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GPS Navigator Product Spam


I recently mentioned product spam in digital cameras, but check out all these GPS navigators from Garmin.  It wasn't difficult for me to find two that are incredibly redundant: the nuvi 260W and nuvi 660.   Both retail for about $399 (see their Amazon product pages here and here), both have a 4.3" touchscreen, both can say the names of streets and both have the same preloaded maps.  However, the 660 has Bluetooth, a longer lasting battery, an FM transmitter, an MP3 player and a few other features the 260W lacks.  So given that they're both the same price why would anyone logically choose the 260W over the 660?  The really crazy thing is the 260W is newer.  Why would Garmin introduce a new product with fewer features than an older product at the same retail price.  Ugg...my head hurts...  By comparison, TomTom's product line is much more streamlined and user-friendly, also the listed prices are much closer to the actual street prices.

The word of the week is Gopher

Unless you were born in the late 90's don't waste your time with "My Word Coach" for the Nintendo DS.  I've been playing the game for about a month now and I keep getting the word "Gopher" over and over again.  But this was really the icing on the cake. 


I don't know about you, but I don't have occasion to use the word "gopher" in a sentence that often.  (Except when I'm talking about how lousy "My Word Coach" is.)  And I'm pretty sure I've never struggled to verbally express myself and had the word "gopher" come to the rescue.  I also can't think of an instance when some people were talking about a gopher and felt embarrassed that I didn't know what they were talking about or nervous that someone might find out.

Digital Camera Imponderables

In honor of PMA '08, I've prepared a Pogue inspired list of Digital Camera Imponderables.

  1. If an iPod can charge via USB why can't most digital cameras?
  2. What actually changes when you adjust the ISO setting on a digital camera?
  3. Why are memory cards included with digital cameras so pathetically small?
  4. Why is there so much digital camera product spam?  It seems within any manufacturer's product line are a couple cameras that are almost the same price but one is significantly worse than the other, or one is way more expensive than the other but only offers trivial benefits.
  5. Why didn't Polaroid, a huge innovator in mainstream photography, become a major player in the digi-cam market?


Kindle Magazine Strategy


In my last entry about the Kindle I discussed how magazines could be the "killer-app" for Amazon's Kindle.  The Kindle holds amazing promise for reducing the carbon footprint of publishing, but to do that the Kindle first needs to get really popular.  Amazon still has some work ahead of them before the Kindle is a raging success.  Read on for some simple ideas for how Amazon can use magazine content to make the Kindle a hit.

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iTunes Shopping Now on Apple TV


With all the buzz around the MacBook Air, I totally forgot that it's now possible to shop (and rent!) from iTunes using the Apple TV.  Back when the Apple TV was first announced I was pretty disappointed and surprised that it couldn't shop on iTunes, but the new Apple TV software gives pretty much total access to the iTunes Store (movies, music, podcasts, etc).  Now you no longer need a computer to shop on iTunes, and the new software download is for all Apple TVs.  The Apple TV still doesn't offer iPod connectivity which seems really weird.

Finally a MacBook under 5lbs: The MacBook Air


Apple's brand new ultra-portable notebook, the MacBook Air, was just announced at MacWorld.  The Air, like the normal Macbook, sports a 13.3" screen and a full size keyboard, but at just 3 lbs it's 2 lbs lighter than the MacBook.  Also, the trackpad supports several new multi-touch gestures, like the pinch-zoom gesture.  Looks like multi-touch is slowly appearing in more and more Apple products.  The Air seems like a great machine that will finally satisfy customers who have been eager for a Mac under 5 lbs (something which has been conspicuously absent since the MacBook).  The Air lacks an internal optical drive, but there is a new external Apple SuperDrive for $99.  Also, the battery is not removable, which is already drawing some criticism.  With the Air, it looks like Apple will have to replace the battery for you (for $129).  Hopefully, Apple Stores will even do the replacement.

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Where are the New MacBook Pros?

Well MacWorld is over, and Pro notebooks are still sporting pretty much the same design of PowerBooks from 2003.  I'm pretty bummed, I really thought the stars had finally aligned for new MacBook Pros to be unveiled at MacWorld this year. On the upside, the new MacBook Air gives a lot of clues about new MacBook Pros.  I fully expect new MBPs to take a lot of design cues from the Air, be lighter and sleeker, and support more multi-touch gestures on the trackpad.  On the downside, it looks like totally new MacBook Pros are still a few months off, as the Montevina chipset isn't set to drop until mid 2008.  Which sucks, because I really need a new notebook now.  Looks like I'm stuck playing the waiting game...

Last Minute MacWorld '08 Predictions

I'm counting down the minutes to MacWorld '08.  Here are a few predictions.

  • Lots of news about how great Leopard is doing
  • Lots of news about how great the iPhone is doing
  • iPhone SDK released early
  • 16GB iPhone
  • iTunes movie rentals
  • iTunes Wi-fi store for Apple TV
  • New Apple TV that supports HD, probably with larger capacity
  • Something about Blu-Ray
  • Ultra-portable/tablet MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Pro line updated with Penryn processors and new styling

New MacBook Pro Design at Macworld '08?

For the last two MacWorlds I've been hoping Apple would unveil a new design for it's Pro notebooks. So far it hasn't happened, but this should finally be the year for the MacBook Pro line to be totally refreshed from the inside out: Intel's new mobile processor family, Penryn, is set to be released this month; also there are rumors of a new addition to the MacBook Pro line in the form of a ultra-portable notebook or a multi-touch tablet; and lastly, the appearance of Apple's Pro notebooks pretty much hasn't changed since 2003.  Read on for what I'm hoping for in new MacBook Pros.

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Amazon Kindle, Magazines Could be the Killer App


Electronic readers hold incredible promise, particularly for the environment: replacing paper books with electronic downloads could reduce paper consumption and waste as well as energy used for manufacturing and transporting materials and finished products.  But in order for the promise of electronic readers to be realized, they first have to become hugely popular.  So far that hasn't happened yet.  But Amazon's Kindle might be able to succeed where others have failed.

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