Thunderbold and MiniDisplay Mac Compatibility 101

July 21, 2011


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I have a MacBook Air 2010 model with the mini display port.  At the office we recently ordered an iMac with the thunderbolt port.  On occasion, I want to use my MacBook Air at the office so I was exploring the option of using the iMac 27 as an external monitor via the thunderbolt port.

The latest macs, both the 2009-2010 models using mini display ports as well as the 2011 using the thunderbolt ports support a feature referred to as “Target Display Mode”.  In essence, when properly cabled with either of the two cables, hitting Command/F2 will enable it.

The main question is, what are all the possible combinations?  Meaning, here I am with a mini display port MacBook Air and an thunderbolt iMac 27″, do they communicate?  Turns out no, a mini display port cannot target a thunderbolt machine (or monitor) as a target display.   So a little frustrated, I went to them Apple store to sort things out and the Apple employee was super friendly on testing all the combinations with a new thunderbolt MacBook Air and cables I had just bought.  Here are the results:

Read the rest of this entry »

Transporting and Sharing Files Reinvented

June 1, 2011

Wouldn’t it be great if you could edited a document at work and seamlessly can continue editing it on your laptop while waiting for your flight home and finally finish proofing it on your home desktop computer without copying it or transferring it from one computer to the next?  And once completed, regardless of size, deliver it with the same ease as an email?  If so, the next few minutes will be worth your time

Sharing has been around since the dawn of time. As we evolve in this digital world, how does one share documents with ever increasing efficiency? In the old times, one would make a xerox copy and deliver by mail while today one may simply email them a copy they already have on their computer.

Notice the there are two important concepts here, (a) making a copy (xerox or copying a file) and (b) transporting the copy (mail or email). The focus of this post is on the later and how transporting has been completely reinvented and why one needs to break from the past and leverage the changes time brings to be effective in every day work.

Briefly looking at history you can easily see how disadvantaged one would be if they hadn’t adopted and changed from the means of the previous era.

PRE-COMPUTER ERA courier, postal mail, FedEx, UPS, briefcase **
COMPUTER ERA courier, postal mail, FedEx, UPS, floppy disk or cd media **
EARLY INTERNET ERA FTP, POP EMAIL (minimal attachments), USB flash drive **
MODERN INTERNET ERA FTP, IMAP EMAIL (attachments), larger USB flash & portable drives **

** how people transport large files for themselves typically to/from work

In the past, one would have to carry a briefcase, a floppy or cd, or more modern times a USB drive.  We’ll the next era is here  and one of the first successful incarnations of this era’s transportation concept is a company called DropBox.

DropBox is quite simply a folder on your computer which is automatically and seamlessly available on all of your computers — including your mobile devices.  Unlike having the files reside in the cloud like google docs requiring connectivity to the internet for accessing them, they reside locally on your machine and are transparently replicated to your other machines in realtime as modifications are made.

Oh yea, forgot to mention, when you are finished editing the document and are ready to share it with someone, simply right click the file to get the public URL to the file and send this link to whomever you would like share the file — the era of attachments which are too large to email is also over.

The product and concept speaks for itself, to see a tour of drop box and download it, use this link:  Drop Box Download

iOS 4.2 and iPad with Camera coming soon…

September 1, 2010

During Apple recent press conference showcasing all their new hardware and software toys, Jobs introduced a new feature called High Dynamic Range photos (HDR) where the iPhone combines an under exposed picture with an over exposed picture making a strikingly beautiful combined picture.

Well, as part of his presentation he also previewed iOS 4.2 to be released in November. As he introduced it, he mentioned all the various features coming to the iPad ..including multitasking, folders, new printing feature, etc. and HDR photos. How can HDR photos exist if the iPad doesn’t have a camera?…Well that’s the new guessing game…

I say we have a 7″ iPad coming to town in November. If it were the same size iPad, this may alienate some existing iPad customers, but if they introduce a newer model with slightly new hardware features, they are set for the holiday season smash!

Google & China — the last draw

January 13, 2010

Google recently disclosed a sophisticated hack was attempted on their Gmail servers specifically targeting Chinese human rights activists. This, in combination with Google restricted operations curtails the importance of freedom — specifically freedom of information.

One might wonder, China already restricts Google’s operations in China by purging banned topics from the search results. China recently banned YouTube as well. Are Chinese citizens behind this hack or is it the government trying to apply questionable strong arm tactics without suffering blame?

