Review: OWC Data Doubler Kit For Mac Mini

The Mac mini is a great little machine if you’re just getting into OS X or if you’re a long time user. Because of the Mini’s small form factor, it can be used in a variety of situations, from the office to the home theater. Another nice thing about the Mac mini is how upgradable it is. While it may not look like it from afar, once you’re up-close and personal with the machine, you’ll realize how easy it is to swap drives and throw more RAM into the machine.

So, you’re thinking of upgrading your Mini’s hard drive. Sure, you could purchase a new drive and throw your old one into another computer or an external enclosure, but why not keep it in your Mini for extra storage? Even though this may seem like an impossible feat at first due to the Mini’s very small enclosure, it is actually quite possible.

When Apple designed the 2011 Mac mini, they removed the optical drive, making it identical to the server edition Mac mini. The Mac mini server sports two 500GB drive standard, enabling RAID and other dual-drive solutions. Because of this, the standard version of the 2011 and 2012 Mac mini have an extra empty 2.5″ hard drive bay which needs a few simple parts to be fully active and capable of connecting another drive to your Mac. While you can buy all of these parts individually and follow a seedy tutorial on YouTube, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to purchase all of the tools, parts as well as an installation guide at once? That’s where Other World Computing comes in with the Data Doubler.

OWC’s Data Doubler for the 2011-2012 Mac mini is an awesome little kit. For a penny under $40, the product includes all screw drivers, parts and tutorials you need to install a second drive in your Mac mini. Most importantly, the Data Doubler includes a custom made  SATA cable which attaches to your Mini’s motherboard. This adds a second SATA connection to be used with the mounted drive. The only thing not included is the actual drive which you’ll be installing, but you can purchase one from OWC if needed.

Now that you’ve purchased a Data Doubler kit and a secondary drive for your Mini, how difficult is the installation process? Upon first glance, it may be pretty intimidating as you have to take your Mini completely apart for installing the secondary drive. However, as long as you follow Other World Computing’s professional video guide, you shouldn’t have an issue with the installation. I installed the Data Doubler kit in my Mac mini in about 45 minutes by following OWC’s guide.

All in all, I highly recommend OWC’s Data Doubler kit for the Mac mini to the type of person who doesn’t mind taking their Mac apart. You can purchase the Data Doubler for 2011-2012 Mac mini via Other World Computing’s website for $39.99.

Upgrade To Windows 8 Pro For Only $19.99/Rs 1,999

Yesterday, Microsoft unveiled its much-awaited successor to Windows 7 – Windows 8. The company has been working hard on Windows 8 for the last few months, and aims to change how people use a computer with its new Modern UI, inspired from its own Windows Phone 7 UI.

Unlike Apple which usually charges around 20$ for its operating system upgrades, Microsoft is known to charge a couple of hundred dollars for a Windows license. Thankfully, with Windows 8, Microsoft has kicked off a new promotional campaign that will allow existing Windows XP, Vista or 7 users to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $19.99 or only Rs 1,999 for us Indians.

The promotional offer is, however, only valid from October 26th to 31st January, 2013 and is limited to five licenses per customer. Keep in mind that this promotional offer is only for users who already have a genuine license of Windows XP, 7 or Vista and are interested in upgrading to Windows 8. The full terms and conditions for the promotional offer and other information are available here.

If you got a new Windows based PC after June 2 with Windows 7 pre-loaded, you can upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99 or Rs. 700 INR. Head over to Windows Upgrade Offer to register yourself and get a Windows 8 Pro license copy for cheap.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS Update Pushed to 2012

If you were waiting for the PlayBook to get an update to OS2.0 before actually being useful, unfortunately you’ll have to continue waiting.

While RIM is going against all odds and continuing to provide support for the PlayBook, the shiny brick won’t be getting the expected update to OS 2.0 until February of 2012. It’s not the recently announced BBX, but it is supposed to be a fairly large upgrade for existing users. It wouldn’t be a product from Research in Motion if it didn’t ship missing crucial features, would it? Of course not, so it’s very fitting that RIM has decided to leave BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) support out of the update. That’s right, it’s going to take an additional 4 months of work before the system is polished up, but it still won’t have their proprietary instant messaging functionality. Feel free to purchase a new $500 (likely) BlackBerry to accompany your $700 PlayBook so you can use BBM with it. That’s a pretty good option, right?Maybe news of RIM doling out a couple of hundred PlayBooks loaded with OS 2.0 beta might make you feel better. Developers and any other DevCon attendees were given a new PlayBook. So, technical journalists, hobbyists and other random kids got them, but not paying customers. Members of the BlackBerry Early Access Program will also be getting closed betas of 2.0 shortly, this is mainly for tackling Enterprise support and integration.

