How would you like your shiny new iPhone to last days before needing a recharge?


I am guessing you would like that idea very much! Well, two developments may mean that our wish might come true sooner than we realise. At the University of Texas scientists have discovered a way to not only double the power of lithium-ion batteries but also reduce their size and the costs of manufacturing them.

Now if that wasn’t enough, there is even more good news as far as power consumption by devices such as our iPhones and iPads is concerned. By refining the software that runs on our devices, scientists are able to reduce the power consumption, holding out the promise that even though smartphones are getting smarter, their power requirements would reduce.

It’s all to do with AI (Artificial Intelligence) and search-based software engineering that helps find redundant code. This could offer up to 70% reduction in cpu power requirements, which together with advances in lithium-ion battery technology from University of Texas and elsewhere could mean that in the next 3-5 years we would only need to charge our devices maybe once a or twice a week. Together with the possibility of cheaper, lighter and smaller batteries this could make our digital lives a whole lot easier. It could also impact other areas such electric vehicles having greater range due to decreased weight and longer lasting batteries, or in making medical devices such as portable defibrillators or fridges smaller, lighter and longer lasting too. That would be a huge step forward when dealing with disasters or medical emergencies in areas where there is reduced or non-existent power available.

Check out these two articles on TechXplore website:

Never mind the iPhone X, battery life could soon take a great leap forward

Engineers develop new material for better lithium-ion batteries


OS X Mavericks behaving badly (like a maverick!)

OS X Mavericks is a Stupid Name

OS X Mavericks is a Stupid Name (Photo credit: swanksalot)

Since I bought my new Mac Pro (old version – 2009 4.1) I have had a mixed experience. Soon after its arrival I upgraded to Os X Mavericks and right away started having various problems, mainly with iWork apps not starting up, or at least taking 3 or more minutes to start up. Very frustrating. After a support call to Apple, and after deleting start-up apps things improved a little. An update to Mavericks via Software Update also seemed to help. However, I had other issues with misbehaving my Magic Mouse and frequent Finder crashes. Although things have improved further after an upgrade to a brand-new SSD things aren’t entirely going smoothly as I would like.

Ironically, I have Parallels installed and am running the latest evaluation version of Windows 8.1 (the free version – at least for 30 days). I have to say that although the interface leaves me stone cold unimpressed, I am running WoT very effectively with no issues to speak of. Shame that my Mac apps don’t run as smoothly at times!

So, for now I am somewhat dissatisfied with Mavericks and hope Apple get on top of the issues. I am not alone in having problems and the issue over Google Drive is another example of how things can go so easily wrong with an update to the OS. Maybe next time I will a little bit longer before diving in and updating to the latest version.

New Mac Pro (the old one!)

Mac Pro unboxing photos, batch 1 #technopr0n

In case you are confused, I have recently purchased a Mac Pro, but its not the new one (its not out yet so how cool would that be!). No, its a Mac Pro 4.1 (aka the early 2009 Quad Core 2.66 GHz one). It came with just 3GB of RAM, 640GB HD and the rather old NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 graphics card. I managed to get a great deal on it from Albion Computers. Once it arrived I wasted little time in installing an old PC graphics card – the Radeon 4870. I had to first order 2 power cables on eBay (came the very next day – great job there 7systems!) before I could install it. Once it was installed and the external monitor was connected I fired it up and waited anxiously to see if it worked…. and it did! No need to install drivers or flash the card before-hand (it being a PC card and therefore not a specific Apple model).

As the RAM is a measly 3GB I decided to upgrade the RAM and after some research and online price comparisons I discovered it was cheaper to buy 16GB from the US than here in the UK. I also managed to get a deal on the latest version of Parallels and still save money, even after I pay the VAT once it arrives in UK at Customs. How mad is that! My only mistake was not to carefully check shipping times as I choose to ship via the USPS. I later discovered that this means my RAM etc may take up to 45 days to arrive! That’s the worst-case scenario according to the MacSales representative I had an online chat with to query why my order had yet to arrive. So far its been 10 days and counting. I’ll let you know when it arrives.

So, until it arrives I have been keeping myself busy trying out a few old PC hard drives in the 3 free drive bays. Two of them worked ok and I have formatted them as NTFS in readiness for installing Windows once my copy of Parallels arrives. I have also been busy plugging in old Mac ext drives to access my back catalogue of files created on earlier models of Macs (5 at least!). I am very happy to be back on a Mac (having donated my last MacBook Pro to my daughter for her college studies) and very glad (to say the least) not to have to work constantly on the HP laptop I use in my day job. All that time wasted with security updates, scans and trouble-shooting Windows issues.  I know I said I am installing Parallels (as soon as it arrives that is) but I will be g;ad to be using Windows on a Mac to be honest – it makes more sense than using a Windows laptop – believe me I know form experience!

