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October 5th, 2010

Beginning in 1997, the annual Intel Developer Forum (IDF) has been one of the premier platforms for all manner of “emerging technologies.” From the explosion of Wi-Fi to the latest dual-core processors in PCs, leading trends at IDF often end up as mainstream products within a year or two. Still, the job of Crystal Ball Gazer is a tough one.

TechRepublic is a great Web site, full of real experts that dispense a bounty of wisdom. In September 2007, the site ran an article on the IDF conference entitled “Tech Sanity Check,” which noted “four important trends that IT professionals should keep an eye on over the next two years.” Since we all engage in a bit of prognosticating now and then, we look back (in a 2-part blog) on the 2007 predictions to remind us not only how difficult it is, but how creatively unpredictable human beings (and progress) can be.

1. Cleaner and greener

An entire section of IDF’s 2007 Technology Showcase was devoted to planet-friendly technologies, from “energy-sipping CPU chips [to] technology recycling programs.” Improvements in power management are already on board in many of CRE’s LCD Monitor Rentals , and display technology is leading the way in energy saving and green design. Among the other trends mentioned were small, disposable and recyclable fuel cells. We’d carry around small power packs for our phones and digital gear, perhaps even enjoying wireless charging.

Some progress has actually been made in these areas, but fuel cells are still in the future somewhere. Still, there is momentum building. Producers of “green events” and managers of green convention centers use tons less paper now, and recycle with near-religious zeal, while PCs and other devices use less and less power to do more and more things. Battery technology is another bright spot, and Apple has joined the ranks of firms with enviro-friendly policies and manufacturing techniques.

2. The pocket PC

At the 2007 IDF, pundits ventured that laptops would surpass desktops in revenue in 2009. This prediction came true – and a whole year earlier than predicted. TechRepublic concluded that the glory days of “the big, ultra-powerful tower are definitely over, unless you are a gamer or a graphics professional” (like the entertainment industry pros that use CRE’s “ultra-powerful” Mac Pro rentals). If not wholly realized yet, this is a trend that the IDF got right. The market is awash in teeny PCs, along with small wireless pads and tablets. Sylvania is set to debut a “commodity netbook” at a ridiculously low $99, with Windows CE, built-in Wi-Fi, a rechargeable battery, high-contrast color display, browser and productivity apps. In this category, predictions aren’t being made fast enough to keep up with reality.

Predictions #3 and #4 will appear in Part 2 to post Thursday, October 7th.

In the meantime, if your business isn’t keeping up with reality, CRE will help you get up to speed. Whether you need interactive kiosk rentals for a conference, or a full array of audiovisual rentals for your breakout session or company meeting, we’ve got you covered. Fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and we’ll help you make your “prediction” a reality!

September 28th, 2010

If you worked in an office during the 1980s, you may remember the promises of “the paperless office.” This slogan never caught on with paper and printer manufacturers, of course, but plenty of others waited breathlessly. They are still waiting. However, we have advanced to “the wireless office” – almost.

Wireless isn’t brand new. Wi-Fi has been around for a number of years now, so routers were the first wireless devices in the average office, followed by inkjet printers. Then Apple led the way forward with another technology, Bluetooth. Macintosh OS X has supported it since version 10.2, and all new Macs, like CRE’s powerful iMac Rentals, come with it built in.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Wireless USB

We won’t get “overtechnical” here, but it is important to understand the differences among these three types of wireless devices, and the uses to which they are best put:

  • Wi-Fi is a short-range, high-bandwidth connection, which simply means it won’t cover more than a few thousand square feet, but will carry a lot of information. Computers, smart phones, iPads and iPods, netbooks and other devices use Wi-Fi.
  • Bluetooth is a short-range, low-bandwidth connection. Its signal is good for most offices, but it doesn’t carry much data, so it is found primarily in cell phones, computers, keyboards (low cost and designer gear), various input devices (mouse, drawing tablet) and other simple peripherals.
  • Wireless USB is another short-range, high-bandwidth connection scheme whose signal drops precipitously after the first 10 feet or so (from full USB 2.0 speed of 420Mbps to about a quarter of that at 30+ feet). It debuted less than a year ago for use primarily with wireless storage, a market also served by Wi-Fi.

