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News for Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Double the Capacity of Notebook Batteries with Manganese

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 09/05/2007 16:59:14 CEST - Category: Laptop - Source: Tgdaily
Scientists from the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory reported to have defined a new technology using a manganese nano-crystalline yielding to a record charge storage capacity of more than 250 mAh/g. Current Lithium-based batteries can not reach half of this value. The technology could virtually be used in all batteries.
As usual with such claim one will have to wait till scaling up tests have been perform and mass production feasibility seriously investigated. Last but not least, the current issue with Lithium-based batteries (Li-Ions or Li-Po) is the stability of the battery components.

Mac Office 2004 Updated to version 11.3.5

By linathael. Original by MacEnsteph - 09/05/2007 10:09:53 CEST - Category: Software
A new update of Mac Office 2004 is available from Microsoft Mac BU for download (version 11.3.5, 59.9 MB).
This update contains several improvements to enhance security and stability, including fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. In addition, this update includes all the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates.
Applies to: Office 2004 Standard Edition, Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Office 2004 Professional Edition, Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004, Entourage 2004.

Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD: HP Decided not to Decide

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 09/05/2007 10:07:03 CEST - Category: CD Drives
Instead of joining one Alliance or the other in the blue laser war, HP decided to adopt the LG drive GGW-H10N to be installed in its desktop models. This optical drive can play HD-DVD media while being able to play AND burn Blu-ray media. Of course, this is not the most affordable drive to add HD video capabilities on a computer, but at least it brings you compatibility with both current formats.
If HP decided to not define a winner in this war, and let consumers decide themselves; Apple on its side did not even start offering a blue laser optical drive on any of its hardware... we will most likely have to wait for Leopard.

Mac mini: What is its Future?

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 09/05/2007 10:05:39 CEST - Category: Apple
While all Mac hardware models are powered with a Core 2 Duo or a Dual or Quad Core Xeon, the Mac mini remains associated with the Core Duo, and Apple seems to have decided not to push further its development for the time being.
Despite its shared memory graphic chipset GMA950 for powering its video capabilities, the Mac mini was and is a success, and among its design features four of them make it a real bargain for Mac users:
- it is a complete Mac hardware in a very small box, smaller than an external DVVD burner.
- low power consumption
- while its price is considered too high by some analysts or users, when some units are available on the Refurb Store it is usually not for more than couple of minutes.
- This is probably the most opened hardware model from Apple, and if it did not evolve from its introduction, we have already published articles describing procedures to upgrade its CPU to Core 2 Duo and its Airport Express card to 802.11n, or even change its HD and optical drive while boosting its RAM (CPU, 802.11n, Core 2 Duo performance). One could even imagine to turn it into a server by adding an Addonic eSATA Hardware Port Multiplier via the internal SATA port.
So, we contacted our sources to get information regarding the reason behind the non-evolving Mac mini and three answers were provided:
- Apple does not like this model, as it was designed under the pressure of shareholders willing to get a cheap entry level Mac hardware.
- A Core 2 Duo-based Mac mini would compete with iMac and MacBook, models for which Apple has larger margins or sale volumes.
- Last answer is probably the most interesting one: a Core 2 Duo Mac mini would kill Apple TV. Indeed, if the minimal GUI of the Apple TV makes it user-friendly and a perfect device for just watching movies, it can not compete with the Mac mini for any further functions, and many Mac users have already chosen the Mac mini to be plugged to their TV even thought it is twice more expensive. If this is true, one will have to expect the Apple TV to become a real business success in order to see the Mac mini being upgraded.
Last but not least, R&D resources might have been so much dedicated to the iPhone and Leopard (beside iMac and MacBook revision to come), that Apple could not work on a Core 2 Duo Mac mini and decided to wait for Santa Rosa to bring a Mac mini based on the last Intel mobile platform evolution, together with the new iMac and MacBook models.

Crunch: Roxio's Solution for Apple TV, iPod and iPhone

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 09/05/2007 09:56:26 CEST - Category: iPhone
Roxio announced Crunch, a video converter for making all your movies compatible with Apple TV, iPod, and iPhone.

Crunch's GUI is based on Toast, and the conversion engine is probably the same one than for the leading burning application on Mac. If it offers many features as DVD video support, extended output format setup and batch conversion, Crunch is available for US$39.99 while some freeware or shareware can perform the same task for free or at a lower price tag.
Only the ease of use and some handy features could justify such a price, we could unfortunately not judge ourselves as Roxio did not send us a version to test.

More Mac on the Web

By linathael. Original by Lionel - 09/05/2007 09:54:22 CEST - Category: Internet
According to a report from WebSideStory Inc. and published online by Computerworld, the number of web surfers using Mac has doubled within the last 8 months, jumping from 3% to 6%.
Those numbers confirms Steve Jobs' statements during the last Apple's Quarter Financial Reports claiming that Apple grew faster than the industry growth rate. It also will force developer to stop ignoring Mac as a platform when developing web-based application; and should validate them with Safari. For sure, one will have to follow carefully this evolution as it might be the first sign of a snow-ball phenomenon or even an avalanche of Macs, especially with new models to be announced in June and being perfectly ready for September purchase.

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