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Apple does it again – New Macs – new iMacs

If you haven’t been to the Apple Store recently, you must go and see these gorgeous machines. The new displays are incredible and the monstrous 27″ iMac is unbelievable!! (That’s more than two feet, the size of my cousin’s toddler! But really, the screen is the only “monstrous” thing. Everything else is absolutely beautiful.)

On October 20th, Apple unveiled their new Apple Macbook notebook computer. How did they manage the new Macbook so light with the super-serious battery? The most important change will be the new battery, a lithium polymer battery built right into the enclosure. Apple says you’ll get up to 7 hours on a single charge, and even though the battery isn’t removable, you’ll manage to charge the battery 1,000 times before the battery dies the long death. The battery is warranted for 1 year after purchase. To replace battery, You need to either send the Mac back to Apple (3-4 day turnaround) or take it to store for same day replacement. Costs – $129 (13″ & 15″) – $179 (17″) for new battery.

I’m gonna get onto a little techie soapbox here, because this is really important: In addition to the new, improved battery, the Apple Macbook will also get a graphical boost from an NVIDIA GeForce Mobility 9400M chipset, the same used in the smallest Macbook Pro 13-inch model. That graphics power will drive a new LED-backlit, 13.3-inch display, running at a 1280 by 800 pixel resolution, which should be great for watching HD movies at 720p or better. The new screen is all glossy, and sits flush with the glass bezel on the top lid of the notebook, just like on the new Macbook Pro models.

Unlike the Macbook Pros, the new Apple Macbook will be built with a polycarbonate plastic shell. Apple offers some non-slip resistance for their new plastic design to help the laptop stick to airline trays and laps. This machine gets a glass trackpad, without buttons, which supports up to 4 finger gestures (no snickering here). You just slide your fingers over the pad to make the mouse move.

The new Apple Macbook is only 1.08-inches thin and weighs 4.7 pounds. The notebook uses an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.26 GHz. The
standard configuration ships with 2GB or DDR3 RAM and a 250GB hard disk drive, but you can bump both of those to 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive.

Honestly, we’ve seen $300 netbooks with better port selection. You get 2 USB 2.0 ports, an Audio In/Out port, Gigabit Ethernet and a mini DisplayPort. First of all, we’d like to see more USB ports, which isn’t an unreasonable request for a $999 machine. Second, mini DisplayPort is a cruel choice for what is essentially the bargain Mac laptop. (DisplayPort monitors are rare, and adapters can be expensive.)
Fully loaded the new Macbook (list at $999) will cost you $1,250, with more RAM and HDD storage. As a comparison, the low end of the Windows 7 line of Laptops runs at $399. This low end Windows machine is bigger 15.4″ compared to 13″, heavier, has only 1-2 hour battery compared to 7 hour on Macbook, doesn’t have the cool “class” of the Apple machine, and its screen will not be as classy as the Macbook. On the other hand, with it you can read your email, surf the web, go on Facebook and Twitter using wired and wireless connectivity.

FYI: Rumor has it there will be a huge sale on Macs, ONE DAY ONLY at the Mac store on 11/27/2009, Black Friday. Up to 30% off iPods, Up to 25% off Macs!

The competition continues to heat up: Snow Leopard is released; Mac’s revamped line of its Macbook and iBook. Windows 7 was just released. You gotta love competition. Oh yeah: and the new iPod nano takes video! Pretty sweet, right?

Amma – a wondrous presence – Mother Teresa 2.0

Amma

I was deeply moved by seeing Amma, the mother, last night. I had to share my experience to all of you.

There obviously cannot ever be another Mother Teresa.

After my Amma experience last night, I couldn’t help but think I was in the presence of a woman (Amma) who is following in Mother Teresa’s steps, trailblazing her own path. At the time of Mother Teresa’s death, in 1997, there here Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools. Here Missionaries of Charity continue their work to this day.

I love Amma’s purpose in life:
” I realize my purpose is to console – to personally wipe away tears through selfless love, compassion, and service.” Amma.

Yesterday, a group of us (Rob, Elaine, Ginger, Barbara and myself) went to give oodles of Free Hugs and get Hugged by Amma. I knew the event started at 7 pm, so we got there by 5 pm. Figured it would last from 7 pm to 9 pm and I’d be home by 11 pm at the latest. Boy, was I in for a surprise.

We got to the Amma Retreat center in San Ramon and were greeting with thousands of people waiting in line to see Amma. We made it through the throngs of people, camped out in fold chairs, took the plastic cap off our chair and waited. and waited. and waited. After the first hour of giving free hugs to those waiting in line and stuffing ourselves with Samosas, we started making friends with those around us, waiting in the overflow room, soon to become the Amma restaurant. Personally, I met Taj from Berkeley, Julie from Berkeley, Cindy from Fremont, Tonya from Washington/Barstow/Alaska/Hawaii, Brianna from Santa Cruz, a gentleman from Ashland, OR who’s been following Amma with his wife (whom he met at an Amma retreat) for 10+ years. These folks ranged in ages from 25 to 75. There were lots of babies, families, single folk, couples, all ethnicities here. I couldn’t help but thinking of some of the wonderful experiences I had at Grateful Dead concerts, except for the fact that beyond spreading joy, happiness and love, Amma was channeling her energy to wiping out misery and poverty throughout the world.

So, after lots of Samosas, a full vegan Vegetarian meal, and a HUGE salad and lots of chatting and meeting new people, the time had come to get my hug. I was in group “N7.” Group A1 started at 7 pm. It was now 230 am. As I waited in my chair, moving closer and closer, I began to imagine the real power, strength and tireless energy of this woman. Here, I had been whining, a little, about waiting 7.5 hours to see here, but she had been doing this all week – tirelessly (although I’m sure she was a bit tired!) – all week – until the early morning hours.

