tnkgrl Mobile is 2 years old today!
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 :)
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 :)
– 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:
– Have I mentioned how much I enjoy Nokia’s design direction, lately? Even its low-end devices are sexy!
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.
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 :)
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…
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.
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…
– Über sexy anodized aluminum
– Nice build quality
– Great keyboard
– Good screen resolution (almost too good?)
– Integrated Bluetooth
– Lots of memory and storage
– 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!
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 :)
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!