Unboxing the Cr-48 Chrome notebook

January 17, 2011

Wherein I present unboxing pictures (slide show) of Google’s sexy and delicious Cr-48 Chrome notebook, complete with a cameo by my MacBook Air 11.6″ – enjoy :)


Unboxing the Apple MacBook Air 11.6″

November 5, 2010

Wherein I present unboxing pictures (slide show) of my special ordered Apple MacBook Air 11.6″, complete with cameos by my MacBook Pro 13″, iPad, iPhone 4, and Acer Aspire 1410 – enjoy :)


Unboxing the Acer Aspire 1410

November 20, 2009

Although my notebook of choice (and primary computer) is my MacBook Air, I sometimes prefer something smaller and cheaper to hit the road with… Enter the netbook!

Read the rest of this entry »


2nd anniversary

November 22, 2008

tnkgrl Mobile is 2 years old today!

It’s been a great 2nd year. I’ve looked at a lot of devices, both short and long term, like the Nokia N95-3, Apple MacBook Air, Nokia N82, Apple iPhone 3G, Nokia E71 and HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1.

I’ve hacked the Asus 701 (Eee), the Vulcan Flipstart, the MacBook Air SuperDrive, and the Acer Aspire One. There’s even been some crazy adventures

But I’m planning to bring you a lot more goodness – in fact, Matthew Bennett and I are starting a weekly podcast. So come back soon and come back often :)


Tasty bits, revisited

September 21, 2008

Yes, I know. I’ve completely & utterly failed at maintaining my tasty bits column – it’s been dormant since late April…

It appears I don’t have the time or motivation to publish it in the present format, so I’ve decided to try something new – and this is it!

Here’s a list of tasty bits, devices I’m excited about, and hoping to get my hands on.

- Nokia N85:
Take the awesome N95-3, add a lens cover, add European 3G (in addition to US 3G), add USB charging, replace the single LED flash with a dual ultra-bright LED unit, replace the LCD with an OLED screen, and make it a lot thinner. That’s the N85, and after playing with it in Helsinki, I can’t wait to replace my N95-3 :)

- HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1:
What’s not to be excited about? It’s the first Android device and the first HSDPA smartphone on T-Mobile USA’s AWS network. Want! See you in line…

- Samsung i8510 (INNOV8):
Take the N95-2 (European 8GB), add a lens cover, add a micro-SD card slot, replace the 5 megapixel sensor with an 8 megapixel unit, replace the single LED flash with a dual ultra-bright LED unit, and make it a bit thinner. That’s the INNOV8, and I’ve played with it. It’s a great phone, other than the lack of US 3G.

- LG KC910 (Renoir):
If my experience with the LG Vu is any indication, this device might be worth getting for the 8 megapixel camera alone. Hopefully, LG’s improved the touch screen and user interface…

- Lenovo IdeaPad S10:
It’s the only 10″ netbook that I’m excited about, because it offers a great balance between price, features and design (it even looks like a smaller IdeaPad U110). Hopefully, it’s just as mod-able as my Acer Aspire One!

- Voodoo Envy 133:
I’m not a PC person, but I love everything about the Envy – the ultra-thin design, the carbon-fiber body, the Ethernet port on the AC adapter, the external optical drive, the back-lit keyboard, the removable battery. It almost makes me want to cheat on my MacBook Air :)

Here’s a few more random pieces:

- I got to play with the Yamaha Tenori-on at Austin GDC last week. It’s a very cool device. Here’s a video of it in action, featuring industry colleague and rock star Kurt Larson

- I made a couple more videos during my trip to Finland. I’ve also posted the last of my pictures.

- Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Nokia’s design direction, lately? Even its low-end devices are sexy!


MacBook Air SuperDrive for all

June 24, 2008

So like me, you have a MacBook Air SuperDrive… It’s affordable, it’s functional, it’s sexy. If only it was usable with other Macs and PCs!

Well rejoice :) I have successfully hacked my MBA SuperDrive to work with other Macs and PCs. All you need is a $9 part (shipping extra) and a bit of soldering and you too can do this mod.

First, take a look at pictures of this mod and a video where I connect my hacked SuperDrive to my Mac mini and my HP Mini-Note running Windows XP.

Now here’s a bit of background. The MBA SuperDrive is designed to work only with the Apple MacBook Air. How is that possible?

Some people have speculated that perhaps the MBA SuperDrive draws more than 500 mA and that the MacBook Air provides more than 500 mA via its USB port. This is not the problem. My attempt at connecting the SuperDrive to several PCs and Macs while injecting additional current using a special cable was unsuccessful…

What about drivers? I (and others) have scoured the MacBook Air system folder for additional and modified .kext files (kernel extensions) by comparing them with the ones available on other Macs – nothing.

