Give the Chicken the Lipstick

When Bill Gates, back in the early 90’s, heard of Apple’s plan to put the Mac OS on an Intel machine, he responded by saying it would be "like putting lipstick on a chicken." Well, pass the rouge to the fowl. On June 6, 2005, Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company will gradually shift from IBM-based chips to Intel over the next two years. Jobs then disclosed that Apple has been developing versions of OS X since its inception to run on Intel and PowerPC chips. What does this supposedly mean for us Mac editors? The good news is Macs should get faster and we may see a G5 notebook sometime soon. It also means that OS 9 (Classic) will most certainly be put to sleep.

The OS is up and ready to run on Intel’s chips but the application companies will have to catch up. For some that’s as simple as rewriting a couple dozen lines of code. For others it may take a team of engineers weeks of hard work. As the applications are updated, they will be created with universal binaries of their programs that will run on both types of chips. And the early purchasers of Intel Macs will have a transcoding tool called Rosetta that will allow programs written for PowerPC chips to run on Intel-based machines.

Blu-ray is on the Way

Taiwan’s BenQ demonstrated a prototype Blu-ray burner for PCs at the Computex 2005 fair Taipei in early June. BenQ plans volume production of the BW1000 by next year’s 2nd quarter, Taiwan’s Digitimes reported. The prototype delivers 2x-speed recording for Blu-ray single-layer (25 GB) and single-sided double-layer (50 GB) blanks, 12x for write-once DVD-R/+R, 4x for write-once DVD-R/+R DL, and 4x for rewritable DVD-RW/+RW. It also burns CDs. HD-DVD proponent Toshiba and partners also demonstrated playback and recording hardware, software and applications for the DVD Forum’s blue-laser disc format at Computex. Currently, the few existing Blu-Ray players are big, expensive, have limited features and can only be found in Japan. Plans are for this technology to hit the USA consumer market in 2006 or early 2007.

Disposable Camcorders?

A new addition to our disposable lifestyle: the disposable camcorder. CVS is now selling a $30 pocket sized video camera developed by Pure Digital Technologies of San Francisco. This single use camera weighs less than 5 ounces, holds 20 minutes of digital video and sound to a memory chip, features a 1.4 inch color playback screen and has the ability to delete unwanted video. The camera does not have a zoom and the user needs to bring the camera into the drugstore to have the footage transferred to DVD at the cost of $12.99. With tax, that’s about $2.33 per minute. Manufactured in China using Samsung Electronics memory chips, the camera should appear in other retail stores shortly. After transfer, the cameras are recycled.

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