Hitachi announces 4TB external hard drive unit, includes Thunderbolt port

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Date: Friday, September 9th, 2011, 02:37
Category: hard drive, Hardware, News

Following up on Seagate’s announcement of a 4TB external hard drive, Hitachi has introduced its own 4TB disk and is packing two of them inside a whopping 8TB G-RAID external case complete with Thunderbolt.

Per Mac|Life, the company has placed two such drives inside a G-RAID casing and Thunderbolt I/O port on the outside. The company’s new 4TB-based G-RAID and single-drive G-DRIVE solutions will ship with Thunderbolt in the fourth quarter, but lovers of legacy I/O ports including eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 can get their mitts on one in October.

G-RAID with Thunderbolt is billed as the highest capacity two-drive RAID 0 external storage device in the world, ready to use right out of the box with Mac OS X systems where it appears as a single, big and fast hard drive. (G-RAID also supports Windows systems with a simple reformat.)

The company hasn’t announced any firm pricing for the new G-RAID with Thunderbolt, but interested consumers of big storage can stay tuned to the company’s website for more details in the near future.

Parallels 7 upgrade goes live, available via retail on September 6

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Date: Friday, September 2nd, 2011, 03:30
Category: iOS, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

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Upgrading: It’s not always a bad thing.

Per AppleInsider, Windows virtualization favorite Parallels Deskktop has reached version 7, the new version adding faster performance and new support for Mac OS X Lion, including Windows integration of apps in Launchpad and windows in Mission Control and the ability to run an instance of Lion within Lion itself.

The new update allows users to share iSight or FaceTime HD cameras between Mac and Windows apps, and adds the ability to run Mac OS X Lion as a guest OS. This summer, Apple relaxed its licensing for Mac OS X to allow Lion users to run up to two instances of the client OS on any Mac.

Previously, Apple only allowed Mac OS X Server to run in virtualization, and required that each virtual instance use a different license.

Beginning with Lion and the availability of Mac OS X through the Mac App Store, Server is now an application package that is hosted on Mac OS X Lion, and neither purchase uses serial numbers.

The Mac OS X Lion end user license agreement now states users may “install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software,” something virtualization tools can now take advantage of to offer the ability to host Lion as a guest OS.

Additional new features:
Among a list of 90 other enhancements, Parallels Desktop 7 can also take advantage of 1 GB of video RAM to accommodate high resolutions and color depth.

Parallels says graphics performance is up to 45 percent faster in 3D operations, and Windows start, stop and resume features are as much as 60 percent faster than previous versions. The company also claims that copy operations within Windows are now 120 percent as fast as its competitor’s product.

A new Parallels Mobile app for iOS allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to interact and control their Mac or Windows desktop guest OS instances, remotely (over WiFi or mobile) start or stop apps, play back music and audio remotely, and copy and paste data between their mobile device and Windows programs.

The new version, which will sell for US$79.99 in its standard version, US$49.99 as an upgrade to existing Desktop 5 or 6 users, or US$39.99 in a student edition, will enter the retail channel September 6.

However, upgrades for existing users became available for immediate purchase and download this afternoon.

Parallels 7 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.

Microsoft VP highlights Windows 8 interface changes, emphasizes upcoming Ribbon features

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Date: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011, 04:18
Category: iOS, News, Software

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If Mac OS X 10.7 (“Lion”) was starting to look like Windows 7 (or vice versa), this might be reassuring.

Per a blog entry by Steven Sinofsky, Microsoft’s president of its Windows Division, indicates that one key element of Windows 8 will take the new release in a very different direction than Apple’s outline for Mac OS X.

Sinofsky detailed his thinking behind changes planned for Windows Explorer, which is roughly analogous to Mac OS X’s Finder.

The Windows file system manager originally appeared as “MS DOS Executive,” which exposed DOS commands in a graphical environment with little similarity to the icon-centric Mac desktop.

As Windows began to grow in popularity, Microsoft created an embellished graphical representation of the file system with File Manager. Then, as web browsing became popular, Microsoft brought a browser-like interface to the file system, renaming File Manager as Windows Explorer, complete with a URL-like address bar and prominent back button.

