Macworld Expo Speculation

Not surprisingly, ThinkSecret has some interesting speculation regarding what Apple might announce at Macworld Expo next week. Seems that they believe that there will be a ‘media-savvy’ Mac mini and a content distribution system.

In an effort to appease media companies wary of the security of digital rights management technology, Apple’s new technology will deliver content such that it never actually resides on the user’s hard drive. Content purchased will be automatically made available on a user’s iDisk, which Front Row 2.0 will tap into. When the user wishes to play the content, robust caching technology — for which Apple previously received a patent — will serve it to the user’s computer as fast as their Internet connection can handle. The system will also likely support downloading the video content to supported iPods but at no time will it ever actually be stored on a computer’s hard drive.

Some of this squares with Apple bumping up the .Mac iDisk bandwidth cap to 1 terabyte per month (then removing that notation from the .Mac status screen). There was also the recent announcement of a podcasting server being made available in the Education market.

One thing is certain, the hype, rumor and speculation will only continue to heat up regarding the Macworld Expo announcements.

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iPod Dangerous To Your Health

The Guardian note that Doctors issue warning on iPod finger, the latest hi-tech ailment. Not surprisingly, you can develop a repetative stress injury from most anything, including your favorite MP3 player, the Apple iPod.

“Handheld music machines are extremely popular and users are constantly using small, difficult buttons with the same finger in a repetitive motion,” said Carl Irwin from the British Chiropractic Association. “The nature of modern technology means that these devices are only going to be getting smaller, and I would not be surprised if hand and finger related injuries become one of the most common repetitive strain injuries that chiropractors treat.”

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Free Hostname For Your Mac

nonstopmac has a detailed description of how you can use DynDNS to obtain a free hostname for your Mac.

Why would you ever want to do this? Well, its one way to make it easier to connect to your home computer when you are away from home. As the Internet is a wild place, you also need to take adequate precautions regarding what you expose and how. From the nonstopmac writeup:

For those who are still wondering what am I talking about, DynDNS can be used for giving your IP address a good-looking hostname. This is especially useful in situations where you are using dial-up access or ADSL connections with dynamic IP addresses. By using the DynDNS service with a combination of their software installed on your computer, you can be always available through the same host name. You can use this setup when you are hosting a web server on your local computer or when you want to use service like Virtual Network Computer (VNC) to access your desktop from a far away location. In both of these scenarios, you will need a static address, so the DynDNS service comes quite handy.

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New Mac Mini Rumors

Think Secret is reporting on rumored new features of the next iMac Mini. It will be Intel-based, include Front Row 2.0 and some Tivo-like functionality.

While the specific model and speed of the Intelprocessor in the new Mac mini is unknown, sources are confident thesystem will be ready for roll-out at Macworld Expo San Francisco, inline with other reports Think Secret has received that Intel-based Macs will be ready some six months sooner than originally expected.

Thenew Mac mini is also said to sport a built-in iPod dock, a feature thatwas scrapped from the Mac mini Apple first introduced one year ago.Other hardware specifics are unknown, such as whether the Mac mini willfeature video recording out of the box or whether an add-on will beoffered for those looking to employ the Mac mini not as a secondcomputer but as their living room command center.

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Mac Browsers

Use a Mac and tired of your current browser? (or maybe just have too much time on your hands)? Apparently there are 83 or so browsers to choose from. Some of these are a bit of a stretch calling them browsers (realplayer, netNewsWire) just because they have some rudimentary HTML display capability.

Of course, all of the usual suspects are represented in the form of Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox, Camino, and Opera. There are also some interesting variants like the ‘Eric Shore Baur’ browser that in instrumented to measure page load times and allows for playback of web actions.

Humor: The iSmack Nano has a hilarious take off on the Apple Nano.

“It seems like every time we release a new version of iPod, these stories about people being mugged for them come out of the woodwork,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said onstage at a special event Tuesday. “We’re out to change that.” Jobs then held up an iPod nano with brass knuckles attached.”

Mac: Jewelcase

Jewelcase is another incredible utility for the Mac. Jewelcase is a plugin for iTunes that displays the CD cover art and artist/track title/album title info in a very cool 3D spinning display.

My only grumble with it is that it doesn’t automatically retrieve the cover art; if it is not already in your iTunes library, it simply displays a generic CD cover. In the mean time, you can always use something like the FetchArt script to nab cover art for you.

Mac: MenuMeters

In my estimation, MenuMeters has got to be one of the sweetest utilities for keeping track of what is going on on your Mac (running OS X).

The app doesn’t take up a huge amount of space in the menubar, but gives a load of information. It also cleverly links in to some of the Apple apps for more information. For example, if you click on the CPU display, you have the option of running Activity Monitor or Console.

Subway Maps on iPod

Now this is totally cool — subway maps on your iPod (and free, ta boot). Requires what used to be called the iPod Photo, now just called the iPod (alas, not free).

I was looking for something like this when I was in London on business a few weeks ago and had to settle for a scrollable tube map that ran on my Nokia 6620 phone.