Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Hopes for Apple

I am a major fan of technology in general. Western Digital's new media box for the living room is pretty cool, Google's Android mobile OS is really nice, and Creative Labs surprised people with their Zii Egg development package. However, I am a fan of Apple and their amazing products before any of these other great companies. I will give my hopes and dreams for other companies in 2010 and even give my opinion on some of the rumors that have been floating around, but for now, let's get Apple out of the way. Let's face it, they have been one of the most exciting tech companies in the last decade. People can't help but be excited to see what they do next.

1) The Next Generation iPhone
Every year the iPhone hardware and software gets a major upgrade. So far the rumors for the next gen iPhone have been about a CDMA version and a version made to work on the upcoming 4G cellular network. I haven't really heard much else. Here are some possibilities that I think could definitely come true for the iPhone this year. I do believe that with all the negativity involving AT&T, the iPhone will be available to more US carriers this year. The only problem I see with CDMA is the battery life. The iPhone already has poor battery life and CDMA technology is even harder on the battery. I think this year the iPhone will definitely get another speed boost and an upgrade to the camera. Other hardware changes I see possible would be the switch to an OLED screen. I still don't think that a real keyboard will be coming anytime soon.

2) Camera for the iPod Touch
Thanks to the people at, there is really good evidence that the iPod Touch was supposed to get a camera. I think that will happen this year. To keep from stealing sales from the iPhone, I believe the iPhone will get a camera upgrade and the iPod Touch will get the iPhone's current camera.

3) MIDI Controller App.
There is Keynote Remote, Remote, Air Mouse, LogMeIn, and many music making apps that are just so much fun. I believe the next step would be to make a MIDI controller app for Garageband and Logic. The multitouch interface has proven to be a great asset in mobile music making. I think that the iPhone/ iPod touch would make a multi-talented controller that can do so many things all from one control device.

4) New Multitouch Technology for Macs
I really enjoy the multitouch trackpad on Macbooks and the new Magic Mouse, but the technology can be taken further. Apple should replace the Macbook's trackpad with a multitouch LCD. It will function just as the trackpad but will have added functionality. A switch or keyboard shortcut could toggle between trackpad functionality and the added features. Apple could port the widgets used in Dashboard to the LCD. It would function almost like the apps on the iPhone. The Macbook's keyboard (and Apple's wireless keyboard) lack a numeric keypad. This new multitouch LCD could also double as a built-in numeric keypad and calculator. Spotlight searches and Cover Flow could also be moved to this LCD to quickly do searches and scroll through options. This added LCD could also replace the numeric keypad on Apple's full size keyboard.

5) The Mac Tablet
I am truly convinced that the Mac Tablet will be available soon. Major media is already preparing for it, multiple patents that would support the creation of such a device are surfacing everyday, and the components Apple has been ordering all point to it's imminent arrival. The only questions left are the features, OS and price. Based on the nature of the device I would expect a hybrid of OSX and the iPhone OS. Such an operating system could be enough to steal the wind out of the Google Chrome OS's sails when it arrives.

6) A Mac Netbook Running the Tablet OS
The ability of P.A. Semi to make small, quick, and low power processors for Apple could prove very useful in implementing a netbook platform for Apple. Imagine Apple using it's know-how from making the Mac Mini, iPhone/ iPod Touch, and a Mac Tablet to create a fairly inexpensive and extremely fast netbook. It is entirely possible for Apple to make a sub $500 netbook device.

7) Midway Mac Desktop
Apple has been gaining much popularity in recent years. Beautifully made computers and the consistent blunders of Microsoft have put Mac popularity at an all time high with seemingly no end in sight. To really steal some market share from PC makers, it would be in Apple's best interest to make an affordable and customizable desktop. The Mac Pro is overkill for the average person and the Mac Mini is a great machine but it lacks the ability to expand. If the geniuses over at Apple could put the Mac Mini's hardware in an easily accessible and expandable form factor, the price would stay reasonable and consumers that don't have a lot of money but still want options after their purchase would be happy. It's a step that would put pressure on Microsoft and the PC world.

8) The Future of iTunes
Apple recently purchased music streaming company LaLa. The most recent rumors indicate a major overhaul of the iTunes user interface and the ability to stream content for a fee, of course. iTunes already has podcasts and internet radio stations but they don't compare to the personal radio stations offered by Slacker Radio, Pandora, and LastFM. The ability to stream video will make iTunes more competitive with Netflix, Boxee and Hulu. Although Hulu is currently free, 2010 will bring subscription fees for the service. Content streaming on iTunes will also improve the highly overlooked Apple TV.

