2009 was a great year for Apple. Apple experienced record growth in revenue and profit regardless of the most serious downturn in the economy in a generation. While not recession-proof, Apple has shown that it doesn’t hurt to have the hottest products on the planet even when the planet’s financial system is being stressed. January […]

Read More

2009 was a great year for Apple. Apple experienced record growth in revenue and profit regardless of the most serious downturn in the economy in a generation. While not recession-proof, Apple has shown that it doesn’t hurt to have the hottest products on the planet even when the planet’s financial system is being stressed.
*January* – The last year of Apple’s presence at Macworld Expo in January. The show had an aura of finality to it and even though there is a Macworld again this year in February, there will be no Apple presence at the show. This year iLife ’09 was released with great new features that made it a compelling upgrade, especially for iPhoto. iWork ’09 was also released as well as a new 17-inch MacBook Pro.
*February* – Apple updated the entire range of Mac desktops with new iMacs, new Mac Pros and new Mac minis. Apple also updated the Time Capsule and AirPort Extreme with simultaneous Dual-Band WiFi.
*March* – Apple introduces the tiny 4GB iPod shuffle! Later in the month Apple introduced iPhone 3.0 software.
*April* – Apple introduces new Xserves with Intel Nehalem processors. They also announced the end of DRM for iTunes and introduced variable pricing for songs. Apple announced their financial results for the quarter with an astounding $1.21 billion in profit.
*June* – Apple introduces new MacBook Pros including the new 13-inch MacBook Pro. They also released the iPhone 3GS updated phone.
*July* – New versions of Final Cut Studio and Logic are released and Apple’s financial report indicates another $1.3 Billion in profit on spectacular Mac and iPhone sales. Steve Jobs is out sick and Tim Cook announced that “The Mac has now outgrown the market a staggering 18 of the last 19 quarters.”
*August* – Another update to the Time Capsules pushing the storage to a large 2TB! Snow Leopard is released at just $29 for the upgrade and the Mac Box set with Snow Leopard, iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 is released, too.
*September* – iPods! The iPod touch goes down in price and up in features and capacity, the iPod nano adds a video camera, the iPod shuffle adds colors and more choices in capacity and the iPod classic is moved from 120GB to 160GB without a price increase. To coincide, iTunes 9 is released.
*October* – Apple crushes the street again posting their most profitable quarter, ever, with a profit of $1.67 Billion. Apple sold more Macs and iPhones than any quarter. To complete the product offerings for 2009 Apple also released a slew of new products and updates.
iMacs were updated and the beautiful 27-inch wide screen iMac was introduced along with a new unibody white MacBook. Apple brought out the new Magic Mouse and even a new Apple remote. They updated the Mac mini again and introduced a server version of the Mac mini bundled with Snow Leopard server for only $999. Time Capsules were updated again, too.
*November and December* – not a time for product announcements but a time for sales and all signs point to another amazing holiday quarter for Apple with their common stock hovering around $200/share.

Read More

I decided that my old Ogio bag was getting a bit long in the tooth and ragged in the seams so I asked our friends over at Brenthaven to give me a case to test. We have recently added the Brenthaven x-ray-friendly bags to our selection so the ProStyle II-XF seemed like a good choice.
Harvey Stone, the owner of Brenthaven is renowned in Apple circles for his energetic presentations at Apple Specialist conferences. He likes to put his laptop in one of his bags and then to the gasps of the audience, drop it from heights or toss it across the room. He obviously has a lot of confidence in the construction and protection offered by his products. (Harvey is apparently also an expert at making animal noises, but I have yet to hear his imitation of a hippo.)
The way an x-ray-friendly bag works is that it has a separate section for the laptop that can be spread out in the belt without taking the computer out. Since it is the only thing that is in that compartment, it cannot shield anything else (which is the reason that TSA wants you to take your computer out of your bag).
Brenthaven also has a “zero impact” policy in which they promise to invest in Green projects to offset any impact their products have on the environment. That certainly fits well with Small Dog’s commitment to planet!
The bag itself features high quality construction with high density foam to protect your computer, a great ergonomic shoulder strap and plenty of pockets and compartments. I find the bag to be very comfortable to carry and it definitely keeps its shape much better than my older bag.
The best part was walking through the lines at the airport without having to get an extra grey tray and take out my MacBook Air every time I went through the security lines. Brenthaven offers a lifetime warranty on their products and I can wholeheartedly recommend their ProStyle II-XF.
“See it here!”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/75043

