One thing that encouraged me (pushed?) into the tech world is my mother.

The first computer in the house back in the day was an Apple IIe.  After about a week with this thing, I think I knew even at the tender age of ten that somehow I’d end up working with computers in some way shape or form.

Flash forward two or three home computer systems later (all Macintosh) and I’m four years out from a ten-year stint in the world of CPU micro-processor fabrication, all at AMD, the chip company that could (and still might) challenge the big behemoth.

(I could get into how I feel about Apple now sporting Intel chips, but that’s another blog entry in itself.)

I’m still an engineer, but I’m less tied to the “super cool” computer tech stuff currently in my working life.  It’s a shame, but that’s life, sometimes.

In my home computer life, it’s always been Apple Computer, though.
Reviews follow after a quick story and the more tag.

Why not a PC?  Simply put from my perspective, Apple’s stuff WORKS, it’s FUN, and the stuff that would normally be beastly hard on a PC is rather easy to pull off on a Mac.

(Except for game availability, but none of this is the point of my story either.  Once again, I digress.)

The story is that Mom and I have, through the last ten years, with only one exception, have found the time to go to the MacExpo in San Francisco for a day and check out the new shiny things from Apple.

My mother is normally into the graphics design end of things, the Adobe product line (Photoshop, InDesign, that sort of thing).  Currently she maintains a website for the Santa Cruz Fly Fishermen and helps to produce a monthly newsletter as well.  For this, she uses her Mac to maintain the website and help print out the newsletter to hundreds of fly fishing members.

(I’m not into fly fishing myself.  Sometimes you inherit your parents’ interests, and sometimes you don’t.  Sorry, Dad!  L)

In the past I have gone to learn about the new stuff.  Usually it’s the software OS features, sometimes it’s for a particular single item hardware focus.  (processor card upgrades, memory, video cards, etc.)

Pre-Internet craziness, the MacExpo was a great place to get something on sale.

However, in the Internet age, heck, we can order from home now, so why should I order your product with these kiosk things since you folks can’t be bothered to bring your inventory to the Expo?

However, this year the Dave-and-Mom at MacExpo – sadly, is NOT to be.  I’m bummed — I’ve got a work project that calls for my direct supervision and attention.  And one thing I have learned/inherited from my father is an overly zealous work ethic – that work comes fir… okay, it’s second next to family life.  But it’s often been tied for first in the past too, much to the chagrin of others in my life.  (I’m learning.)

But I took a look today at Apple’s press releases, and the shiny Apple things have been announced!  It’s like a delayed tech-toy Christmas for me.

So here are the shiny cool Apple thingies announced and my takes on them:

iPhone – it’s the biggest shiny of the shiny in the Apple offerings.  But it’s with Cingular exclusively.  Feh.  In Alameda, “Cingular” can translate to “don’t bother” in certain locations, our house being one of them.

Secondly, the price — $500 to 600???  Well, those of us with a Treo or Blackberry already would say “heck with that”!

I do like the storage options (4 to 8 gig).  That’s pretty hefty for a phone.
Can be used like an iPod if you don’t already own one.

I think it boils down to the internet accessibility options for me as to whether or not I’d even THINK of getting one.  On paper, though, I’m oddly not that excited about it.  Course, to me, a phone is a phone.  I don’t use all the bells and whistles on my current RAZR phone, so I’m not sure if I’m the target audience.

appleTV – it’s $299.  For this you get a wireless device that acts as a Tivo-ish system between you and a wireless computer with iTunes.

If you do NOT already have a video iPod, then I agree that it meets the “shiny and cool” standard if you’re a TV watcher.  Get it.

For those WITH a video iPod and video quality isn’t THAT important to you, my humble advice is “don’t bother”.  Instead spend an extra $40 and get a video TV hookup (I have an Accurian AV dock with the TV at the moment).

Here’s the catch, for the $40 you ONLY get the standard RCA jack video. So you don’t get composite video or an HD feed.  And from where I’m standing, it isn’t as blocky-looking as you’d think it could be.  Video iPods already have a “widescreen” option for feeding to a TV that make the video very pleasing, actually.

But for HD-nauts, the video-iPod-less but with a wi-fi computer system near your TV folks, this does look like a solid product.

802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station – now we’re talking!  For under $200, this thing will give you 5x the speed and 2x the distance over a 802.11g system.

Your mileage will vary if you have an older non-802.11n card in your laptop or desktop computer, but I suspect it’d speed up Val’s laptop (currently with a 802.11g card) a bit.  And for a shiny tech toy that answers to a “honey could you…” item on my list… this product meets with the Dave Seal of Apple Product Approval for 2007.  🙂

Mac Leopard OS X– nothing new announced as far as I’ve read.  Still says “Spring 2007” on the website, but I suspect there will be more “information leakage” over the next few days.

So that’s it on Dave’s Two Cents on Shiny Apple Objects for now…