Mac http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3478/all en-US Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro webcam: why doesn't 4 stars tell the full story? http://www.wisebread.com/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Photo 60.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Logitech makes some good stuff: I keep hearing raves about their Revolution mice, and they're well-known for keyboards (I own a DiNovo Edge and it has great battery life) and webcams. However, <strong>Logitech is also one of the more lopsided companies in regards to support across multiple platforms</strong>, as I learned recently with the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001AOK7KI/?tag=torllive-20"><strong>QuickCam Pro for Mac</strong></a> (Amazon affiliate link, but you may rethink buying after reading what's to come). While not a conventional review, this is a closer look into what to beware of with the QuickCam Vision Pro.</p> <p>I have a QuickCam Pro 9000 that worked pretty well on my Windows XP (since upgraded to Vista) machine, aside from blue screens of death if I replugged it. However, when I connected it to my Mac, I had extremely low framerate, around 5 FPS. Casual searches showed this was because the &quot;RightLight&quot; technology to automatically compensate for dim conditions was only in software, and <strong>there are <em>no</em> Logitech Mac webcam drivers</strong>. Thus, I learned about the confusingly-named Vision Pro. It has a very similar form factor to the 9000, the main differences being some coloring ones, such as the ON ring light is white instead of orange. But the insides are supposedly different (I haven't cracked mine open), with the Mac version having <a href="http://forums.logitech.com/logitech/board/message?board.id=general_webcams&amp;view=by_date_ascending&amp;message.id=13968#M13968">RightLight in hardware</a>.</p> <h2>I did my research, I swear!</h2> <p>I searched for the Vision Pro at Amazon, and read the many (now 102) reviews, which averaged out to 4 stars. I noted most of the ratings corresponded with intended usage: people just doing iChat or Skype video chat were enthusiastic, while others who had more heavy needs weren't as happy &mdash; placing myself in the latter category and mindful to clarify the caveats myself, I ordered one. As with other Mac versions of Logitech goods, it's significantly more expensive than its Windows counterpart. In this case, about US$100 vs. $70 &mdash; presumably that's because of the hardware as well as having less sales volume, but Logitech hasn't acknowledged this.</p> <p>Unboxing and installing the Vision Pro was very easy. I plugged it in to a free USB port on my Mac Pro. But I also noticed, to reaffirm what I mentioned earlier, there are <em>no</em> Mac drivers, <em>no</em> control software which allows you to adjust picture settings as well as <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7Gn2TyEyHw">wackier special effects</a> &mdash; as is present and <a href="http://logitech-en-emea.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/logitech_en_emea.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=3428&amp;p_created=1142451071&amp;p_sid=H9vPWmAj&amp;p_accessibility=0&amp;p_redirect=&amp;p_lva=&amp;p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0yMSwyMSZwX3Byb2RzPSZwX2NhdHM9JnBfcHY9JnBfY3Y9JnBfc2VhcmNoX3R5cGU9YW5zd2Vycy5zZWFyY2hfbmwmcF9wYWdlPTEmcF9zZWFyY2hfdGV4dD1RdWlja0NhbcKuIFNwaGVyZSBBRg**&amp;p_li=&amp;p_topview=1">extensively developed</a> on the Windows side. Apple does provide Photo Booth, so I started that up and was sorely disappointed: <strong>the framerate was <em>as</em> slow and jerky as the 9000 on my Mac</strong>. I couldn't find any way to optimize this; others report the same.</p> <p>Then, I tried iChat and Skype. In both, the video preview was silky smooth (as expected), and here's where I noticed a substantial framerate improvement. Looking closely, I wondered if this was because of the dimensions: iChat and Skype <em>seem</em> to (again, I wish Logitech provided clear documentation) show a <strong>320x240</strong> preview, while Photo Booth records at <strong>640x480</strong>. (Photo Booth with my MacBook Pro's built-in &quot;iSight&quot; webcam is visibly smoother at this same resolution.)</p> <p>A video's at least a few thousand words, see for yourself (an unaltered framegrab is at the top of this article): I look like a ghost because what's on my monitor is white-ish. This isn't the Vision Pro's fault.</p> <p><object width="480" height="385"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/LmQf5rGTTI0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1" name="movie" /> <param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /> <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="480" height="385" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/LmQf5rGTTI0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0xcc2550&amp;color2=0xe87a9f&amp;hd=1"></embed></object></p> <p>Another test: I started QuickTime Player, because File menu &gt; New Movie Recording lets you do just that. Again, I was thwarted by a choppy framerate, and on top of that, the <strong>image was forcibly zoomed in</strong>, cropping the image. I don't know why it does this, and couldn't find a way to disable it. So far, I was very disappointed.