We’ve all seen the laptop hunters in action over the past several weeks and though you may not have noticed it at first, these ads represent a significant shift in tactics. The new marketing campaign by Microsoft takes a much less passive aggressive stance than in the past, and for the first time, charges head on into their primary competitor. In the previous campaign which featured a diverse group of actors claiming to be PC’s, Apple is never specifically mentioned, but clearly if you’re not a Mac you’re a PC right?
Microsoft’s strategy up to this point has been to ignore Apple completely, and to never give them the satisfaction of being acknowledged publically as a valid alternative to Windows. This new campaign is much less subtle about the value of a PC when compared to a Mac, and it is not surprising that they have invoked a response from Apple as a result.
According to an Apple spokesman “The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price." So close, yet so far”. Certain publications such as BusinessWeek would also have us believe that Anti Virus software and Geek Squad visits will make up the price difference between a $699 HP & a $2,800 Mac, but we don’t buy that argument either. One thing is certain however; we can likely expect Apple’s next ad campaign to respond in kind, making this the start of a very interesting and public war between the two rivals.
Redmond's ad writers drew blood with their first Laptop Hunters ad: "Congrats, Lauren. It's a PC," last month. They've wasted little time in following it up. This time, it's the guys' turn, and a little higher budget's in the offing: Giampaolo goes shopping for a powerful laptop under $1500. We watch him check out the stats, the keyboards, and hear him dismiss the Mac platform: "Macs, to me, are more about the esthetics, not the computing power." In the end, Giampaolo snags a Windows Vista-based laptop for about $1100. The tag line this time? "It's a PC because I'm really picky."
You can check out (Silverlight required) the continuing Laptop Hunters series at Microsoft's TV commercials website (including last year's painful "Mojave Experiment" and unbearable Gates & Seinfeld misfires). We like the Laptop Hunters commercials, but how about you? If you're on the Mac versus PC fence, do they push you off the fence? If you have Mac-loving friends or family members, what do they think? Join us after the jump for your chance to spill.
Microsoft's fourth attempt at an ad campaign may finally deliver a worthwhile message to consumers. The latest has nothing to do with Jerry Seinfeld and chewy computers (attempt one) or unattended 8-year-olds hooking up digital cameras to a notebook and declaring "I'm a PC" (attempt two), and then there's the Mojave Experiment (attempt three). Instead, Microsoft's newest ad takes aim at Apple by pointing out the gross pricing disparity between a Mac and a Windows-based PC.
In the ad, a young woman named Lauren says she's looking for a laptop with "speed, a comfortable keyboard, and a 17-inch screen" for under $1,000. Microsoft tells her if she can find it, she can keep it. Lauren's first stop? An Apple Store:
"For $1,000 they only have one computer available and that's a 13-inch screen," Lauren says. "I would have to double my budget, which isn't feasible. I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person."
After later finding an HP Pavilion that "has all of my qualifications" for $700, the ad flashes "Congrats, Lauren. It's a PC."
Well played, Microsoft. And also well timed.
View the video here then hit the jump and tell us if you like Microsoft's new ad campaign.
The internet has been rife with rumors of an Apple netbook. Another unconfirmed report has joined this unabated procession of rumors. According to a report on the website of Smarthouse, a prominent technology publication from down under, Apple has a functioning netbook prototype.
The magazine’s source at LG, Korea also claimed that the netbook will be produced in Taiwan and will feature a LG OLED screen. But our abstruse friends at Engadget have pointed out that the author of this particular Smarthouse report, David Richards, has a history of fanning rumors bereft of any logic. So do take this with a pinch of salt.
Perhaps feeling confident from its first legal victory last month in its ongoing legal battle against Apple for selling Mac clones that allegedly violate the Mac OS X end-user license agreement, Psystar is far from waving the white flag and is instead waving another Mac clone it claims is "Smaller, Faster, and Sexier."
The baseline configuration for the Open (3), as it's being called, includes Intel's Core 2 Duo E7200 processor (upgradeable to a quad-core Q8200 CPU), 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM, a 500GB hard drive, 20X DVD burner, GeForce 8400GS videocard with 256MB video memory, 802.11n WiFi, and much to the chagrin of Apple, Mac OS X Leopard v10.5.
"We are making the Open Computer a better fit for our users' environments in more ways than one," said Rudy Pedraza, Psystar president. "The smaller size will definitely make it easier to place in a home or small office but, at the same time, the increased performance will allow it to easily take the place of traditionally-sized machines. Core2Quad processors greatly enhance performance in computationally-intense applications such as 3D rendering and movie editing. A quad-core in a desktop that is under four inches thick is the direct result of the feedback we've received from the public."
