iTunes / AppleTV movie rentals: a user point of view

At MacWorld in January 2008, Apple announced the shift from purchasing videos through iTunes to renting them (from the US store for now, with other countries to certainly follow). At the same time, they introduced updates to the software for iPods, iPhones and the Apple TV to make it all work together. And the other big news was the introduction of a digital copy on certain DVDs you can buy in stores (in North America). At about the same time, the “war” between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is (already? / finally?) coming to an end with the solution backed by Sony in the lead. Having (almost) all the devices that form the iTunes ecosystem, I needed to give it a try.
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MacBook Air Multi-touch trackpad + airplane power = Interferences?

Comfortably sitting on a 15+ hours Air Canada flight between Vancouver, Canada and Sydney, Australia, I was looking forward to experiencing my MacBook Air for a longer period of time. Good news, I got plenty of battery time (above 5 hours) with normal usage and with all wireless disabled.

But after 5+ hours of usage, I needed to recharge the battery. Good news, there was a 110V power plug in the seat, so I connect my power adapter. And then, I get a huge surprise… the multi-touch trackpad starts behaving in a very strange way… the cursor starts jumping across the screen, when in the finder, the desktop icons change sizes… and as soon as I disconnect the power, everything is back to normal. I was therefore able to watch a movie on the Air, but every time I needed to move the cursor, I had to disconnect the power cord first???

I will try this again on my flight back, and if the problem is still there, I will report the details to Apple. It sounds really strange that a sub-notebook designed for road-warriors could have problems when used in a typical scenario for the target audience.

Winterlude in Ottawa, 2nd year

As posted in my blog last year, people in Ottawa enjoy going outside when the temperature drops below -10 degrees Celsius. Winterlude, or should I say the celebration of Winter, this year is no exception to the rule. Today was a beautiful day here in Ottawa and provided for a great excuse to go and see the ice sculptures and the canal before the end of the “Bal des Neiges” as it is called in French.

Ice sculpture at Winterlude - Ottawa, ON

In addition to the great ice sculptures, local inhabitants go and skate on the canal… well, I’ll see next year if I want to give it a try again. It’s been so long that I haven’t skated on ice that I’m not sure if I could actually still stand straight.

Ice skating on the canal - Ottawa, ON

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