Monthly Archives: February 2011

New MacBook Pro

Recently, Apple announced their new MacBook Pro, which includes some upgrades, as well as new features.

The new MacBook pro still features a unibody aluminum case, which replaces multiple parts of a case with just one. Also like before, the MacBook Pro has a multi-touch trackpad, as well as a magnetic latch, rather than a clasp or other mechanism, in order to keep the computer closed.

The new MacBook Pro features Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, with the i7 being standard in the 15 and 17 inch models and and the i5 for the 13 inch version of the product. However, users can choose to have the Intel Core i7 processor in the 13 inch if they wish. These new Intel processors can perform up to twice as fast as the previous generations could.

Also included in the new MacBook Pro is a feature called “Turbo-Boost 2.0”, which enables users to perform processor intensive tasks, causing the processor to automatically increase the speed of the active cores to up to 3.4 GHz.

Another new feature that was included in this update to the MacBook Pro is called “Thunderbolt”, which is a fast I/O, or input/output, port, which was created after collaboration between both Intel and Apple. The new “Thunderbolt” port, which is located on the side of the MacBook Pro, similar to a USB port, enables users to plug in both HD displays and high-speed peripherals, such as an external hard drive or other device.

There are also adapters that users can use so that they can utilize the Thunderbolt port for peripherals that require the use of a USB cord or FireWire cable or even Ethernet or Fibre Channel networks. Since Thunderbolt is based on DisplayPort technology, users can connect any Mini DisplayPort display to the MacBook Pro, using the Thunderbolt port. Also, users can connect DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, or VGA displays to their computer’s Thunderbolt port using an adapter.

In addition, Apple’s FaceTime users will be happy to know that the MacBook Pro now has a high definition FaceTime camera, capable of recording video in 720p HD. The FaceTime HD camera also supports an aspect ration of 16:9, which will allows more area to be in the shot.

The new MacBook Pro also has a SDXC card reader built into the 13 and 15 inch models, which supports up to 64GB memory cards. This feature will allow users to quickly and easily transfer images from their digital cameras, right to their computers.

Hyperthreading is another new feature, which is now standard on the MacBook Pro. Hyperthreading allows for two threads to run at the same time on each processor core, which means that the MacBook Pro will recognize eight virtual cores on a quad-core processor and four virtual cores on a dual-core processor. By doing this, the computer will be able to “balance” tasks throughout the different virtual cores, giving it better performance.

Another new addition to the MacBook Pro is the Intel HD Graphics 3000 processor, which allows users to do graphics related tasks, such as encoding video and using Apple’s new HD FaceTime camera more efficiently. In the 15 and 17 inch versions of the MacBook Pro, there is a new AMD Radeon graphics processor, which also allows for graphic intensive applications, such as gaming and video editing.

If you’re interested in purchasing a MacBook Pro, the 13 inch model starts at $1,199, the 15 inch model starts at $1,799, and the 17 inch model starts at $2,499.

For more information about the new MacBook Pro lineup, or to purchase one, you should check out the MacBook Pro section of Apple’s website.

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Saving Electronics from a Spill

Would you know what to do if you spilled something on your laptop or cell phone? Should you unplug the device, remove the battery, or simply wipe the offending liquid off? Below is a guide that should help you to answer these questions so that you can save your electronics should something spill on them.

If you happen to spill something on your laptop, cell phone, or other electronic device, one of the first things that you should do is to unplug your device. After your device has been unplugged or if it wasn’t plugged in to begin with, you should then remove it’s battery so that there is no electricity going into it, which could cause something to short out, as well as other problems.

Then, you should either turn the device upside down, in order to prevent any liquid from getting further into it and then use a towel to clean up the liquid and dry off your device.

After doing this, if the liquid you spilled is sticky or may cause more harm than water, you may want to consider opening up your device, if you’re able to, and then use a cloth dampened with regular water, in order to clean off any of the liquid that may have gotten into your device. If you didn’t spill anything that requires rinsing, you may still want to consider opening your device up and checking to see if any water got into it that would need to be wiped up.

Once you’ve cleaned up the spill and checked to be sure that it isn’t inside of your device, you should allow the device, still without any power, to dry for a while before trying to use it again.

Another tip for someone who has spilled water on a smaller device, such as a cell phone, would be to place the phone into a bowl of dry rice, in order to try and draw out any moisture that may be in the device.

For more information about how to save your electronics from spills, I would suggest that you check out this article from Engadget, as well as this article from eHow, on how to save your laptop from a spill, and this article, also from eHow, on how to save a cell phone from a spill.

FaceBook Photo Viewer

If you’re a FaceBook user, you may have recently noticed that when you click on someone’s photo, a black box appears, showing the photo that you selected, rather than the photo being displayed on a new page within FaceBook. This is actually a part of some recent enhancements to FaceBook’s photo sharing experience.

Back in September of last year, FaceBook published a blog post, saying that they would be updating some things involving their photo sharing features, which included higher resolution images, a better photo viewer, as well as easier photo tagging and uploading.

However, on February 11, 2011, FaceBook posted an update to this blog post, saying that the new photo viewer would be rolling out to everyone over the next few weeks. Also, users would now be able to browse through photos faster than before and would not have to lose their place on FaceBook while doing so.