</p> <h2>So many half-finished features</h2> <p>Now, it was time for me to use the Vision Pro for real &mdash; record screencasts with <a href="http://www.telestream.net/screen-flow/overview.htm">ScreenFlow</a>. I'm sad to say that Telestream, the makers of ScreenFlow, offered me no leads on recommended and compatible webcams, so I chose the Vision Pro because it seemed to be in the higher-range of things. But overpriced, I do think. Again, a disappointment: ScreenFlow's preview was very jerky. However, when I actually did record a video, it looked smooth. The final recording size was shown as 640x480, even though its blurriness suggests it was <strong>actually recorded at 320x240 and upsampled</strong>.</p> <p>So in short, here's the rub: <strong>Logitech's support for the</strong> <strong>QuickCam Vision Pro is sorely lacking. You have little idea what to expect or how it should behave.</strong> Its marketing is disingenuous, too, which is a red flag to consumers. <a href="http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/webcam_communications/webcams/devices/4528&amp;cl=US,EN">They claim</a>:</p> <blockquote><p><strong>HD video:</strong> QuickCam Vision Pro is a high-performance webcam capable of delivering 720p high-quality images* up to 1600 X 1200 pixels.</p> </blockquote> <p>Yet aside from a little footnote, <strong>Logitech don't give you advice on how to actually get higher resolutions. No list of tested, compatible software.</strong> On the Windows side, the included picture-taking app makes it easy. On the Mac side, no such luck. It really makes you feel like while this was offered to the Mac market, they put little thought and consideration into its usefulness.</p> <h2>But wait, there's more&hellip; suckiness&hellip;</h2> <p>There's no system way to turn off autofocus or RightLight either, and like the 9000, the <strong>microphone is mediocre, captures too much background noise, and distorts easily with awful clipping</strong>, so <em>don't</em> believe the &quot;A high quality microphone provides excellent, hands-free audio.&quot; It's <em>not</em> true, it sounds like you're in a tin can if you speak from about two feet away. I use a <a href="http://www.samsontech.com/products/productpage.cfm?prodID=1994">Zoom H4n</a> for my mic recordings, but it's over $300! (You'd be far better off with even a dedicated USB condenser mic.)</p> <p>To get around the issue of no video adjustments, you can get <strong><a href="http://www.ecamm.com/mac/iglasses/">eCamm's iGlasses</a></strong> which works with most webcam apps (but not ScreenFlow), but this sort of thing should've really been bundled.</p> <p>That's not the end of your troubles: several reviewers note the <strong>Vision Pro gets very dark if two or more apps try to use it at the same time, or in quick succession</strong>. I can confirm this is true, as well as another problem where it fails to turn on if you keep making one recording after another &mdash; it's a pain and breaks your creative <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)">flow</a>. Workaround? Replug. But that's <em>annoying</em>.</p> <p>Oh, if you're wondering, human support from Logitech is lacking, too. I've received no help on how (if it's even possible) to make the Vision Pro work adequately in Photo Booth. Did I mention iMovie <a href="http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9515462">doesn't support</a> it either?</p> <h2>All in all&hellip;</h2> <p>While the Vision Pro is usable, it gives me mixed feelings and has wasted a lot of my time. <strong>I'm not satisfied with my purchase</strong>. Buyer beware if you intend to do more than the most basic video chat, where cheaper webcams will perform fine. I'd give the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro <strong>2 stars out of 5</strong>. I looked at getting an original <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISight">Firewire Apple iSight</a> but they're even more expensive, and I've been wary of competitors like the <a href="http://agent.liquiddigital.com.au/">aGent</a>.</p> <p><strong>It appears there's a dearth of really excellent Mac webcams &mdash; if you know better, <em>would you please recommend me and fellow WiseBread readers one?</em></strong> I'm so sad.