Read More

#10 – “iPod touch 32GB”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/74515 – The top hand-held gaming and information appliance with lots of room for your music and video collection!
#9 – “3M MPro120 Portable Projector”:http://www.smalldog.com/specials/74853 – This tiny projector can display video or photos from your computer or with the included cable you can show them from your iPhone or iPod Touch (a perfect companion to gift # 10 above). It is battery powered with 2-4 hours of battery life. Stick it on its end to show movies on the ceiling while you lay horizontal!
#8 – “Chill Pill Audio’s Chill Pill mobile speakers”:http://www.smalldog.com/search/?s=1&find=chill+pill&refinecat=Audio%7CSpeakers – This is the gift of the year and the perfect stocking stuffer. Available in Black, Silver, Red or Blue, the Chill Pill is the ultimate in portable speakers. Think of your kid’s transformers and watch while this compact device separates into two powerful speakers with integrated retractable cables and a long-life rechargeable battery.
#7 – “27-inch Wide Screen iMac”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/74722 – With 4GB of RAM, a one Terabyte drive and the new Apple Magic Mouse, this is one awesome Mac for the home. Watch movies, surf the net, do graphic design, balance your checkbook all on the beautiful widescreen 27″ display.
#6 – “AppleCare for anything”:http://www.smalldog.com/applecare – Give the most precious gift of peace of mind with AppleCare. AppleCare for a Mac extends the 1-year hardware warranty to three years but equally important it extends the free technical support from Apple from 90-days to three years, too!
#5 – “Time Capsule 1TB”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/74733 – You need this device! It gives you all of the advantages of a state-of -the -art wireless access point with simultaneous dual-band 802-11n but also gives you a 1TB wireless backup unit so that you can take full advantage of Time Machine’s automatic back-ups.
#4 – “MacBook Pro 13-inch”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19640/ – This compact aluminum unibody MacBook Pro combines power and versatility. If you buy this MacBook Pro and AppleCare we will ship it for free and you will have your choice of an all-in-one HP Printer for __free__ after rebate or a 500GB LaCie back-up drive for only $20. __Note: this promo is good with *any* Mac and AppleCare purchase!__
#3 – “MacBook 13-inch”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19637/ – Save a few bucks and get this MacBook with white polycarbonate unibody construction.
#2 – “TruPower IV for the iPhone”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/73133 – This cool device is always in my bag. Not only does it provide you with a back-up battery for your iPhone but it is one of the few that will also charge your iPhone. Not only that but it also will let you charge another USB device and includes a flash for your iPhone camera!
#1 – “iPod nano 16GB in Purple”:http://www.smalldog.com/product/74506 – Yes, it must be purple! The iPod nano now features a video camera to take those spur of the moment videos while you rock out to your tunes. It also has a built-in FM radio if you want to listen to NPR.
See all gifts at “Smalldog.com/holiday!”:http://www.smalldog.com/holiday

Read More

Dear Friends,

I’m happy to greet you for this bonus issue of Best in Showroom, our fastest growing e-newsletter. We will be holding our annual Customer Appreciation Pre-Holiday Sales Event this coming weekend, November 21-22 at our retail stores in South Burlington and Waitsfield (Saturday only). I told the readers of our main newsletter, Kibbles & Bytes, that we have some specials that will make them wish they lived in Vermont (check out the deals in the column on the right)!

I was on a panel at the recent VBSR Fall Conference that discussed “What makes a business friendly state?”, and I’ve been creating jobs in Vermont for over 35 years, so maybe I have some experience here! We heard a drumbeat from others that the state is not business-friendly but I would contend otherwise. I spoke about our accessible government—there is no other place in the USA where you can drive up to the state house, park right in front and walk in and talk to your neighbors who are part-time legislators (or perhaps even say hello to the governor in the hallway!). We also have the most loyal and hardworking workforce in the USA and frankly, some of the best customers in the world, too!

