Parallels Desktop for Mac 6.0 out the door, boasts speed improvements, new features

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Date: Wednesday, September 15th, 2010, 05:26
Category: News, Software

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On Monday, virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop 6.0 for Mac OS X. The software allows Mac users to run Windows within Mac OS X. The company says that Parallels Desktop 6 has over 80 new features and improvements, the most prominent being an increased speed in addition to faster performance when handling files over USB or on a network. Per Macworld, the developer says that the new software can boot Windows 41% faster than the previous version, and 3D graphics performance gets a 40% increase. Parallels Desktop 6 also has full 64-bit support.

“With Parallels Desktop 6, gaming and graphics was a priority,” said Jack Zubarev, President of Marketing and Alliances for Parallels in a press conference. In addition to the graphics enhancements, Parallels Desktop 6 now supports 5.1 surround sound.

Parallels Desktop 6 also has new security features. Parental controls now work so that the setting you apply on your Mac are also carried over to Windows. The virtual machine encryption feature helps maintain the privacy of your data. Parallels also provides the Kaspersky Internet Security 2011 (Windows) and Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Mac software packages, as well as the Acronis True Image Home 2010 backup and file recovery program, and Acronis Disk Director 2011 Home hard drive utility (both for Windows).

Other new features include the ability to use Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts in Windows and the ability to use Spotlight to find Windows programs.

Parallels Desktop 6 retails for US$80 while a student version is available for US$40. Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac will also be packaged in a US$100 Switch to Mac bundle targeted at new Mac users who are switching from a Windows PC computer. The Switch to Mac bundle includes a USB cable for transferring files between a Mac and PC.

Existing Parallels users can upgrade to version 6 for US$50. If you bought Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac after August 15 from an authorized dealer, you will be able to upgrade to version 6 at no additional cost.

A direct download of the new version is available here.

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

VMWare releases Fusion 3.1.1

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Date: Monday, August 16th, 2010, 03:54
Category: News, Software

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Late Friday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.1.1 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, which can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

- VMware vSphere 4.1 is now supported as a guest operating system. VMware Certified Professionals (VCPs) and virtualization experts can use VMware vSphere 4.1 to install the latest server virtualization software and experiment with server setup, conduct training, show demos, and test production configurations. Running ESX as a guest eliminates the need to have spare hardware available to run ESX natively and enables ESX to run on systems that are not listed on the ESX hardware compatibility list (HCL). For more information on the supported processors and host operating systems, see see Considerations for Running an ESX Guest.

- Resolves an issue around accessing some iSight cameras.

- Resolves an issue where an incorrect disk error message appeared after a host crash occurs while working in a virtual machine.

- Resolves an issue where audio recording failed when the recording device output was not 44.1 kHz.

Fusion 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

CrossOver updated to 9.1

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Date: Thursday, July 29th, 2010, 04:41
Category: News, Software

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CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 9.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

Application Fixes:
- Improved installation of Office 2007 service packs.
- Fixed product registration of Office 2007 and Office 2003.
- Fixed some unimportant errors during installation of some versions of Office 2003.
- Improved several connection and importation issues with Quicken 2010.
- Fixed product registration of Project and Visio 2003.
- Fixed Excel 2007 hyperlinks.
- Fixed document saving in Publisher 2003.
- Fixed playing of mp3 files in Media Player 9.
- Fixed custom installs of Office 2007.
- Improved print to PDF in Office 2007.
- Some minor improvements to IE6 and IE7.

CrossOver Fixes:
- Improved proxy handling on the Gnome desktop.
- Fixed a Mac upgrade problem related to the CD-helper being in use.
- Fixed full-screen mode for Macs with auto-switching GPUs.
- Fixed Menus and Associations for Pardus Linux.
- Updated Dutch and French localizations.
- Made several application profile tune-ups.
- Merged with Wine version 1.2. Many improvements and bug fixes.

CrossOver 9.1 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

Parallels Desktop 5.0.9370 Released

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Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:40
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 5.0.9370 over the weekend. The new version, available here, sports the following fixes and changes:

- Mac folders shared with Windows now work correctly with MS Outlook, Lotus, Quicken and other Windows applications.

- Support for Autodesk Revit 2011 was fixed.

- MS Office 2010 activation is preserved in Boot Camp virtual machines.

- OpenGL now works correctly in Ubuntu 10.04 virtual machines.

- Virtual machines using Boot Camp partitions on 512 GB solid-state disks (SSDs) now work correctly.

- The problem with invisible virtual machines list on new MacBook Pros (released in early 2010) was fixed.

- A rare problem with Windows virtual machine’s screen turning black after upgrading to Mac OS X v10.6.3 was fixed.

- Problems with Parallels Service stopping to respond when the Parallels Desktop settings file is corrupt were fixed.

- Problems with screen resolution in Mac OS X Server v10.6.3 virtual machines were fixed.

