A funny thing happened as we were evaluating PaintRibbon. We were admiring its interface, comparing it favorably to Microsoft Paint, when Firefox suddenly launched itself and started downloading the Bing toolbar. This was quickly followed by an Internet Explorer dialog box asking us if we wanted to change our default search engine to Bing. Where had this come from? Had we agreed to this? We closed and deleted PaintRibbon, relaunched it, and paid attention this time to the license agreement that we had absently-mindedly agreed to before. Sure enough, we had agreed to the Bing toolbar, as well as a … Read more
I've probably listened to and reviewed a thousand speakers, and truth be told, the majority of them never sound like live music. They sound like speakers.
The "problem" with box speakers is that you're always aware the sound is coming out of a box, but Magnepan speakers don't have a box. And they don't have dome tweeters or cone midrange or woofer drivers, either. Magnepan technology is radically different than what you find on box speakers, so the 1.7's sound "floats" free of the speakers themselves.
The new Magnepan 1.7 ($1,995 per pair) looks a lot like the model it replaces, the 1.6, which was regarded by many of the world's high-end audio critics, including me, as one of the greatest less-than-$2,000 speakers on the market. The 1.6 stayed in the line for more than 10 years, and I have every reason to believe the 1.7 will be a standard bearer for just as long. And speaking of value, Magnepan also offers a factory-direct $599 (per pair) panel speaker, the MMG. The technology isn't as advanced as the 1.7's, but it's miles ahead of any other $599 speaker I can think of.
The 1.7 panel is 64.5 inches high, 19.25 wide, and just 2 inches thick. Magnepan builds all of its speakers in White Bear Lake, Minn., and almost all the 1.7's parts that aren't fabricated in-house are sourced from U.S. suppliers. I reviewed the 1.7 for Tone Audio magazine, where you can read the complete review.
The 1.7's technology is unprecedented for Magnepan; the speaker is the company's first "full-range ribbon" design. It's also worth noting that what makes a well setup pair of 1.7s so special isn't just something that only dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles would notice; pretty much anyone with ears will immediately grasp what's going on. Their box-free sound is astonishing.… Read more
The Office 2011 for Mac preview was on display at an entertainment-related event put on by Microsoft this week.
Microsoft says the goal of this latest installment of Office for Mac is to bring the software more in line with the Windows user experience of the suite. What we see as the most notable addition to the Mac version is Outlook, the e-mail and productivity software Mac users have clamored for for years. We also noticed that like Office 2010 for Windows, the Mac version looks like it will share the same unified Ribbon interface features of its Windows counterpart … Read more
I'm not sure it's exactly the approach I would take, but Redmond has decided to make a game out of what I find to be one of the most significant annoyances in Microsoft's Office--finding the command one is looking for.
Introduced on Tuesday, "Ribbon Hero" is aimed at turning into a game the often frustrating task of finding commands on Office's Ribbon toolbar, which debuted as part of Office 2007.
In a blog post, Office program manager (and self-described casual games enthusiast) Jennifer Michelstein said Microsoft was trying to see if the company could … Read more
Every year product life cycles in the consumer marketplace grow ever shorter and we see ever faster turnover in cameras, phones computers, and so on. On the audio side, the latest and greatest receivers become yesterday's news faster than you can say "HDMI 1.4." It seems like no receiver can stay current for more than a year or so.
Speaker companies show a little more restraint and "refresh" their lines every few years, but even then new models rarely demonstrate actual performance improvements over the previous generations' models. Speaker manufacturer Magnepan doesn't play by those rules; it invests years of development in each of its models before introducing a new speaker. It has to sound better--a lot better--than the outgoing model before it's released to the world.
And not just in the opinion of the designers. New-model Magnepans undergo extensive "blind" listening tests with a wide range of audiophile and non-audiophile listeners (the listeners don't know whether they're hearing the old or new model). The new speaker must consistently score better than the old model before it goes into production.
When I first heard the Magneplanar 1.6 back in 2008 I said it was the best under-$2,000 speaker on the market. Incredibly enough it was 10 years old at the time! The Magneplanar 1.6 has stayed in production for 12 years, but now it's about to be replaced with the new Magneplanar 1.7.
