Denki News

May 27, 2006

Flaking black MacBooks?

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables, Rumors — icruise @ 6:01 pm

There has been a fair amount of discussion recently as to the nature of the matte black plastic that makes up the casing off the black MacBook. It has an almost rubberized feel to it, which is quite different from the surface of the white MacBook.

A post on marklemdotcom first brought up the idea that the surface of the MacBook might be coated with something that could easily flake off by scratching it with a fingernail. The discussion in this thread on the MacNN forums (and my own very cursory examination of the black MacBook) seemed to indicate that this was not the case.

But then today another post on the MacNN forums pointed out that someone on Flickr also had problems with flaking finish on their MacBook. The two problems don't really look the same — the first one looks like a clear coating was being rubbed off, while the second looks like black paint has been chipped off by the user's watchband. The interesting question is, why would the chips reveal what appears to be white underneath? Even if Apple used some kind of coating on the MacBook, wouldn't they have used black plastic underneath? It's possible that it's only the frame surrounding the wrist rest that is affected, but it's a little disturbing nonetheless.

Without more evidence, it's hard to say one way or the other. But I do know that my Pismo PowerBook had no such issues with the finish. I hope this doesn't become the "nano scratch" of the MacBook line.


May 23, 2006

Why the hate? Behind the iPod backlash

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 9:19 pm

A lot of people (well, a lot of people who post on Internet message boards anyway) seem to be anti-iPod. There are even entire websites devoted to this, such as As a big fan of the iPod, I find this somewhat perplexing. I've been thinking a lot about this, and I've come up with a few possible reasons. (More after the jump.)


An open letter from Jason Tomczak, lead plaintiff in the iPod nano scratch lawsuit

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 12:46 pm

As you may know, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple stating that iPod nanos are so easily scratched that their screens can become unusable in the course of normal use. What you probably didn't know was that the Jason Tomczak, the lead plaintiff in the case, was associated with the case completely against his will and without his knowledge. Or at least that's what he says. He has written an open letter to the Mac community saying that the legal firm in charge of the case essentially hijacked his name. From what he says, he's been through some very difficult and expensive problems because of this. If it's true, it makes the whole lawsuit even stupider than I originally thought, and I feel sorry for him.

(The picture above is taken from the Ars Technica review of the iPod nano, in which they discover that the nano is surprisingly sturdy, if not exactly scratch resistant.)

Open Letter To The Mac Community

May 22, 2006

The bizarre story behind the fall of Gizmondo

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 1:07 pm

The Times Online has an interesting article detailing the story behind the fall of Gizmondo, the startup that claimed to be releasing a handheld to challenge the likes of Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP. By all accounts the Gizmondo device itself was a flop from the very beginning. It was overpriced even if you chose the questionable "ad supported" service and game support was lacking. But the really interesting thing is how the company's founders (who were later discovered to members of the Swedish mafia) managed to blow through hundreds of millions of dollars with very little to show for it. They bought millions of dollars worth of jewelry, watches and exotic sports cars with company funds. You really have to wonder what was going on. Was it a scam from the beginning? Did Gizmondo really think they could make a go of it, or did its founders realize early on that they were doomed and just decide to milk the company for everything they could? Was it a real-life Brewster's Millions? We may never know all the details.

"The company that blew it all in two years" from the Times Online

May 21, 2006

(Video) Super Mario 64 beaten in 18 minutes with only 16 stars

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 6:25 am

This video is simply amazing. I've spent more than my share of time playing Super Mario 64 and Super Mario DS, but this guy knows tricks I never dreamed of and seems to be able to jump with godlike accuracy. If you've ever played this game, you owe it to yourself to watch this. I'm just speechless.

Super Mario 64 Speed Run on

UPDATE: Well, this isn't actually a video of someone playing. It's a tool-assisted speed run, which is something that I had never heard of. As I understand it, they use an emulator and some software tools to enable the player to redo certain parts over and over, and to play at less than full speed. Sometimes they play at 5% normal speed, or even frame-by-frame. Why anyone would want to do this is an interesting question. I guess some people really love these games and want to try and come up with the "ultimate" run-through. Still, many of these moves aren't possible for actual human beings to perform, so in some sense they don't reflect what the game is actually supposed to be like.


May 18, 2006

Stop Him Before He Modifies Again!

Filed under: Macintosh — icruise @ 9:01 pm

(This is a short piece I wrote a while back about Keita Suyama, the Japanese modder I mentioned in yesterday's news.)

TOKYO – You might say Keita Suyama is obsessed with modifying Macintosh computers. His office is strewn with various tools, electronic parts, and partially disassembled computers. He grinned sheepishly as he talked about his most recent project — a black flat-panel iMac. (More after the jump.)


May 17, 2006

Yet more MacBook take-aparts

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 8:33 pm


Japanese Mac modder Keita Suyama has joined the growing ranks of people who have taken apart the MacBook. I met and interviewed Suyama several years ago about the phenomenon of "Mac modification" in Japan. At the time, he had just finished a black version of the iMac G4. He's taken apart just about every Mac that's come out in the last few years and has done some pretty impressive modifications as well.

The pictures are on his main page (in Japanese) at the moment, but this will change as he adds new content.

MacBook already disassembled

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 8:01 am

Update: has what is probably the best set of take-apart photos.

Kodawarisan (the webmaster of which I met once at MacWorld Tokyo) has these pictures of the MacBook being taken apart.

And this Chinese site has some good close-up pictures of a white MacBook, including many shots of it being completely disassembled.

You can see the user-replaceable hard disk, which is a first for an Apple consumer portable.

MacBook Picture Roundup

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 3:27 am

Some people are already starting to get their hands on the new MacBooks, so I thought I would collect a few of the better photos I've seen.

Flickr user andrson has some pictures of a white MacBook box opening.

Flickr user fullgl has the same for the black MacBook.

Flickr user jaydon34 has some shots of his white MacBook.

Finally, this MacWorld First Look article has some good photos and a nice write up about the new models. Of particular interest is the shot of a 12" PowerBook on top of a MacBook:

And a closeup of the MacBook keyboard:

May 16, 2006

New MacBooks arrive!

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 9:51 am

This morning Apple released their new consumer portable, the MacBook. The rumor sites were mostly right about this one. They sport 13” glossy screens with 1280 x 800 resolution. The low end model is $1,099 and has an 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo processor, 512MB of memory, a 60GB 5400 rpm hard disk, and a combo drive. The middle model goes for $1,299 and ups the processor to 2.0Ghz and swaps the combo drive for a SuperDrive. Finally, the high-end model goes for $1,499 and ups the hard disk to 80GB and gives you a spiffy black shell instead of the white of the other two models.About the only thing you can really complain about in this lineup is the fact that the MacBooks use GMA integrated graphics and not stand-alone graphics cards. That will certainly hurt them to some degree when it comes to gaming. But otherwise they are quite impressive, even featuring the extended desktop feature that has long been crippled on the iBooks. While it’s true that paying $200 for an additional 20GB of hard disk space and a black case may not make the most economic sense, I’m sure they’ll sell plenty of the black models. A lot of people have been waiting for a black portable from Apple ever since they discontinued the venerable Pismo (the last PowerBook G3).

I for one will be very interested to see some actual photos of these machines “in the wild” and not just Apple’s CG-like renderings. Things to watch for include: how the glossy screens will look and how they will affect usability, and how the “latchless” lids will work.

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