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-even-more-freebies-in-exchange-for-a-review">How to Get Even More Freebies in Exchange for a Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-always-order-on-amazon">10 Things You Should Always Order on Amazon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-secrets-of-amazons-pricing-strategy-will-help-you-find-the-best-buys">These Secrets of Amazon&#039;s Pricing Strategy Will Help You Find the Best Buys</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-amazon-prime-perks-youve-forgotten-to-use">7 Amazon Prime Perks You&#039;ve Forgotten to Use</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping accessory Amazon audio logitech Mac peripheral pro quickcam video vision webcam Sun, 14 Jun 2009 23:01:47 +0000 Torley Wong 3264 at http://www.wisebread.com New Mac minis: Beware small gains at a big price! http://www.wisebread.com/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mac-mini.jpg" alt="Mac mini" title="Mac mini" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="230" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Apple recently revamped their desktop line. It wasn't an asteroid impact, but has so far been generally acknowledged as a welcome update. Amidst the revisions are the <a href="http://www.apple.com/macmini/?sr=hotnews">Mac minis</a>, always a hot point of contention &mdash; some journos have a compulsive habit to exclaim &quot;They're dying!&quot; every few months. Such irrationality is useless.</p> <p>But what <em>is</em> useful is knowing where the sweet price points are. I'm a Mac enthusiast, and I also use Windows regularly. Like a daywalker vampire, I have the perspectives of both platforms. Every time talk of &quot;The Apple tax&quot; or &quot;Apple stuff being overpriced&quot; comes up, the same arguments are redundantly trotted out, often centered around <strong>cost vs. convenience</strong>. (It'd be nice if there was one master FAQ so people didn't repeat themselves since certain <em>facts</em> are well-established, but that's not going to happen.)</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/torley/3333604418/sizes/o/"><img height="248" width="500" src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3304/3333604418_3a9209e93f_o.png" alt="" /></a></p> <p>My warning, not to frighten, but to enlighten: <strong>you probably should NOT order from the Apple Store unless you want a BTO (Build To Order) custom configuration sooner</strong>. The generic base configs are available at resellers for less; they'll be populated over the next stretch of weeks and you may not have to pay sales tax, which could save you $50-75 or more. (There are also edu and gov discounts, but I'm focusing on the broad consumer market.)</p> <p>Hopefully, if you've been dreaming of a new Mac mini, I can help you make sense of what to avoid. Namely&hellip;</p> <h2>The &quot;2.0GHz : 320GB&quot; model doesn't make sense</h2> <p>You get an additional 1GB of RAM (for 2GB total) and roughly 200GB more hard drive space (for 320GB total, actual formatted capacity is less), but at what price? An extra US$200 over the $599 base model! (Much more in some other countries.) Why is this a <em>bad idea?</em></p> <h2>There's no processor speed boost</h2> <p>Yes, you can BTO a 2.26GHz (for $150 more) and I'm awaiting benchmarks on that. But with this price premium, you'd expect something special.</p> <h2>RAM is a rip-off</h2> <p>Yes, it's harder to install RAM in a Mac mini. 1GB is unpleasantly cramped in this day and age so I'd recommend at <em>least</em> 2GB, which the Apple Store charges you $50 extra for. 4GB total is even better but that's $150, nearing 3 times the price of Other World Computing's 4GB kit @ $65 (which will require removing the 1GB base DIMM). RAM prices are volatile, but even with convenience weighed here, this is a bad bet. Not as bad as <a href="http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/03/apples-1000-ram-upgrade-for-imacs-better-come-with-free-diamonds/">this red flag</a>, but still absurd.</p> <p>I'd suggest <a href="http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mac%20mini%20ram&amp;search=Search"><strong>watching YouTube for forthcoming videos</strong></a> on how to install RAM in the new Mac mini and decide whether you can stomach the cost.</p> <h2>That hard drive upgrade is horrifically overpriced</h2> <p><em>OUCHBLEGHH!</em> That's the sound of your pocketbook and/or PayPal account hemorrhaging. In Apple's BTO, it's listed as a 120GB -&gt; 320GB upgrade for an extra $175! OUCH. Considering 1TB &mdash; roughly 5x the upgrade size &mdash; external hard drives routinely sell for a touch under $100 and continue to drop, you're not getting your money's worth here. Compact (2.5&quot; form factor) hard drives are common at 500GB for the same price, like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001FWCDQG/?tag=torllive-20">this Seagate FreeAgent Go</a> (I own a smaller 320GB one and it's very nice). As <a href="http://i.gizmodo.com/5164718/mac-mini-2009-review">Gizmodo</a> and many others have pointed out, <strong>get an external drive instead</strong>.