In a post to the Inside BlackBerry Blog, Senior VP of BlackBerry PlayBook at RIM, David Smith gives a few reasons for the delay and lack of features upon launch.

First off, we have decided to defer the inclusion of the BBMâ„¢ application to a subsequent BlackBerry PlayBook OS release. We are committed to developing a seamless BBM solution that fully delivers on the powerful, push based messaging capabilities recognized today by BlackBerry ® users around the world and we’re still working on it. In the meantime, BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to continue to use BlackBerry ® Bridgeâ„¢ to securely access BlackBerry ® Messengerâ„¢ on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet’s high resolution display.

These betas will be rolled out over the course of this year and are an important next step to bringing our unmatched enterprise app deployment, device manageability, security and email integration capabilities to the tablet category.

There is a bit of good news in the tidbit. When OS 2.0 does pop around for download, it will bring integrated email, calendar and contacts. Your “business ready” tablet, isn’t exactly business ready at all, but it soon will be.

The software update will add advanced integrated email, calendar and contact apps, a new video store, as well as new functionality that will allow your BlackBerry smartphone and BlackBerry PlayBook to work together even better.

Hopefully this means a few software managers at RIM got slapped with a trout and are now starting to put actual work into the PlayBook. Their half-assed Android Player isn’t going to bring any new customers, so hopefully the brand spanking new OS, BBX, will make it to smartphones by February with the new PlayBook OS in tow.

Replace Outlook Express with Postbox Express

[Windows and Mac]

postbox-express-iconRecently, I’ve told you that people using Outlook Express should be switching to newer email clients. That’s because Outlook Express is old, it’s no longer supported by Microsoft, and it’s never going to improve. I’ve also written about several good replacements for OE. You can use Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Incredimail or any one of several other free email clients.

Yesterday, I tried a new free email client named Postbox Express. The installation of Postbox is easy and it also allows you to import the old email, contacts and settings from Outlook Express. Here’s a look at the main interface of Postbox.

postbox-express-app

As you can see, it’s very similar to the layout of Outlook Express. However, there are a few features in Postbox that might convince you to abandon OE.

One of my favorite features is the ability to view conversation threads. Emails with the same subject line are grouped and sorted by date, so you can easily see the history of a conversation. This is the feature that Gmail made popular in online email services.

If that doesn’t impress you, maybe you’ll be more fond of the ability to almost instantly search your entire email collection. You can use words, phrases or special searches, as shown in the image below.

postbox-express-search

One final feature I’ll mention, is the ability to post content from your email to Facebook, Twitter or FriendFeed. If you’re a frequent user of social networks, this may be your favorite feature. To send text from an email, just highlight it in the email, then click the Postpull-down menu and choose where to send it.

postbox-express-post-to-facebook

Postbox Express let’s you view your Folders and open email in tabs so that you don’t have to close a message to do other stuff.

You can also extend the functionality of Postbox Express through Add-Ons, or install language packs, such as German, French, Spanish (Spain), English (British), Italian, Dutch, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Swedish.

If you are curious to see Postbox in action, here’s a video.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Postbox Express (Windows & Mac)

Techie Buzz Verdict:

As you can see, Postbox Express has many more features than Outlook Express. It’s free but there is a paid version with even more cool features. For most home users, the free version is more than adequate.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

Replace Outlook Express with Incredimail

incredimail-iconYesterday, I told you why you should upgrade Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail. My main concern is that Outlook Express is old, and that it’s no longer supported by Microsoft. People will continue to have problems with OE, and it’s never going to improve. Almost any new email client would be better right now. So, if you don’t like Windows Live Mail, or Mozilla Thunderbird, you might like Incredimail.

What’s so great about Incredimail?

Many people might tell you that Incredimail was designed for teen-aged girls. However, it’s flexible and even the more conservative email users can enjoy it. Once you look past the eye-candy filled interface, you might agree.

