Saturday, July 29, 2006

Flock — The web browser for you and your friend

This browser on first look seems to have done its homework!

It looks stunning on the OSX desktop, and blends seemlessly!

When you use Flock to do something cool, you're a Flockstar. It could be anything you want to share with your friends or the world: a photo of your new ride or a song your band just recorded. Let us know about yourself — we might even feature you on the Flock Blog.

I will keep you informed on the "usability" factor.

Xounds for Intel released!!!!

It has been SOOOO painfully since moving from my G4 to the MacDell.

No worries now - and music to my ears to follow :)

Xounds is a haxie that brings back Appearance Sounds to Mac OS X. Tired of silence? Want audio feedback when you navigate through menus or drag your windows around? Xounds will convert your existing Mac OS 8 or 9 soundsets and make Mac OS X a better place to work in.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Flip4Mac 2.1 adds Intel Mac support - About time :o

Flip4Mac, the QuickTime component that plays and exports Windows Media files, has been updated to version 2.1. The update brings with it Universal Binary support, meaning the application now supports Intel-based Macs. The new version also adds significant export optimizations for PowerPC Macs; multi language audio support in player; overlay when importing WMV content in trial mode; support for web authors to disable "save as" feature in the web browser; and support for MMS servers and live streams, among other changes. Flip4Mac is available as a free download from the company's Web site.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Intel launches Core 2 Duo processors

ntel unveiled its new Core 2 Duo processor lineup on Thursday, increasing the pressure on rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The 10 new dual-core chips promise markedly better performance and greater energy efficiency than Intel’s existing products.

The Core 2 Duo launch has been billed as Intel’s most significant since the introduction of the original Pentium processor in 1993. The introduction comes at a crucial moment. Intel executives have watched AMD expand its share of the processor market in recent quarters and they want to reclaim this lost ground.

“We’re really bullish on Core 2 Duo and we believe that it’s going to enable us to grow a significant amount of (market) share over the second half of the year. That’s our goal,” said Tim Bailey, director of platform marketing at Intel Asia-Pacific.

Among the chips announced by Intel are five processors designed for laptops and five desktop chips, including the high-end Core 2 Extreme processor for gamers. Pricing for the desktop chips ranges from US$183 for the 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo E6300 to $999 for the 2.93GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800. Pricing of the mobile chips was not available.

Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme are based on Intel’s Core microarchitecture, which replaces the NetBurst architecture used in the Pentium 4. The same microarchitecture is used in Woodcrest, the latest version of the Xeon server processor announced last month.

PC vendors say Core 2 Duo, formerly called Conroe and Merom, offers excellent performance for its price, allowing them to reach new markets.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) will use the Core 2 Duo chip in its new xw4400 workstation, replacing the Intel Pentium 4 and Pentium D chips used in the xw4300 model. HP sells that line primarily to users running compute-intensive applications like MCAD (mechanical computer-aided design) and digital content creation.

Core 2 Duo runs at slower clock speeds than Pentium-era chips, but is still more productive because it handles more calculations per clock cycle, said Sean Tucker, a product manager at HP. Thanks to that slower speed, Core 2 Duo chips need less electricity, drawing just 65 watts compared to the Pentium 4’s 95 watts and Pentium D’s 130 watts.

“That’s good news for customers because it draws less power from the wall, which helps to create a cooler working environment because it doesn’t dissipate so much heat, and a quieter environment because we can run the fan slower and generate less acoustical output,” Tucker said.

While Intel has begun shipping desktop Core 2 Duo chips to computer makers, most systems won’t reach consumers until next week. The first Core 2 Duo desktops will reach users in early August, with Core 2 Duo laptops arriving by the end of the month, Intel said, noting that Core 2 Extreme systems are already available.

The Core 2 Duo chips are made using a 65-nanometer production process, one of the reasons they consume 40 percent less power and offer a 40 percent or greater increase in performance, based on Intel’s estimates. The number used to describe the production process refers to the size of the smallest feature that can be created on a chip.

