Updated Parallels Build Adds USB 2.0 Support, More

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Date: Friday, December 22nd, 2006, 07:13
Category: Software

A new beta build of Parallels Desktop for Mac has been released featuring full USB 2.0 device support as well as other improvements according to an article over on Macworld News.
The new beta, a 33.6 megabyte download (thanks to Versiontracker.com), is available for registered users of the $79 program who’d like to give the new build a try. Parallels Desktop For Mac is similar in functionality to Apple’s Boot Camp and allows users of Intel-based Macintosh systems to run Windows and other X86-compatible operating systems on their Macs. The primary difference is that Parallels Desktop allows these operating systems to be run simultaneously alongside Mac OS X without having to boot into a different partition to begin the process.
Parallels Desktop for Mac has managed to gain a steady following in spite of the fact that the software is being steadily developed. A recently release build provided better support for USB 2.0 devices such as disk drives, printers and scanners, which will run at full native speeds. Parallels has mentioned that they’re currently working on better support for “isynchronous devices” such as Bluetooth peripherals and webcams and users will see this in a future build.
The new build of Parallels Desktop offers an improved “Coherence” mode, a technology which lets Parallels run Windows applications from the Mac OS X’s Dock and kicking in when needed. Users can press the command-tab key combination to cycle through both Mac OS X and Windows applications that may be running at any given time.
Other changes to the build include the following according to the program’s listing on Versiontracker.com:
-Full-feature virtual CD/DVD drive: Burn CDs and DVDs directly in virtual machines, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD.
-Better Boot Camp support – Using your Boot Camp partition in Parallels Desktop is now easier than ever. Beta2’s Boot Camp support includes:
-Full support for FAT32 and NTFS partitions.
-Easy offline configuration. Simply tell Parallels Desktop that you want to create a virtual machine from a Boot Camp Partition and click start.
-Parallels Transporter Beta2 bundled – migrate your real Windows PC, or existing VMware or Virtual PC VMs to Parallels virtual machines.
Please let us know how your experience has been or if you have any ideas or comments on the new build

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Apple Quietly Pulls iSight From Online Store

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Date: Thursday, December 21st, 2006, 08:53
Category: News

According to an article over on MacNN, Apple has quietly removed the iSight camera from its online Apple Store shelves, leaving only the iSight Accessory Kit and Griffin’s SightLight FireWire accessory, both initially modeled around the iSight camera.
With speculation fervent in the less than two weeks before Macworld Expo, some have wondered whether a new camera is in the works or whether additional Apple hardware, such as the company’s screens, will find themselves with iSight camera technology embedded into them.
Time to wait and see, but if you have any ideas or comments, let us know.

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Snow Screen Savers Abound For Holidays

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Date: Thursday, December 21st, 2006, 07:46
Category: Software

Although a white Christmas is never guaranteed, a bevy of cool holiday-themed screensavers for your Mac can always be expected around this time of year.
In addition to Russell Warneboldt’s Snowfall screensaver that we mentioned yesterday, LotsaSnow by Dag Ågren and Sno Screensaver by David Remahl add to the holiday festivities.
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Unlike Snowfall, which goes into the standard screensaver/sleep mode, LotsaSnow and Sno Screensaver work simultaneously within the operating system, dropping snow flakes while you go about the rest of your work.
The cool extras make the program that much more fun. LotsaSnow can display the snow against a blue background as well as your standard Mac OS X desktop and also offers a display clock to tell you how long the program’s been running. The program is free and available as a universal binary which runs smoothly on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
Sno Screensaver also allows snow to fall against your normal Mac OS X backdrop while you work and includes source code and a program called Snow Desktop which drops flakes without resorting to screensaver mode. The program is free to download and use by anyone who wants it.
Please let us know if you’ve seen anything else in the vein of the holiday spirit for your Mac.