Did you know that Customer Satisfaction is the basis of a huge percentage of Small Dog Electronics incentive compensation? We know that our livelihood comes from you, our loyal customers, so we use your satisfaction to reward our employees. It works much better than commissions, which we do not have because we feel that all Small Dog employees share in each sale. We pledge to do our best to exceed your expectations and provide simply the very best in customer service. Our employees are empowered to make sure you are happy with your purchases and we hope that you leave our stores, tell your friends and neighbors about the great shopping experience and then come back again!

I will see you at the sale event this coming weekend, please stop in and check out the special values we have put together exclusively for our local customers.

Don (Hammerhead and Fantail!)
don@smalldog.com

Read More

I am pretty fussy with my pointing devices so when the new Apple Magic Mouse appeared in the warehouse, Jaime was quick to set one aside for me. My initial first impression was that the packaging is spectacular. The iPod-like plastic case showcased the Magic Mouse as a slick, sci-fi device that would fit right […]

Read More

I am pretty fussy with my pointing devices so when the new Apple Magic Mouse appeared in the warehouse, Jaime was quick to set one aside for me. My initial first impression was that the packaging is spectacular. The iPod-like plastic case showcased the Magic Mouse as a slick, sci-fi device that would fit right in on the deck of the Starship Enterprise.
I stopped ogling the packaging and was pleased to see that batteries were included and installed. There is a small latch to get to the battery compartment on the bottom and it takes two AA batteries. When the alkaline batteries die, I will replace them with lithium AAs which tend to last about 3-4 times longer.
I activated the Magic Mouse by moving the little on-off switch to the on position and then using the Bluetooth assistant to locate and connect to the mouse. It worked great as a nice lightweight mouse, but the scrolling and other features did not work. I noticed that the Mouse preferences did not have any reference to the Magic Mouse either, so I concluded that I needed to download software. Luckily, the Apple Wireless Mouse Update was waiting for download at the Software Update panel. *You will need to download this 67MB file and restart your Mac to activate all the Magic Mouse features.*
Once I had updated my software, the Magic Mouse was fully functional and I could right click, left click, scroll horizontally and vertically and swipe with two fingers left or right to navigate. I have to say that I am hooked. I love the Magic Mouse. I am getting used to the feel and know that in a few days the mouse will feel like an extension of my hand with flowing motions and easy navigation.
The Mouse system preference panel now supports the Magic Mouse and lets you customize the tracking, scrolling and double-click speeds. It also will allow you to set the right click to the right or left, set scroll with or without momentum (I love momentum!) and gives options for screen zooming with the control, command or option key held down. I also allows you to toggle two-finger navigation (why would you turn that off?). The panel also has a video demonstrating each of these features and a battery meter so you know when to change the batteries on the Magic Mouse.
Kali keeps trying to convince me to give up the Magic Mouse so she can have it but no way–this is now my pointing device of choice!
__Editor’s note: When the cat is away, the mice will play…__