9) Apple TV in 2010
Sooner or later content streaming will be available through iTunes. It's not a matter of "if" but "when." This feature along with a DVR feature would make the Apple TV a hit. It isn't a bad product in it's current form but it definitely isn't great. The latest software update is a nice touch but the hardware still uses an IDE hard drive and was originally designed in the days of OSX Tiger. Updating to the current hardware standards, DVR capabilities, the iTunes streaming, and maybe even a full featured remote, would make the Apple TV an exciting product.

10) MobileMe 2.0
Cloud computing, whether we like it or not, is the future of computing. Apple's entry into the cloud is the expensive, feature packed MobileMe. If Apple wants cloud computing to catch on ( maybe they do, maybe they don't) there has to be a less expensive alternative. I was an early adopter of cloud computing but I don't need all the features MobileMe offers and I don't need to spend $99 a year to back up my data. Please Apple, give us some other options!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Free Software

Do we really have to say anything else? This software was previously available for purchase only, now you can take advantage of some holiday generosity from CakeWalk. Check the full details on Music Radar.

How to be the First to Know

I can be a very busy person at times. Between work, family and obligations at home it is difficult to stay completely informed on everything. One thing I can't stand is junk email. I hate those scam emails that don't go away even when you block the sender. Newsletters can be a bit annoying too and I know plenty of people that agree. Those annoying newsletters can actually be a great resource if you get them from the right sources. Even the busiest of people can still be up on the latest news, no matter how sparse their extra time may be. Here are three good examples of how.
1) Newsletters
Those annoying newsletters, even though they bug me, have actually saved me money and have helped me out plenty of times. To keep from being so annoyed with newsletters, cut down the amount of them you subscribe too. Everyone has accidentally subscribed to a newsletter just to get something free or take advantage of a promotion. If you no longer need that certain subscription, remove yourself from the mailing list. It is easy and nearly every newsletter has the instructions right on it. If there are certain companies and services you use quite frequently, you should think about subscribing to their newsletter because they can provide great information, discounts, and even give subscribers information ahead of the general public.
2) RSS Feeds
Some of us only check our email every so often or we have so many email accounts that we don't care to keep track of them. That is okay. Most internet browsers support RSS news feeds and many websites offer their latest news over such feeds. All you have to do is subscribe to them. It is a quick and convenient alternative.
3) Twitter
Twitter is exploding right now. Everyone has Twitter account. I have more than one. There are great resources for Twitter that are also very helpful. Here is an example of my setup. I have a free Twitter application on my computer and iPod Touch called TweetDeck. TweetDeck allows you to view tweets from multiple accounts and can even let you view status updates from your Facebook account. I have a feature called Growl enabled on my computer. Whenever someone I am following posts a new tweet, a small pop up message will appear in the corner of my screen. And just so you know, the convenience of Twitter is actually quite amazing. I have a specific account where the only users I follow are involved in different areas of news. They usually post a headline with a link to the full story. This enables me to choose what stories I want to read. If I can't read them right away, I can add them to a favorites list and view them later. I have the freedom to pick and choose. It is quite similar to the RSS feed, but you can follow more than just companies and many people on Twitter are very humorous. It's informative and entertaining at the same time!

I get a lot of information from these resources. I find deals on products I really am interested in, free software, opportunities, contests, giveaways, breaking news, special previews, and more. If you don't take advantage of such features, you should consider it. If you want to know more or have questions about this topic, you can always email us:

Monday, November 30, 2009


This past holiday week was undoubtedly uneventful here on MyEconoBlog. Between office issues, waiting on hold with various customer service representatives and stuffing our faces with turkey, not much was done. So now on this Monday, it seems everything is business as usual. You may notice that the page layout is changing. This is also another reason for no new posts in so long. Software recommendations and other new bits are popping up on here and there is more to come.
It seems like the week of Thanksgiving was not the best week to be lazy, but I promise, there are more deals out there than those on Black Friday and we WILL fill you in on them. The holiday shopping season has only begun and as we move in to December, the need for great gifts at a great price will become increasingly important for those last minute shoppers out there. With that said, stick around or check back at your convenience. There are great thinks to come at MyEconoBlog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Budget BackUp Drive

