Microsoft looking towards digital delivery system for Windows 8 upgrades/installs

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Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 14:11
Category: News, Software

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You may not be in love with Windows, but it does become handy from time to time.

Per the MSDN blog, Microsoft looks to be gearing up to release its next-generation Windows 8 operating system via digital release. In a post to the company’s official blog this week, Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, detailed the setup experience users will see with Windows 8.

Sinofsky explained that Microsoft aims to satisfy two distinct types of customers in the install process: those who want to install with minimum hassle, and those who want to do a clean install with more options, control and customization. Microsoft’s simpler solution will allow users to simply launch a file that can be delivered via the Web, not unlike Apple’s Lion, which is available for purchase and install through the Mac App Store.

“In the past, if you wanted to buy an upgrade for Windows, it involved purchasing a boxed product from a retail outlet, taking it home, (sometimes being infuriated while trying to open the box,) and inserting a DVD,” Sinofsky explained. “However, buying boxed software is quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule, with more and more software being purchased online as broadband penetration increases and large-size media downloads become more common.

“While we will continue to offer boxed DVDs, we are also making it easier than ever to purchase and install online. This includes starting the setup experience online as well, and having one continuous integrated experience from beginning to end.”

Microsoft’s Web setup will allow the company to “pre-key” the setup image that is downloaded to a unique user. This means users won’t need to enter the 25-digit product key that is currently necessary to install existing versions of Windows.

Sinofsky stopped short of saying that the Web install method will be the preferred way for users to install Windows 8, though the simplified process will likely make it ideal for most users. Through one application, Microsoft will scan a user’s system for compatibility, download Windows 8, and then install the operating system.

Apple has made it clear that the Mac App Store is the preferred way for users to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, though the company has made Lion also available on a USB thumb drive. But while Lion costs US$29.99 on the Mac App Store, its US$69 price tag when bought on a USB drive is more than double the price of the digital download.

Of course, Microsoft’s digital delivery method for Windows 8 is very different from Apple’s approach, in that Microsoft does not have a centralized software storefront akin to Apple’s Mac App Store. Users will have to load the dedicated Windows 8 Setup application to make the upgrade on their system, while the Mac App Store is available on all up-to-date systems running Apple’s previous-generation operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Beyond digital delivery, Microsoft has made a number of other changes to help simplify and speed up the Windows 8 install process. Through a number of modifications to the upgrade engine, Microsoft says it has reduced a clean install time from 32 minutes for Windows 7 to 21 minutes with Windows 8.

The greatest improvement will be seen for power users who complete a “super upgrade,” which, in Microsoft’s tests, includes 1.44 million files and 120 installed applications. While a Windows 7 upgrade under that scenario would have taken 513 minutes, Windows 8′s advertised upgrade time is just 52 minutes.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.1.0 update

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Date: Friday, November 18th, 2011, 11:21
Category: News, Software

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On Friday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.1.0 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

- Smart Full Screen.

- The Return of automatically powering on favorite virtual machines: – We removed this feature in VMware Fusion 4 and you really wanted it back. Virtual machines can now be powered on automatically when VMware Fusion starts. This can be set for each virtual machine under Settings > General.

- Greatly improved graphics performance for Internet Explorer 9 with hardware accelerated graphics are up to 6x faster than VMware Fusion 4.

- Improved rendering correctness in Solidworks 2012.

- Improved graphics performance when using Mac OS X 10.7.2.

- Improved animations for full screen mode, unity mode, library and snapshots.

- Improved startup time with Windows 7 virtual machines.

- Mac OS X 10.7 Lion as a guest just got better: – Improved Mac OS X 10.7 Lion virtual machine support including smoother mouse movement and support for FileVault 2 when using Mac OS X 10.7.2 and later.

Fusion 4.1.0 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.6

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Date: Monday, November 7th, 2011, 04:38
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.6. The new version, a 88.9 megabyte download, sports an extensive list of changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.1.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know.

Rumor: Prior to passing, Steve Jobs left iTunes creator in charge of HDTV project

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Date: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011, 05:51
Category: Rumor, Software

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When Steve Jobs passed away, he put certain Apple employees in place to keep things going and make sure his final goals were realized.

It looks like another has been discovered.

According to Bloomberg, Jeff Robbin, an Apple vice president and engineer who helped create both iTunes and the iPod, is leading the company’s efforts to produce a connected TV with integrated search functionality.

Citing multiple sources familiar with the project, Bloomberg reported on Monday that Robbin is in charge of Cupertino, Calif., company’s secretive high-definition TV project. According to the sources, Apple is working to integrate seamless content search features into the device.

“For example, instead of having to separately check to see if a movie or show is available through Netflix or a cable service, all the material could be integrated,” the report noted.

Robbin worked as a system software engineer at Apple in the 1990s before leaving to work on his own software projects. While at software publisher Casady & Greene, he helped to develop the SoundJam MP MP3 player software. In late 2000, Apple purchased the rights for SoundJam from Casady & Greene, bringing Robbin back into the fold to head up the software’s transformation into iTunes.

Back at Apple, Robbin also played a crucial role in the development of the iPod, which just recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. He is listed among the inventors of several key iPod-related patent filings, though not all of the applications were successfully converted into legitimate patents.