That @$%#! tangle of cords

Office Equipment RentalsNone of these connections needs line of sight from your PC to the device, so you have greater flexibility for  placement and office logistics. While the technology is still sorting itself out, CRE can advise you about strategies when you are putting together office equipment rentals with wireless capability for a temporary office or setting up a production company.

Your stacks of paper may not be getting any smaller, but you can now outfit an office without a serpentine tangle of connecting cables. Is it a “wireless office”? Almost – you still need power cords, but now you will have about half as many wires. You won’t even need those as soon as those R&D departments have perfected wireless power. It’s coming. Really!

CRE is in business to solve your problems. Need a few Mac Pro rentals to finish that Comedy Central cartoon? Want a wireless handset using Audience Response System rentals for your next focus group or breakout session? Fill out the online Quick Rental Quote form – do it today, and have a solution in place tomorrow.

Don’t forget to bookmark our blog, too. We cover all the high-tech happenings, and explain what new advances mean to your business, with new blogs posted every Tuesday and Thursday.

September 16th, 2010

Microsoft doesn’t suffer from many corporate news leaks, probably because, as various industry watchers have noted, the top management itself keeps dribbles of information coming regularly. On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, the firm announced some more features for the upcoming Office for Mac 2011. MS Office for Mac 2011Scheduled for release late next month, it follows Office for Windows 2010 that was released in June. As usual, it appears that the Mac version will be playing catch-up with the Windows version (both of which trounce Apple’s aging iWork 09) and getting many of the features left out last time (Office for Mac 2008). It will be a very powerful office suite, and you’ll need at least one of CRE’s iMac rentals to use it fully and quickly – and forget running it on any PowerPC-equipped Mac, as it will require OS X 10.6, which only runs on the Intel Macs.

Light (if you prefer, “lite”) versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint will now be available in your Web browser. You don’t even have to use Internet Explorer, Microsoft having apparently learned its lesson about locking out competitors. These Office Web Apps can also be used offline, as they are placed on your hard drive in the default installation setup. Another feature coming in Office for Mac 2011 will be the “broadcast slideshow” feature, a recent upgrade to PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, that lets users show their PowerPoint presentations to others through their Web browsers. If you’re setting up a breakout session with CRE’s convention rentals, don’t forget this great alternative presentation method as a fail-safe back-up if something goes awry with your big-screen slideshow.

Collaboration nation

A very exciting new feature is co-authoring for document editing and sharing, which will allow multiple users to change and update Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents. (It is not yet clear whether these features work with the Office Web Apps.) To work with users outside your default computer network, businesses may need to be running SharePoint Foundation 2010, while individuals can use their Windows Live ID. This is one of the areas that needs some clarification in the next set of “product dribbles” from Microsoft HQ.

One interesting observation from a longtime MS-watcher is that Gates & Co.’s ads certainly feature a lot of Mac laptops. CRE’s MacBook Pro rentals were already popular, but it seems that Microsoft is emphasizing portability and wireless workflows in its Office for Mac 2011 campaign. It makes perfect sense when you think about it – it’s about ultraconnectivity, one of Bill Gates’ big unfulfilled dreams.

Concerning connectivity, using Office Web Apps will require SharePoint, but it is still not known whether SharePoint is required for the co-authoring to work on the Mac platform. Sadly, one of the most popular tools in Office for Windows 2010, the OneNote scrapbook that holds text, charts, images, audio and video, will not be in Office for Mac 2011. Also gone, but not to be missed, is Entourage, the former (underwhelming) e-mail program on the Mac side.  It is being replaced with Outlook for Mac in Office for Mac 2011. A new scheduling assistant feature in Outlook lets you view your calendar(s) right in-line with your mail, a very handy-dandy thing.

