Laptop Choices: Rain’s New LiveBooks

A LiveBook on the test bench at Rain Headquarters, photographed for CDM. One of the things that attracts me to computers: choice. So it’s worth noting that you do have choices when looking to laptops, PCs included. (This sounds like those lame “We know you have a choice in your travel plans” announcements you get on airplanes. Unlike those choices, though, these are genuinely different – thankfully.) So let’s cut straight to the chase: there is a choice between Mac and PC, and there are choices on PC that keep it competitive (to say nothing of Linux). If you’re looking …

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Apogee Confirms Compatibility with MacBook Pro FW800

As I’ve noted, unlike the new MacBook, the MacBook Pro revision retains FireWire, in the form of a FireWire 800 port. This does represent a switch to an NVIDIA chipset, so there may be new performance wrinkles with some interfaces. But it’s not the FW800 port per se you have to worry about. It gives you one less physical connector (previous MBPs had both a FW800 and FW400 port), but even the earlier models had just one bus for FireWire, shared between those two ports. There is a little bit of inconvenience there in that you need an adapter cable …

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Apple Chooses Form Over Function; Users and the Press Rebel

When is progress not progress? When looks come before use, and when you take one thing away without giving something else back, users respond. It turns out Mac users care about more than just aesthetics, whatever anyone tries to say. Photo: Ondra. It should have been another home run for Apple today. The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros look like absolutely gorgeous, brilliantly-engineered, environmentally-friendly machines. And for many, the fact they run Mac OS is all you need to know. I really do look forward to seeing one of these machines in person. But in case you haven’t caught on, …

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Whither, FireWire? What the New Apple Laptop Port Changes Mean for Audio

By now, you likely already know that Apple came out with new laptops today. I could talk about the new features at the existing price points or about how the new machines are very pretty, but you can easily find that elsewhere. Instead, I want to address some unfortunate details on the new laptops in terms of ports. After all, small details can make a big difference for audio users. For connecting drives, audio interfaces, MIDI devices, and the like, you get: MacBook Pro: Two USB 2.0 port, one FireWire800 port, one ExpressCard/34 slot MacBook: Two USB 2.0 ports MacBook …

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Apple to Intro New Notebooks: Touch Coming?

Apple is doing a live event to unveil new notebooks in Cupertino on Tuesday, confirms Engadget. It’s accompanied by one of the most unambiguous Apple teaser images ever, seen at right. (Guess they got tired of the overactive imagination of the rumor mill.) I expect this means one of two things: 1. Cosmetic changes, under-the-hood tweaks, don’t care that much. Hey, a pretty, new Apple laptop is all fine and good, don’t get me wrong. But PC notebook makers have in recent months rolled out new hardware improvements a lot faster than Apple, and often at a much lower price. …

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A Multi-Touch Interface for Ableton Live, with the New Lemur Firmware

If you could control your music with all of your digits, and get interactive feedback on a display, what would your setup look like? Expert Lemur user and software engineer Bryant Place has one such answer. It shows off just how much the Lemur’s software has evolved over a series of revisions, and reveals a bit of what can go into performing with Ableton Live. Photos/screens: Bryant Place. Used by permission. (Click for larger versions.) Side note: for a look at live touch interfaces with Native Instruments’ Reaktor, see our story for our NI minisite. To really understand how touch …

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Behind the Scenes with Justice in Rio

Here’s a unique chance to step onstage with electronic duo Justice – well, through photos, at least – on tour in Brazil. Behind a stack of Marshall Amps and other gear that looks ready to push back an invading horde of Barbarians with a battering ram, these two have some very lovely goodies for live laptop performance. No plain-vanilla DJ sets here. Our friend Fabio “FZero” writes: I came across some pictures of the gear Justice used to play in Rio. They were taken by a guy which works on Circo Voador (the place were they played) and uploaded to …

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Preview: Blue Snowflake, US$79 Portable USB Mic You Can Clip to Your Laptop

Blue’s Snowflake USB claims to be the "first portable USB microphone to hit the market." (I thought they were exaggerating, and then picked up the "USB" bit — okay, fair enough.) It’s just US$79, plug-and-play on Mac and Windows, bus-powered, and comes in a cute case that doubles as a stand or screen clip. Blue’s mics are quite nice — I’m just a little skeptical in terms of how this performs in terms of quality, given its bargain price and small size. Hope to get one of these to try out, and we’ll see. Oh yeah, that and it costs …

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Mac OS X 10.5.2: Music and Audio Problems on Apple Laptops? (Or Blame AirPort?)

Mac users can get passionate about running the latest and greatest. But it’s worth tempering that enthusiasm, as on any OS, with some healthy caution about your critical machines. Photo by Mark Pang. (Beautiful office, mate!) Apple’s "point" releases — those seemingly-harmless updates you get automatically in Software Update — do sometimes break stuff. I tend to ignore the updates until I’ve had a chance to confirm they’re okay. Case in point: it looks like 10.5.2 can result in glitchy audio on laptops. Native Instruments has an official statement out on the problem, but according to them, this issue can …

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MacBook Pro Revision: Big Santa Rosa Performance Boost, 4GB RAM Option, More

There’s a reason all these MacBooks have become a big hit with laptop musicians. Expect to see so many of them you get sick of seeing them. That’s why we strongly suggest customization, like making a new case out of mylar or something. Apple has unveiled its revised MacBook Pros today, with some subtle but significant improvements. I spoke to Apple a few minutes ago to get some of the details on what’s new. The new MacBook Pro includes new, faster CPUs and the Santa Rosa Intel architecture refresh to the Core 2 Duo, delivering 2.2GHz and 2.4GHz brains and …

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