Read More

*START SOAPBOX*
As I watch the battle over health care reform play out in Congress and on the airways, I am struck with how much of this debate is driven by greed. In this case, it is the greed of the health insurance companies that are fighting tooth and nail to protect the 30% of our health care dollars that go to the insurance companies. If you look at the voting records on health insurance reform, the lines are clear. Those that get lots of campaign contributions from the insurance companies tend to vote against the “public option” and those that get smaller contributions see the value if keeping those same insurance companies honest with a competitive public option.
Then there are the battling commercials, the surreptitious funding of protests by insurance company groups and literally hundreds of lobbyists trying to influence policy. None of our legislators is willing to stand up and say “I oppose the public option because the insurance companies have given me the huge bucks and I need the money” but the obfuscation of the true issues is apparent to anyone who looks closely.
According to analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, the 15 lawmakers to vote against the public option amendment offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller received $69,137 more, on average, from the insurance industry since 1989 than the eight who voted for it. The 13 lawmakers who voted against another public option amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer received $93,177 more, on average, from insurers since 1989 than the 10 who voted for it.
Even those who oppose the public option will grant that there is a pressing need for health insurance reform. The train is coming in the tunnel, so the option of doing nothing doesn’t work; the current thing we call a health care system is failing. With annual double-digit increases in premiums, well over the rate of inflation or wages, it is simply unsustainable to stand pat.
At Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, we have annually polled our members about health care and one of the most compelling signs of decay in the current “system” is that 75% of our members (generally businesses that DO provide health insurance to their employees) have made changes to their policies in the past year that have either increased the cost to the employees, dropped coverage, moved to high-deductible plans or otherwise made changes to reduce the employer’s contribution to health insurance. The payer of last resort for health insurance now is employer-funded health insurance. When the uninsured are provided care, the cost is shifted onto the big pool of private insurance and with that cost increasing and the pool decreasing we are facing a fiscal and a health-care time bomb.
The opposition is not pulling any punches. I got involved in a discussion on Facebook based upon a friend’s post about health care and all I had to say was that I was an advocate of a publicly-funded universal health care system and you would not believe the names I got called from people who didn’t even know me. I was called a socialist (I had to remind everyone that in fact, I am a capitalist entrepreneur), a communist and a nazi. The polarization has made dialog and compromise almost meaningless. I think this polarization is dangerous not only to civil dialog and good lawmaking but it is polarizing beyond the legislature.
Some have seen this as an opportunity to push other agendas as well. I was shocked to learn that there was a coordinated attack on women’s reproductive freedom with a move to restrict even private insurance policies from providing funding for abortions. Women’s health including reproductive freedom as established by the constitution and the supreme court should not be the issue as we discuss how to create a more intelligent health insurance system.
There is a parallel with climate change legislation. Stay with me on this one. In both cases, we have experts who can see dire consequences if we do not take action. With health care, it is a system on the verge of collapse; with climate change, it is global warming and all the negative impacts on our planet and economy. In both cases, it is powerful special interests with huge war chests that prevent comprehensive and effective action. In both cases, we must break through this partisan gridlock and find common ground.
While you do not have to guess my position on either of these critical issues, I think that the key to breaking the gridlock on a long term basis is true campaign finance reform. We must get the big bucks out of our elections so that large special interests do not control the agenda but that the will of the people does.
*END SOAPBOX*
Have comments? “Weigh in on this subject here.”:http://blog.smalldog.com/article/get-greed-out-of-legislation/


__Image source:__ “Will Blog For Food”:http://willblogforfood.typepad.com/

Read More

As I watch the battle over health care reform play out in Congress and on the airways, I am struck with how much of this debate is driven by greed. In this case, it is the greed of the health insurance companies that are fighting tooth and nail to protect the 30% of our health […]

Read More

AppleCare is one of the most outstanding values that Apple has to offer. While Apple products are among the most reliable in the world, mechanical and electrical things do fail from time to time. Apple only provides a 1-year warranty to help keep prices low but offers AppleCare to increase that hardware warranty to three years. Almost anything that will fail in your new Mac will cost more than the cost of AppleCare should it fail outside of the 1-year warranty. That should be reason enough to buy AppleCare but wait, there’s more!
Your new Mac purchase comes with 90 days of free technical support from Apple. This includes support for Apple operating system software, iLife or iWork or connecting to printers and wireless networks. After those 90 days, Apple technical support will ask for your credit card before they will talk to you for any incidents. AppleCare takes that 90-days and extends it to 3 years! This is a fantastic value and gives you peace of mind that you have Apple’s award-winning technical support locked in for the whole three years.
I feel so strongly that AppleCare is a great value that we are having a one-week sale for *Kibbles & Bytes readers only* to reward our subscribers with something that really matters. You haven’t seen prices this low for AppleCare before and we are unlikely to do it again, so if you are on the fence about buying this protection for your Mac, I hope this pushes you over!
*Kibbles & Bytes Exclusives:*
“Save $30: AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac mini”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19412/at_kb
“Save $35: AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19413/at_kb
“Save $45: AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac Pro”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19414/at_kb
“Save $45: AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook, MacBook Air, 13-in MacBook Pro”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19415/at_kb
“Save $70: AppleCare Protection Plan for 15/17-in MacBook Pro”:http://www.smalldog.com/wag19416/at_kb
__Offers end Thursday, 9/3. Valid through this link only.__

Read More