Denki News

September 16, 2006

What’s new in iTunes 7

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 3:19 pm

iLounge.com kind of beat me to the punch with a very thorough guide to what has changed in iTunes 7, so I’ll point you there for the details, but here are some of the changes that seemed most significant to me. (More after the jump.)

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September 15, 2006

Nintendo Wii preorders up at Amazon.com

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 11:06 am

Nintendo just announced yesterday that the price for the Wii will be $249, and this has allowed some retailers to finally start honest-to-goodness preorders. It’s too early to tell how great demand will be for the new system during the holidays, but when systems are in demand many retailers (Best Buy, I’m looking at you) will resort to selling them in high-priced bundles that include games or extra accessories that people wouldn’t ordinarily want.

If you want to avoid all that, I’d advise you to get an order in at an online retailer now. I’d recommend Amazon.com, but I have a feeling that this preorder won’t be available from them for long.

Amazon.com (this is probably your best bet)

The Wii is also available for preorder from Lik-Sang.com and Play-Asia.com but they don’t even have prices listed yet. The Play-Asia one appears to be the Japanese version of the console, although it will apparently be region free, so this may not be a big deal. which, considering that the Wii may in fact have region coding after all, may not be a good buy.

[UPDATE: Wow, minutes after posting this, it is no longer available at Amazon.]

[SECOND UPDATE: Amazon recently added the information below to their Customer Discussion page for the Wii.] (More after the jump.)
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Microsoft asks, “What can brown do for me?”

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 3:22 am

Yes, the worst kept secret in the industry has now gone public. Microsoft has finally launched their “iPod killer” device known as the Zune. So, how does Microsoft’s entry into the market compete with the iPod? (More after the jump.)
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September 13, 2006

Games on the iPod

Filed under: iPod & iTunes, Video Games — icruise @ 12:20 am

In the midst of all the new hardware that was released, it would be easy to miss the fact that it is now possible to download games for your iPod from the iTunes Store. While older iPods have a few games included, they, to put it bluntly, suck. Their graphics are incredibly plain and the games themselves aren’t anything to get excited about either. The best thing you could say about them was that they were free. In fact, they were so uninspired that you would be forgiven for thinking that the iPod isn’t capable of playing decent games. But you would be wrong. (More after the jump.)

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September 12, 2006

It’s Showtime! — Today’s iPod announcements

Filed under: iPod & iTunes, Macintosh — icruise @ 2:00 pm

Apple’s been busy recently. They refreshed the entire iPod line, released a new version of iTunes, added feature films to the iTunes Store (no longer called the “iTunes Music Store”) and in a very unusual move, they even announced a product that won’t be shipping until next year — a box that will stream video content to your HDTV from your computer. I’ll be talking about each announcement soon, but let’s start with the iPods. (More after the jump.) (more…)

September 11, 2006

The Xbox 360 Laptop!

Filed under: Video Games — icruise @ 2:40 pm

I’ve talked about people making portables out of normal console video game systems before, but this is the ultimate. Ben Heckendorn has put together a LOT of these kinds of machines, and while they were cool and all, they did seem to be lacking in the “real world usability” department. I mean, who really needs a portable NES when you can emulate every NES cartridge on a PSP or GBA? But his Xbox 360 laptop is just incredible. He’s taken the Xbox 360 and put it in a custom case with integrated keyboard and HDTV screen, as well as liquid cooling system, wireless internet, video inputs, etc. It doesn’t run off of batteries — even if it did, battery life would be atrocious and the batteries would make it even bigger and heavier (it’s 14 pounds as it is). I don’t even want to think how much it cost to make this. (Ben’s site seems to be having trouble coping with all the traffic, so you might have to try back later to see all the pictures, but they’re worth it.)

[via Engadget]

September 8, 2006

Amazon unveils “Unbox” video download service

Filed under: iPod & iTunes — icruise @ 7:35 am

I can’t help but wonder about the timing of this announcement, since Apple is expected to announce on September 12th that they are beginning downloads of feature films from the iTunes Music Store. But in any case, Amazon has started their new “Unbox” video download service which provides downloads of TV shows for $1.99 an episode and feature films for various prices. Unfortunately the downloads are not Mac or iPod compatible.

The details of the service are still a little hard to pin down (and I think this is where the iTMS got things so right — $0.99 for a song and $1.99 for a video is easy to remember) but it seems that they offer “rentals” of some videos. You have 30 days to start watching the video, but once you start it will expire in 24 hours. I can’t tell if the prices for these are all the same, but Office Space was $2.99 to rent. They also “sell” videos, which you can presumably keep forever. Office Space is $13.45 to buy, although many other movies are significantly more expensive.

One good thing about the service that I hope Apple will also do with their movie download service is that videos are “DVD quality.” I presume this means 720 x 480 resolution, which is a lot more reasonable than tiny 320 x 240 iPod video resolution.

However, when you consider that Amazon itself offers most of the movies in its download service on DVD (with higher quality, special features, and physical media) for LESS than it’s charging to download the digital versions, you really have to wonder if these people are serious about making downloads of video work. Although it’s interesting to see a major retailer like Amazon get behind a move like this, I don’t see much to distinguish their store from other ones already around. They’re still overpriced and still don’t work with the iPod, or even with Macs.

September 7, 2006

Apple battery recall replacements arriving

Filed under: Macintosh, Portables — icruise @ 5:43 pm

As most of you no doubt already know, Apple has recently followed in Dell’s footsteps in recalling Sony-made lithium ion batteries for their portables, thanks to the possibility that said batteries might overheat and cause a fire. This is bad news for the companies involved, but it couldn’t have come at a better time for many PowerBook and iBook users, since their batteries are likely nearing the end of their functional lives anyway.

This was the case with my 12″ PowerBook G4. I had one battery that I got for my original 12″ PowerBook (back when they were first released in 2003) and one that came with my current 12″ PowerBook (from about a year and a half later). I signed up for the recall online and was told that only the older of the two batteries was eligible. However, DHL brought me two new batteries a couple of weeks later. The model and serial number of my other “non-eligible” battery don’t seem to be part of the recall, so I don’t know if it was a mistake or not, but I’m not going to be complaining. Two new batteries will extend the functional life of my PowerBook by quite a bit. Since they retail for around $130 apiece, this is a pretty big deal.

On a side note, the return process for these batteries was very painless for me. Just put in your serial numbers on the web site above and request a replacement. They’ll send you a new battery or batteries and you send back the old one in the same box, using the pre-paid postage label. Some people have mentioned that they’ve had trouble getting batteries that should be eligible for the recall recognized by the system, however.

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