November 2, 2008

Mac vs. Mac

Filed under: Tech — darthryan @ 9:49 pm
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My six-and-a-half year-old Mac finally started showing its age tonight.  While playing a DVD, importing a CD and chatting online my processors maxed out and caused applications to crash one by one.  First DVD Player then followed by iChat and iTunes.  When I purchased my Power Mac G4 MDD system it was practically the creme of the crop.  It sported dual 1.25 GHz G4 processors, 2 GB of RAM, a 64 MB Radeon 9000 graphics card, gigabit ethernet and Wi-Fi.  I even paired it with a 17″ LCD Apple Studio Display.  The MDD was able to handle everything I threw at it and got me through my web design/maintenance stint.  Over the years I’ve upgraded it with dual DVD burners, Bluetooth, SATA and USB 2.0 ports.  But alas, all that is now somewhat sub-standard even with today’s budget systems.

It’s time that I retire my MDD.  The question now becomes which system to get–an iMac or Mac Pro?  The iMac is a great value but the Mac Pro is uber-expandable.  I think I’ll have to delay my decision and purchase until after my trip to Macworld SF in January.


October 21, 2008

iPhone 3G: Missing Features

Filed under: Tech — darthryan @ 11:04 pm
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I’ve been using my iPhone 3G for a tad over three months now and it has served me quite well. It’s not just a phone and far more than a “smartphone”–it’s an ultra-portable computer. Aside from all the jazzy features you no doubtably already know about (phone, internet, iPod, etc.), the iPhone has afforded me one much-appreciated luxury: not needing to bring my work laptop on business trips. This translate into less baggage to deal with and a quicker trip through security checkpoints.

However, having just come back from a Strategic Planning Session, I am now painfully aware of a few missing features:

  • Copy & Paste. I don’t need it often but it sure would be handy to have at my disposal.
  • Custom Email Tones. I can prioritize calls by using ringtones. Why can’t I do the same with email?
  • Disk Usage. Sometimes I need to access PDFs, Excel workbooks and other documents during meetings. It’d be great if Apple provided iPhone users with a way to copy over files to the iPhone. I understand that Apple wants and needs to protect the file system of the iPhone but they should be able to find a way to enable Disk Usage. As it currently stands, I have to use a third-party application called Air Sharing.
  • Teethering. This is more of an AT&T Terms of Service issue than an Apple issue. There are times when I need more processing power than my iPhone but can’t catch an open Wi-Fi signal on my laptop. It’d be great if I could use my iPhone as a wireless modem.
  • Better 3G coverage. Again, this is more of an AT&T issue. When the 3G network is available, connectivity is great. When it’s not, I’m fated to use the painfully slow EDGE network. AT&T needs to double its efforts in network infrastructure upgrades.

Overall the iPhone 3G is an awesome device that works wonderfully but it’s time Apple started adding a few wish-list items that everyone’s been asking for. AT&T also needs to do its part in supporting the infrastructure on which the iPhone 3G depends.

September 29, 2008

Samsung DVD-V9800 DVD/VCR Combo with HD Upconversion

Filed under: Tech — darthryan @ 7:34 pm
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Samsung DVD-V9800

Samsung DVD-V9800

Although our newer training material at work is on DVDs, we still have a library of VHS tapes.  So when the Training Specialist asked me for a DVD player for his training room, which currently only has a VCR, I made it my goal to find an affordable DVD/VCR combo unit.  I stumbled across the $100 Samsung DVD-V9800 and gave it a shot.


The 4-head Hi-Fi VCR produced great looking VHS playback.

This unit plays DVD, DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW, CD, CD-R, CD-RW, MP3, WMA, JPEG, DivX and MPEG-4 formats…just about anything you throw at it.  I tried feeding it a MKV file and the unit was smart enough to hide the file when I browsed the disc for playable files.

The DVD-V9800 upconverts standard-definition DVDs to HD-compliant 720p, 1080 i and 1080p resolutions.  I hooked up the unit to a 50″ Plasma 720p HDTV and the image quality was outstanding!  Audio output was great, too.

Plenty of I/O ports.  Inputs: 2 composite video, 2 audio.  Outputs: 1 HDMI, 1 composite video, 1 component video, 1 optical digital audio, 1 coaxial digital audio, 1 stereo audio.


The DVD-V9800 does not has a built-in TV tuner.

No USB port/device support.


Costing only $100, I really can’t complain about this unit.  The DVD-V9800 is a great unit for people looking to: 1) Replace a VCR and/or DVD player, 2) Consolidate VCR and DVD playback into a single unit, 3) View JPEGs, watch DivX and MPEG-4 videos, and listen to MP3 and WMA files on your TV/home theatre without the use of a computer.  Playback quality is excellent on both standard-definition and high-definition televisions.  Plus, it’ll save you from needing to upgrade your DVD collection to Blu-Ray.

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