Intel began using the 65-nanometer process last year, starting the move away from the less-advanced 90-nanometer process. Shifting to a more advanced process generally permits the production of chips that are smaller, run faster and consume less power. The more advanced process also reduces the per-unit cost of chips, since more can fit on a single silicon wafer.

With the introduction of the Core 2 Duo, Intel now produces more 60-nanometer chips than 90-nanometer chips, the company said. That will help Intel put pressure on AMD, which still produces most of its chips using a 90-nanometer process.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Parallels Desktop official in Apple Stores with rebate offer

I was in an Apple Store here in CO yesterday and noticed that retail boxes of Parallels Desktop have arrived on the shelves. In fact, I had a nice discussion with a customer who was switching because he could now run Windows on a new Mac (he never considered Virtual PC an option - I personally don't blame him). He even used the term 'safety net' to refer to how often he hoped to have to run Windows - if ever.

This great news for the MacDell as it cannot run virtual PC. :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

How to Use Vista Beta 2 Boot Manager to Dual Boot Vista and OS X on a MacBook

Windows Vista comes with a new boot manager, that is very flexible. I thought it would be nice if I could use that to specify an entry for Mac OS X. However, the technology is new and I cannot find many documentations about it. The FAQ in Microsoft’s web site does not tell you how to create a boot loader for Mac OS X. It only tells you how to create a boot loader for legacy systems like Windows XP.

I then found out that people are using a chain0 file with Vista’s boot manager to dual boot OS X and Vista for the OSx86 project. I tried that, but it did not work. The problem is that the chain0 file is not for booting Mac OS X on MacBook. What I really need is already on my MacBook. It’s called boot.efi and it’s under /usr/standalone/i386/ . The file is hidden from Finder. You will need to use Terminal application to copy it. Here are the steps.

1. Boot to Mac OS X. Open Terminal application and type in the following to copy boot.efi to the Desktop.

cp /usr/standalone/i386/boot.efi ~/Desktop/

2. Copy the boot.efi file to a USB key.
3. Boot to Vista and copy the boot.efi file from the USB key to C: 4. Now open Command Prompt as administrator. If you don’t know how to do this, please follow the steps 1~3 in this post.
5. We need to determine if you have a legacy boot loader in your system. Type in the command in the Command Prompt window.

bcdedit /enum all | find "{ntldr}"

If this command returns

identifier {ntldr}

, that means you already have a legacy boot loader in your system. Follow step 6 and skip step 7. If the command didn’t return anything, skip step 6 and follow step 7.
6. Type in the following to copy the legacy boot loader.

bcdedit /copy {ntldr} /d "Mac OS X"
bcdedit /set {YOUR-GUID-HERE} device boot
bcdedit /set {YOUR-GUID-HERE} path \boot.efi
bcdedit /displayorder {YOUR-GUID-HERE} /addlast

Note that you need to replace YOUR-GUID-HERE with the actual GUID returned by the first command. To illustrate this, the following are the actual commands and responses.

C:>bcdedit /copy {ntldr} /d "Mac OS X"
The entry was successfully copied to {bcfa924e-07e0-11db-9d86-accf6fd346a1}.

C:>bcdedit /set {bcfa924e-07e0-11db-9d86-accf6fd346a1} device boot
The operation completed successfully.

C:>bcdedit /set {bcfa924e-07e0-11db-9d86-accf6fd346a1} path \boot.efi
The operation completed successfully.

C:>bcdedit /displayorder {bcfa924e-07e0-11db-9d86-accf6fd346a1} /addlast
The operation completed successfully.

7. Type in the following to create a new legacy boot loader.

bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "Mac OS X"
bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot
bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \boot.efi
bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast

Now you can see there is an entry for “Mac OS X” whenever you boot to Vista, select that and you can boot to Mac OS X.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Why Microsoft should fear Intel Macs

There has been much talk about the threat that Apple Macintosh computers now pose to Windows PCs - or should we say Windows only PCs. Make no mistake, the talk is well justified, as recent market research shows. However, what hasn't been talked about as much is the very real threat that Macs now pose to the Windows operating system itself.

I'd have to say if Apple licensed OSX to any intel based PC, Microsofts market share would shrink.