I don't know too many people that don't use a computer on a daily basis. The computer has become an important part of our everyday personal and professional lives. With that type of importance, it should be equally important that we take care in backing up the data on our computers. With viruses, coffe spills, and other hazards out there, it's a pretty good idea to have a backup of your computer's hard drive. Small external hard drives are a smart choice since they use little power and are relatively easy to store.
There are plenty of "cloud" computing resources for backing up our systems and so far they have proved to be pretty reliable. However, there will always be the possibility of these services failing and even with a backup service, a hard copy of your system should always be handy. There are plenty of external hard drive solutions provided by manufacturers like Iomega, HP, and Western Digital, but their prices may be a little steep for some people in this recession economy. To offset the cost, try making your own external hard drive. The process is surprisingly simple and affordable.
The most portable of external drives use a 2.5" SATA drive, the most common drive found in today's laptops. Stores like offer these drives at a fairly good price and there are always discounts available if you look. To start off with a good amount of memory for backup, a 250Gb or 320Gb hard drive is recommended although some users may need more or less. A 320Gb Fujitsu hard drive running at 5400 rpm costs $59.99 on I chose an even cheaper route. I looked on eBay for a new or used drive and found a 250Gb Toshiba drive and won it for $15. A good deal can't be guaranteed on eBay, but it doesn't hurt to look.
The next piece of equipment you will need is an enclosure. Most online stores like and offer a 2.5" SATA enclosure for $9.99 with free shipping. These enclosures make building an external drive a snap. All of the electronics inside are pre-wired and ready to go. All you need to do is plug the hard drive in and close the enclosure. Again, although there are plenty of good enclosure deals at stores, I was able to find an enclosure for $7 on eBay. My total cost was $22 for a dependable backup drive.
It is also possible to make a backup drive with an old hard drive you may have around the house. There are connectors and enclosures for all types of hard drives. Just make sure you know what type of drive you have and locate the appropriate enclosure.
After you have your drive together, plug it in and use your computer's formatting utility, then set up how often and in what ways you want your computer to be backed up.

I was able to build my backup drive fairly cheap. Tell me about your experience and what kind of deals you found. I'm sure someone was able to do this for less money.

Weekly Deals 11/11/2009

1) Are you in the market for a DVD drive for your computer? Target stores have reduced the price on two DVD drive models made by HP. Both models used to retail for $84.99 and now have been discounted to under $45! Both are external models that connect via USB. One model is better than the other, though. The one I would recommend has write speeds of up to 22x, is multi-format and features LightScribe disc labeling. Hurry in to Target before they are gone!

2) Speaking of Target, their holiday toy catalog will be hitting mailboxes this week. The discounts are pretty solid and the center of the catalog features coupons to add to the savings.

3) Many retailers like Sears, Macy's, Eddie Bauer, JCPenney, and others are offering Veteran's Day sales with discounts of up to 90%. Check your local adds and use these sales to get some of that holiday shopping done.

Next Weekly Deals Post: Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cloud Computing Part 1: MobileMe

MobileMe is a very full-featured cloud computing service offered by Apple. MobileMe allows its users to sync their contacts, calendars, preferences and files between their iPhone/iPod Touch, Mac, and PC. At $99 a year, MobileMe is a more expensive cloud computing option but it provides many services that can be very beneficial to people that manage businesses or work in a field that requires them to use multiple computers. To get the full effect of what MobileMe really has to offer, we will start out with the example of someone that uses multiple Macintosh computers.
Say you already have your personal Mac set to your liking. It has all of your personal contacts in Address Book, your favorite web pages bookmarked in Safari, all of your important dates and appointments saved in iCal, and your email is all set up on Mail. Your Mac at work has all of your professional contacts, web pages, appointments, and email all set up, but you really want to have everything all in order at home and work. Having a MobileMe account will give you the ability to combine all of these features from both computers. This will give you the same basic computing experience on both machines. These features will also automatically be in sync when anything is added, edited, or deleted and these same features are available on the iPhone.
Using MobileMe on a PC is a little different. Safari is available for PCs and the bookmarks will sync, but Mail and iCal are Mac only. MobileMe will sync your Outlook dates and contacts instead. Do you need to have certain files available at home and work? Using iDisk will make will make files available on all computers you have registered with MobileMe. Not only that, but you will receive your own MobileMe email address and have the ability to post websites created in iWeb. Many people feel that MobileMe offers too many features and comes at a steep price. You can judge that for yourself with a 60 day free trial at For those of you that just want to have secure back ups of your computer, share files with friends and family, or just want to have files readily available anywhere you go, check out future posts for reviews on other cloud computing services.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Final Christmas Wish

I saw this on Facebook today. Please help this little boy to have a good last Christmas:

"The most courageous 5 yr old, Noah,has been battling cancer for the past three years. His journey is coming to an end. Noah's mom is making Christmas Day happen this coming weekend...tree...decorations... the works. Please send a Christmas card to Noah. Noah Biorkman, 1141 Fountain View Circle, South Lyon, Michigan 48178. "

Apparently all Noah wants for Christmas is to receive Christmas cards. The doctors say he won't live to see Christmas this year so his family is going to celebrate it early for him. My wife is going to have her second grade class make cards for him. Please send a card to this poor little boy.

