Tag Archives: os-x

FaceTime Beta for Mac – Not Windows, Yet

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Apple recently released the first public beta of the free FaceTime Mac desktop app. It’s not without its share of flaws, but for the most part works as advertised. I’m happy enough – for now.

FaceTime for Mac makes it possible to talk, smile, wave, and laugh with anyone on an iPhone 4, iPod touch, or Mac from your Mac over Wi-Fi. So you can catch up, hang out, joke around, and stay in touch with just a click. Sure, it’s great to hear a voice. But it’s even better to see the face that goes with it.

The only thing you need to get started is an Apple id and an email address… and the beta download, of course. Your address book is already integrated, so you don’t have to worry about having to add anyone. You CAN add anyone you want to at any point in time. With a MobileMe subscription, you can have several different accounts… choose one for friends, one for family and one for business to keep things more organized.

I don’t like that it won’t work on Windows or Linux. That’s depressing, Apple. You dont want to get leap-frogged by Skype, now do you?

I hate that you cannot block someone from within FaceTime. I had to change one of my usernames due to someone guessing it and trying to call repeatedly. There’s no way to just block them from calling at will. I hate that it won’t run full-screen natively. You have to toggle it during the call itself. Having some automated features would make it much better.

Call anyone who has a FaceTime account and see the smile you put on their face.

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What's in Your Dock?

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I bet you’re either running Mac OS X or some kind of dock software on Microsoft Windows (RocketDock or ObjectDock). Either way, I’ve received a few emails from y’all asking what I have in my dock. I hate to disappoint, but there’s not much in it.

In my dock, you’ll find a few things. Mine is kept at the bottom of the screen and hidden automatically. I have the Mac Finder, the Mail icon, iCal, my downloads folder and Trash. That’s it. I don’t have a great amount of icons. I like things nice and neat.

I don’t really need icons in my dock. I can get to apps really quickly using Spotlight. Once in a while, I will use QuickSilver to launch something quickly using a keyboard shortcut. Obviously, if an app is running it will be in the dock until I’m finished with it.

If you prefer the look of Windows 7, you can run a beta of HyperDock on your Mac.

If you’re a fan of ObjectDock and would like to win one of five copies for yourself, simply send a tweet with @chrispirillo in it, and something about #ObjectDock. I will select five people at random to win a copy of ObjectDock Plus 2.0. Your Impulse username will be required in order to receive the prize.

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Were Your Apple Event Predictions Correct?

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Like many of you out there, I was excited for the Apple event that happened on Wednesday. I had my ideas as to what we would hear, and I know you did, as well. How much of what you hoped for was real? How close were your predictions?

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What are Your Predictions for the Next OS X Version?

On Wednesday, Apple issued invitations to the press for an event on Wednesday October 20, 2010 at 10PM PST. Named “Back To the Mac,” the invitation shows an Apple logo slightly rotated with a lion lurking behind it. The lion image was plenty of clue that there will be a new operating system to Apple’s cat themed operating system. As MG Sigler puts it: “There are a few big cats left that Apple could have chosen from, but they’re going with Lion, the king of the jungle. To me, this means they intend this version of OS X to be big.”

If this upgrade is as big as we are expecting… what do you think we’ll see? Will there be major changes to the overall UI? What new features could possibly hidden inside this newest gem?

Don’t forget to stop by our software center today.

A New Parallels Mac Download – for Your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch

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On the heels of Parallels 6 being launched, the team behind the software today announced their new offering in itunes: the Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac Mobile App. The app will allow users of Parallels 6 or Parallels 6 Switch to Mac to use their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to access and use Windows applications running on a Mac. This can be done from any network at any time.

If you have a copy of Parallels 6.0 or higher and have registered for an account, you can download the app for absolutely nothing. Load it up on your Apple mobile device of choice and access your virtual machine remotely. As you can imagine, you can pinch and zoom your way through each screen to get to where you need to be!

You can adjust various controls to optimize the visualizations as need be. Suspend, pause or shut down your virutal machine at home from your iPhone while you’re on the go. All of the normal functionality you have come to expect from Parallels are found in this new app.