Microsoft has incrementally incorporated Mac-like interface elements in Windows Explorer, with icon-centric file browsing that links documents to their preferred application. Particularly since the release of Mac OS X, Microsoft has incorporated a similar user environment focus that presents the user’s documents, pictures, music and videos rather than just a raw window into the root file system.

Microsoft’s biggest changes in Windows 8 will be an Office-like Ribbon that presents all the major functions in a tall, window-wide control bar. This marks a radical change in thinking compared to Apple’s increasingly minimalistic interface in the Finder, which limits the default buttons to a grouping of view options, a new sorting feature in Mac OS X Lion, a Quick View button, an Action button, and a search field.



Microsoft’s Windows 8 Explorer presents 19 visible buttons in five categories, and that’s just the Home tab. The Ribbon also supplies four other tabs, which function similar to the Mac’s main Menu Bar. Sinofsky explains, “The Home tab is the heart of our new, much more streamlined Explorer experience. The commands that make up 84% of what customers do in Explorer are now all available on this one tab.”

Outside of the graphical interface, Microsoft’s design goals for Windows 8 also mark a new era of computing centered around mobile devices such as tablets. Existing Windows 7 apps won’t run on future ARM-based tablets, but a new secondary environment of web-based apps will, something Microsoft hopes will enable Windows to remain relevant even as the conventional PC market has plateaued and begun to shrink globally.

Apple’s design direction for Mac OS X has opted to incorporate a variety of design elements originally created for iPad, including a simplified, window-less Full Screen mode for apps; limited and simplified control buttons in toolbars; an increasing use of touchpad gestures; and a new security model that encapsulates apps and their documents in a private sandbox.

Apple’s iOS originally appeared on the iPhone without any “file browser,” and even the latest version works hard to avoid any exposure of the underlying file system, despite supporting document-centric apps like iWork. Apps on iOS simply can not present a global view of the underlying filesystem, because all they can see is their own sandbox.

Apple’s iCloud similarly reduces the exposure of file system, replacing MobileMe’s iDisk with a new Documents and Data feature that secures an app’s files and data from access by malware while making the user’s files (and any changes) easier to manage across various devices.

Future versions of Mac OS X will likely continue along the same path, focusing upon self contained apps that create files, rather than a wide open file system (and the security issues related with having any piece of user-level software capable of accessing or wiping out any files in the local user folder).

Yes, the Ribbon shall rule the day after you boot up your Windows partiion either via Boot Camp or your virtualization app of choice.

All hail the Ribbon!!!

Apple releases Boot Camp 3.3 update

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Date: Thursday, August 25th, 2011, 03:12
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released Boot Camp Software Update 3.3, an update which offered revised Windows support for Macs running Boot Camp 3.x, included as part of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. Apple only notes that update supplies “critical bug fixes and hardware support.”

This update is targeted at users running Windows 7 in either the 32 or 64-bit version via Boot Camp 3.2 on Snow Leopard.

Macs running 10.7 Lion do not need the update, as that version (Boot Camp 4) can upgrade itself. Users running Boot Camp 3.2 can download the new package through Software Update or from Apple’s download page.

The update also offers specific support for the ATI-Radeon HD 5870 graphics card, Apple USB Ethernet Adapter, MacBook Air SuperDrive, and addresses critical bug fixes.

That update addressed users of Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 running BootCamp 3.1 on Snow Leopard.

If you’ve installed the update and noticed any changes, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases QuickTime 7.7 for Mac OS X 10.5, Windows users

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Date: Thursday, August 4th, 2011, 06:20
Category: News, Software

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Late Wednesday, Apple released the latest version of QuickTime, its multimedia support system for Mac OS X and Windows. The new version, known as QuickTime 7.7, is available as a variably-sized download (depending on version chosen through the download page), and improves security and is recommended for all Mac OS X 10.5.x (“Leopard”) users.

The update requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located and snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.0

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Date: Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 05:07
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.0. The new version, a 82.8 megabyte download, sports the following list of fixes and changes:

– Support for cloning of VMs (bug #5853, see the manual for more information): full clones can be created through the GUI and VBoxManage, linked clones only through VBoxManage.

– GUI: enhanced wizard for creating new virtual disks.

– GUI: new wizard for copying virtual disks.

– GUI: keep the aspect ratio in scale mode (Windows and OSX hosts only; bug #7822).

