[Tech Talk] Apple Unveils new iPads + Free OS

It’s that time of year again! Autumn was ushered in by beautiful LA weather, Pumpkin Spice Lattes have more than taken over the coffee world and Halloween is just around the corner – but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s the time of year where our friends at Apple HQ loop in their loyal customer base about their latest and greatest products and projects.  I’ve touched on this a bit in the past, but I’m an Apple girl through and through – well, minus the fact I’ve refused to cave into the iPhone madness for the last few years and love my HTC Droid to pieces – but I digress.   The tech talk started at 11 EST/ 10am PST and is being hosted by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater up in San Francisco. For loyal customers running iOs4.2 you’ll be able to stream the event in multitudes of ways and if you have Safari 4 or later, the event is being live-streamed right here.  If you care less about talking heads and more about talking points, one of my favorite tech sites – Gizmodo – is live-blogging the event right here.

Now, without further ado – some of the highlights from today’s press event:

Map Updates on OS 10.9 Mavericks

Image thanks to NBC

The New OS 10.9 is called Mavericks. Unlike previous OS X’s – like Mountain Lion, Tiger, Panther, Snow Leopard – this marks the first OS X that isn’t named after a killer cat but instead after a killer wave.  To boot, Mavericks marks the first OS released by Apple that is free (Yes, FREE!) for everyone to update – and it’s available starting today.  This update contains about 200 changes, including but definitely not limited to these arenas – Web Browsing (Safari will show users what their social networks have been reading), Maps with a 3D Flyover view, Notifications, Power Efficiency (To quote the Senior VP Federighi:  “On a 13″ Macbook you’ll get an hour longer web browsing on a single charge.”) and more.

Image thanks to Gizmodo

They also introduced a few new sibling in the iPad family.  First – we have a new iPad Mini! The 16GB iPad Mini 2 finally has a retina display and hosts twice the resolution as the original with 324 pixels per inch and a resolution of 2048 x 1536 for you number ninjas out there.   This makes the iPad Mini 2 a definite contender against the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX.  The iPad Mini 2 is a little on the expensive side – $530 with the works (LTE/WiFi) and $400 for WiFi Only.  The good news?  The old iPad Mini is now only $300; and with Apple – I’ve learned to take what I can get.  Next up,  the iPad air.  It clocks in at approximately 1lb and 9.7″, making it roughly half a pound lighter and much thinner than previous versions.  The CPU inside is two times as fast as the last iPad update – which was twice as fast as the first; the final result? An iPad that’s eight times faster than the original iPad.

Apple’s Mac Pro Core Processor

Last, but certainly not least – let’s take a look at the new Mac + MacBook Pros.  The Mac Pro contains that sexy beast of metal above – Intel’s Xeon E5 Processor with between four and twelve cores.  The Xeon Processor holds 12GB of high performance RAM (GDDR5 if you want to get specific).  As far as graphics are concerned, the Mac Pro runs with an AMD FirePro which means 4k video output. Other specs for the Mac Pro include: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, HDMI, 4 USB Ports, 6 Thunderbolt ports and 2  Ethernet Ports.  Per usual, the Mac Pro will cost a pretty penny – approximately $3000, and is available starting this December.  Then there’s the kid sister laptop version – the MacBook Pro. Much like the Mac Pro, the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros boast the latest OS, Thunderbolt ports and the 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio.  The 15″ gets an Intel Pro GPU, a 256 GB Solid State Drive and a 2 Ghz Quad Core Processor with 8GB of Dynamic RAM and runs at $2000.  The kid brother, the new 13′, is less than3 pounds and 3/4 of an inch thick.  Inside, you’ll find a 2.4 Ghz Core i6, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and an enhanced retina display.  It runs at about $1300 and both models – the 13″ and 15″ Mac Book Pros – ship today!

What are your chances of splurging on any one of their new products?

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” 
― Apple Inc.

[Wednesday Watercooler] ‘Murrica, Fuck Yeah.

In true and typical Amanda fashion – there’s been too many things whirring in my head and not enough hours in the day to properly pen and extrapolate on current events; but man, oh man, do they ever need to be covered.  First things first for any of my So.Cal followers – who managed to snag some pics of last nights epic, cotton candy sunset?!  I made a special trip to the roof and stayed until the clouds picked up hints of magenta and lavender; absolutely stunning!

