Parallels releases Desktop 8 upgrade, slates full release for September 4th

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Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2012, 06:12
Category: News, Software

parallelslogo1.jpg

You can’t knock a solid version release.

Per The Mac Observer, Parallels has announced the release of Desktop 8 for Mac, its virtualization software that allows OS X users to run a wide variety of other operating systems, notably Windows. The many enhancements in Desktop 8, including Windows 8 support, are aimed at making the integration between these two OSes even more seamless with the new version offering the following fixes and changes:

- A new button is made available in Safari, “Open in Internet Explorer.” When a website doesn’t render well or at all in Safari, just click the IE button and IE launches on the Mac desktop.

- In OS X, drag a file on the desktop to the Outlook icon and send it, in Windows Outlook, as an attachment.

- Dictation Support. For Windows apps that accept voice dictation, Mountain Lion’s voice dictation can be passed along to them.

- The Parallels Virtual Machine list now shows CPU and RAM utilization of each running OS.

- If a Windows app supports full screen, it will run full screen in OS X. A new Presentation Wizard makes presentations easier and interruption-free by disabling screensavers on Mac and Windows, optimizing the full-screen display and automatically adjusting resolution. In the “smart full screen,” the OS X dock is suppressed, and presentations can appear as if they are natively running on a PC.

- Notifications from Windows. Windows app notifications are passed along to Mountain Lion’s Notification center.

- Mountain Lion gestures like pinch, rotate and zoom are passed along to Windows 8. Copy and paste, drag and drop are supported for Windows 8.

- USB 3 support for the virtual machines in Desktop 8.

- Retina display support – Mac Retina display resolution is supported for Windows 7 and Windows applications to see crisper fonts, vivid photos, images and animations.

- One can download the Windows 8 Release Preview right from the Parallels Install Wizard.

- One can put Windows apps in the OS X Launchpad and run them from there.

- Bluetooth Support: Windows and Mac devices can now share Bluetooth connections.

- Improved speed. Parallels claims that Desktop 8 performance is up to 30 percent faster for input/output operations, 30 percent faster for games and up to 25 percent faster for virtual machine operations such as boot, suspend, shutdown and resume, when compared to Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac.

- Desktop 8 for Mac supports a wide range of guest OSes, including Windows, Linux and Solaris. Also supported as guests are Snow Leopard Server, Lion, and Mountain Lion. (Snow Leopard client is not licensed by Apple for virtualization.)

Parallels Desktop 8 requires a Mac with at least an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8, 4 GB of RAM and 15 GB of disk space for each virtual machine to install and run. The Parallels Desktop 8 upgrade for Mac is available beginning Aug. 30, 2012 for current customers and is priced at US$49.99 as a download only.

The full version will be available to new customers on www.parallels.com/desktop starting September 4 and will retail for US$79.99.

Special pricing of US$49.99 for the full version is available to customers currently using VMware Fusion.

Customers who purchased Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac from an authorized reseller on or after July 25, 2012, are eligible to upgrade to Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac at no additional cost.

CrossOver updated to 11.2.1

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 17:14
Category: News, Software

CrossOver, the popular virtualization program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 11.2.1. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following fixes and changes:

- This release updates the ‘Crosstie’ installation recipes to avoid errors with failed downloads. You should install this update to avoid these errors.

CrossOver 11.2.1 retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.5 and or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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

Opera 12.02 beta goes live, now available for download

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Date: Friday, August 24th, 2012, 06:34
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Opera Software released version 12.02 of its web browser. The new version, which is currently a public beta, stands as a 28.2 megabyte download via MacUpdate, boasts the following fixes and changes:

- DSK-368553 When navigating away from the first page opened in a tab, an extension loses information about the document inside the tab.

- DSK-372113 Opera crashes if dragging a tab into a stack which contains another stack.

- DSK-372317 [Windows] Windowless plugin painting messages can prevent Opera from exiting.

- DSK-372168 [Linux/FreeBSD] Some plugins accessed via symlinks crash (e.g. Oracle Java), others cannot be found.

- We’re trying out a fix for some SSL connectivity problems, please watch out for any padlock issues.