Other people have suggested that perhaps the optical drive within the MBA SuperDrive uses special firmware. This is not the problem either. After taking apart the SuperDrive and mounting the optical drive directly into a PCs removable bay, it was recognized just fine.

This leaves the IDE to USB bridge. It’s a small circuit board that allows an IDE device like the optical drive within the MBA SuperDrive to work as a USB device. It uses firmware too – and Apple appears to have designed custom firmware for it!

There appears to be some sort of handshake happening between the MacBook Air and the IDE to USB bridge within the MBA SuperDrive. I looked into re-flashing the controller (which is a standard part) with generic firmware, but after several hours I was getting nowhere.

The alternative was of course to replace the IDE to USB bridge with another one, which is exactly what I ended up doing. The trick was to find a small enough circuit board. I was about to give up on this mod when I stumbled upon the aforementioned $9 part on a series of tubes.

The part is small enough to fit within the MBA SuperDrive, but requires removal of the daughter-board (containing a power connector, a USB connector, and several capacitors), as well as the non-ideal relocation of the 12 MHz crystal.

And the rest is history – you can figure it out from the pictures :)


Amazon Kindle vs. Seabol & friends

June 7, 2008

Once a upon a time in the good land of milk & honey lived a band of happy gadgets. The leader of the band, Seabol, took it upon himself to keep a loving eye on the others, a MacBook Air, an HP Mini-note, an iPhone, and an alien gadget from another planet, the Nokia N95-3

The band’s benevolent dictator was always very nice to all of them. She made sure no unwanted gadgets from the dark land far far away joined the band.

One fateful night, an evil gadget, the Amazon Kindle, somehow infiltrated the band, unbeknown to the benevolent dictator. It first attacked the iPhone, which managed to escape, being so thin and slippery.

The Kindle jumped on the MacBook Air, but was foiled by its strong aluminum shell. it then pounced on the HP Mini-note, but was blinded by its glossy frameless screen.

Something needed to be done. The Kindle was about to consume the Nokia N95-3 when Seabol jumped to the rescue. Within seconds, the Kindle was foiled and Seabol & friends prevaled!


Life with the HP Mini-Note

May 18, 2008

I’m sitting on the patio at Cafe Flore in the Castro on this balmy spring evening (70 degrees at 11 PM) in San Francisco, blogging on my HP 2133 (Mini-Note) instead of my MacBook Air – oh the things I do for my dear readers :)

Now that I’ve played with my Mini-Note for a couple weeks, I’m really not quite as excited about it as I’d like to be. Here’s a summary of my experience so far…

Pros:
– Small
– Über sexy anodized aluminum
– Nice build quality
– Great keyboard
– Good screen resolution (almost too good?)
– Integrated Bluetooth
– Lots of memory and storage

Cons:
– Too heavy for its size (> 3 lbs)
– Bulky 6-cell battery and AC adapter
– Screen too dim at times (and no LED backlight?)
– Small trackpad (and horrible buttons)
– Fan is almost always running
– Overly sensitive accelerometer
– Poor video performance

I’m still running Windows XP Pro, now with the official drivers – I’ve also upgraded to XP SP3.

The screen resolution is good but possibly too good for my eyes. As a result, I’ve set the screen to 144 dpi (150% original size), which is a definite improvement.

I’ve downloaded the official SuSE Linux disk image, and I may be taking it for a spin very soon.

Overall, the Mini-Note is a nice machine with good features for the money, but I’m not sure it’s the right machine for me.

I think the upcoming Asus 901 (Eee), with its Intel Atom CPU, integrated Bluetooth, multitouch trackpad, and more manageable 1024×600 pixel screen resolution, may be a better choice for me.

Besides, I already know from my Asus 701 (Eee) that I’m comfortable with the smaller keyboard.

I’ll keep you posted!


Unboxing the HP 2133 (Mini-Note)

May 3, 2008

Well my HP 2133 (Mini-Note) finally arrived yesterday! I got the KX870AT model (1.6 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 7200 rpm 120 GB HD, Bluetooth, 6-cell battery, Windows Vista Business)…

Check out my unboxing pictures – the Mini-Note is definitely full of hotness :)

First impressions?

Build quality is exceptional – the screen and keyboard are great. The trackpad feels tiny compared to the giant one on my MacBook Air, and the power jack sticks out in an unwieldy way while connected (an L-shape would be ideal).

I removed Vista (like any sane person would do) and installed Windows XP Pro before even booting for the first time… I used this guide, which required some updating for Bluetooth support.

Everything is working properly and XP is snappy!