His current role at Apple is vice president of consumer applications and lead software designer for iTunes.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs at one point considered Robbin to be of such high value to the company that he worked to keep Robbin’s role under wraps. According to the bestselling biography on Jobs, officially released on Monday, Jobs refused to allow a Time magazine reporter to use the engineer’s full name in an article because he feared Robbin would be poached by another company. The book also noted that Robbin was one of the Apple executives who successfully lobbied Jobs to allow a Windows version of iTunes.

Having persisted for years, rumors surrounding Apple’s connected television initiative have gained momentum after Jobs’ biography confirmed that he had been working on such a device. Author Walter Isaacson quoted Jobs in an interview as saying that he wanted to make television sets “simple and elegant,” just like he had done with computers, music players and phones.

“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs reportedly said of the project. “I finally cracked it.”

Multiple analysts claimed on Monday that Apple has been building prototype high-definition TVs, possibly in preparation for a 2012 launch. The rumored product would represent a strong opportunity for the company, as some have projected the LCD TV market to top US$100 billion next year.

Apple currently sells a US$99 Apple TV set-top box, but considers the device to be little more than a “hobby.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14924.699487

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:00
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.14924.699487 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Add support for Windows 8 Developer Preview (new Windows 8 installation is recommended after installing the update).

- Improve compatibility with Quicken 2011.

- Improve support for Autodesk 3ds Max 2012.

- Optimize CPU usage when Parallels Desktop is idle.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.4

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 03:58
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.4. The new version, a 88.9 megabyte download, sports an extensive list of changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.1.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know.

Adobe releases Lightroom 3.5 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 10:44
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, software giant released version 3.5 of its Lightroom (available on the company’s update page) photo editing utility. The Lightroom 3.5 update added the following fixes and changes:

- Using the arrow keys to modify image adjustment settings lacked responsiveness.

- A Publish Collection targeting a hard drive on Windows would not behave properly if the designated folder was deleted from hard drive.

- After editing the capture time in Lightroom, “Date Time Digitized” was incorrectly changed (Only “Date Time Original” should be modified).

- On Windows computers, Lightroom would interpret the wrong time zone.

- Changing Lightroom’s date created field to a date prior to 1933 resulted in unexpected values.

- Lightroom 3.2 introduced preview cache inefficiencies.

- GPS Altitude metadata was incorrectly excluded from files converted to DNG or exported as DNG files from Lightroom 3.4.1.

- For non-English language operating systems, folder names in the import dialog may not
have been translating properly.

- When exporting images with the “Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy” enabled,
keywords with “Include on Export” deselected would still have been included on export • Saving metadata to a JPEG file in Lightroom 3.4 could have caused Lightroom to quit
unexpectedly.

- A Publish Collection in Lightroom 3.4 set to publish original files would fail to include XMP files for proprietary raw formats.

- RECONYX images did not open properly in Lightroom 3.4.

- When applying automatic lens profile correction, Lightroom 3.4 did not automatically
recognize the following lens: “Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED”.

- Using the plus or minus key to increment Develop Module parameters did not work
properly on the Mac.

- The Limit File Size export option was incorrectly including EXIF metadata on export when the Minimize Embedded Metadata option was selected.

- On Mac OS X 10.7, the Lightroom import dialog did not properly display network volumes.

- On Windows computers, using Shift + Scroll wheel to adjust the Adjustment Brush feather size, the expected result of the scroll wheel movement was reversed.

- Lightroom would not provide the correct error message when attempting to delete photos published to Facebook.

- Lightroom would experience tether capture failures on computers utilizing OS X 10.6.8 and 10.7.

- Develop load time performance was inconsistent.

Adobe Lightroom 3.5 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.2 update

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Date: Thursday, September 29th, 2011, 04:46
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.2 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download via MacUpdate, can be found here, offers the following fix:

- Addresses an issue starting virtual machines running a forthcoming version of Mac OS X Lion.

Fusion 4.0.2 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

If you tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14922.693916

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Date: Thursday, September 15th, 2011, 05:35
Category: News, Software

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Updates: They tend to be useful.

Late Wednesday, Parallels released version 7.0.14922.693916 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- New interface languages, including Czech, Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, and Chinese Traditional.

- Option to choose Mac OS X Snow Leopard-style full screen mode instead of native OS X Lion full screen mode.

- Better compatibility with FileVault.

- Improved compatibility with FaceTime HD camera and other USB devices for virtual machines with more than 2 GB of memory.

- Resolves a problem with Mac slow boot time.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

VMWare releases Fusion 4.0.1 update

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Date: Wednesday, September 14th, 2011, 05:19
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 4.0.1 of its Fusion software for the Mac.

Similar to other virtualization software packages, VMWare allows users to run alternate operating systems such as Windows and Linux distributions on Intel-based Macs at native speeds. Other features, such as Unity, allow users to run and minimize Windows applications from the Mac OS X Dock.

The new version, a 180 megabyte download via MacUpdate, can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

- Designed for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

- Brand-new user interface to offer an even more mac-like experience when running Windows and Mac applications side-by-side without rebooting.

- Turbocharged performance with up to 2.5x faster 3D graphics.

- Highly optimized 64-bit engine and multi-core processing faster than ever.

- Full Windows 7 support including Windows Aero and Flip 3D animations.

- Migration Assistant for Windows to transfer your entire PC to your Mac.

- Run OS X Lion in a virtual machine.

- More than 90 new features.

Fusion 4.0.1 retails for US$49.99 and requires an Intel-based Mac, 2 GB of RAM, Mac OS X 10.6.7 or later (10.7 recommended) and a copy of Windows (if you’ll be installing Windows).

If you tried the new version and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.