Opera 12.02 is available for free and requires and Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

VMWare releases Fusion 5.0.0 update

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Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012, 07:09
Category: News, Software

Late Wednesday, virtualization softare maker VMWare released version 5.0.0 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 203 megabyte download, can be found here and offers the following fixes and changes:

- Designed for Mountain Lion – Run Windows on Mountain Lion and search Windows programs in Launchpad, use “AirPlay Mirroring” to stream Mac and Windows applications on an HDTV and get VMware Fusion notifications in Mountain Lion’s notification center.

- Windows 8 Optimization – VMware Fusion 5 supports Windows 8 standard, pro and enterprise editions so consumers can optimize the new Windows 8 “Metro” environment directly on a Mac.

- Enhanced Mac Support – Support for the latest Mac technologies include compatibility with Mountain Lion, retina display optimization, USB 3 connectivity, and improved support for large memory Macs.

- Next Generation Performance – Performance enhancements include up to 40% faster general performance speeds compared to the previous version of the product, improved power management for longer battery life and faster 3D graphics.

- Additional Functionalities – New, powerful ways to experience Windows on a Mac are available through an updated virtual machine library that enables seamless transitions between multiple operating systems, one click snapshots with improved graphical appearance, a brand new graphics driver for Linux 3D desktops, and a new embedded learning center for immediate support.

Fusion 5.0.0 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).

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

Google Chrome updated to 21.0.1180.81

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Date: Friday, August 17th, 2012, 16:42
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock frequent updates.

On Friday, Google released a beta of version 21.0.1180.81 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 43.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Duplex Printing defaults to Yes, which prints extra pages even for a 1 page print out (Issue 138312).

- Print preview takes forever on Win XP (issue: 140044).

- Anti-DDoS inversion of logic (Issues: 141643, 141081).

- Pepper Flash: in file uploads, treats HTTP status != 200 as failure, breaking (e.g.) uploads to Amazon S3 (Issue: 140468).

- Projectmanager.com application causes Flash to hang (Issue: 141018)
Turn off TLS 1.1 in Chrome 21 Stable (Issue: 142172).

- An additional scroll bar appears at the right on many sites (issue: 140239).

- Setting and unsetting display:none obliterates current scroll position (issue: 140101).

Google Chrome 21.0.1180.81 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion resource files hint at possible next-gen iMac, Mac Pro models without optical drives

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Date: Friday, August 10th, 2012, 07:28
Category: Hardware, iMac, Mac Pro, Rumor

It’s the internal files that hint at the upcoming cool stuff.

Per AppleInsider, internal configuration files in OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion make apparent references to yet-unreleased new generations of Apple’s iMac (iMac13,0) and Mac Pro (MacPro6,0), both in the context of USB booting options that indicate the new Mac desktops could, for the first time in nearly 20 years, lack built-in optical drives.

The discovery, made by a source close to the story, appears in a configuration plist file used by Boot Camp Assistant to designate the Mac model versions capable of supporting either a optical boot disc, or alternatively, a USB flash drive volume capable of installing Windows to a Boot Camp partition.

While all modern Macs can boot OS X from a USB drive, Apple’s Boot Camp Assistant references the plist to display a listing of newer Mac models with EFI-level support for booting a legacy operating system from a USB flash drive. The primary advantage to using a USB flash drive to create a bootable Windows 7 volume from an ISO (disc image file) is if you lack an optical drive burner.

The file lists a series of Mac models that support USB flash drive booting, referring to each model by its initials and its internal architectural version number. While it includes MacBook and MacBook Pro models with optical drives, most of the Macs in the supported list are optical free.

The list of models (below) include the “MM50″ (the Mac mini 5,x series, also known as the “Mid 2011 Mac mini”, which is the first non-Server version of the Mac mini to lack an optical drive), along with other optical-free models including the MacBook Air.

Two of the models in the USB-boot support listing refer to Macs that haven’t been released yet: the MP60 (the six generation Mac Pro, or MacPro6,x) and IM130 (pointing to the 13th generation iMac, or iMac13,x).

The current Mac Pro, updated only slightly in June during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference, hasn’t changed enough over the previous model for Apple to assign it a new architecture designation; it is still internally referred to as the “Mac Pro 5,1″ just like the Mac Pros that originally shipped back in August 2010.

Apple’s conspicuous lack of timely updates for the Mac Pro (and its relatively small and shrinking proportion of Apple’s Mac sales mix) has created the expectation that the company might eventually discontinue its full sized desktop the same way it terminated its rack mounted Xserve, an idea Apple reportedly evaluated as an option.

However, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook confirmed in June that Apple would not be killing the Mac Pro, stating instead in an email to a concerned customer, “Our Pro customers like you are really important to us. Although we didn’t have a chance to talk about a new Mac Pro at today’s [WWDC] event, don’t worry as we’re working on something really great for later next year. We also updated the current model today.”

Cook’s choice of the words “working on something really great,” indicates Apple plans to significantly update its Mac Pro model, which has carried forward the same basic aluminum box design introduced for the 2005 PowerMac G5.

While removing its optical drive would do much less to save space and thickness compared to Apple’s notebook designs, it’s likely that an all new Apple desktop aimed at professionals would rethink its use of slow, bulky and essentially obsolete optical drive devices and perhaps instead incorporate high performance SSD RAID options for a reduced profile.

Apple’s current iMac (referred to internally as the iMac 12) was last refreshed in May 2011, indicating that it’s overdue for a refresh. A new 13th generation iMac generation identified as “iMac 13,2″ has already appeared in Geekbench benchmarks.

Similarly, patent filings reveal Apple has also been working to once again slim down the peripherals that ship with its industry-leading all-in-one desktop, with the designs referenced in those filings having the potential to accompany the next iMac update.

The appearance of new Mac Pro and iMac models in the USB booting support list doesn’t definitively mean the models won’t have optical drives, as it also lists MacBook and MacBook Pro models that do incorporate an optical drive.

At the same time, Apple has clearly indicated in the newest Mac mini and Retina Display MacBook Pro that it plans to get rid of optical disc drives as soon as possible across the board, providing an external USB drive as an option for users who need one.

Users increasingly have fewer opportunities to use optical drives, as the bulk of third party software is now available as a digital download either directly from the vendor or through Apple’s App Store. Apple also sees digital distribution as the future of music and movies, as exemplified in Apple TV, which has never included an optical drive.

The company has never supported any new HD optical disc formats on its products, including Microsoft’s ill fated HD-DVD or Sony’s Blu-ray format, despite initially being involved in the Blu-ray standardization process. Instead, Apple has put its resources behind developing increasingly higher definition audio and video formats that it can distribute electronically through its own iTunes Store.

Apple even developed an alternative iTunes Extras web based multimedia format to deliver the same kind of interactive menus supported on DVDs, with a parallel solution for albums it called iTunes LP.

In addition, Apple introduced technologies intended to wean its Mac platform from optical disc dependance with the MacBook Air, which was designed to remotely share disc drives available on the local network (even remotely install OS X) via Remote Disc and handle Migration Assistant tasks over a wireless network connection.

Modern Mac models can now apply system updates, such as OS X Mountain Lion, entirely via digital downloads, while Apple’s newest Mac models can boot legacy operating systems from USB flash drives.

By ditching the need for a built in optical drive, Apple can not only make new Macs smaller, thinner and more energy efficient, but will also increase their overall reliability, as optical drives become one of the last complex physical mechanisms inside computers.

Apple has similarly helped to pioneer the mainstream adoption of Solid State Drives as an alternative to the more fragile mechanical design inherent in conventional Hard Disk Drives. Its most popular general computing device, the iPad, makes no use of either optical drives or HDD mechanisms.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Picture: MacBook Pros galore helped Curiosity get to Mars

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Date: Monday, August 6th, 2012, 06:06
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Pictures

By the time I graduated from high school in 1996, I was one of two people in my school routinely carrying a notebook computer through the halls of Providence Country Day in East Providence, Rhode Island. I carried a PowerBook 150 and one of my best friends, Josh Ledgard, carried a white Toshiba notebook that he had named “Herbie”.

It was also around this time that Apple was at its lowest point, Steve Jobs had yet to officially return in any capacity and people wondered aloud if Apple would die and why I didn’t carry a Windows PC notebook?

A picture’s worth a thousand words, ladies and gentlemen, and via the extremely cool cats at 9to5 Mac, there’s the following killer picture of not just a few MacBook Pro notebooks helping to land Curiosity on Mars last night:



And yes, I know some of them may have booted Linux or Windows partitions at the time, so that joke still stands…

Happy Curiosity Day, guys!!!

Apple offers final notice, warns users of July 31st iWork.com closure

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Date: Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 11:46
Category: News, Software

Ok, it’s time to stop procrastinating…

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday issued what it called a “final reminder” to users that they must save their iWork.com documents before July 31 or lose them forever.