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Intel to Release Core 2 Quad Processor in January

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 11:48
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, chip manufacturer Intel will release the third generation of its Core processor line, this one featuring four processor cores which function simultaneously to work through tasks.
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The new processor will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the week of January 8th.
Like Intel’s current Core 2 Duo processor line, the Core 2 Quad processors will use multithreaded software which breaks a task into smaller pieces, then handles those segments simultaneously.
Multiple core processors are popular with users performing higher-end tasks such as digital media work, gaming and running servers, although Intel sees a rising market of mainstream users performing processor-intensive tasks such as music, multimedia and more hardware-intensive gaming.
Intel has yet to announce a release date, clock speed or timeline for hardware vendors such as Apple, Dell and others to integrate the new processors into their upcoming product lines.

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Firefox and Mozilla Updated, Receive Fixes, New Features

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 11:41
Category: Software

Firefox and Thunderbird, the free web browser and e-mail client by Mozilla, have been updated to versions 2.0.0.1 and 1.5.0.9, respectively according to VersionTracker.com
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The new version of Firefox, a 17.6 megabyte download, sports the following fixes:
-XSS using outer window’s Function object
-RSS Feed-preview referrer leak
-Mozilla SVG Processing Remote Code Execution
-XSS by setting img.src to javascript: URI
-LiveConnect crash finalizing JS objects
-Privilege escallation using watch point
-CSS cursor image buffer overflow (Windows only)
-Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.8.0.9/1.8.1.1)
Firefox 2.0.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.2 or higher to run.
The new version of Thunderbird, a 17.8 megabyte download, features the following fixes and enhancements:
-The ability to customize your toolbars the way you want them. Choose View / Toolbars / Customize inside any window.
-UI extensions can be added to Mozilla Thunderbird to customize your experiene with specific features and enchancements that you need. Support for extensions. Extensions allow you to add features particular to your needs such as offline mail support. A full list of available extensions can be found here.
-A new look and feel. Thunderbird also supports a large number of downloadable themes which alter the appearance of the client.
-An addressing sidebar for mail compose which makes it easy and convient to add address book contacts to emails.
-Online help includes a FAQ, tips and tricks and other useful information.
-Simplified preferences UI and menus.
-Footprint and performance improvements.
Thunderbird requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later to run.
Update: I’ve been having nothing but trouble with FireFox 2 and Flock 0.7.8 lately, mostly in the form of a complete lockup of the browser. The only way to get out of it is with a force quit. I’m not sure if it’s a memory leak or what, but it usually manifests itself after at least thirty minutes of browsing with several tabs open. FF and Flock have always been rock solid for me, so I’m not sure what happened. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone else experiencing bad behaviour from these browsers. I haven’t tested FF 2.0.0.1 yet and am waiting to hear about an update from Flock. – Jason

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Russell Warneboldt Releases Snowfall Screensaver

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 07:59
Category: Software

In an article over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Scott McNulty points out a cool application for the holiday season .
Snowfall by Russell Warneboldt takes the standard falling-snow screensaver that typically accompanies this time of year and cranks it up several notches by using amazingly detailed public domain snowflake images taken by Wilson Bentley. These images have been applied to the screensaver to make each snow flake as unique as possible.
The end result is extremely cool and worthy of being your screensaver of choice until the snow melts and the hot cocoa runs dry.
Snowfall is a free download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.

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Leaked Image/Patent Office Search May Keep “iPhone” Name Alive

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Date: Wednesday, December 20th, 2006, 07:01
Category: Rumor

Despite everything that’s happened with the iPhone and Monday’s lack of an Apple announcement that left us crying into our holiday eggnog, there may be hope on the horizon. An article over on aMobileME shows an Apple-style advertisement in the works that matches previously leaked images of the firm’s long-anticipated cell phone.
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Strangely, at the very bottom of the image, the text “This board should” appears, as if the image is being passed back and forth between Apple and the ad agency designing the image with ideas and comments being exchanged in the process.
The the rest of text and image style appears to be what Apple would use in a potential advertisement.
Also keeping the hope of the “iPhone” name alive is a report over on MacNN.com citing the fact that according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there are actually no less thaan four “iPhone” trademarks on file. One has been granted to Linksys and its parent company Cisco while two others have been refused and the fourth application, submitted by Ocean Telecom, has yet to be formally approved.
The Ocean Telecom patent application remains unique as it’s the only application pertaining to a device that actually addresses music, whereas the Cisco/Linksys iPhone patent is limited to “”integrated telephone communication with computerized global information networks,” which the Skype-enabled VoIP phone fits under the category of.
If the product is diverse enough, apparently the USPTO will allow the name to be used again and this may just keep the iPhone name alive for a later announcement and release date.
If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions, let us know.

