$35 micro PC (update)

As promised Raspberry Pi’s micro PC is now on sale at their website. Model B which has 256 Mb RAM, an extra USB port and an Ethernet connection is on sale now for $35. The $25 version is is production and will ship later. Unfortunately it seems that these are only available in the UK for now. According to the site they are experiencing a large volume of requests so that there may be delays in accessing the site. Given the success of this product launch it seems that the market for micro PC’s could be fairly large. Surely there is room for a Canadian version.

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iPad event on March 7

Well it is official, Apple will be holding an event on March 7 in San Francisco where they are expected to unveil the next iteration of the popular iPad. There have been rumours that an updated Apple TV may also be announced at the event.

Head on over to the story on The Verge where you can see the invitation that cleary shows a closeup of a super high resolution touch screen with the words “We have something that you really have to see. And touch.”.

$35 micro PC

A group of Cambridge entrepreneurs and academics are getting ready to launch a $25 computer named ‘Raspberry Pi’ that they hope will boost children’s interest in computer programming. The unit is basically an open circuit board, about the size of the palm of your hand that is a fully operational computer. Since it uses a 700 MHz ARM chip similar to the CPU you would find in a smart phone it uses very little power, in fact it is powered by 4 AA batteries. The graphics card although not powerful enough to play high end games does have the capability to play HD videos. In terms of connectivity, it has a HDMI port and a couple of USB ports so that you connect it to a monitor and add a mouse, keyboard or an external storage drive.

Seneca College in Toronto is developing some software for the device which will include a custom version of the Linux Fedora OS and other applications such as a web browser and a word processor. Since Linux is open source software it is easily programmable and there are many other applications that have been developed by users throughout the world. Even though it is less powerful that modern computers it is infinitely flexible and its applications are limited only by your imagination. There are already many uses being discussed in forums at the Raspberry Pi web site, including: a device to capture video from a weather balloon, a brain for a robot or a GPS unit. The makers hope that the cheap price will encourage users to experiment with the device without worrying about “bricking” it. The micro PC is expected to be available within the next several weeks.

Source: CBC News, CNET UK and Raspberry Pi

Airplay/Mirroring for your Mac computer

Ever since the capability to mirror your iPad’s screen on a Apple TV connected television was made available during the last iOS upgrade, Mac users have been asking for the same magical ability to be available on their laptops.  Well it seems these requests have not fell on deaf ears as the crew over at Cupertino have included this in the next upgrade of their computer OS.  The next version, OS 10.8, dubbed Mountain Lion, was just released this week to developers and includes Airplay along with a number of other features.  The upgrade isn’t expected to be released to the general public though until sometime in the summer.  For those of you who can’t wait until then to get their Mac Book Air’s display on the big screen you now have an alternative, AirParrot.  This app is available in the app store for $10 and supports all Macs running OSX Snow Leopard or Lion.  It works in much the same way as AirPlay works for the iPad with a couple of exceptions; it does not support audio streaming and it will not bypass any Apple TV passwords that you have setup.  The developer has promised fixes for these deficiencies in future updates.

Source: iPhone in Canada and The Verge

Rogers Whole Home PVR (update)

Still waiting for your updated Interactive Program Guide (IPG) and access to the Rogers Whole Home PVR service on your Next Box 2.0? Judging from the comments on Rogers forums you will have to wait a bit longer, the service is clearly not ready for prime time. What is likely to happen is that they will roll it out slowly in Ontario, this will help them to identify bugs in the system and address them as they go. I wouldn’t expect any large scale rollout for another couple of months. Meanwhile have a look at this Rogers web site promoting the new service, it was on their official site but is only viewable if you choose New Brunswick as the region. Thanks to Trad2005 of the Digital Home Forum for posting this.

Source: Digital Home

Do you have a Smart TV that you are not using?

If you answered yes to this question then you are not alone. According to a new survey by NPD In-Stat about 53% of those people who own a so called “Smart TV” don’t actually use them to connect to the web, even though connectivity is becoming standard on all new sets. The majority of people don’t even know that their television has the ability to access the internet or many don’t use all of its features. The major reason cited by Paul Gagnon of North America TV research was that the user interface is cluttered and it is not very intuitive. In addition, most people see a TV as a passive device, the present interface on most Smart TV’s require the user to take an active role in choosing what they want to watch. Previous attempts at making the interface more user friendly, for example Google TV, have not had much success. With all of the efforts that manufacturers like Sony and Samsung and even Apple are putting into improving the experience, it is hoped that this year will truly be the year of the internet connected TV.

Source: Tech News Daily

Is a new Apple TV release imminent?

Whenever inventory for an Apple product reaches low levels at third party retailers, it is a sure sign that a replacement product is ready to be released. This is what is currently going on with the Apple TV, recent checks at Future Shop and Best Buy websites indicates that the Apple TV is no longer available. The Verge is also reporting similar non-availability at retailers in the UK and the US, even though the Apple website (apple.ca) does indicate that the product is still shipping. The timing for this apparent refresh does seem a bit odd. Even though experts agree that the folks at Cupertino are working on an actual Apple branded television, most predict it would be released later in the year. Unless they plan to take everyone by surprise with an early release of their television, Apple could also release an upgrade to the second generation version of their streaming device that was released back in September 2010. Given the recent promotion of its Airplay capabilities for the iPad and soon for the Mac, there is no doubt that a some type of new device will be released soon.

Source: The Verge