The iWork.com beta website will close in one week’s time, after which users will no longer be able to access their documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

Apple has recommended once again that users immediately sign in to iWork.com to download documents and ensure tehy are not lost. An accompanying support article also details how users can save a copy of their documents onto their computer.

“Moving forward, you can use iCloud to store your documents and make them available across your computer and your iPHone, iPad or iPod touch,” the e-mail sent out on Tuesday by Apple reads.

Apple has sent out numerous reminders, including one earlier this month, encouraging users to back up their documents. Apple first notified customers in March of its intent to shutter the iWork.com website by the end of July.

The iWork.com service first launched as a beta in early 2009, offering iWork users on the Mac the ability to more easily collaborate with others using Windows and Microsoft Office. Now, the iWork suite of applications is become available on iOS, with Pages, Numbers and Keynote among the most popular downloads on the iPad App Store.

So, yeah, snag those files, put them somewhere else and perhaps head out and grab a really good bagel between now and the 31st, because Apple has decided to move on.

Microsoft: No plans for Mac version of Office 2013

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 06:20
Category: News, Software

Sometimes it’s just natural to want to take the ball and run off with it.

Per Cult of Mac, when Microsoft recently announced an Office for Mac 2011 update was in the works it also confirmed that OS X users would not be able to take advantage of the newer Office 2013 as the software suite is reserved for Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines only.

Microsoft failed to mention whether a Mac version of Office 2013 was in the works when the productivity software reached Customer Preview phase on Monday, though during Wednesday’s Office for Mac 2011 update announcement the company stated that it had no such plans.

“We haven’t announced the next release of Office for Mac,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

According to the publication, Office 2013 will feature support for a new server-based version of Office which is said to be highly integrated with its SkyDrive cloud system. Microsoft released the Service Pack 2 update to Office for Mac 2011 in April to fix bugs affecting Outlook.

While Mac owners won’t be able to enjoy the newly-implemented cloud capabilites of Office 2013, the Office for Mac 2011 update will bring access to Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Office 365 where users are able to save documents off-site.

The Office for Mac 2011 update is expected to ship early next year alongside the Windows-only Office 2013.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft to release Windows 8 on October 26th

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Date: Thursday, July 19th, 2012, 05:05
Category: News, Software

You can pick up Windows 8, then begin working on a Halloween costume this year.

Per Electronista, it was revealed during Microsot’s annual sales meeting that the company’s next-generation operating system will hit shelves on Oct. 26 meaning new hardware will shortly follow including the Surface tablet.

Microsoft’s Windows Division President Steven Sinofsky made good on a promise from Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller who said Windows 8 would see release sometime in October. A subsequent post on the company’s dedicated Windows blog detailed the meeting, describing upgrade tiers and purchasing options.

Windows 8 will debut in 231 markets covering 109 languages on launch day and existing users of the ubiquitous OS can upgrade to the revamped software online for US$40. According to Microsoft’s website, all PCs running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 qualify for the US$39.99 upgrade with the option to add on Windows Media Center for free though the operating system’s “add features” option.

Wednesday’s announcement also portends the imminent release of tablets, PCs and Ultrabooks running the one-OS-for-all software when Microsoft announced as much during the Surface unveiling in June.

Microsoft’s Surface will likely be one of the first Windows 8 examples on offer when the OS debuts as the device marks the Redmond-based company’s first foray into the tablet hardware market. Initially, a stripped-down ARM-based iteration called Surface for Windows RT will roll out before a more full-featured Intel version dubbed Surface for Windows 8 Pro hits stores later this year.

It is unclear what features are missing from Windows RT but Microsoft is claiming the new OS is meant to reflect a “PC+” era where all devices run identical operating systems. This is counter to Apple’s “post-PC” era which describes multiple devices running software tailor-made for specific tasks, an example being OS X for laptops and iOS for iDevices. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner claimed that the iPhone maker’s view future computing is incorrect and instead believes in a “ond-OS-fits-all” approach to OS coding. Interestingly it appears that Windows RT skews toward the “post-PC” model.

Apple is looking to release its own next-generation operating system with OS X 10.8 later in July, and while no specific date has been set a launch should be imminent as the company seeded the Mountain Lion gold master last week.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.