When users click on a picture now, a black frame, called a “lightbox”, will appear with the selected image in the center of it. This new feature will allow users to both view and comment on pictures without having to go to a new page, as the lightbox simply appears over the page that they’re currently on.

Also, users can view the previous and next photos in an album by clicking on arrows at either side of the image being displayed. Clicking on the image will also bring the user to the next photo in an album, like before. When users are ready to return to the page that they were on before clicking on a photo, all they need to do is click on the page in the background, or click on the “x” located at the top of the right side of the lightbox.

For more information about FaceBook’s recent photo updates, you should check out this blog post from Facebook’s blog. If you’re interested in how the new photo viewing “lightbox” was developed, you should check out this post from FaceBook’s Engineering Blog.

Watson on Jeopardy!

If you haven’t already heard, tonight on Jeopardy!, there will be a rather “different” looking contestant named Watson.

The reason that Watson is different than all of the previous Jeopardy! contestants is because he’s not a human, but a supercomputer, which was developed by IBM and is capable of answering questions that are posed in a natural language.

“Watson”, named after the founder of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, is made up of a cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers, in addition to some other hardware components, and contains a total of 2,880 POWER 7 processor cores and also has over 16 Terabytes of RAM. Running on this supercomputer will be IBM’s DeepQA software.

Already, “Watson” has been able to beat Jeopardy! contestants in practice rounds, so it will be interesting to see how this computer matches up when he goes up against two of Jeopardy!’s champions – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.

There will be three episodes of Jeopardy! featuring “Watson”, which begin tonight at 7:30 PM (Eastern) and last through Wednesday, February 16, 2011.

For more information about IBM’s Watson supercomputer, you should check out IBM’s website about “Watson”, as well as this article on Wikipedia.

Google Account Security

Recently, Google announced on their blog that they have developed an advanced security features for Google Accounts, called “2-step verification”, which provides more security than just using a password alone, as “2-step verification” helps to verify that the person trying to log into a Google Account is the account’s actual owner.

The reason that this new authentication method provides more security is because it requires two independent factors for users to access their accounts, which are your password, as well as a code that you can obtain from your phone.

According to Google, over the next few days, users will see a new “Using 2-step verification” link on the Account Settings page of their Google Account. Clicking that link will bring users to a setup wizard, which will guide them through the process of enabling “2-step verification”. This includes setting up a back up telephone number, as well as creating back up codes, just in case a user were to lose access to their primary phone.

After completing the setup wizard and enabling “2-step verification”, users will see an extra page when logging into their Google Account, which prompts them to enter a code and after the user enters their password, they can choose to either receive a phone call or text message with the code.

Alternatively, users can use an application for iPhone, Android, and and BlackBerry phones, in order to generate the code themselves. After the user has entered their password and the code that they received, they will be able to access their account.

This new method of verification is more secure because would-be hackers would have to know someone’s password, as well as have their phone in order to log into a Google Account.

However, users have the choice of choosing a “Remember verification for this computer for 30 days” option, so that they do not need to enter in a code as often, which will cut down on the time it takes to access an account, should a user do so multiple times a day.

This new feature was actually made available to Google Apps users a few months ago, but is now being offered to all Google Account users so that they can better secure their accounts. However, this feature is optional, so users who do not wish to use “2-step verification” don’t have to.

For more information about Google’s new “2-step verification”, you should check out this post from Google’s official blog, as well as this article from Google’s Help Center.

Facebook’s 7th Birthday

If you’re a FaceBook user, you may have already heard that today is FaceBook’s seventh birthday, as the company was launched on February 4th, 2004 from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room using the domain name thefacebook.com.

However, as we’re all aware, FaceBook has since grown, quite impressively, into a social networking website with close to 600 million users. At the time of this writing, the San Francisco based start-up has over 1,700 employees, with offices in 12 countries.

In order to celebrate FaceBook’s 7th birthday, the company has posted a status message on the their profile saying “To the 1.5 million of you who share our birthday today – Happy Birthday!”. Also included in this status message is a picture of a blue number 7 with a candle sticking out of the top of it. This particular status message has received 55,000 “likes” and over 9,000 comments so far.

With new users joining FaceBook every day, the website is continuing to grow. It will be interesting to see where FaceBook will be in the future, but congratulations to FaceBook on a great 7 years!

Happy birthday, FaceBook!

Facebook's 7th Birthday

If you’re a FaceBook user, you may have already heard that today is FaceBook’s seventh birthday, as the company was launched on February 4th, 2004 from Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard University dorm room using the domain name thefacebook.com.

However, as we’re all aware, FaceBook has since grown, quite impressively, into a social networking website with close to 600 million users. At the time of this writing, the San Francisco based start-up has over 1,700 employees, with offices in 12 countries.

In order to celebrate FaceBook’s 7th birthday, the company has posted a status message on the their profile saying “To the 1.5 million of you who share our birthday today – Happy Birthday!”. Also included in this status message is a picture of a blue number 7 with a candle sticking out of the top of it. This particular status message has received 55,000 “likes” and over 9,000 comments so far.

With new users joining FaceBook every day, the website is continuing to grow. It will be interesting to see where FaceBook will be in the future, but congratulations to FaceBook on a great 7 years!

Happy birthday, FaceBook!