I got on stage, got closer to Amma, then in a whisk of a moment, she hugged me, said something in a language I didn’t understand, and it was done.

I had been blessed by an angel.

Scheduling Meetings without Outlook – The Easy Way

Practicality is king in today’s business standards. Practical pricing, practical timing, practical office furniture, practically everything is best when it’s practical. Meetings are not always practical but they are almost always necessary.

Interesting fact: one study recently showed that the people who dislike meetings the most are the ones who are most responsible or getting the most things done in an average workday. That translates to this: the people who “just love meetings!” really enjoy the social experience and free bagels. Now I love bagels as much as the next Vegan Jew. But as an experienced business owner, I love getting together with clients for the practicality of getting something done, and getting needs met. So meetings? No prob. Here’s a few good tools:

SalesNexus. offers a variety of resources for sharing contacts, calendars, notes and documents. Your job can be tough. Making meetings happen should be easy.

Schedulicity. This is mainly a service-0riented site that helps you find providers for personal things, but have you ever noticed that things just happen better and/or faster when you make them happen yourself or you don’t have to pick up a phone? Sometimes too many cooks spoil the broth. If your on-the-run clientele might prefer the high-tech solution as opposed to the customer service phone-interview, consider listing your business here as well as scheduling your own appointments and services. Violin lessons? Find ’em here.

MeetingWizard
This productivity tool makes the planning process easier and more effective. MeetingWizard automatically sends invitations to participants (proposing alternate times, if necessary), summarizes their responses, updates you on the results, sends confirmations, and sends reminders. It is simple to use, so clients and colleagues won’t get turned off by the process. Think of it as a professional’s evite. Users can make changes and notes as needed, and instantly communicate changes or cancellations to participants. It’s free, friendly and helpful.

FREE Conference Calling Services

Schedule Conference Calls on a moment’s notice – they’re free – you can even record calls!

FreeConference
Conference calls – love them or not, the internet can’t completely replace a real voice, a conversation, or a meeting of the minds. This site schedules and hosts the phone meeting. Use the site to send the message to everyone who needs to be at the meeting, the message comes with a phone number and access code, everyone calls the number at the specified time, voila: conference meeting in your pj’s (note: pj’s are not necessarily recommended. Depends on your business and your personality.)

FreeConferenceCall
Similar name, similar service. All lines are secure: You’re allowed up to 6 hours of conference “room” for up to 96 callers. Both sites offer upgrades for small fees; neither require business attire. Just do/wear whatever’s practical!

Windows 7 – To Buy or Not to Buy – That is the Question

So, Windows 7 has been out for a while now and you’re probably asking yourself, “Am I missing out on the fun? Should I upgrade?”

First off, a generality about Windows 7: it’s a renaming/re-branding of Windows Vista. No matter what smokescreen/clouds people tell you, it’s really a VERY NICE upgrade to Windows Vista. When Vista came out, it was a completely different operating system, so much of hardware wasn’t compatible, people needed new hardware (like new printers, new computers) and people complained a lot. With Windows 7, all hardware is Vista compliant, so it’s Windows 7 compliant.

If you have Windows XP and you’re generally happy with your system, I recommend staying with current system. More than likely, you won’t have a powerful enough machine for Windows 7.

If you have Windows Vista system, and you’ve been unhappy with slowness of machine, you are a perfect candidate for Windows 7 upgrade.

If you’re buying a new computer, make sure to get a Windows 7 machine. There are still some refurbished Desktops and Laptops with Vista. For Netbooks, I’d stay with Windows XP.

To see how you’re computer will do with Windows 7, I suggest you run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor.

The Benefits of Windows 7
Faster Performance – You should see a major increase over Vista.

Digital Hub – You will find it much easier to connect network devices, such as digital music hubs, multiple computers, etc.

Improved Navigation – Strips out much of Vistas bloat and makes Navigation easier. You’ll also see a thumbnail of each open window – when you move your mouse over icon in the bar below. You’ll see a completely new taskbar which has improved functionality.

Better Compatibility – As mentioned, most of the compatibility bugs were worked out in Vista, so Windows 7 should work with most hardware and software products made from 2-3 years ago to present. If you have just 1-2 programs that will only run in Windows XP, get the free (amazingly) windows virtual pc software from Microsoft that let’s you run Windows XP progams separately from Windows 7. Beware: this software could be a bit tricky to install.

Gestures (like iPhone, Macs). This means that if you have a screen you can touch (such as a tablet), you’ll be able to touch icons, move icons and use other hand movements instead of using a mouse.

Music Streaming- From one Windows 7 to another Windows 7 machine is very easy. Only problem – you need to buy another Windows 7 computer to make this work!

Better Security – User Account Control (UAC) which made you approve ever little change, is now highly modifiable. You can have it be much less intrusive.

Need more info: Get a great list of Windows 7 Resource Guides

Great comparison – Windows Xp vs Vista vs Windows 7

Oh, and did you think to yourself, “I think I’ll just upgrade to Windows 7 from my Windows XP system. How hard can that be?” Well, it’s not a simple answer. You’ll either:
a) Have to do a clean install and re-install all your applications and data – thus wiping out your Windows XP
b) Do a “dual boot,” which means you won’t have access to your Windows XP data and will have to re-install all your applications – like Word, Excel, etc. . . .

Bottom line – I would only upgrade from XP to Windows 7 if you have a computer sitting around you don’t mind if everything gets wiped off.

For more details on Windows XP – Windows 7.

Bye-bye, slow Vista Bus!