CRE is the solution provider when you need the best Macs, PCs and peripherals for your digital work flow. From Xserve RAID rentals to Final Cut Pro-equipped Mac Pro rentals, we’ve got what you need to cut that mountain of digital assets down to size and push those pixels into place. For any work needing the most precise and potent tools, CRE is your best, most knowledgeable source. Fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and we’ll get you outfitted to conquer that digital mountain in no time.

August 26th, 2010

For any type or size of business it’s always the right time to cut costs. Top 10 Cost Cutting IdeasIt’s one of the few proven ways to improve profits despite thousands of articles about thousand of ways of doing so. You either increase income or cut expenses (preferably both, and in the right way). In four main categories – Mobility and Distance Costs, Employees and Management, Service and Utilities, and Technology – we have identified ten cost-saving opportunities and you will begin to come up with others once you start with these. Get serious about it, and you just might surprise yourself with how much creative penny-pinching you can do.

Mobility and Distance Costs

1. Maybe all of your sales calls don’t have to be done in person. Web-based videoconferencing and software like Microsoft Office Live Meeting allow you to make presentations online. Webcams are quite inexpensive compared to travel costs, by plane, train or car.

2. If you exhibit at trade shows and conferences, why pay for transportation or shipping when you can get all of your plasma rentals and other convention rentals from CRE? With locations in many cities, we can get what you need to any location, set it up and tear it down when the show’s over. Consider the same sort of just-in-time strategies in other operational areas of your company.

Employees and Management

3. Cross-training employees saves money in several ways. Instead of paying for expensive temporary help when employees are out, the less-costly alternative is cross-training employees so staff can move into support roles when needed. This is common practice among the creative pros that use CRE’s Mac Pro rentals, who know that “the show must go on.”

4. Increased efficiency is always a money-saver. Give your employees the business and software training that makes them more effective. There are loads of free training programs on the Internet, but you can also combine one good teacher with a room full of iMac rentals and educate your employees yourself.

Services and Utilities

5. Do a regular review of your core business expenses, the necessities. One example: Today’s many VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services have reduced phone costs dramatically. Do a complete comparison of ones in your area.

6. Online faxing reduces the number of phone lines by using Web-based fax services instead of fax machines – which will also save you money on paper, ink, toner, electricity, etc.

7. Whether you’re in a home office or corporate office setting, you can work with your power company to reduce heating and cooling costs. There are a lot of options you may not know about, starting with a free energy audit.

Technology

8. Every company has a Web site now. Hosting costs vary widely, and quality does not necessarily track precisely with pricing. Some so-called bargain hosts boast better offers and uptime statistics than some expensive ones.

9. Consider a “combo” communications plan. As with home service deals, business packages can offer great value.

10. Think creatively and consider every alternative to a purchase. One of the great things about CRE’s computer rentals is that you always work with the current state-of-the-art equipment, without having to tie your money up in a purchase.

Do a little creative (and critical) thinking and you can make an immediate, lasting impact on your expenses. You will also help promote efficiency in general when all employees, whether two or 200, follow your lead into this new, improved mindset. CRE’s constant mindset is to be ready with the solutions you need for the obstacles you face. Contact an experienced Account Executive or fill out the online Quick Rental Quote and we’ll put our expertise to work for you.

July 29th, 2010

Apple may have dropped “Computer” from its corporate name – ostensibly to emphasize its “i” strengths, as in iTunes, iPods, iPads and iPhones – but the biggest news lately is all about their desktops and laptops. With new and scary-fast offerings in the Mac Pro, iMac and MacBook Pro lines, plus a new desktop Magic Trackpad and some iPhone happenings, there’s a lot to report. We’ll start today with the Mac Pro and work through the rest of the Apple crate in subsequent blogs.

available in Aug.