With the release of the Open (3), Psystar has phased out the mini-tower for a "slim form-factor" the company claims is 47 percent smaller.
Hard drive encryption sounds like an intimating concept, mostly because it is. The thought of taking your precious files, then using a mathematical formula to convert them into random noise before scattering them back across your disk is a hard sell. The harsh reality is, mobile computing is on the rise, and so is laptop theft. Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 500,000 to over 1,000,000 laptops are lost or stolen in the US each year. In some cases, the data on the hard drive is often more valuable than the machine itself.
To determine if disk encryption is something you should be considering, simply ask yourself if your PC contains anything you wouldn’t want posted publically on the internet. If the answer to this is yes (and I assume for most of us it is) then encryption is worth considering.
The good news is, you no longer need to be a member of the CIA to lock down your machine with government level encryption.In fact, one of the most highly regarded and powerful encryption tools available is both free, and open source (our favorite combination!) True Crypt allows you to protect either all your data, or only what you choose. You can mask your boot drive and sensitive documents, while leaving your games or other non generic data in the clear. While no encryption process is without risk, True Crypt is designed to put your mind at ease, and takes no chances with your data. The process can be reversed at any time even without being able to boot into windows.
So if your ready to get started click the jump to learn step by step how to protect your data.
As it turns out, those of us responsible enough to have a computer generally aren’t responsible enough to keep ourselves safe online. Sure, we might get Norton or McAfee at checkout, but that’s generally the easiest step to take. When it comes to surfing the net, if the browser doesn’t update automatically, we probably won’t take the time to update it on our own.
At least, that’s what a study by a pair of Swiss academics and a Google employee revealed. The study, which ran Google results from January 2007 to April 2008, revealed that as a general whole PC users are reluctant to swap software. The swap from IE6 to 7 came gradually, with a primary boost from sales of new PCs with Windows Vista (and IE7) preinstalled. Mac users “seemed more willing to live on the cutting edge, as the Safari 3 beta release was accompanied by a major jump.”
To security conscious users Mozilla’s Firefox came out on top. Its self-updating nature made it a favorite, opposed to others like Opera, which have an update that basically functions as a manual download followed by a new install.
The analysis suggests that most users of web browsers aren’t filled with thoughts of Internet security, but rather with thoughts of convenience. If you’re interested in checking out the study for yourself, you can be sure to check it out in its entirety, here.
Wired’s Brian Chen was smacked with a cease-and-desist not long ago for his video depicting how to turn your netbook into a hackintosh.
The video, which gave an exact step-by-step tutorial about how to put OS X onto a netbook, (with trips to The Pirate Bay included) has since been taken down off of Wired’s Tech Lab. However, you can still check it out over at Gizmodo, who’s sticking it to the man hasn’t run them into any evident danger as of yet.
Apple’s exact complaint about the video hasn’t been printed anywhere, so that is something that we might not ever get to find out, but what we do know is that the video is mighty thorough! And it only clocks in at about four minutes, so why not watch it?
It's not always easy debating the merits of a Mac versus a PC, especially if you're a Mac user. Things tend to get ugly rather quickly, and before you know it, Mac users are telling us to shut our damn pie-holes, in which we, the PC users, respond by calling our Mac brethren whiny losers before laying the smack down.
But while both sides present intelligent arguments such as the ones above, supplemented with entertaining commercials with celebrity OS pitchmen, the real question remains: If Macs and PCs could become Transformers, which side would win in a fight?
Digital media designer Nick Greenlee is glad that you asked and has created a wicked sick high definition video of a Mac and PC going head to head. Motion capture animation, HDRI, and 3D compositing galore, Greenlee's short film won Best Compositing at Artimation 2008.
Check it out here, then post your smack talk below.
For the first time in… ever, Apple has gone ahead and crushed a rumor. Specifically, about the possibility of there being new Macs before the holidays.
A (previously) circulating rumor about the chances of a new Mac mini or iMac being released before this upcoming holiday season has been debunked by Apple spokesman Bill Evans. Evans, clearly being a man of few words, simply stated, “our holiday lineup is set.”
Translation; this isn’t Apple pulling anyone’s chain. If you’re looking to buy someone a shiny new toy from the Cupertino giant, go right ahead. They’re not going to risk making the Apple faithful or new switchers mad by releasing a new version of a product right after they’ve finished their holiday shopping, so put your mind (but not your wallet) at ease.