their AppleTV product. I found the improvements to the service intriguing, but I wasn’t about the pay more than $200 for the product. I already have an iPod and frankly I can’t stand Apple products. A few days after this announcement I received an email from a small company called Tekkeon. They have an interesting product called a NavDoc, for less than $140 you can turn your iPod into a nifty AppleTV clone. NavDock includes a 16-button dockable remote with a five-way navigation pad and quick keys that jump directly to the videos, photos, music or settings menus to lets users adjust or mute volume, shuffle, repeat or skip songs, and fast forward or rewind through music or videos. What sets this product apart from other TV Docs that I’ve tried is it includes an onscreen menu, so you don’t have to keep getting up to manually change your iPod. The onscreen navigation works fairly well, although it does take a few minutes to figure out how to get in and out of your Podcasts.  The menu is pretty and the fonts are nice and big. I wish it would scale the picture so that video podcast would crisper and cleaner. For instance when I watch video Podcasts on my Tivo box, they generally look really good. That’s because they are made specifically for that format. The same with AppleTV, video is made specifically for the larger format. 

The Navdoc also supports all iPod media. So you can use it to play video, music, and photos on your slide show.  The remote is very straight forward and full featured, but fast forwarding and rewinding still leaves a lot to desired and doesn’t always work properly.  Sometimes it’ll skip to the end or beginning of your media, but rarely lets you manually skip around.  At times it’s a little frustrating. Connecting the doc to your television is simple, just plug the composite cables into your tv, doc your iPod and you are ready to go. The unit itself is a little big, but it is lightweight making it something that I would consider taking with me on my next trip. It could use some improvements and tweaks, but the system does achieve it’s limited goals well. I love watching video Podcasts, and this is a great way to do it on your TV.

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EM Review
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 4/6/08

Nav-Doc your AppleTV Alternative

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Before you shell out over $200 for an AppleTV, take a look at this cool new tool – Nav-Doc.  It turns your iPod into an "AppleTV."  Just put it in the doc and you can watch all your iPod Videos on your TV.  NavDock™ Home Media Center is a home media center with on-TV navigation for iPod. The first dock with on-TV navigation to be available for the newest iPod models (iPod classic, iPod nano 3G), NavDock lets users navigate iPod through an on-TV menu to play videos, photos and music on a connected television. NavDock includes a 16-button dockable remote with a five-way navigation pad and quick keys that jump directly to the videos, photos, music or settings menus to lets users adjust or mute volume, shuffle, repeat or skip songs, and fast forward or rewind through music or videos. With NavDock, users have complete control to customize the language, menu color scheme, screensaver, album art, and navigation speed. And users can even access the equalizer presets on the iPod or display the store song lyrics. NavDock includes a 16-button wide angle infrared remote that is housed in the dock. The remote provides a five-way navigation pad and quick keys that jump directly to the Videos, Photos, Music or Settings menus. Buttons for volume control, mute, shuffle, repeat or skip songs, and fast forward or rewind through music or videos are also included on the remote.  At a retail price of $129, it’s definitely a cheaper alternative to the $229 AppleTV and you get an infrared remote, standard AV output cable (6 feet), universal dock adapters (3), power adapter (100-240 VAC) and user guide.

Macworld: Steve Jobs Speaks and the World Goes Crazy!

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I hate Apple, if Microsoft did half the things that Apple does, they would be sued for Anti-Trust. I despise the fawning fanboy press and Jobs’ arrogance. With that said, I’m real close to purchasing a new Macbook or iMac in the next few days. Not because I want to run Leopard, but because I want to run Windows on it. Even with my hatred, I’m big enough to admit that they are innovative and create some pretty amazing hardware – even if the software sucks. I bought into the hype last year and purchased a Macbook Pro and my experience from dealing with little weasely “know it all” store clerk to dealing with Apple’s many proprietary bs was horrible. I was nickel and dimed on everything from being forced to purchase Quicktime again – because my Windows account didn’t transfer. To purchasing a Mpeg compression codec because Apple only supports .Avi and quicktime. My experience was so awful that I sold my Macbook Pro 30 days later (the store refused to take it back – even though it was well within the return policy) at a $1,000 loss. But even still, I’m real tempted to get the MacBook and run Windows Vista. I just love the hardware, but despise the software.

I watched the Macworld Press Conference today and was completely under whelmed. Wow, you can now rent movies on iTunes. Big deal, I could do that on my X-Box 360 for the last year. Renting movies over the Internet is a fantastic idea, but until the studios get rid of their draconian DRM, it’ll never work. While they hype the fact that you have 30 days to watch your purchase, they neglect to mention the small print that once you start you only have a 24 LOUSY hr viewing window. I’ve been burned by the 360 download several times, so there’s no way I’m getting suckered into “renting” a digital download again. I’m the type of person who rarely watch home movies in a single sitting. I get distracted and come back to it a few days later.

The Macbook Air is an overpriced piece of junk. It looks beautiful, but really about the only thing you can do with it is write on it. I mean really, it only has a 1.6 or 1.8 Core Duo chipset, no firewire or ethernet ports (what do you do if you can’t go wireless?), no optical drive so you can’t watch DVDs on it. Again, I love the idea of it, especially considering my 17 Inch m9700 Alienware is like putting a 10 lb brick in your bag, but it’s too stripped down. Apple TV is pretty slick and something I may consider actually purchasing, but then I realized that I could get a Apple Doc for about $60 that connects my iPod to the TV and gets the same results at a 3rd of the price. But at $224, it is tempting, not for the rental program, but to be able to watch a ton of Internet video with minimal fuss.