The tremendous punch packed by the new Mac Pro makes it, once again, the fastest Mac available, after losing its top ranking some time back to a Core i7-equipped iMac. The new tower Mac can access up to 12 processing cores for 50% more performance, now fueled by up to 32GB of RAM. This makes the Mac Pro the prohibitive favorite for audio, video, animation and post-production, and will bring a new rush to working with HD or SD in Final Cut Pro when paired with CRE’s AJA Io HD rentals. Digital artists and content creators will feel like their spaceship got a new rocket or two whichever CPUs they choose – Intel’s quad- and six-core Xeon processors, the quad-core Xeon Nehalem or the Xeon Westmere with four or six cores. Apple claims buyers can choose from “1.3 billion possible configurations of the Mac Pro” when ordering, and it feels like about half of the options involve processors!

Dual displays? Nope – six!

The new Mac Pro maxes out, as stated above, at 12 cores with two six-core Intel Xeon Westmeres running at 2.93 GHz. (Other CPUs may have faster clock speeds, up to 3.33 GHz, but the Westmeres are the most efficient, effective workers.) Apple has left NVIDIA behind, now offering the ATI Radeon HD 5770 or 5870 graphics card. Each has 1 GB of GDDR5 memory (fast!) and get this – support for as many as six simultaneous displays. Get one or two Xserve RAID rentals, some LCD monitor rentals and send for lots of take-out, because with this kind of setup you will get a whole lot done, and you’ll have so much fun you just might want to keep going.

The new Mac Pro also has a dual 16-lane PCI Express 2.0 slot, for expansion purposes, and can be configured with up to 8 TB of internal hard disk and SSD (Solid State Drive) storage, the latter offering a first for the Cupertino firm. The new models should hit the retail channel sometime in August, meaning CRE will soon offer the latest, greatest Mac Pro computer rental.

Apple’s been busy!

Apple has also revamped its standalone Cinema Display line (one model now, 27-inch), juiced up the surprising iMacs (available for rent), upgraded its MacBook Pro line and released a desktop Magic Trackpad. The company is also in the news with its iPhone, as the government has decreed that consumers can now “jailbreak” the device. All of this news and more will be in forthcoming blogs, so check out our new posts every Tuesday and Thursday.

Don’t forget that we’re here every other workday, too, with not just the best and newest computer rentals but everything you need to attend, produce or exhibit at a conference or convention, from Audience Response System rentals to plasma panels. Call or e-mail an expert Account Executive, or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form that’s just a quick click away. We’re here with solutions, so just let us know what you need to solve!

July 1st, 2010

Those who lived (even better, worked) through the so-called paradigm shifts in desktop publishing (mid-1980s) and audio recording (through the 1990s) will recognize today’s “digital film revolution” talk. In the early and mid-1980s, when Apple’s LaserWriter teamed up with its Macintosh kin and Aldus Corporation’s PageMaker, some technology observers declared the new publishing model would put “freedom of the press into overdrive” and result in a real renaissance in publishing. It didn’t. In the 1990s, new digital technology put a recording studio in every teen rockers’ computer, but no Grammy Awards were snagged by any of these home recordists. Bottom line, there is no push-button solution.

The changes that technology wrought in printing and recording took years to evolve into new workflows, as the technology was adopted and learned. It’s evolution, not revolution, that drives the creative arts. It is the same with digital filmmaking. Budding filmmakers must understand that just having the same high-tech tools as leading filmmakers doesn’t mean they can make Taxi Driver or Citizen Kane. Buying Apple’s Final Cut Pro doesn’t mean they are going to ace the post-production on that new TV pilot. To work at a professional level, one either has to put in the time to master these things, or get help with them. The reason the indie film industry is slowly but surely becoming an ongoing source of work for L.A. post-production houses is because smart indie filmmakers know when they need help, and are not ashamed to go get it.

