It's amazing what a difference another year, and an iPad can make! Amazon announced their third generation Kindle, which looks to be a winner among dedicated ebook readers. This Amazon Associate would totally pre-order one if Apple's iPad didn't exist. $139 for the Wi-Fi (finally!) version is pretty impressive albeit Kmart (of all places!) put a $149 Android "GENTOUCH78" color tablet on sale earlier in the week. Of course, the Kmart special isn't ideal at all for reading ebooks.
The Palo Alto Buddhist Temple is holding their annual obon festival this Saturday and Sunday! The main bon odori event starts at 7:30pm on Sunday. Arrive early to eat yummy food, watch San Jose Taiko perform at 5:30pm, and get great seats.
The final obon dance practice (PDF) session was last night, but free online crash courses are still available. Download the full schedule (PDF) for the 2010 playlist. It looks like there's a new towel dance, Gegege no Furusato, this year.
Safari 5.0.1 unleashed the power of extensions—no, not those kind—yesterday. (Tip: Quit and reopen Safari after installing an extension if it doesn't work.) Was sorta dismayed by the initial crop of Safari extensions until coming across a diamond in the rough from Panic. Coda Notes lets one markup a webpage à la Desktastic, and quickly share it via email. Totally would pay for a version that sends the email via Mail, assuming that's doable.
Apple unveiled some powerful new Macs yesterday, as if to suggest that they would be the perfect complement to StarCraft II (albeit that's EVE Online pictured in their promos). The new iMacs and Mac Pro's sport the latest line of ATI GPU's. It looks like the latest salvo in Cupertino's campaign—which doesn't actually exist AFAIK—against Intel's integrated graphics mandate. In reality, it's a good sign that Apple is taking gaming seriously, and delivering multimedia muscle for people who would prefer an iMac instead of a Mac Pro. A forthcoming 27-inch LED Cinema Display would seem to support this theory.
Tried some 2.7 Mil Kapton tape for the helluvit having read AnandTech'sarticle. This iPhone 4 user figured its antenna already works great so further reducing attenuation could only have upside. However, real world use did not demonstrate any benefits to justify the amber hued tape's faux gold bling effect.
Finally Apple TV'd the theatrical version of Man on FireMan on Fire after seeing bits and pieces of it on TV. This 2004 Tony Scott movie based on Philip Nicholson's (a.k.a. A.J. Quinnell) first novel is an entertaining revenge story despite obvious emotional ploys. Dakota Fanning in her "cute" prime plays a little girl whose Denzel Washington bodyguard goes on a vengeful rampage after she's taken. Liam Neeson would approve. Bonus: Christopher Walken appears as a slightly eccentric—yet normal by Walken character standards—friend.
The iPhone 4 Case Program that was announced last week is here. This iPhone 4 user was pleased to receive an email from Apple yesterday stating that the Bumper purchase from the Apple Store had been automatically refunded. (Just out of curiosity, has anyone who has received a refund for a Bumper tried to get a different free case?) Christmas has come early for the third party case manufacturers whose wares are free choices alongside Apple's black Bumper.
P.S. Motorola may not want to be so smug about the double antenna design of the DROID X because Apple also released a video that shows attenuation happens. In other news from yesterday, 73% of iPhone users are very satisfied with AT&T!
Kurt Wimmer has written up another satisfying summer popcorn flick. Salt stars Angelina Jolie as a sleeper agent from the Cold War—or is she? Attempting to prove her innocence provides the perfect excuse to keep the action PG-13 yet entertaining nonetheless. (No CIA agents were harmed in the making of this movie.) Here's hoping for a sequel where Jolie can partner up with Charlize Theron, another chick from '75 who can kickass. BTW, did anyone else think the computer sequence at the end looked like a homage to StarCraft?
Skype 2.1.0 for iPhone and iPod touches running iOS 4 (with multitasking) can finally receive incoming voice calls and instant messages while running in the background! A quick test from Mac to iPhone 4 via Wi-Fi (802.11n on Comcast) resulted in instant call connections, and near-instant IM's. Of course, now everyone wants Skype to support two-way video calls on the iPhone. This iPhone user would first prefer a future version of iOS that supports an iPhone friendly variation of OS X's "Login Items" so that Skype is always open in the background.