One of Google’s mantras is “do no evil”. This mantra surely was put into question when Google agreed to these restrictions back in 2006. Every year, around the anniversary date, Google must also block search requests regarding Tiananmen Square for week or so. Clearly, the world, Google’s customer base, sees this as somewhat contradictory. As with any business however, the lure of new markets — particularly the Chinese market which is destined to be the next world power within the next few decades, money and profit talks and BS walks.

All this however came to a shocking standstill yesterday when Google decided to officially stop filtering for the Chinese government. This about face stands in dark contrast with traditional trends because Google fully accepts the possibility of having to fully exit the Chinese market. The statement makes a more compounding effect with Google’s 30% market share in search or potentially discarding a billion dollars in ad revenue in the coming years with their current growth rate.

Personally, I feel this move does more harm and penetrates the great firewall of china much more effectively. Effectively, on a grand scale, explicitly depriving Chinese citizens from accessing and being part of the Google move. Certainly this will cause revolt and change. The scale of this change many never be publicized, however freedom does indeed ring and only a minority few are deaf.

ref:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/world/asia/13beijing.html?pagewanted=1

Windows 7 GodMode

January 7, 2010

This is a nifty little feature I just came across and verified with my Windows 7 installation. With Microsoft’s recent updates, they are hiding more and more of the nitty gritty details making you either search for them or in futile simply switch back to classic view from within control panel. To the rescue is recently discovered GodMode setting and works with any Windows 7 version.

Simply create a folder anywhere on your harddrive and rename it to the following guid:
GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Once, you do this, you’ll see the folder’s icon changes to a icon similar to the control panel and once you double click you have quick access to a plethora of Windows customization options.

My venture in owning a piece of the Apple pie and why you should own it too

November 5, 2009

Prior to the January 2007 announcement of the impending iPhone, I was already a minor shareholder of Apple for their fine set of products.  Ironically, I had not yet owned an Apple product beside a mere iPod nano obtained through a holiday party raffle.  I invested a small amount simply on the news they had decided on switching over to Intel CPU’s for their entire product line.

The reason was not simply because Intel carries more weight in the industry or because Apple computers are to benefit from the higher processing power of the de facto leader in semi’s, but simply because an Apple computer has now become “doubly” valuable when compared to mere PC.  With an Apple computer, I can not only run Apple’s OS and all their slick consumer geared applications, but I can also quickly boot over to a full native Windows OS with a simple key press when turning it on.  Initially Apple lacked direct support for such a boot feature and most of the press focused on the ability to virtualize Windows within Mac OS.  Parallels and VMWare Fusion, the two main competing mac virtualization softwares, effortlessly ran to the spotlight as the way to run Windows within a Mac.  Ultimately Apple caught headwind of this frenzy and no more than few months, Mac had native dual boot feature for anyone wanting to run Windows and Mac as a choice with a single button click at boot time.

In short, a Mac, all of a sudden, presented a very valuable proposition for any serious Windows user in the market for a new computer.

A year or so later, the iPhone is announced.  My gosh, is this thing for real I remember asking myself.  The stock price that day was roughly in the 80’s if I recall correctly and had jumped about 8% following the announcement.  While I’m not an investor on day to day news, I am however a long term investor and any news having a definitive impact on longterm will always surely fork me to action.  I was sold from the moment jobs scrolled the music list with his finger in public for the first time — and I wasn’t the only one.

Video Jobs Demoing iPhone for first time in public:

So I decided to up the ante a bit for the longterm, Apple had an Ace card.

As the woo’s and wow’s resonated in blogospheres and hallways of corporate and consumer america in a relentless fashion never seen before, I was certain my ante was safe for the long term.  The impact was clearly evident in multiple sectors, music, phone, entertainment — even to the distaste of some non-believing computer sector titans.

Balmer laughs as first comment to iPhone:

Launch day, June 29, 2007.  Having performed my share of voluntarily marketing for the weeks and months leading up to release, my coworkers knew I would be one of those unfortuanate souls waiting in line for their purchasing opportunity.

The last time I saw lines forming with this voracity was Microsoft’s release of Windows 95.  At that time, I was too young to understand and apply Peter Lynch’s investment style — invest in what you know and are certain of, however had I, I would have reaped the benefits as Microsoft dominated the desktop and business software category the following 5 to 10 — year over year.  That missed opportunity only served as a reminder and a lesson learned for any future opportunity — and this may be it.

This frenzy served only to convince me I am not alone, and this is a domestic occurrence for product already planed and destined for international release.  The ante must be increased — the long term odds are too good to be true.

