This week at Mobile Tech Manor (MTM) has been very busy and I’ll touch on some of the goings on and things that are going through my mind. Most of my time was spent with my head down writing and that went very well. I did get to see some new things I can’t yet talk about that will be coming up Real Soon Now and there was that Dell online press event that I attended. I am currently evaluating a couple of cases for the iPhone 3G that look promising. Speaking of iPhone a lot of grumbling is being heard concerning the iPhone 3G’s throughput and ability to obtain and maintain a 3G signal.
The skinny laptops are coming to the boardroom
It is apparent from press events recently held by HP and Dell that thin is in on the business notebook front. HP’s EliteBook line is thinner than ever before and sports brushed metal casings deemed to look more professional. Dell’s new Latitude line for business that was introduced is the same, very thin and black plastic and metal everywhere. Everyone is going to the new Centrino 2 chipset from Intel and long battery life is the mantra heard by all. The push is definitely on to provide as close to all day battery life as can be done and so far the only real solution to that problem is to throw more battery at it. I expect we’ll see more slice type batteries appear from all the major notebook OEMs as that is currently the best way to extend battery life and retain mobility and flexibility for the end-user. Dell is touting their new instant on capability which sounds like an implementation of the SplashTop environment we saw back at the CES. HP is working on that too so we should see some advancement on the near instant on front.
Tech news this week
Apple is still characteristically silent about the 3G issues on the new iPhone but they’re the only ones being quiet about it. Some are claiming a chipset problem which might make a recall necessary while others say a firmware patch could fix it. The problems with 3G connectivity are only affecting a low percentage of iPhone owners according to many in positions to know so it’s hard to say how widespread this problem really is. I’ve spoken with some who had big problems with it like Matt Miller who returned his iPhone 3G as a result of them (of course he still has his first gen iPhone). I don’t see anything that I feel is a problem with my iPhone although I do see the phone drop calls if 3G is enabled and I’m in a bad 3G signal area. When I have regular signal strength everything works great so my feeling is it’s a network thing for me. Otherwise I’m very happy with the iPhone 3G, especially since the recent firmware update. I rarely have crashes any more and when they happen it’s always when the phone is doing something memory taxing, like running with too many tabs open in Safari.
The rich smell of Corinthian leather
Sena Cases sent along some cases (left) for the iPhone for me to look at and they are nicely made and very functional. The 3G UltraSlim Pouch (right) is just that, a very thin form-fitting pouch that protects the iPhone while out running around. It comes in very soft, very thin leather and in many different colors. It provides a tight fit right out of the box, in fact it takes a bit of pushing to get it in the pouch. It’s soft leather though so it will stretch in a short while. It adds almost nothing to the thickness of the iPhone and I find it perfect for dropping the phone in my pocket in the case for protection. There are tiny slits over the phone speakers so I can hear the phone ring better. The 3G LeatherSkin Case is a leather case that houses the iPhone and lets you use it at the same time. It has cutouts for all the controls and buttons and a snap closure to keep the phone snug in the case. There is a removable belt clip that has two different positions, one that allows the phone in the case to swivel freely and another position that lets the clip lock at different angles. It’s possible to wear the LeatherSkin horizontally as a result. The screen is exposed for use while in the LeatherSkin Case so I always wear it on my belt so it doesn’t get scratched. Both cases are very well made as is typical for Sena Cases and they are so thin that they add very little thickness to the already thin iPhone. The UltraSlim Pouch is $29.99 and the LeatherSkin Case is $42.00.
Sena UltraSlim Pouch w/ iPhone inside
LeatherSkin Case bottom view
I picked up a new utility for the Mac this week that is working extremely well for me. ScreenShot Plus extends the usefulness of OS X Grab by letting you save the screen grabs in a number of image formats like JPEG, any of which you can set as the default. You invoke SP+ with the Apple-Shift-2 key combination and while it defaults to take rectangular snaps by dragging the mouse you can hit the spacebar and do a window grab or the entire screen. SP+ is fully functional as downloaded but has a tiny watermark for the author, piDOG, that goes away when you pay the reasonable $10 they ask. One of the most useful functions that ScreenShot Plus serves is providing a slider that scales the size of the captured image from 10% to 200% which is great for web workers.
Microsoft this week issued an update for Office 2008 for Mac and it has indeed improved performance that I can see. Entourage is notably faster for me as are both Excel and Word. The update addressed stability issues and although I had not experienced any of those the update is highly recommended. Microsoft also issued a lot of security patches for Windows on Patch Tuesday of this week and since two of the new security exploits have been reported as already in the wild you’d better get this one applied ASAP.
Books of the week
I have long been a fan of Robert Ludlum’s work and the Bourne series is one of my all time favorite movies series. I’ve already read the books but ran across two in the Bourne series that I had not read so I picked them both up from eReader. I am just about finished with both The Bourne Betrayal and The Bourne Sanction but I must say when I started reading them I was surprised by them. It seems that neither one of them were written by Ludlum, no they were written by Eric Van Lustbader. I’ve never heard of him before and while both books are OK it’s clear they were not written by Ludlum. I guess that Ludlum’s estate made a deal with Lustbader after Ludlum’s death to write a few more Bourne books. It’s kind of creepy when you think of it and the book covers are downright deceitful:
Maybe this guy finished drafts that Ludlum had started prior to his death, I don’t know. In any event it’s obvious that the publisher wants you to think that Ludlum wrote both of these books and he didn’t. Sleezy publishing for sure. The books are OK but not great.
That’s it for this week, I hope you got something useful out of this episode of MTM. The French doors are scheduled to finally be installed this coming weekend so Mobile Tech Manor will be in a state of disruption for the duration. Happy geeking!