Tasty bits – CTIA and beyond

April 27, 2008

Wait! Did two months of tasty bits just go by, CTIA and all? Hmmm yes…

HP 2133 (Mini-Note):
HP 2133 Mini-Note UMPC Reviewed (Verdict: Rich Man's Eee PC)
Lightning Review: HP 2133 Mini-Note
HP Mini-Note 2133 officially official, reviewed
HP Mini-Note gets unboxed, causes extreme jealousy
jkOnTheRun review- hands on with the HP Mini-Note UMPC

Asus 701/900 (Eee):
Video Hands on With the 8.9-inch Asus Eee PC 900
Asus Eee PC 900 Hits U.S. May 12 for $549
1.2 GHz Pentium M in your Eee PC? No problem
Hands-on with the 9-inch Eee PC
ASUS' 9-inch Eee PC, now with living pixels!
Eee PC 900 gets dissected, looks about the same as the Eee PC 700

Nokia N810:
Android on the N810: Working on it!
Nokia Internet Tablets to get Ubuntu and Qt ports
Nokia's N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition gets official

Nokia N95:
8 GB North American Model N95 available: $779 online
North American Nokia N95 8GB (Nokia N95-4) Unboxing

Nokia N82:
All About Symbian Review: Long term battle: Nokia N95, N95 8GB and N82
Nokia N82 gets blacked out for retail

Other Nokia:
Eight useful codes for S60 devices
10 Awesome Applications for Symbian Phones
Your S60 smartphone as a drum machine!
WalkingHotSpot trial available for download
Nokia E71 Pops up Down Under
FCC Gives Nokia 6220 Classic the Nod
T-Mobile’s new mystery 3G Nokia handset outted
Nokia secretly shows E71 at Mobile Wor… er, in Sydney
Google gets even chummier with S60, releases search app
S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 gets broken down to the nitty gritty
Nokia N96 gets in-depth review months ahead of release
Things may be looking brighter for Nokia N96, Xenon flash in the works?
Nokia readies iPhone-ish "Tube," disses Apple's sales
Nokia E71 sneaks into the wild once again
Exclusive: latest update on the hotly anticipated Nokia Tube
The Nokia Guide: Getting the most out of your Nseries’ camera

Apple iPhone:
iPhone Pwnage Tool Getting Public Release Tomorrow; Unsigned Firmware Support For All
iPhone to Support GPS, Stereo Bluetooth, Nike+, Battle Hackers
iPhone firmware 2.0? You’re damn right we got it!
Nike+ going WiFi and 3G, headed to iPhone
The second-gen iPhone: 3G, GPS, only slightly thicker – Engadget
Touchpad turns your iPhone into a remote trackpad
Palm emulated on the iPhone: finally we can leave that IIIc at home
Easy 1.1.4 jailbreaking with iNdependence, Ziphone, and… iTunes?
iPhone PwnageTool released!
3G iPhone rumors building up steam
iPhone gets VoIP and chat options thanks to Fring
iPhone firmware hints strengthen case for GPS support
iPhone feature rumor round-up: Jabber and iTunes control
Flickr Find: Lilliputian iPhone unboxing
Twinkle: location-aware Twittter client for iPhone
iPhone video recorder with audio support debuts

Sony Ericsson:
Sony Ericsson's X1 reviewed
XPERIA X1 white paper reveals yet more details
Is this Sony Ericsson's P5 or "Paris"?
Specs revealed of the real (or fake) Sony Ericsson "Paris"
Another shot of Sony Ericsson's Paris?
Yet another convincing Sony Ericsson Paris pic — open, this time

LG:
LG KG750 Is Sleek of Line, High (Five) of Megapixels, Shoots DivX, Called Secret
Live Pics: MediaFLO for AT&T on the LG Vu and Samsung Access
LG Vu further slides into view
Hands-on with the LG Vu
Thin is in: LG shares a glimpse of its 5 megapixel hottie phone

Samsung:
Samsung-built, Google-branded Android phones due later this year?
Rumored Prada II specs surface in purported leaked press release

Motorola:
T-Mobile considering Motorola Z10 for 3G launch?
Motorola’s 2008 Roadmap Revealed
Spy shots of the Motorola ZN5
Motorola's ZN5 gets clearer, Kodak co-branding and all

Android:
Android gets handled, now with Street View
T-Mobile confirms it'll have an Android device sometime this year

Other:
Meizu M8, Something You Burn in a Paper Bag on Someone's Porch
T-Mobile's 3G Network Rolling Out May in NYC, Coincides With 3G HTC Touch Dual?
Sharp-Willcom D4 UMPC With Intel Atom Centrino, Vista Hits the States on June 20th
Crowded Ultraportable Party Gets Dissected
Meizu prototype caught in the flesh at CeBIT, we handle it
Meizu M8 interface gets tweaked once again. A few pixels to the left, please?
Meizu's M8 gets more UI tweaks for its music player
More MID videos: IdeaPad U8 and Aigo
Mozilla Mobile shows 5.9x performance increase on ARM device
Opera Mini 4.1 beta released- good gets better
Sharp Willcom D4: Vista in your hand for $1,526
Life with the MacBook Air


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