For the weeks and months that followed, I decided to stalk the Apple stores around south Florida.  Initially I was simply a member of the of the frenzied group interested in all things Apple.  I was going at my leisure when time permitted, however in short order I realized the frenzy, post iPhone launch, simply continued.  You couldn’t walk through an Apple store without saying “excuse me” at least a half a dozen times if not more just to navigate the main corridors.  I immediately questioned, is this frenzy having a halo effect on Apple and it’s entire product line?

Coincidentally the iPhone launch was on the last two days of Apple’s fiscal quarter so the full effect, particularly the halo effect, should be recognized and felt on their next quarterly announcement.

Touring the Apple stores became an interesting game of quasi-interrogation with various Apple staff and geniuses from store to store.  Questions were phrased with basic customer interest as an allegory to a relentless statistical business analyst.  Throughout the fiscal quarter, I visited each south Florida store at least twice — shaving the last bit of doubt for an all-in wager as I was witnessing the perfect hand forming.

Interestingly enough, while working at Inktel Direct, the President, Ricky Arriola, happend to give a presentation on leadership as a kick of to a series of successful internal training seminares termed “Idea” (Inktel Direct Excellence Academy) a few days prior to Apple’s quarterly announcement.  Already motivated by the various topics presented, a topic which resonated was making a decision — leaders don’t teeter on a topic longer than necessary and more often than not make a decision and take direction.  This inspiration from the presentation and the highlight of that one particular topic combined with Apple quarterly announcement imminent and the bag full of statistical measures all pointing to a  royal flush, the “all in” call was a no brainer at 3:50PM before markets closed prior to Apple’s after market quarterly announcement.  Chip gathering followed at 9:40AM shortly after markets open the following day.  Ironically, I must emphasize I truly don’t condone or recommend any type of short term trading of this fashion as the only sure fire way to win in markets is Buffet & Lynch’s style with long term solid positions.

Apple was on the rise.  All throughout 2008 reaching a peak of about $200/share at end of 2007 prior to the general collapse of the markets.  As the markets collapsed, Apple, as much any company in any sector, suffered as the exodus of investors seeking a safe haven in treasuries, bonds, and other low risk fixed income investments.

Are the fundamentals of Apple really affected though?

TIME magazine named iPhone invention of the year
http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1677329_1678542_1677891,00.html

The rumor mill for a new iPhone becomes rampant, an iPhone which connects to the faster 3G network.  The blogosphere lights up again, this time with spy fotos from China factories confirming the imminent release.  For a recession, Apple seems to be capturing all the spare attention and dollars at the expense of all other non-essential items.

iPhone 3G launch day, lines abound even further. Here is a video I recorded while arriving at Aventura mall in Florida.  In a recession, lines like these convinced me to play more long term rounds in the Apple game.

iPhone 3G launch in Aventura Mall, July 7 2008

Store congestion not only continues, but actually increases as it’s difficult to even walk through a store during the 2008 holiday season.  Can this long term game ever have any signs of ending?  During this time, the financial crisis is in full swing.  Henry Paulson and Bernanke are feverishly trying to get emergency liquidity approved and injected into the economy through the treasury as Bernanke had virtually exhausted all his options from a federal reserve perspective. It was literally chaos in D.C. and economically as a whole.  Ironically, while financial armageddon was occurring domestically with trickling effects internationally, Apple stores were flush full with holiday shoppers.  I’m I seeing an oxymoran here or what?

Despite Apple shares suffering along side all companies, I decided to apply Lynch’s & Buffet’s philosophy along with the typical dollar cost averaging during the continued down turn.  The company long term is solid, it’s fundamentals are solid, it’s sitting on tons of cash with no debt and customers abound.  Lets start the wagers.  I don’t have the full house assured in my hand, however I’m certain the turn or the river will complete my flush long term. With each down turn of $10 in share price, the ante was matched.  It was painstakingly difficult to continue this pace from $190/share through to $80/share — but images of Buffet preaching fundamentals soothed my anxiety and gave me confidence with each submission.