</p> <p>If speed's your concern, opt for a FireWire enclosure which typically runs $25-50 more. If that's still not fast enough, there are pricier options, but you likely wouldn't be looking at a Mac mini anyway. I would only go for the 320GB upgrade if I was using the Mac mini as an <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Htpc">HTPC</a> and it was <em>absolutely necessary</em> to store all those movies &amp; music internally because I found an external drive aesthetically unappealing, or if I needed to move my mini around a lot.</p> <h2>What to do if you want a good deal on a new Mac mini</h2> <ul> <li><strong>Check </strong><a href="http://macsurfer.com/"><strong>MacSurfer</strong></a><strong> regularly.</strong> They compile daily reviews, user stories, and of course, pricing comparisons to help you make an informed decision.</li> <li>To that specific effect, <strong>refer to </strong><a href="http://www.pcprices.net/macmini.shtml"><strong>Mac Prices</strong></a>. I've called around to several places and it seemed there was an &quot;up to 10-day wait&quot; on getting BTO configs from them. If you want it sooner, you could go with the Apple Store, but remember the sales tax.</li> <li><strong>Don't rush unless</strong> getting the Mac mini sooner will give you an irreplaceable amount of joy (not to be confused with buyer's remorse) OR it'll help you generate more money &amp; resources in that lead time.</li> <li>If you're absolutely sure of your needs, then by all means override my guidance.</li> </ul> <h2>What about Hackintoshes?</h2> <p>I'm aware of the multiplying, even-cheaper &quot;run Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware&quot; possibilities out there of legal dubiosity. I'm not looking at those because there simply isn't another machine as beautiful, quiet, tiny, etc. as the new Mac mini. It's not just about looks but the <strong>overall experience and proverbial peace of mind</strong>.</p> <p>I'm aware Hackintoshes are maturing to be more stable, but still: system updates aren't as easy, numerous quirks exist, and they certainly aren't supported by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted">AppleCare, which can be had for cheap</a>. Until those hurdles are substantially bypassed, Hackintoshes are fascinating experiments with many caveats I'd rather not deal with. In the ongoing balance between cost vs. convenience, I've slid towards the latter, but haven't slid so far as to be impaled on the spikes described above.</p> <h2>Am I getting a new Mac mini?</h2> <p>I plan to. And why not, say, an iMac? Because my HDTV is already a decent-sized screen. I want a handy little home media controller to occasionally bring from one room to another without the pain of lugging a tower (my Mac Pro). It'll also free up my <a href="http://torley.com/macbook-pro-with-ati-radeon-x1600-distorted-video-glitches">MacBook Pro</a>, currently serving as my media center, to do suitably portable things. As you can see, while our household thrives on some things like tech and kittens, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-of-pretty-things-4-reasons-i%E2%80%99m-keeping-my-ugly-old-stuff">other stuff falls happily into Linsey Knerl's camp</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/torley/3332786509/" title="IMG_0738 by Torley, on Flickr"><img height="375" width="500" src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3398/3332786509_7846c4439f.jpg" alt="IMG_0738" /></a></p> <p>Furthermore, a Mac mini will be a nice way to run some apps with the elegance Apple offers. While I'm not counting on it being a stellar performer for the virtual world of <a href="http://cli.gs/whatis">Second Life</a>, it's better than the previous generation, and I'm thinking of using to rez additional avatars for <a href="http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Machinima">machinima</a>. Maybe my Mac mini will help my wife understand why Apple is such as &quot;liquid experience&quot; compared to the Windows cruft I'm appalled by (but continue to endure).</p> <p>Now you know where I'm coming from, <strong>I'm looking at getting a 2.26GHz Mac mini with 2GB RAM and 120GB hard drive, then upgrading the RAM later</strong> if I need the expansion (I'm clumsy with tools, ask the stripped screw in my Mac Pro) and hooking up an external drive. The cheapest price I've found on this so far is <a href="http://www.macmall.com/macmall/families/macmini_intel/">$794 at MacMall</a> before shipping, but despite it saying &quot;In Stock&quot; on that front page, it's actually not. Boo for crummy advertising. My desires could change based on what I find out in the next week or two, so stay tuned.</p> <p><strong><em>Are</em> you <em>interested in a new Mac mini? Have tips on what to look out for? Caught something I missed? Chime in!</em></strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted">Can cheap AppleCare on eBay be trusted?