Getting the right technology tools

Digital Film Technology Rental The old saying, “It’s a poor carpenter who blames his tools,” makes the point that you need to develop expertise, gain experience and mature in your art and craft. When the soundtrack is weak and the spoken words indistinct, you need a pro’s help. Doing the ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) correctly and mixing the different sounds at the proper levels are all essential for a professional film. The kinds of post facilities that use CRE Mac Pro rentals are just the kinds of places that smart indie filmmakers turn to for those important pieces of the puzzle. For some it means just ADR and mastering, for others it may mean trimming, transitions and fades, rolling credits or even conversion to other digital formats (for iPods, iPads, phones, computers and so on).

As novice filmmakers continue to learn the craft, many will also learn to do post-production, and some will even form new companies to offer their services. For start-up and even existing post-production facilities, the technology tools available and their evolution are essential in driving innovation in digital film making.

CRE supports companies that, in turn, help a lot of up and coming filmmakers. By making everything from AJA Io HD rentals to fast iMac rentals available with a simple e-mail, phone call or Quick Rental Quote form, CRE enables post-production companies to take on work whenever it comes in. In no time at all, we can outfit you to get it all done – with PCs, Macs, Xserve RAID rentals, monitors and any other hardware you need, plus specialized software for your specialized work. Our #1 job is helping you get your jobs done!

June 18th, 2010

Mac Mini - Available from CRE Rentals

The Apple Macintosh mini, the computer so small it doesn’t even get a capital letter for its name, is the latest Mac to get a facelift and refreshing. (“Facelift” refers to cosmetic changes, while “refreshing” means operating hardware has been upgraded.)  Base unit drive sizes are 320 and 500GB.

Of course, some real goodies are still standard in all models – Airport Extreme, Bluetooth, gigabit Ethernet, upgraded NVIDIA GeForce 3200M graphics, a FireWire 800 port, four USB 2.0 ports, SD card slot, Mini DisplayPort for external monitors, an HDMI port and both optical digital and analog audio ins and outs. This is not your father’s (well, older brother’s) Mac mini by any means. Not only are the Core 2 Duo CPUs ugraded to 2.4 and 2.66GHz, the base models come with 2 and 4GB of DDR3 RAM, respectively, and both now accommodate a max of 8GB.

The mini bundle is brawny

A tad wider than the original, the mini has a new, unibody aluminum case like CRE’s MacBook Pro rentals, and it’s only 1.4 inches tall. The external power supply has been miniaturized and installed in the case. All of the first hands-on reviewers (from Computerworld to MacWorld) have raved about the small size, great design and energy-stinginess (it draws just 10 watts at idle, a 25% reduction over previous models). The mini is the most energy-efficient desktop computer you can get.

Along with Mac OS X Snow Leopard (now at 10.6.x), the mini can be outfitted with an easy-to-configure copy of OS X Server, while every model in the line gets the usual laundry list of solid Mac programs – iTunes for your media, Time Machine for backups and other essentials like Spaces, Quick Look, Spotlight, Dashboard, Address Book, QuickTime, DVD Player, Photo Booth, Front Row and Xcode Developer Tools. For productivity, you have Mail, iChat, the Safari browser, iCal and the fabulous iLife bundle (iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, iWeb and GarageBand).

CRE carries wide array of Macintosh models, from the potent Mac Pro rentals to the best laptop for creatives on the go, the MacBook Pro. In addition, the phenomenal new 21.5- and 27-inch iMac rentals are in stock (as are the 20- and 24-inch models) and ready to help you push on through another deadline or another last-minute job. We are your Mac-at-work specialists so when you are ready to rent the new Mac mini, just give us a call or use our Quick Rental Quote form, and we will get you fully equipped in no time.

June 15th, 2010

After equipping Smokey Bear (“the” is not his middle name) to lead the fight against forest fires for half a century or so, the government finally learned that occasional fires are good for the environment. They clear out deadwood and stir the environmental ingredients into action again. Leave it to Southern California’s own Scott Harris – marketing agency owner, business columnist, college and seminar instructor and jovial contrarian – to bring this metaphor to life for business professionals struggling to push their way out of a lingering recession.