Once I have the RAM installed and Windows (courtesy of Parallels) installed I will get to grips with Creative Cloud on the Mac. Having run it for a year on a PC laptop I am looking forward to getting back to the Mac way of doing things, I can tell you. I am also looking forward to Phase 2 of my grand plan – to install an SSD RAID to run Maverick from!

Lion: First Impressions

OS X Lion revealed at WWDCI took the plunge and installed Lion the day it became available. Normally, I do everything by the book and backup everything onto an external drive (usually cloning the whole drive, just in case) as well as important files onto DVD.

This time I took the totally rash (some may say reckless) course and just installed Lion without any backups. Now before you start commenting and telling me what a total idiot I am let me make one or two things clear. First, all my important work files are backup in Dropbox. Secondly, I have numerous DVDs full of my image files. Thirdly, well, thirdly I just trusted Apple. Yes I know that’s a bit rash but hey, they have had at least 18 months to get this thing right and all the pre-release comments from developers was that everything was going smoothly and no big problems had arisen.

So, how did it all go you are asking? Well, in simple terms it was totally problem free. Having purchased Lion in the App Store and clicked the ‘Install’ button I just left it for a few hours to do its stuff. As it happened, I had a meeting I needed to go to that evening so when I returned it was all done and dusted. One thing that did surprise me about the whole thing was that unlike previous upgrades there was no ‘Previous System’ folder. Everything was as before, except that instead of Snow Leopard I now had the Lion interface to get used too.

Also, apart from the whole thing being so trouble-free, it also took just a few hours rather than a whole day to do. No more copying files back into the new set-up etc. Just carry on as normal.

Also, the new scrolling didn’t bother me, I just adapted quickly to it and have decided to stick with it. Those bloggers who make a point of changing settings to go back to the old way of doing things, well my view is that they should live in the present and go with the flow. Its easy and after a while you don’t even notice.

Other positives are that everything seems a bit quicker though this could just be a subjective thing because of the novelty of having a new OS. Certainly, Finder seems quicker and once indexing had completed, searches in Spotlight seem to be much quicker.

So, all in all, first impressions are excellent. Apple deserves a big slap on the back for making the whole process so smooth and trouble-free. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the cost either. Just £21 for the right to install Lion on up to 5 authorised Macs is a steal. Well done Apple!

Mac SuperBundle – 10 best-selling apps for just $49!

Mac SuperBundle

Nova Development have a promotion currently on that is offering 10 best-selling Mac apps for just $49. So what, you might ask. Haven’t we seen it all before? Well maybe so, but this deal does include Parallels® Desktop 6 for Mac, which normally retails at £79.99!

In addition, you can get:

  • VirusBarrier X6 (normally $49.95)
  • Food Network Recipe Manager (normally $39.95)
  • Money 4 (normally $38.99)
  • DVD Remaster (normally $49.99)
  • Washing Machine 2 (normally $9.99)
  • Yummy FTP (normally $28.00)
  • Font Explosion Volume II (normally $19.99)
  • Inspiration Set of 150 Pages Templates (normally $19.99)
  • Bonus App – 4Media iPod to Mac Transfer (normally $29.99)

All this adds up to $366 worth of software, a saving of $317 (or 86% off), so it represents a good deal, especially if you don’t own some of these apps already. If you are interested, why not head over there now.

Facebook to release iPad app?

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

report in the New York Times citing unnamed sources, indicates the world’s largest social network is will release a free app optimized for the Apple iPad. The question many are asking is ‘why has it taken them so long?”

Users will be able to upload video and images captured on their iPad 2. Why Facebook has taken so long to produce an app for the iPad when there has been one for the iPhone for so long now is a mystery but at least its on its way, finally!

10.6.8 build 10K540 seeded to developers

Mac OS X Snow Leopard Logo

Image by Dekuwa via Flickr

Apple has seeded the latest build of Snow Leopard to developers. This build lists no known issues, and it has the exact same focus areas as an earlier build: AirPort, Networking, Graphics Drivers, the Mac App Store, QuickTime, and VPN. As Lion is due very soon this is no doubt the last update to Snow Leopard we will see.

Snow Leopard has been great and it will be sad to see it replaced but Lion holds great promise for the future of the Mac platform. It will, of course, be around for quite a while as many users will hold off before upgrading to Lion. However, with the move to the App Store and the reduction in cost will probably see fewer users delay than with previous version.