For today, I’d love to focus on news about the good o’ Red WhiteBlue, ‘Murrica;
It’s like news of the weird, but better – because it’s all about US(A).

NBA Finals: Bringing The Heat

I don’t talk about it much – and most likely, it has heaps and heaps to do with the fact that I live in LA – but I’m a huge Miami Heat / Dwayne Wade fan.  That said, I’ve been losing my voice lately trying to kick their asses into high gear against the Spurs in the finals ( Sidenote: If I have to see Tim Duncan go up for another ten layups I might have to strangle a coach or something…) so it’s nice to have a little somethin’ somethin’ to liven the mood.  Take this video from Jimmy Kimmel Live where he got some of my favorite former and current ballers and makes them read mean tweets about themselves =)

See You Later, Alligator.

Things all over the states have been heating up lately, but nothing quite like what’s happened in Florida.  Over the weekend, a band of merry men went trapesing through the Little Econ State Forest in Florida in search of some magic mushrooms.  Unfortunately, it sounds like they ran into a few hiccups – firstly, there’s a little bitty thing called the law.  Officers stopped the group for the removal of plant life – which itself is reason enough for jail time – but during their search, the officers also discovered a two foot long alligator in their possession.  They received a misdemeanor for the destruction of plant life, possession of an alligator and violations of probation; in a while, crocodiles!

Science, Politics and Psychoactive Drugs: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

It’s crazy to think of the advancements we could have made for PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, mental illnesses – and, in general, science itself -if politics hadn’t gotten in the way of science and the empirical method.  The validity of the professors argument is only furthered by his exit from from the council.  To quote the article,

“Professor Nutt, who was dismissed from the Home Office’s advisory council on drugs in 2009 after clashing with ministers, said that UN conventions on drugs in the 1960s and 1970s have delayed the development of “innovative treatments” for PTSD and depression by 30 years and also set back research into areas of neuroscience such as consciousness.”

An Apple A Day Keeps the Geeks at Bay

The guys over at Apple are back at it and in a big way. Earlier this week, Apple released specs for their new Mac Pro at their World Wide Developer Conference, better known to geeks far and wide as WWDC, up in San Francisco.  This is the first new desktop in years coming from the gurus at Mac and us technophiles should definitely stop and take notice.  Not only is this the first Mac Pro with a flash based hard drive, but this model has duel AMD graphics cards, RAM that’s quick as a bunny, and 2.5x faster flash memory.  Bottom line: my birthday is in six months, who’s getting it for me?

One last rant….

Prism: The Irony and The Agony

If you’re reading this, then you should be more than aware of a current government initiative called PRISM. For their purposes, PRISM is a code word for a program the NSA is using to collect and aggregate data from across nine major internet companies to “combat terrorism“.  The companies are as follows: Facebook, AOL, Apple, YouTube, Skype, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and PalTalk – not to mention, numerous wireless carriers like Verizon; and they’re collecting information on you, right nowas we speak.  And what’s worse, these companies are now denying its existence.

The irony to me is what a prism actually is: a glass or transparent object.  Because this, this is anything but.

From the perspective of a Data Analyst, I can tell you right now that if you’re minding your own business the government isn’t much minding yours at all.  However, that’snot the real issue – the problem is the assumed deception of the American populous in order to collect an extremely large amount of metadata.

It’s not just my generation that’s up in arms – it’s the majority of the American public.  If it wasn’t for the whistleblower – Edward Snowden -we wouldn’t be privy to any of this information.  You can judge for yourself whether he’s a traitor or a hero – but I take the position of the later. He’s currently dipping and dodging all over, and attempting to seek asylym from the United States where he’s been deemed a traitor by our government. Then there’s Larry Klayman, a former Justice Department prosecutor, is filing a $20 Billion Dollar class action lawsuit that focuses on any complicit companies or officials as well as the above nine companies in question.

The fact of the matter is  we’ve been aware for a long time that the government is fond of phone taps, collecting both instant messages and text messages; and thanks to my mother I’ve been very aware of my internet footprint.  Once something goes online – it can’t exactly be deleted. For my generation – the e-generation, this posses a huge issue as most of us are already wary of the role the government plays in both our personal and technological lives.  Unlike our parents, we’ve more or less grown up with and grown into the internet – and now, all of a sudden, it feels like a lifelong friend has been turned against our best interests.