Success breeds mediocrity

Business SustainabilityLike new growth after a forest fire, companies that have survived the recession “should now be stronger and better managed,” Harris writes in a recent San Fernando Valley Business Journal column. They should also “be smarter for the experience.” One of Harris’ famous warnings is, “Success breeds mediocrity,” by which he means that “it’s easy to be a lazy manager, business owner or employee when things are going well.” In good times, marginal employees are kept on, wasteful practices are winked at and, most dangerously, “difficult decisions” are put off. The economic turmoil that began in 2008, and is lingering still even as some hopeful signs emerge, brought much of this nonsense to a quick, often inglorious end.

Managers of companies that survived the last two years need to critique everything, preferably in a group setting – every policy, practice, procedure and process  – and be willing to jettison anything that does not work. “[If we] drift back to our previous ways,” warns Harris, “then we will have wasted a tremendous opportunity.” Harris closes his comments by assuring his readers that he does not advocate any controlled burning of businesses, but does “strongly recommend that we take a moment and learn as much as possible” from the recent recession. Only then, he insists, will American businesses, of all sizes and kinds, “be equipped to make the next few [years] as successful and as profitable as possible.”

Like Apple says, “Think different”

Bottom line? Think different, as Apple used to say in one of its longer-running ad campaigns. In an example from the special effects and post-production facilities that CRE rents to, management often divides into two camps with respect to the high-tech equipment they rely on – renters and buyers, with the latter historically more numerous. Many businesses learned to think differently during the recession, finding that it was actually more cost-effective to rent than own. Consider: Companies with Mac Pro rentals do not have to pay to repair a crashed hard drive. One call and a new computer shows up. Firms using interactive kiosk rentals to capture contact information at conventions turn the kiosks back in, rather than watch them collect dust until the next time they’re needed.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Every purchase, every expense, every procedure, every rule – all of it needs to be evaluated in light of new operating parameters. For want of a better word, let’s borrow one from the environmental movement and call it “Business Sustainability,”  as others are already doing. Combining the strongest core elements of green thinking, flexible management, recycling, goal setting, group dynamics, creativity and strategic planning, it can help chart new routes to the future. With a commitment to enlightened management, excellence and success, there’s no telling what the next few years might hold!

CRE supports your business with the best technological tools as well as the expertise to deploy them. Whatever you need to accomplish, our Account Executives are here to help. Send an e-mail, make a call or use the Quick Rental Quote form to let us know what you need. We will make your priority our priority. That’s what we do!

June 8th, 2010

Mac-vs-PC

Creative professionals weigh in on the age old question…Mac or PC? An unscientific sampling at a designer site indicates that between 70-80% of designers use Macs, compared to the 80% of “regular Internet users” who use  PC’s.

Although most designers acknowledge that the same design tools are available on both platforms, many tout the Mac’s ease of use and superior build quality. One respondent summed it up by saying that “the platform has nothing to do with the outcome of design. But designing on Mac feels a lot more natural to me. I’ve used both PCs and Macs extensively, each has its own advantages. For design, multimedia and other creative work, I personally feel more at home on a Mac.” Although some PC partisans – and, honestly, plenty of good work is done on PCs – brought up some good points about cost differences, it is clear that there remains a solid majority of Mac-using designers.

Some professionals use both-Mac and PC

Within that complement of Mac users, of course, are plenty of people who use both PCs and Macs, just as most companies do these days. It is not uncommon to see a Fortune 500 firm with PCs in the accounting department (although that’s changing slowly) and Macs in the art/marketing department. And with the cross-platform programs and ease of PC-Mac networking, there is no reason that both kinds of computers can’t co-exist peacefully. It’s just that when it comes time for entertainment professionals to edit the movies or master the records or finish the magazines, more of them reach for a Mac Pro rental than a PC, although CRE Rentals does rent both.

