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Personal Blog

Apple hinted that in quartile 4 of 2013 there could be a new range of products. Speculation has begun to appear about what this could be.

Apple has already been noted for not turning down the rumours of a new Apple TV set (as in not just a set top box, but a proper television with a display) for a long time now and there is still a possibility.

But can Apple conquer the television market from Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony who pretty much run the whole market these days? Well they came into the smartphone market with an innovative design - utilising the consumer friendly capacitive touch display all the way back in 2007 whereas Windows Mobile was still in favour of the enterprise users and still used to resistive technology. However, it was the early innovation that got them there in the first place. Apple have been beaten to be the first into the Smart TV market already, so it's hardly appealing that they release some app based TV when most of us have them as it is.

Connectivity to the Mac computers using AirPlay may inspire some of us to buy one, but for others there probably won't be that many benefits. Especially saying as Apple's computers seem to set in line Apple's hate for connectivity. This is what gets me about Apple - they brought out the Lightning connector and there are no docks - they destroyed something good and replaced it with something that could easily have been replaced with a micro USB connector like the rest of the industry (by the way, it's EU law to have some kind of way of charging the iPhone via micro USB). Again, there is no support for HDMI without purchasing adapters for the iPad - there are no physical connectors other than the Dock or Lightning connectors. The same goes for the Mac line of computers; on my 2011 MacBook Pro I have two USB ports, FireWire 800, Thunderbolt, Ethernet and an audio jack - a similar PC would have a lot more. In fact the new Retina line of MacBook Pro computers only have two Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0, an HDMI port and an audio jack. Apple seems to like the minimalist design of few connectors and I'm sure we would see the same happen to a television set if it happened.

However, a new television is not all that Apple could announce. The MacBook Air could do with a Retina display and perhaps this is what is meant by a new product from Apple.

So what do you think? Comment below if you have an opinion.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Whilst the fabrication size of features in processors is getting smaller all the time, IBM had time to show off how far we have (or they) have come with it, demonstrating a very short animation of a boy with his atom and putting it on the web so we can all see it.

For anyone who is interested in fabrication or physics or would just like to see atoms dance, this video is sure to please you.

Read the full story over at Wired.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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WordPress built sites are under major attack from more than a denial of service attacks (DOS).

As a precaution, I have limited the number of login attempts on this blog to prevent people running malicious programs to crack the logins.

You can read more at Ars Technica:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/04/huge-attack-on-wordpress-sites-could-spawn-never-before-seen-super-botnet/

Or from a WordPress founder:

http://ma.tt/2013/04/passwords-and-brute-force/

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Along with many others, I am eagerly anticipating the release of Haswell, Intel's next step on their roadmap. It will replace the current 'third generation' of the Core series known as Ivy Bridge and will bring new power optimisations among many other features.

Some of the new features that we can expect are the new LGA (Land Grid Array) socket 1150 for desktops, rPGA (Pin Grid Array) socket 947 and BGA (Ball Grid Array) socket 1364 for mobile versions, DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.0 support for the built-in graphics chip featured with all Haswell chips. The merged southbridge and northbridge design known by Intel as the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) will receive a die shrink from 65nm to 32nm.

The chip will continue to be manufactured at 22nm and will continue to use Intel's Tri-Gate transistor platform, but it will be incompatible with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge motherboards. If you are like me and hoping to get your hands on Haswell, wait until after the initial launch as with Sandy Bridge and later Ivy Bridge, I can no longer trust that it will be flawless from the release and will wait a bit longer before considering the upgrade on my slightly faulty Sandy Bridge.

What else would you like to see with Haswell? Comment below.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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It was only last week I was talking to my brother about how Google was apparently dropping the WebKit browsing engine that they had used in Chrome since the beginning. Of course there had to be a reason behind this. The answer is Blink.

Blink is a new browsing engine which forks from WebKit (for those who do not talk tech this is when a piece of software is adapted to make a new piece of software and they go off in two paths, similar to Libre Office and OpenOffice).

So whilst Safari will continue to use the WebKit engine, Chrome and Opera will move to Blink. Firefox continues to use the Gecko Engine (which I despise) and Internet Explorer will continue using Trident. Have I missed any?

What does this mean for the Chrome user?

It does not mean much for you right now as a fork takes from the latest version of the software, so the first version of Blink will be the same as the last version of WebKit and therefore it will render similarly. However, in the future Google's development on the Blink engine may push WebKit down as Google may innovate more and more. On the other hand, it could go the other way and WebKit could bring a better browsing experience before Blink.

Will Blink come to mobile devices?

Yes! Blink will come to Android as well as desktop versions of Chrome. Part of the Chromium Project's latest browsing engine is that it will be featured on all devices in the same manner. So don't worry about your mobile not being the same as your desktop, it will look exactly the same.

Why is this happening?

Apparently, according to the Guardian:

The move follows long-simmering disagreement between engineers at Apple and Google over the best way to develop the rendering engine underlying the browser - with one senior Apple engineer saying that Google refused to incorporate key technologies into the main branch of WebKit, keeping them instead for Chrome.

Unfortunately, Google and Apple do not get on for the better of the open source project which as of March 2013 Apple now owns the trademark to.

In my opinion, this is just another problem between Apple and Google, showcasing the fact that the two of them should never be involved in projects together.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Microsoft has officially commented on the next release of Windows, known by its codename as "Windows Blue". The update is said not to be a new release of the operating system but as an update for the current Windows 8 operating system but unlike a service pack, it will bring new features that the end user will notice. It marks a change for Microsoft; releasing a new update to an OS that will change the user experience of the operating system and bring new features.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Let us wish the company who does almost everything technology a happy birthday today.

10 years ago today, Google was born!

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Finally, the long awaited MacBook Pros have been released. The new range sports a Core i5 and i7 configuration in the larger 15 and 17 inch models. The standard configuration of the 13 inch however still features the old Core 2 Duo and now 4GB of RAM. Pricing starts at £999.99 for the 4GB Core 2 Duo and the battery life has gone up to 10 hours from 8 on the 13 inch model.

MacBook Pro

I must say that I am getting more impressed by the MacBook Pro range every release now and I am edging towards actually liking these notebooks. Anyway, the 250GB hard drive is now standard but 500GB comes at £120 more which is actually a rather good deal considering Apple's high pricing. Solid state options have also increased in capacity and decreased in price here. However, as with all Apple products, you pay such a high premium to get their devices that consider premium goods.

They all still feature the same connections (FireWire 800, USB 2.0 x2/3, SD card reader, mini DisplayPort, Ethernet and that awesome combi-port that combines a microphone and headphone jack). The 17" features an ExpressCard 54 slot as well.

The resolutions are just the same; the 13" is 1280 * 800, the 15" is 1440 *900 and the 17" is 1920 * 1200.

Now the really good feature is the graphics card. The Nvidia 330M is now included but what makes it really cool is that Apple has developed a smart system which switches graphics cards (only in the i5 and i7 configurations) between the built in graphics included in the 15" or 17" and the 330M which will result in a significantly longer battery life (as the integrated Intel graphics use less power than the 330M). The 13 inch features the 320M with up to 256MB integrated graphics.

Nothing else appears to have changed drastically.

In October 2011, I bought myself the 13" MacBook Pro Core i5. This machine is amazing.
Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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