By the time $80/share came around I was too heavy in Apple.  Apple far outweighed my portfolio 10:1 if not 20:1 — I needed to diversify, and no better time to do so than on the down low.  A weekend long research, steadfastly applying Buffet’s value approach and some stats filtering tools putting me neck deep into P/E, debt, revenue qtr to qtr, stochastics and bollingers for hours on end,  I arrived at a solid list of fundamental stocks by Sunday evening.  Ricky’s presentation echoed in my mind again — a decision needs to be made — should I throw new capital at the fire or simply reduce some Apple at a loss.  Buffet kept me from selling at a loss just for capital reasons — fundamentally, Apple is too good and I barely gave it the time necessary to fulfill it’s long term destiny.  Done.  Timing on late February 2009, the theoretical bottom of this recession, was purely coincidental and the long term bandwagon officially commenced.

Quarter after Quarter, the sound of Apple increasing it’s market share in the computer space resonated and brought a subtle smirk.  iPhone exceeding sale expectations, 3GS with video launches in mid summer brining demand so high problems with fulfilment and inventory plague Apple for weeks.  World wide launches continue in other countries where even my cousin in Uruguay is now aware of a company called Apple and their infamous iPhone.  Apple erecting stores world wide at a pace faster than people fill their gas tanks.   Wall street journal classifies Apple’s brand within spitting distance of titans like Coca-Cola, Google, & Microsoft and first in regional ares such as Asia.

WSJ 9/11/2009 – Apple ranked as region’s most admired multinational company
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125259938989400063.html

The explosive growth is so horrendous, for lack of a better word, Microsoft had to rethink their strategy from a full business perspective.  Ads now target Apple directly, something lacking from Microsoft now for over a two decades.  Their mobile phone strategy had to take a full about face and consider touch screens and hardware innovations as key priorities.  To get closer to the consumer, Microsoft saw the need to open resembling retail outlets — the first opening less than a month ago on Oct 23.

Microsoft opens first retail store:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,569264,00.html

To bring finality on this growth segment, while Apple has a steadily increasing market share for computers sales currently at 8-9%, setting aside all the low end laptops and desktops sold and only considering computers in the $1k range and up, apple commands a 91% market share, up roughly 40% from their 66% the year earlier.

In overall conclusion, although Apple is currently a large cap with slow stymied growth, the numbers are extremely good and investor appreciation, be it stock or dividends, are sure to materialize more long term.  It’s additionally rumored, Apple will be changing the accounting rules on iPhone sales.  Instead of spreading the sale over two years, as a subsidized product by AT&T, Apple may soon start accounting for the full value upfront.  If this occurs, Apple earnings report would have a redbull injection to boot.

P.S. Oh, I forgot to mention Apple is now the #1 music distributor, leapfrogging Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart in roughly two to three years of massive iPod expansion and sheer dominance in portable music devices.

http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2008/04/apple-passes-wal-mart-now-1-music-retailer-in-us.ars

Domain Name Metastasis

October 30, 2009

I haven’t blogged in a while, but today is another inflection point along the expansion of the internet as we know it and it was certainly worth blogging about.

As many know, ICANN, short for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is in charge of managing top level domain names and corresponding root servers.  In short, all domain names, while individually managed by the respective ISP’s through delegation, are ultimately registered and referenced by one of ICANN’s root servers.

Today, Oct 30, 2009, ICANN voted for allowing non-latin characters.  This simply means domains, which now must have characters from A to Z and numbers from 0-9 and some basic symbols, can now have characters from any foreign language.  So pizza.com in theory can be πίτσα.com in greek, or 薄饼.com in chinese.

While this move is great for the world at large from a freedom perspective, allowing countries to interact and express themselves with native URL’s, one must question what impact will this have with regards to information availability.  Today, if it were not for translators, languages present a natural barrier to communication and information flow.  Internet names would logically have the same barrier as a latin based keyboard would have an extremely difficult time typing in Chinese or Greek based url — let alone the natural barrier itself.

How many languages are there in the world?  How many times would company now have to seek out and preregister in other languages to keep the trademark safe?  I see this as simply a metastasis of domain names in the making.

Is this really a good move?

Digital Readers – another music CD replay?

August 5, 2009

Continuing with the inertia of all things digital movement, we are now approaching the official transition of electronic books into the mainstream.  Yes, we have had ebooks and ebook readers, but there were always obstructions preventing them from reaching critical mass.

Digital rights & copyright surely have their fair share objections, however technology has also been an inhibitor.  Take for example low resolution screens.  The human eye, when compared to traditional measurements of resolution, can process the equivalent of “324 megapixels” (1) camera.  So transitioning from reading magazines, with a relatively high print resolution, to a low resolution screen would be a painful experience for long periods of reading.