Magnepan, based in White Bear Lake, Minn., builds nothing but panel (boxless) speakers. Not only that, Magnepan designs forgo conventional dome tweeters and cone-type woofers. As I pointed out in my August 14, 2008, blog that's why the company's Magneplanar 1.6 speaker mostly avoids sounding like a speaker. The speaker earned the top position in my Top 10 greatest audiophile speakers blog earlier this year.
The new Magneplanar 1.7 is also a flat-panel design, 64.5 inches tall and a mere 2 inches thick! The new speaker looks a little more contemporary, thanks to its aluminum, wrap-around edge molding. The old model was a two-way design, with a 48-inch-tall aluminum ribbon tweeter and a 442-square-inch mid/bass panel. The Magneplanar 1.7 is a three-way design, with a woofer, tweeter, and super-tweeter. The super-tweeter comes in around 10,000 hertz and is said to produce wider dispersion and better-resolved treble than the Magneplanar 1.6 did.
The other big difference is the Magneplanar 1.7 is a "full-range" ribbon design.… Read more
It took a while to get used to the new Office 2007 interface. Nothing was where it was supposed to be, and the now-ubiquitous ribbon was a foreign concept. Hours sifting through menus and the Help file sometimes failed to locate familiar features from previous versions of Office. If you're having problems adapting to Office 2007, you may find that Classic Style Menus and Toolbars for Microsoft Office 2007 is exactly what you need to bring back that old familiar feel.
The program is deceptively simple. Once it's installed, users will find that their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint … Read more
Getting crystal clear sound never comes cheap, but Perfect8 Technologies' ultimate Perfect8 5.1 system shatters the price ceiling for glass-speaker systems.
The $566,000 ensemble consists of two Force tower speakers for the front left and right, a Force Center channel speaker, and a pair of Point speakers as surround speakers. If stereo is all that you need, a pair of Points go for a more modest $149,000. The advanced-technology designs represent the latest thinking in "see through," highly transparent sound quality.
Perdect8 Technologies is a Swedish manufacturer of high-end ribbon tweeters. dynamic loudspeakers, and subwoofers. The company was founded in 2005 with a mission: produce the world's most exclusive and best sounding loudspeaker systems.
Since I haven't actually heard any Perdect8 speakers, I'm in no position to judge their sound; however, the company is developing a buzz among adventurous and wealthy audiophiles.
I discovered Perfect8 Technologies' glass speakers on the Ultimate AV Web site.
You'll find more images of Perfect8 Technologies' glass speakers after the jump.… Read more
Ribbon Customizer for Office 2007 customizes the look and the arrangement of Microsoft Office 2007's toolbar, known as the "ribbon."
Microsoft changed the ribbon's look for Office 2007. With Ribbon Customizer for Office 2007, you can change it back to the way it looked in Office 2003. You can also move, add, and rearrange items on the ribbon, a useful feature for users who like to tinker with their software. We like the idea behind this Office add-on, but we found it difficult to use. We have Office 2007 on our computer, but we didn't … Read more
We're getting close to October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. You'll soon be seeing pink ribbons--the symbol of support for breast cancer awareness and research--just about everywhere, and you can create a few of your own with the Pink Ribbon Cookie Kit. Rather than offering ribbons for supporters to wear, though, you'll be able to make cookies for them to eat. The kit includes everything you need to make dozens of pink ribbon cookies: not only does it offer a cookie cutter, but it also has sugar cookie mix, icing, pink food coloring, and pink … Read more
I am possibly the only one among my co-workers who hasn't moved to Office 2007. I just can't stand the ribbon toolbar, which makes working with documents require a lot of mouse clicking. The traditional menus have been working just fine and I prefer being able to move around with keyboard shortcuts.
It's sad that together with Windows 7, Microsoft is forcing this new user interface on all of us. Applications that come with the new operating system, such as Write or Paint, are also using the ribbon toolbar instead of menus.
And it seems Sun is … Read more