Another important development is the power of the Macs. The fastest Mac ever tested by Macworld, by the way, isn’t an eight-core Mac Pro, but the top-of-the-line iMac with the new Core i7 Intel chip. The rest of the iMac family is similarly potent, making CRE’s iMac rentals a sensible alternative to the Mac tower. However, the Mac Pro has the advantage in many areas, like PCIe slots and other expandability options, that make it a continuing favorite for use with Final Cut Studio and other audio-visual software. CRE can equip any kind of Mac, any kind of way you need. Of course, if you need a PC to run PC-only software (certain accounting packages, proprietary builds, etc.), then CRE can outfit you with speedy PC computer rentals, as well.

Which one….Mac or PC?

Comparing Mac and PC computers makes for interesting reading. The bottom line is creative professionals  should use “the best tool for the  job. Nowadays the OSes aren’t different enough to make the decision for you based on features. If you already know one OS, stick with it until you have a very compelling reason to switch.” This is a reasonable position however, some Mac loyalists point out that Macs can run both Windows and the Mac OS. If you need desktop rentals for your post-production work, and want to use both OSes, then you really do have just one choice – a Mac (learn more about which Mac to rent).

CRE’s Account Executives are experts at getting you what you need to push through your bottleneck of backed-up work, take on that new project or bring in new clients. Send an e-mail, make a call or fill out the Quick Rental Quote form, and you’ll be sailing smoothly in no time.

June 3rd, 2010

Gaming gadgets coming to E3

It was at the 2009 E3 trade show, one of many annual events for which CRE does convention rentals, that Microsoft announced an add-on to its Xbox 360 gaming console, code-named Project Natal. (You can read about the upcoming 2010 E3 confab right here.) Instead of using the notoriously complicated Xbox controller – with a dozen buttons, double joysticks and thumb confusion for all but diehard users – gamers will now interact with the console via a new device. The attachable extra has a motion-tracking camera and specialized sound sensors that enable it to recognize faces, detect/interpret motions and obey voice commands. The Xbox Live service is a portal that connects to content from Netflix, among others, making the Xbox a game console that streams media – or is it a media server that plays games? You decide.

iPad Knockoffs: The big names jump in

Apple iPadApple has sold two million iPads in under two months, and not because they’re productivity enhancers like CRE’s megapowerful Mac Pro rentals – quite the opposite, in fact. The iPad is the Cupertino company’s “first pure entertainment play…since the iPod.” As a media device – for reading, music, movies, photos, social “site-seeing,” tweets and so forth – it seemed reasonable to surmise that the first iPad competitors would come from the low-end of the spectrum. You know, take some audio-video innards, stick on a screen and voila! In addition, there are news reports out of China telling of an iPad clone, that is, a pad trying very hard to look and feel like Apple’s own.

Now, some of the first non-Apple (and non-clone) pads even lacked touch-screens, but others (like Augen’s) had decent specs and build quality. Now the big boys have jumped with both feet into the growing market. WePad (“we” as opposed to “I,” get it?), ExoPC, LG, and ASUS have all released new “pen and finger computing” devices (Bill Gates’ preferred terminology) in just the last few weeks. Some firms, like MeeGo, are concentrating on the operating system (OS) for these devices, and licensing the software to various other device makers. This tech niche should stay hot right through the holidays.

Cell phone camera optical upgrade

Cell Phone Telephoto Lense The cameras on cell phones are now better, in general, than the first several generations of digital cameras. The one glaring weakness has been lenses, but specialty manufacturer Brando is on top of things in this department. The company has released do-it-yourself kits for many Motorola, Sony/Ericsson and Nokia models that will equip your phone’s camera with a powerful zoom lens (6X). The difference between having this optical zoom, versus some cameras’ built-in digital zoom, is night and day, truly. The before and after pictures posted online are pretty impressive. Phones with video capabilities would be perfect candidates for this optical upgrade.

It doesn’t matter what creative, administrative or production-related snag you’ve hit, CRE is your designated high-tech solution center. Send an e-mail, make a call or fill out our Quick Rental Quote form and we will have your rental solution ready in no time.

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