Here’s what the website says about this free email client:

  • Send beautiful email backgrounds
  • Add 1000’s of fun emoticons to your emails
  • Enjoy animated email notifiers
  • See exciting 3D effects in your emails
  • Add funny animations to your emails
  • Add cool sounds to your email messages

Install and Setup

Once you’ve downloaded Incredimail and start the install, there’s one screen that I’ll warn you about. As you can see below, Incredimail offers to change your default search engine and install a search toolbar. I haven’t found anything bad about these additions, and it’s up to you if you want them. You can remove them by clicking the Custom Installationbutton, and unchecking the filled check-boxes.

incredimail-setup

Setting up your existing email accounts is easy. If you are already using Outlook Express, You can import your correct email account configuration. When I installed it, this happened automatically and Incredimail was ready to use immediately.

Here’s a quick preview of what the Incredimail client looks like while it’s running.

incredimail-interface

There are tons of ways to customize the emails that you send. Here’s one I sent to my wife.

incredimail-sent

If you’d like to learn more about Incredimail, check out this video.

arrow-down-double-3 Download Incredimail (WinXP, Vista, 7)


Upgrading your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Install to Ubuntu 10.10

Ubuntu 10.10 was released earlier today, and if you’re wondering how to upgrade your existing Ubuntu 10.04 install, here are couple of easy ways to do so.

  • Update manager

Ubuntu’s Update Manager should prompt you that a new distribution upgrade is available. If not, jus check if Ubuntu is configured to look for Long Term Support (LTS) releases only. To do this, Click on System -> Admininstration -> Update Manager. Next, click on Settings and change the “Show distribution releases” from “Long Term Support Releases only” to “Normal Releases”

Hit close, and start Update Manager again, click on check and it should prompt you to update to the newer version.

  • Via the command line

If you’re a command line junkie, the best way to upgrade is to open the Terminal and type in

sudo do-release-upgrade

The automated script will ask you few questions and upgrade your existing install to Ubuntu 10.10. Enjoy the new release!

Motorola’s Android Upgrade Schedule

One of the best things about Android is the constant OS updates. It has had about 5 major OS upgrades since its original launch. One of the worst things about using an Android phone is not knowing when your manufacturer will update your phone with the latest Android OS version.

Motorola seems to have understood this problem that many Android users have and has released a schedule of Android software upgrades for Motorola phones. It includes a list of all the major Android phones by Motorola (including the Droid X, Droid, Cliq, Devour, Backflip, Milestone and the Dext) with a list of countries and a timeline.

Motorola Android Upgrade Schedule

Motorola Android Upgrade Schedule

Source: Motorola via TNW

Dell Streak to Get Direct Upgrade to Android 2.2 Froyo in US

The Dell Streak has been available in the UK for over a month now, but it started shipping in the US only around the start of August. It received rave reviews and can be used both as a phone and a tablet.

The bigger 5 inch display offers a much better video viewing experience and also is more conducive to eBook reading. However, the only gripe I and many others have had with the Dell Streak is that it ships with the relatively ancient Android 1.6 while many other budget Android smartphones ship with Android 2.1 now. Phones like the Nexus One and the Droid 2 already have Android 2.2 Froyo running.

Dell Streak Android 2.2 Froyo Upgrade

Dell had earlier announced that the Android 2.1 upgrade for the Streak was coming soon but today, Lionel Menchaca, Chief Blogger for Dell Inc, tweeted that Dell plans to directly roll out the Android 2.2 Froyo upgrade for the Dell Streak. This is great news for those planning to buy the Streak as they won’t have to wait very long for the Froyo upgrade now.

Dell Streak

via Engadget

Upgrade to Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx from Karmic Koala

Upgrading to Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is quick and  easy. There are two methods available for the upgrade. You can either do it online or, you can use the Alternate Install CD from Ubuntu.

If you prefer to do it online, follow this step by step guide here. Though, if you do not have a reliable internet connection, a better option is to do it offline. To start with, get hold of the Alternate Install CD.

First  download the ISO from this location.  Now you have three options. Burn the Alternate CD ISO to a disk, transfer it to a thumb drive or mount the ISO locally.

If you choose the last option, mount the ISO with this command:

sudo mount -o loop /dir/ubuntu-10.04-alternate-i386.iso /media/cdrom0

Here “dir” is the path to which you have copied your Alternate Install CD ISO.

As soon as the mount is complete, a dialog will pop up asking you to upgrade. Complete the steps and let it install. This will upgrade your system to Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx LTS. Enjoy.

(Via: Webupd8)