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-deal-every-time-you-shop-with-these-tools">Get a Deal Every Time You Shop with These Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/logitech-quickcam-vision-pro-webcam-why-doesnt-4-stars-tell-the-full-story">Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro webcam: why doesn&#039;t 4 stars tell the full story?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/400gb-western-digital-external-hard-drive-under-90-delivered">400GB Western Digital external hard drive under $90 delivered.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-the-chromebook-crush-windows">Could the Chromebook Crush Windows?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping apple cpu deal hackintosh Hard Drive hardware Mac Mini price processor RAM store sweet spot Fri, 06 Mar 2009 17:56:43 +0000 Torley Wong 2898 at http://www.wisebread.com Can cheap AppleCare on eBay be trusted? http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/applecare.jpg" alt="AppleCare" title="AppleCare" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After my previous article about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inside-the-shady-world-of-cheap-itunes-gift-cards" target="_blank">too-good-to-be-true iTunes gift cards</a>, I turned my attention to another discounted Apple item: <a href="http://www.apple.com/support/applecare/" target="_blank"><strong>AppleCare</strong></a><strong>, essentially an extended warranty for your Apple products</strong>, including Mac computers and those omnipresent iPods. Like so much insurance, it promises &quot;peace of mind&quot;. There's just one problem for many: <em>the price</em>.</p> <p>Especially in today's recessed times, having to pony up to $350 (for the MacBook Pro) for 3 total years of tech support and phone coverage can be hard. That's why a lot of sellers are selling cheap AppleCare.</p> <h2>My AppleCare adventure</h2> <p>In my ongoing tradition to <strong>not recommend something unless I've done it first</strong> &mdash; helping you mitigate risks by diving through that unexplored portal beforehand! &mdash; I landed on <a href="http://ebay.com/" target="_blank">eBay</a>, and easily found numerous listings for discount AppleCare. I have a Mac Pro, and AppleCare normally costs $250, but I spotted it for $92 &mdash; that's <strong>$158 saved!</strong></p> <p>After some scanning, I paid <a href="http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/480sherry_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ" target="_blank">480sherry</a>, who has a 99.9% feedback rating, and as of this writing is continuing to sell AppleCare. Surely those 2,200 buyers can't be wrong, right? In my own experience, I was pleased to receive a code less than a day afterwards.</p> <p>That's right, <strong>just a code you <a href="http://www.apple.com/support/applecare/overview/" target="_blank">enter at Apple's site along</a> with your product serial number</strong>. I did so, then received an email &quot;certificate&quot; confirming its validity from Apple. No actual box, as is often the case &mdash; but I encourage you to scrutinize each seller, for some offer this option at a higher cost.</p> <p>Does this mean you miss out on anything? Not really, since the TechTool Deluxe diagnostic suite, which would normally be bundled in the physical package, is a free download at Apple's site. You still need to burn it to DVD, which might be a problem if you're really not tech-savvy, but the software itself is included.</p> <h2>What's the real story here?</h2> <p>Unlike the distinctly more dubious world of iTunes gift cards, AppleCare is morally relaxed. I asked over a dozen discount AppleCare sellers how they managed to do it, the answers were consistent in most cases: they bought it in bulk and are passing the savings on. One fellow said:</p> <blockquote><p>We buy from dealers and other sources, some going out of business, some trying to reduce excessive inventories. Everything is 100% Apple, so no risk to you. We sell hundreds of these each month</p> </blockquote> <p>Another reinforced:</p> <blockquote><p>I buy in bulk so I recieve a better price that the average person. There are no limitations. Thanks for looking.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=8573481" target="_blank">Further research</a> also substantiates this, altho as is par for the course, there's the usual skepticism. There've also been <a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au/21/34657-cheap-applecare.html" target="_blank">academic situations</a> where teacher/student discounts are used. Outside of eBay, there are some strange sights, such as <a href="http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/showthread.php?t=1933301" target="_blank">this guy hawking bulk AppleCare from Singapore</a>, with the most thread self-bumps I've ever seen.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>I've had <strong>no problems with my cheap AppleCare coverage so far</strong>: I haven't had a troublesome incident to put it to the test, but I haven't received a notification from Apple nullifying my cert either.