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Top 10 Software Tools for the Mac Road Warrior

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Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2006, 11:55
Category: Article

An outstanding article over on the The Apple Blog cites 10 must-have software tools. Author Samuel Cohen brings us the best of what’s out there to make the most for the user who is “forced to make certain sacrifices in usability, power, and efficiency.”
Sidetrack: This is a free (provided you put up with the nag screen) or $15 shareware utility that adds scrolling functionality to the borders of the trackpad.
Menufela: A $5 program that makes the very most out of a smaller screen (such as a 12 or 13 inch PowerBook, iBook or iBook laptop). The application autohides the menu bar until the mouse is positioned over it in an effort to show every possible pixel to the user.
Stoplight: This is a free program that lets the user adjust the behavior of the red-yellow-green buttons at the upper left hand corner of each Mac OS X window.
Letterbox: This is a free user interface adjustment for Apple’s Mail program that switches the default view to a three-column view and helps make the most of screen real estate.
Virtue Desktops: Until Spaces arrives in Mac OS X 10.5, this will pave the way and show you just how cool multiple desktops truly are. Virtue Desktops is a freeware multiple desktop manager that helps consolidate mulltiple windows and gives the selected window the full screen while putting the others in the background to work with later.
Quicksilver: THE application launcher and one of the most useful programs ever written for the Mac. Type in a word found in a document or application name and it’ll find it, then suggest several actions that can be done with it. The program is donation-ware, so if you like it, throw a little bit their way.
CornerClick: A free program that adds programmable functionality (such as applescripts, file launches, etc.) to clicks made at the four corners of the screen.
Sidenote: A free program that acts as a miniature notepad which can be easily hidden throughout the screen and revealed by moving the mouse over its location. Items such as text, images and links can be hurled into Sidenote, which helps consolidate everything and makes the desktop more easily navigated.
fKeys: A free program that remaps the enter key (the one on the number pad of a fully sized keyboard). This allows the user to use a function-return key combination instead of having to hunt for the oddly-placed enter key.
And, finally:
Noise: A free application that makes white noise to help blend out surrounding noise or conversations.
If you have any suggestions for must-have programs you routinely use, let us know.

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Matsushita to Offer Overheating-Resistant New Batteries

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Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2006, 08:10
Category: News

According to an article from the Associated Press mentioned on the Dallas-Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram.com web site, Japanese electronics firm Matsushita (which Apple has long used for components such as optical drives), whill begin mass production of a new type of lithium-ion battery that should prove resistant to the overheating problems that prompted Sony to issue a massive recall of up to 9.6 million of its batteries this year.
The recall also included batteries for the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptop lines.
Sony has mentioned that the overheating problems were due to microscopic metal particles in the batteries which caused short-circuits and later breakdown and even swelling. Competitor Matsushita has stated that its lithium-ion batteries can avoid this problem altogether.
The firm finally commented that the new batteries would depend on the quantity ordered, but be somewhat higher than that of existing models.
If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments about this, let us know.

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Regarding the iPhone: Chris Owes You a Sundae at MWSF

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Date: Tuesday, December 19th, 2006, 08:32
Category: Announcement

After weeks of rumors, speculation and build-up regarding the possibility of an Apple iPhone and finally a due date of Monday for an announcement, we finally received news of an iPhone – from Linksys.
Needless to say, more than a few people were disappointed.
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I also promised to buy readers an ice cream sundae if Apple didn’t announce an iPhone device yesterday and it’s time to face up to this. Come Macworld Expo San Francisco, we’ll be combining the annual PowerPage photo with a Monday night migration out to an ice cream shop near the Moscone Center that PowerPage editor Jason O’Grady mentions as serving an extremely decent sundae.
We’re shooting for a time on January 8th and further details will be published as they become available.

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