– VMM: raised the memory limit for 64-bit hosts to 1TB.

– Experimental support for PCI passthrough for Linux hosts, see the manual for more information.

– Windows guests: Experimental WDDM graphics driver, supporting Windows Aero (bug #4607) and providing
– Direct3D support using a cleaner approach (no need to install the guest drivers in Safe Mode anymore).

– Guest Additions: status of modules and features can now be queried separately by the frontends.

– Networking: new network attachment mode “Generic Driver”, which offers an open plugin architecture for arbitrary and separately distributable virtual network implementations.

– Host-only Networking: fixed host crash in kernels prior to 2.6.29.

– New Networking Mode UDP Tunnel: allows to interconnect VMs running on different hosts easily and transparently, see the manual for more information.

– Experimental support for SATA hard disk hotplugging available with VBoxManage.

– Solaris hosts: New Crossbow based bridged networking driver for Solaris 11 build 159 and above.

VirtualBox 4.1.0 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.

Facebook announces Skype video chat integration, other changes to social networking site

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Date: Wednesday, July 6th, 2011, 10:11
Category: News, Software

If there’s a major tech news story of the day, this might be it.

Per Electronista, Facebook at its special event Wednesday brought out Skype-based video chat. The approach lets Facebook members hold one-to-one video calls between each other without having to load a separate app; complete newcomers should be talking in 30 seconds, Facebook says. The platform should also work tightly with an updated desktop app and, eventually, mobile versions.

Skype 5.3 on Windows already lets users bring in a Facebook news feed, post status updates, and make calls directly to Facebook users from Skype. A 5.5 beta release also builds in Facebook chat with live status as an option. Mac versions are expected to come in the future.

Text chat got its own update at the event. Ad-hoc group chats are now possible and don’t need users to jump into a group chat. Regular chat also has a new, simplified design that adapts to the browser size and rolls in a sidebar that allows almost immediate text chat. The reworking is also intended to accommodate “future announcements,” Facebook hinted.

Facebook was shy on whether its own mobile apps would get video chat or whether group video chat was coming. The social network and Skype did cast the video chat as a starting point and hinted groups might come along in the future.

No mention has been made of Facebook’s native iPad app. Some had anticipated it coming with the Facebook event, but it’s now seen as more likely coming in the next several weeks. In the nearer future, Facebook is also expected to show Project Spartan and bring HTML5-native, Flash-free games to iOS and Android devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop 6.0.12090.660720 released

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Date: Wednesday, June 29th, 2011, 14:02
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 6.0.12090.660720 on Wednesday. The new version, a 211 megabyte download, available here and includes the following major fixes and changes:

– Improves compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6.8.

– Resolves an issue with Finder and the Dock being unresponsive while working with icons larger than 128×128 px created by Parallels Desktop.

Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 later to install and run.

VLC 1.1.10 update released

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Date: Monday, June 6th, 2011, 05:21
Category: News, Software

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Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 1.1.10. The new version, a 43.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Security update regarding an integer overflow in xspf demuxer.

– Rewrite of the pulseaudio audio output module.

– Update of libmodplug for security reasons in Windows and Mac versions.

– Major updates in most language translations.

– Removal of the font-cache re-building on the freetype module on Windows.

– Numerous updates and fixes on the interface and look of VLC for Mac OS X.

– Many miscellaneous fixes in decoders, demuxers and subtitles.

– 3rd party libraries updates.

VLC 1.1.10 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

Parallels Desktop 6.0.12090.660720 released

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Date: Thursday, June 2nd, 2011, 09:24
Category: News, Software

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Parallels Desktop, the popular virtualization application that allows users to run the Windows and Linux operating systems simultaneously alongside Mac OS X, reached version 6.0.12090.660720 on Thursday. The new version, available here, sports the following major fixes and changes:

– Adds support for Ubuntu 11.04 virtual machines.

– Improves mapping of Mac OS X system shortcuts to their equivalents in guest operating systems.

– Improves sharing clipboard between Windows and Mac OS X.

– Post about your exploring Windows on the Mac to Twitter and Facebook right from Parallels Desktop.

– Migrate multiple user accounts from a PC to your Mac using Parallels Transporter.

– Many issues have been fixed.

Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac retails for US$79.99 and requires Mac OS X 10.5.2 later to install and run.