</p> <p>Provided that the eBay seller is backed by an excellent reputation as in my example, <strong>you could easily get AppleCare at a much lower price than face value</strong>. I only wish the same could be applied to the cost of Macs themselves. ;)</p> <p><em>Have you had an adventure in cheap AppleCare? Do share!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/torley-wong">Torley Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-cheap-applecare-on-ebay-be-trusted">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-be-the-best-customer">How to be the best customer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-mac-minis-beware-small-gains-at-a-big-price">New Mac minis: Beware small gains at a big price!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-save-money-on-ipads-iphones-and-macs">6 Ways to Save Money on iPads, iPhones, and Macs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-vs-ebay-where-to-sell-10-common-items">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/confessions-of-an-ebay-shoe-addict">Confessions of an eBay Shoe Addict</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance Shopping apple applecare eBay ipod Mac service support Warranty Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:39:43 +0000 Torley Wong 2818 at http://www.wisebread.com The Make You Wanna Holla Presentation http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Listen baby listen.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="116" height="115" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I can&#39;t speak coherently and I can&#39;t write at all -- let alone stay on topic.</font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal">&#160;</p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Subsequently, I’m already prepared for the electronic picket signs and the “haterific” rants about selling out, wasting time or &quot;dummy-it’s-called-an-I-pod&quot; responses.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Or maybe I’m just feeling myself and the readers of this post may indeed have imbibed their “acc-rite jooce,” before reading this, in which case I have nothing to worry about.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Today’s subject, kiddies, is how to throw a boss summer patio party or eclectic dinner party in the technological age - I mean really do it up – without digging in the crates.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">It occurred to me, shortly after myself and a then prospective female No. 1 companion were exchanging </font><a href="http://www.youtube.com/"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">YouTube</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> links and trading songs via e-mail. It was a veritable, “well, what do you know about this,&quot; contest where she hit me with everything from the soul stylings of Tyrone Davis to old recordings of Chicago and Muddy Waters. I put her up on Average White Band and hard-to-find Isley Brothers recordings as well as grooves from Marvin Gaye she never heard. Gotta love technology and what Roger Troutman would call &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBeUo9ahnfQ">Computer love</a>.&quot; </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The metaphoric Sylvania danced above my head. Party Time.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">The ingredients: a PC or MAC – laptop or desktop will do -- with a plug-in port for a large LCD screen or an up-to-date TV set and Internet access. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">I’m not inventing the wheel or even thinking up an original idea here but why get a Bose wave radio and thumb through your I-pod. Like the man James Brown says, “get involved, get into it.” </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">You can go from Beethoven to Coltrane to Snoop Dogg to Eric Clapton with a quick search without digging in the crates, calling XM Radio tech support or getting carpal tunnel syndrome setting up random music joints on a CD changer because the disc holder decided it doesn’t want to slide out for you. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Three keys to a YouTube party.</font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">1)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">One-Upmanship is the key. Find a unifying theme (i.e. Jazz Night, Vanilla Ice, Retrospective, Tantra, uh John Tesh anyone? ) Have fun wowing and surprising each other. </font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">2)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">B.Y.O.D (Bring your own document with the links to your jams already in it -- Excel and Word files will do).