Thursday, September 09, 2004

Ever wished for a spreadsheet that wasn't a pain to use?

Enter Quantrix.
If you view the Flash Tour you will begin to wonder why Microsoft with its many many billions has not gotten Excel to do these things. The demo shows the creation of a spreadsheet that models data with 4 formulas that would require over 200 Excel formulas. Isn't it about time we computer users actually got a little Return on Investment ourselves in the form of great software? I'm just a bit miffed that Apple hasn't gone where Quantrix has. Innovative shell casings are nice but I know plenty of accountants who'd sign over portions of their paychecks to have a spreadsheet that is intuitive. Where are you Apple? As for Quantrix best of luck to you. Check them out below

Quantrix - Tools for Professional Financial Modeling: "Quantrix goes beyond spreadsheets

Some compelling reasons why you should consider Quantrix Modeler as your professional modeling tool of choice."

Sony announces new HDV High Definition Camcorder

Sony has just announced their new HDR-FX1 HDV Camcorder. This is the first HDV based camcorder that records in 1080i resolution. The first HDV camcorder was from JVC and only recorded to a maximum of 720p lines. The "p" stands for Progressive and the "i" stands for "Interlaced". Progressive renders the whole picture at once while interlacing paints half of the picture in one pass and the other half in a second pass quickly enough to fool your eyes into thinking you're seeing one whole picture.

This Sony also stands out as the first HDV camera to have 3 CCD, which is very important for color fidelity, and native 16x9 support. The Canon XL2 can also be considered native 16x9 because it masks the CCD in a unique way that satisfies 4x3 and 16x9 sources.

The Sony HDV also has a 250k pixel LCD screen that is placed near the front of the camera in the line of sight from the color viewfinder. It should be nice for low and high shots. I'm pretty enthused about this camera. Apple has already stated they will support HDV(which is really just MPEG2) in a future Final Cut Pro natively. High Definition recording and 3CCDs is going to be huge for the prosumer. There should be a Pro model out probably next year some time with more Pro features like XLR audio and even more manual controls but right now the HDR-FX1 will be available Mid Oct and ready for use.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Apple Announces new iMac's small

At the Apple Expo in Paris France Apple announced the new long awaited upgrade to the venerable iMac line. Coming in a milky white plastic case and resting on an aluminum base this is a striking computer even before you take into account the 2" depth. There is a slot loading drive in the upper right hand side of the case that contains either a Combo drive or Superdrive(4x). The Monitor sizes are 17" and 20" both are widescreen and look to be bright and sharp from the few pics floating around. A full complement of ports are arranged vertically down the back left side. I won't bore you with the detail check out the iMac page for the technical details.

I think the interesting points are these. The iMac is aimed squarely at consumer. Apple has always taken the risky proposition of appealing to consumers who are tired of bulky computers and the iMac G5 is further evolution towards that ideology. Will it be successful? I believe so, the $1299 entry model has a great quality 17" LCD display. I think that display size is mandatory the previous 15" LCD was too small for the price. I also think that the size will be irresistable for many. The iMac isn't overly looks like a monitor sitting on your desk. Minimalist design to the maximum. Power, with a G5 1.8Ghz running on a 600Mhz Front Side Bus the iMac is going to take a leap forward in processing power. I have actually heard the words "slow" and "anemic" used to describe this processor and I'm amazed. We have yet to realize the full potential of the G5 CPU. A majority of code at there is still compiled to run best on the G4. I expect the G5s only to get faster as apps are recompiled to take advantage of the newer G5s.

Mounting options are new as well. The iMac supports VESA a standardized mounting technology. Now you will be able to use jointed arms to attach your iMac to your desk. Think of the iMac G4 kneck on steroids. In fact Apple sells the Ergotron right on the site. Other models like the Marathon Pixarm can hold more than the Ergotron's 18lbs limit. I don't think it's too hard to see the near future. Bluetooth will eventually get replaced with a faster wireless peripheral technology. The typical consumer computer will shrink to barely larger than the display and will be mounted on walls or articulating arms replete with wireless acessories. Total connection, total convenience. In fact Apple applied for a patent for a double jointed arm(thanks Mudbug). Could they be marketing their own articulated arm by MWSF?

All in all the iMac G5 looks to be a winner. I'm going to purchase the next revision after saving my hard earned dinero. Sure I'd love the graphics card to be faster but in gaming I'm a bit more interested in the nextgen consoles that computer gaming right now. The iMac looks to be a very nice blend.