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Adamo Ex Pee Es.

Dell Adamo XPS Notebook

Say hello to the Dell Adamo XPS.

Dell have been teasing tech journos with titbits for a while now, but they’ve finally revealed everything and announced the machine will be available (in the US, at least) before Christmas. The specs turn out to be “the usual” for a laptop that is so very, very thin (1.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, GS45 integrated graphics, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, no optical drive and Windows7) but it does have a couple of special tricks. The first and most obvious is that uniquely positioned hinge. The hardware is kept as slim as possible by having the body drop out of the “lid” half and by mounting the hinge part-way up the machine, the Dell designers have gifted the user both an elevated keyboard position and an in-built “laptop cooler”. The other piece of “fancy” employed by the Adamo XPS is the screen latch – there is no physical switch, button or latch but rather section of the lid is touch-sensitive and pops open when stroked. Geek heaven.

Sadly, this geek isn’t taken in by the Adamo XPS. First off, i’d be too worried about that electronic latch system failing – it wouldn’t be too hard to envisage a situation where you can’t get the thing to open, or indeed keep it closed. Also, how do you use this laptop atop your lap with its strange design? I mean, it’d be possible but would it actually be comfortable for any stretch of time? I can’t imagine so. Finally, for a machine carrying the Adamo badge, it shares little styling with the original Adamo and, i think, looks very cheap by comparison. I wasn’t too enamoured with the original Adamo but the XPS makes that computer looks like design gold.

Dell must be applauded for trying to do things a little bit differently to the rest of the Windows PC market but on this occasion i’m not convinced.

Update: Not sure how it was possible, but I forgot to mention the Adamo XPS’ claimed battery life is a little over two and a half hours. We all know how to take manufacturer’s battery life claims with a pinch of salt. So, what can we expect in the real world? About 2 hours? Pathetic.

Update #2: It seems Dell had some other fancy ideas for the Adamo XPS. See SlashGear’s report on the prototypes.

Digital Mockups.

Apple fanaticism breeds a lots of rumours but those which have an associated digital mockup always cause much more of a stir amongst the Mac-nuts.

I think i’ve mentioned on here before now – they produce some great mockups on occasion – but i’ve just discovered another site that maybe does an even better job of it. Check out New Species Apple Laboratory.

Blogger Isamu Sanada has produced some great designs but i think my favourite has to be his re-imagined Mac Mini

Mac Mini 081120

On the Apple Magic Mouse.

Last week there was a great deal of interest in Apple’s freshly unveiled MacBook and new 27-inch iMac but, from where i was sitting at least, it seemed most excitement was generated by Apple’s Magic Mouse. This new pointing device adheres to Apple’s unwritten law that a mouse should only have a single physical button …but then actually provides a modern, multi-button device via its multi-touch surface. Trés fancy.

Magic Mouse on desk

Anyway, like i said, the tech world seemed to get pretty excited about the Magic Mouse1 but now it’s finally out in the real world it seems it doesn’t quite meet expectations (or should that be “live up to the hype”?).

The Reg reckons the multi-touch gestures aren’t upto much and you need long fingers to enjoy the mouse properly anyway, Leander Kahney over at Cult of Mac finds the thing frustrating, as the multi-touch isn’t similar enough to that used in Apple’s notebooks and Jon Hicks isn’t that convinced either.

To be honest, I can’t say i’m surprised with these reactions. Upon it’s unveiling i did admire the Magic Mouse’s styling but was a little concerned that the multi-touch functionality wasn’t all it should have been. I haven’t had a hands-on with the device yet but when i do i expect, like Leander, i’ll struggle with having to use one finger for scrolling (i’m used to using two on my MacBook trackpad) and find the combination of trackpad and mouse a little confusing.

Of course I may find it sublime and wish i’d waited before publishing this post.

Update: Since writing this piece I have had a quick play with the Magic Mouse. Sadly the iMac it was hooked up to was pretty bare and had no internet access (what a great way to demo machines, John Lewis!) , so i had very few documents to test out the new mouse with. However, i did what i could and discovered:

  • One finger does scroll but you can use two fingers. I guess it isn’t fussy about the number of digits you use. (phew!)
  • Sideways scrolling seemed a bit flakey. (Although thinking about it now, maybe that was because i was using 2 fingers?)
  • You have to lift your fingers off the mouse surface in order for a “right click” to register. This was a complaint often aimed at the Mighty Mouse, which the Magic Mouse replaces. Clearly Apple doesn’t see this as a problem.
  • MacBook trackpads can be setup to “click” without physically depressing the trackpad button. I was disappointed to find that you can’t setup the mouse like this. A tap-to-click option makes sense to me but obviously not to Apple’s engineers.

All-in-all, I was a little disappointed with the Magic Mouse. Don’t get me wrong, if you get one with the new iMac you won’t be throwing it away in disgust – there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just that there’s nothing really special about it. Maybe if more gestures can be added with future software/firmware updates then i might change my mind.

  1. I can’t be arsed to produce examples/sources. Just go back to 20th October in the archives of any Mac/Tech news site, blog or Twitter feed and you’ll undoubtedly see the sort of giddiness i’m referring to. 

Underfoot. Again.

You may recall that a few weeks ago i revealed my idea to generate electricity by harnessing human foot-falls but also how the POWERleap project had beaten me to it (unsurprisingly). Well today i discovered i was doubly unoriginal, as somebody else is doing the same sort of thing. Say hello to British company Pavegen Systems Ltd, who already have test sites out in London.

This idea must have legs1.

  1. Don’t you dare groan. 

FAT32 formatting in Windows XP.

Ever noticed that the Disk Management tool in Windows XP won’t let you format your external hard drives or USB flash drives with the FAT32 filesystem? Annoying isn’t it? In the past when i’ve wanted to avoid having to do an NTFS format i’ve resorted to a Linux LiveCD to do FAT32. That’s a bit of a faff though, so i was quite relieved when i happened across “SwissKnife” and “FAT32format” today. Both are free tools for formatting >32gb disks with the FAT32 filesystem under Windows.

I’ve only tried (the GUI version of) FAT32format so far but it worked perfectly and the “quick format” option was, well, very quick on the 80gb drive i tested with. Can’t ask for more really.