</font></font></p> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt 0.5in; text-indent: -0.25in; tab-stops: list .5in" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman"><span><font size="3">3)</font><span style="font: 7pt 'Times New Roman'">      </span></span><font size="3">Rotate, Rinse Repeat: (The host should have a list, where they designate a typist for 20 minute intervals to jot down their own jams. This is wilding out interactive style to elicit groans or “oh snap” reactions). </font></font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><br /> <p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt" class="MsoNormal"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">For you dweebie html-jocky hipsters who wear Converse All-Stars with tweed thrift shop pants (don&#39;t trip, I love the pants), here’s how you can save your links and </font><a href="http://performancing.com/wordpress-tips/wordpress-hacks-using-custom-fields-auto-embed-youtube-videos"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">embed</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> them for repeated use in a prepared file. </font></p> <p><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> </font><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">In a realm where the DJ is dead and many spend more time texting and e-mailing than talking, defeat the </font><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistance_is_futile"><font face="Times New Roman" size="3">Borg</font></a><font face="Times New Roman" size="3"> with a little bit of imagination. Plus if you&#39;ve got your joint on a reliably-fast free wireless network, it costs no money me hearties. </font></p> <p><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">Have fun, but just don’t let me see anymore headlines like this: <span><a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1565953/Family-beaten-after-YouTube-party-invitation.html">Family beaten after YouTube party invitation</a>. That situation -- where a “teenager was airlifted to hospital and his father left with a broken nose after 100 teenagers gate-crashed a party where an invitation appeared on YouTube – was unfortunate.</span></font></font><span><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">War is not the answer, only love can conquer hate. That’s Marvin from the 1971 title track to the seminal soul album “What’s going on?” You might want to get your game right before you try this at home.</font></font></span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jabulani-leffall">Jabulani Leffall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-make-you-wanna-holla-presentation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/throw-a-house-party-for-free">Throw a House Party for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Hack a Mac!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-end-of-youtube">Is this the end of YouTube?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary computer free link Mac party PC Snoop Dogg YouTube Tue, 22 Jul 2008 22:36:49 +0000 Jabulani Leffall 2256 at http://www.wisebread.com Hack a Mac! http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/apple.jpg" alt=" " width="256" height="192" /></p> <p>If you&#39;re like me, the closest you get to hacking anything is when you are allowed to carve the turkey at Thanksgiving. But lately, I&#39;ve been inspired to learn how to do all those techy things that my nerdy friends seem so good at. I&#39;m also a sucker for most Mac products, but I had heard bad things about AppleTV.</p> <p>So I was happy to see tech-lovin&#39; geeks at Wired Magazine publish a fun hack that <a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2007/04/appletvhacks_0406">turns AppleTV into a full-fledged computer</a>.</p> <p class="blockquote">Apple TV is dead, long live the Mac Nano. Sort of. Just two weeks after Apple released its streaming media box to the public, hackers successfully installed OS X, Apple&#39;s desktop operating system, on the $300 device, making it the cheapest PC Cupertino has ever sold.</p> <p>This hack takes some very <a href="http://www.semthex.com/">serious time and patience</a>, but man, a <a href="http://www.appletvhacks.net/">full-fledged Mac for $300</a>!</p> <p>Picture by <a href="http://www.morguefile.com/forum/profile.php?username=cohdra">Jane M. Sawyer</a>.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/troy-hadley">Troy Hadley</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hack-a-mac">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-ways-to-keep-big-brother-out-of-your-bidness">Free Ways to Keep Big Brother Out of Your Bidness</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-smart-ways-to-organize-old-photos">12 Smart Ways to Organize Old Photos</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-surprising-things-you-still-cant-do-online-in-2016">6 Surprising Things You Still Can&#039;t Do Online in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks AppleTV computer hacking Mac Mini online technology video Wired Fri, 06 Apr 2007 21:07:45 +0000 Troy Hadley 466 at http://www.wisebread.com