Parallels Desktop 5 for Mac retails for US$79.99, requires Mac OS X 10.4 later to install and run.

VLC 1.1.1 update released

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Date: Monday, July 26th, 2010, 04:06
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 1.1.1. The new version, a 39.6 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Multiple libVLC improvements and fixes.

- Windows video output fixes.

- DxVA2 decoding on ATI GPU, with Catalyst 10.7.

- Multiple fixes for interfaces.

- Various decoders and demuxers fixes.

- Updated translations.

- Various crashes and errors fixed.

VLC 1.1.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

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

E3 2010: Portal 2 demoed, details surface

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Date: Thursday, June 17th, 2010, 19:51
Category: News

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The long-awaited Portal 2 was demoed at this year’s E3 and the included gameplay footage aside, the following facts were garnered during the presentation:

- The new title is wrapped around story, gameplay (fans wanted to be surprised again) and music (the Jonathan Coulton track “Still Alive” took off and became a calling card with fans were demanding music have practically a starring role in the title).

- A lot of time has passed within the story between Portal 1 and 2 and the GLaDOS test computer is putting the labs back together, as it only knows how to have a relationship through testing, which was the premise of the original title).

- Throughout the demo, there’s an amazing combination of imagery with the charred/destroyed labs repairing themselves. A mix of wreckage, clean room/tech lab and jungle footage environments mix together to create a surreal but effective new world to play in.

- New character: A small personality sphere named Wheatley (complete with a British accent) surfaces as a guide/counterpart within the game. This character has been trapped in the Aperture labs for a long time and looks to escape along with you.

- The GLaDOS computer returns, embodying an enraged, insane and passive/aggressive cleverness in its interactions with your character.

- Throughout the demonstration, the game retains its dark but irreverent sense of humor.

- Certain environments are now destructible, which adds a new dimension to the gameplay.

- Repulsion Gel: Pour it on a surface and you can sort of use it as a trampoline (blue).

- Propulsion Gel: Allows for a “fling” effect. (orange)

- The developers commented that they’re looking to work off the same skill set as Portal 1 without forcing the players to relearn too many basics.

- Portal 2 itself is that much bigger and more involved than the original (no final level count has been released).

- Portal 2 can be worked through via a two-player co-op mode, this mode offering a different set of levels.

- The title will ship next year on Mac OS X, Windows, PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

Part 1:



Part 2:



Part 3:



Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Adobe releases Photoshop Lightroom 3 for Mac OS X, Windows

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Date: Wednesday, June 9th, 2010, 05:34
Category: News, Software

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On Tuesday, software giant Adobe announce the release of Photoshop Lightroom 3 for Mac OS X and Windows. Per AppleInsider, the new version includes bells and whistles such as support for DSLR video files and tethering shooting on selected cameras.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 boasts a performance architecture that Adobe said better handles growing image libraries and provides a superior raw processing engine with noise reduction and sharpening tools. The new 64-bit capable software also has new features to optimize workflows.

Adobe said Lightroom 3 was rebuilt to be fast and responsive, and the new application provides a fluid experience for photographers. Images are said to load almost instantaneously, and importing of images has been redesigned to be more intuitive, with added previews and default selections that give users quick access to sort through and find images.

Lightroom 3 also allows users to import and manage DSLR video files, as well as take advantage of tethered shooting for select Nikon and Canon cameras. It also has a new set of photographic tools for features like Luminance and Color Noise Reduction, which are said to help produce a clearer picture from high ISO or underexposed images while still preserving details.

The latest version also adds the highly requested Automatic Lens Correction feature, which improves results by allowing users to apply profiles that correct for undesirable geometric distortions, chromatic aberrations and lens vignette effects that most lenses introduce to the image.

There’s also a new straighten tool, allowing users to perfect vertical vertical and horizontal perspective, additional presets for applying more photographic adjustment styles, three new contemporary vignette styles, and a grain effect to add a more natural look with images.

Output options in Lightroom 3 have also been expanded, with new capabilities to publish collections to online sharing sites (for example, Flickr users can sync accounts to Lightroom with one click, and integration with other websites can be added through third-party plugins).

Lightroom 3 also has customizable print layouts which provide more refined control over how photographers present final images, and new watermarking features with options to modify text, size, location and style. Users can also export polished slideshows as video files with the option to add audio and title screens.

Photoshop Lightroom 3 is now for both Windows and Mac on the Adobe store and retails for US$299 for new users, and US$99 to upgrade. The app requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later and an Intel-based processor to run on the Mac end or Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or later on the PC end.