You can read Noah's story here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weekly Deals 10/28/2009

Check here every Wednesday for weekly deals and discounts!

1) By now everybody has to know that Windows 7 was released last Thursday. If you have any questions or concerns about switching, ask MyEconoBlog a question. We tested the RC and have been using Windows 7 Ultimate for nearly three weeks and it rocks! Today's first deal is a student discount on Windows 7. If you have a valid student email address, go to the site below to get Windows 7 for $29.99!

2) Mac users. You only have until this Saturday to take advantage of some great security software deals. Twelve security applications from Intego, Macware, and others for only $50 ($62 after you pay for the back up discs and shipping). Tech Tool Pro 5 is also in this list. If you are among the first 10,000 purchasers, you also get Radio Gaga free.

3) Need new PC components or a new PC in general? Many PC makers and retailers are offering great deals right now in celebration of the release of Windows 7. Here are a few places to get a great Windows 7 PC at a great price:

This week we kept the list small and limited it to computer related deals. Check us out next week for a larger variety of deals!

Going Green While Saving Green

Taking reducing, reusing, and recycling to new levels can greatly reduce your impact
on the environment and increase the money in your wallet.
Electronic devices are a common part of everyday
life. We watch the morning news on TV, check our
email on the computer, and text our friends about
everything just as automatically as we breathe.
Technology is so integrated into our lives that we
often forget about the impact they have on our
environment. Here are some ways to enjoy your
beloved tech gear while loving our planet;
1)Use mobile devices for checking email or instant
messaging, rather than turning on the PC. Cell
phones and other devices are just as capable as
your computer when performing these simple
tasks. Some devices do almost as much as
computers do. Using a device like a PDA, cell
phone, Apple’s Ipod Touch, or Sony’s Mylo will
keep you connected while saving on electricity.
The use of these devices will also reduce the wear
and tear on your computer, increasing its overall
life span. Save computer usage for heavier tasks
and large work loads.
2)Keep your unwanted electronics out of the
landfill. Electronic devices contain materials that
should be recycled or disposed of safely. Working
electronics that you have no use for should be
resold or donated to people that do have a use for
them. Most manufacturers offer disposal
programs for their products and have details on
their websites. For non-working devices that still
have usable parts, there are companies that will
actually buy your junk and reuse what is
salvageable or help you fix them. Ebay is also a
great tool for selling broken electronics and
finding replacement parts.
3)Separate your need from your wants. Do you
really need that new gadget or do you just want it?
Buying the latest cell phone when yours works
just fine creates more waste. If you really have to
have something that bad, buy it used. That way
you save money, give purpose to someone’s
unwanted stuff, and help keep harmful materials
out of a landfill.
Here are some resources to help you dispose of
your electronics, get cash for them or give them
new life.

Look to the Clouds

It seems that the future of computing is going minimalist. Microsoft and PC makers made a strong effort to drop the crapware that normally comes with new PCs during the development of Windows 7. Netbooks come with slimmed down operating systems. Google has an online suite of services, their Google Chrome browser is slimmed down and very speed, while the Chrome operating system is promised to also be quick and slim. The center of this minimalist future depends heavily on the use of the internet.
Google's online services will most likely be at the center of their Chrome OS. Next year Microsoft will roll out Office 2010 for the both the Mac and PC but users can already access the Office Live Workspace where users can create and share projects online as well as store them there. Google has a similar service called Google Docs while users of Apple's iWork can post iWork projects to be shared on Office suites aren't the only web services designed to increase productivity and aid in sharing. The newest cloud computing services are receiving a lot of early adopters and look to provide a great future for sharing and online computer back up services.
This new frontier in the world of computing will help computer users retain important files as well as share them. Some of the big names in cloud computing so far are Apple with their Mobileme service, Mozy, DropBox, as well as Google and Microsoft. The only drawback to these services is their reliance on the internet. So, if you are constantly connected, don't want to spend money on software and services, are looking for an efficient way to back up your computer, or hate messing with external hard drives and flash drives, pay attention to the next few posts as I review these online services. As always, your comments are welcome and if there are any other products or services you would like to have featured here, let us know.

Next Post: MobileMe