On the flip side, the benefits of digital reading are profound.  The ability to select a word and obtain it’s definition on the spot without much effort or interruption is a dream to any highschool student — at least that was my biggest complaint back then.  How about searching for a specific section of a novel to extract an excerpt? How about simply accessibility — who would want to lug  around 4 or 5 books.

Now with technology all caught up — extremely high resolution screens, awesome processing power with advanced CPU’s, and great battery technology and the connectivity of the cloud thrown in to boot — the time has come!

Let me break away for a sec to compare this to CD’s.  When compared to music CD’s there was a time where we would pack our CD boxs on our weekend trip — not all, but your favorite set for sure.  Today, you surely carry hundreds of albums on your iPhone (yes, I’m biased) as a second thought.  Well, books are on their merry way too — and with a vengence IMHO.

Music took a while too take a foothold to digitization primarily becuase the world was simply adjusting to the digitization shock.  I recall first hearing about MP3 around the middle of my BS degree around 1995 to 1996 time period — yet the first mover risk syndrome still took a heavyweight like Apple an additional 5 years to release the first iPod.

Now, roughly 14 years after mere MP3 awareness, we have a proliferation of digital music to the point where by the music titans are forced to rethink the concept of the album and the CD album insert, etc. from a digital perspective and make it a reality by collaborating with the new digital music titan — Apple and iTunes (2).

So, I feel we are just at the beginning of a similar digital turning point with books.   Amazon, naturally and without much turbulence, took the first step with their Kindle in late 2007 early 2008.  Their reader suffered from what I would call the newcomer syndrome.  Amazon is not known for building hardware nor software, yet here they are with a device on center stage.  With sufficient top down support (Bezos practically reserved Kindle as his next child’s name) adoption is certain.  The level of endorsement has parallels with Bill and his digital ink / tablet initiatives.

In short, what struck a chord to write this blog is Sony’s entry into the market.  Sony’s is known for building hardware — particular for consumers with their walkman of the 80’s and other eletronic devices having a sliver of software with them as their modern handycams.  Sony just yesterday announced a economically priced eReader for just $199.  Price attracts and with a brand like Sony, surely it will sell and will be a prominent second footing (3).

My bets however are with my good old trusted expert in hardware/software combos with a keen focus on consumer — yes, Apple.  Apple has been on the rummor mill now for years with a tablet — even having a patent exposed for a tablet with touch screen.  My guess is they have no choice but to introduce a tablet or some type of reading / entertainment device leveraging their touch experience with the iPhone.  Perhaps even by the holiday season if rumors have their way this season unlike previous failed attempts to resurect it.  As a shareholder, I would almost be disappointed if they don’t given the feaverish rush in this arena.

(1) http://www.clarkvision.com/imagedetail/eye-resolution.html

(2) http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/patterson/55013/report-apple-music-labels-hope-to-revive-the-record-album/

(3) http://www.dailytech.com/Sony+Announces+199+Pocket+Reader/article15887c.htm

Are stock prices related to inflation?

July 22, 2009

Since I feel we will be having higher inflation soon, I was interested in identifying the relationship between stock prices with inflationary periods from the past. I initially thought stock prices would trend upward with inflation similar to consumer products however I found this analysis pretty interesting indicating the contrary.

http://rack1.ul.cs.cmu.edu/sinflat/

Web-Based Microsoft Office To Come – Confirmed

July 13, 2009

One must ask, should I go or not?  If I don’t then the others will get all the show and will take the lime light as the innovators.  If I do, then I am implicitly validating their business model by merely presenting an alternative.

For quite some time, Microsoft has resisted the open source movement with Linux calling it a “cancer” as Balmer once said to openly adopting it in others. Evidently they switched their tactic numerous times, even internally creating rift between those who agree and disagree with the model.

Similarly with web based applications, or cloud computing as commonly referred to, Microsoft has had it’s fair share of decisions to make.  Google innovated quite some time ago with the opening of their online Gmail.  The splashing surprise was the 1GB of storage they were offering all users — leap and bounds beyond Hotmail and others which averged a mere 10mb.

Slowly but surely, additional apps followed branded under the Google Docs — an excel equivalent, a word equivalent, etc.  Under this type of pressure, after months and perhaps years of discounting the threat and trying alternatives — ultimately caved in on July 13, 2009 and decided to officially offer a free web-based office suite.  Interestingly enough, it was only a few days after Google removed the “Beta” tag off theirs.

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/djf500/200907131014DOWJONESDJONLINE000386_FORTUNE5.htm