VMWare Releases Fusion 3.1

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Date: Wednesday, May 26th, 2010, 03:52
Category: News, Software

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On Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 3.1 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, which can be found here, offers the following new features and fixes:

Improved Overall Performance – 35% Faster than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- Reduced time for suspending virtual machines.
- Faster Windows application launch times.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

2D/3D Graphics Improvements – Up to 5X Better 3D Graphics than VMware Fusion 3.0:
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows Vista.
- OpenGL 2.1 for Windows 7.
- Greatly improved graphics performance.
- Aero is much faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7.
- Some games up to 10x faster than VMware Fusion 3.0 with VMware Fusion 3.1 and latest Mac OS X release.
- Greatly improved scrolling speeds in Windows Vista and Windows 7 with Mac OS X 10.6.3.

Unity Improvements:
- Minimizing Unity apps to the dock now shows app contents.
- Works with Exposé and Dock Exposé.

USB “EasyConnect”:
- Easily assign USB devices to virtual machine or Mac when connected.
- Remember USB device assignment between Mac and virtual machine restarts.

Bigger, More Complex Virtual Machines:
- 8-way SMP.
- 2 TB virtual disks.

PC Migration Improvements:
- Improvements to Migrate Your PC assistant, including better validation of names and better location prompt.
- Prompt user if Mac OS X guest account prevents guest access to shared folders instead of failing.
- Open new virtual machine upon successful migration.
- Enhanced user interface on PC being migrated including:
- New progress dialog on the PC being migrated as well as in VMware Fusion.
- Option to show converter logs and troubleshooting steps on PC if PC migration fails.
- Avoids port conflicts with Web server software installed on PC being migrated such as IIS, Tomcat, and Apache.

Boot Camp Improvements:
- Up to 5x disk performance in Boot Camp virtual machines.
- New option to minimize prompting for password (authentication dialogs) when using Boot Camp virtual machines.
- Handle Mac OS X disk changes better to avoid multiple references to Boot Camp partition in the Virtual Machine Library.
- Support for Office 2010 activation in Boot Camp virtual machines.

OVF Tool 2 Comes with VMware Fusion 3.1:
- Directly convert between any vSphere, VMX, or OVF source format to any vSphere, VMX, or OVF target format.
- Deploy virtual machines to vSphere using OVF Tool.
- Import and export of OVF packages into a vApprun 1.0 workspace.

User Interface Enhancements:
- Drag a disk image or virtual disk to the installation media pane of the assistant.
- Add shortcut for opening a virtual machines configuration file in default text editor for VMware Fusion (Hold down option and right-click in Virtual Machine Library).

User Interface Enhancements:
- User Experience Improvement Program.

New Guest Operating Systems Supported:
- Ubuntu 8.0.4.4: 32- and 64-bit.
- Ubuntu 10.04: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1: 32- and 64-bit.
- RHEL 5.4: 32- and 64-bit.

Fusion 3.1 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and retails for US$79.99.

Strange Knowledge Base article points to potential Boot Camp update for mid-April MacBook Pro

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Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010, 04:48
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

This is interesting.

Per CNET, Apple has released a knowledge base article outlining a Boot Camp update for the 2010 13″ MacBook Pro notebook. The update is for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of windows, and addresses a problem where the Boot Camp Control Panel would display warnings when changing the display brightness, as well as problems with no audio for headphones.

The 2010 MacBook Pro models were released in mid-April, and since then there have not been any Boot Camp updates so this is the first mention of one for these machines and perhaps a sign of fixes to come.

The update should be available through Apple’s software update utility in Windows, and is currently unavailable as a standalone download. When you install the update it should show the Boot Camp build number as 2354 when you select “About Boot Camp” when clicking the Boot Camp tool in the Windows task bar.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mac OS X 10.6.4 update to address OpenGL, iPhoto, DVD Player and VNC-related issues

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Date: Friday, May 7th, 2010, 05:46
Category: News, Software

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The Mac OS X 10.6.4 update will pick up where Mac OS X 10.6.3 left off by tackling compatibility issues with OpenGL-based applications and bandaging glitches with first- and third-party applications.

Per AppleInsider, a list of code corrections that Apple provided to some developers on Thursday alongside the second external beta of Mac OS X 10.6.4, carrying build number 10F46 is pointing development along those lines. The build arrived roughly one week after Apple issued the first external pre-release copies of the Snow Leopard update, which focused on graphics drivers, Windows file sharing, USB devices and Voice Over.

While the focus areas remain relatively the same in Thursday’s build, Apple added a fix for dropped connections with Cisco VPN and thus asked developers to evaluate the overall reliability of VPN connections under the beta.

According to sources testing Mac OS X 10.6.4, other fixes are also in the cards for pairing Apple remotes with Macs, graphics anomalies that surface when editing images in iPhoto’s full-screen mode, and video playback in DVD Player.

Additional code corrections reportedly target glitches with Parental Controls, erratic USB keyboard behaviors, 3D animations, and problems launching Adobe CS3 applications like Photoshop and Illustrator.

If you’ve gotten your hands on the new Mac OS X 10.6.4 build and have any feedback, let the rest of the class know what you make of it…