This is pretty impressive, if you ask me. You know how often you end up needing something from your machine at home while you’re on the road or at the office. Parallels is now helping make it a snap for you to grab your files and go. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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Parallels 6

Parallels 6 is being released on September 14th to much fanfare and blowing of Vevuzelas. Wait… I’m still hearing echoes of those in my head. Real Networks was a sponsor during Gnomedex a few weeks ago, and they were kind enough to give one of those lovely little noisemakers to each conference attendee. The Parallels team was also on hand, giving away one heck of a lot of software to every person in Bell Harbor.

This new version has more than 80 new and improved features, including a speed increase over the last version of about 40%! Some of the new features you will be salivating over include:

  • A 64-bit engine to take advantage of the Mac’s power.
  • 5.1 surround sound which lets you immerse yourself completely in games, music, videos and movies.
  • Capability to extend Mac OS X Parental Controls to your Windows applications.
  • Use your OS X keyboard shortcuts to make all Windows programs work the way YOU want them to.
  • Choose how much Mac and Windows you want with simple profiles each time you set up a new virtual machine.

Some of the enhancements and improvements are significant, as well:

  • Find your Windows programs faster with Spotlight integration.
  • This version allows you to launch Windows 2.5 times faster than any other solution.
  • Enhanced 3D graphics are better by far than older versions.
  • Enjoy better control by managing Windows through Spaces and Expose.
  • There is much-improved network, hard drive and Transporter performance.

Are you looking forward to upgrading your version of Parallels?

Really Slick Screensavers

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The screensaver on my computer is Really Slick. Seriously – it’s slick – really slick.

If you’re looking for a slick new screensaver, look no further. Microcosm is now available for both Mac OS X and Windows, and it’s fantastic. I’ll definitely be using this one for a long time to come.

What other really slick and cool (free!) screensavers do you know of to pass along to our community?

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Visually Impaired Software is Built Into Mac OS X

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I had a community member call in the other night asking me about accessibility features inside of OS X. He specifically wondered about things that may help those of us who have impaired vision and need some extra help to maneuver around our computers with ease.

There are several options built in to OS X that can help you be able to see and manage your experience if you have problems with your eyesight. I know that as my eyes become even weaker over the years, I’m likely to use some of these features myself. I have the ability to zoom in quite a ways, which will come in handy once I can no longer see small objects and text.

You can choose how it zooms in specifically. You can smooth images as you zoom, and have the cursor stay at the center. There are a lot of small things that make the entire experience even better. You also have the ability to change the contrast. Instead of having black on white… you can use white on black. This helps some people who have troubles seeing different types of backgrounds. You can also revert to greyscale, which can help those who are color blind.

These same types of system preferences are available in the iPad, as well. This caller was from the UK, and was disappointed to learn that he couldn’t order one for himself at the time of this recording. However, he was happy to learn that they were coming in the near future.

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Steam Launches for Mac

Beginning today, Steam for the Mac became available from the folks at Valve. This is a move that has been long-awaited by thousands of people, and one that is much welcomed by all of the Mac gamers in our community. The first collection of titles released all demonstrate “Steam Play.” This lets users buy a game once and then play it on any Steam-supported platform.

Every Wednesday, new titles will be available. All of them will be designed to highlight specific functionalities of Steam for your Mac. Portal will be the first of Valve’s Source engine-based games released (and is apparently FREE for a limited time!), along with Torchlight. According to gamers who were a part of the beta-testing group, the games play much as they did on Windows machines. If you love the game on your PC, you’ll love it on your Mac as well. The best news of all is, again, the Steam Play feature. If you’ve already bought these two games for your Windows system, you already own it to play on your OS X machine.

According to the folks at Valve: “In addition to bringing the online functionality of Steam to the Mac, Valve will also make the Steamworks suite of dev tools available on the Mac platform. These include product key authentication, copy protection, auto-updating, social networking, matchmaking, anti-cheat technology, and more. The features and services available in Steamworks are offered free of charge and may be used for both electronic and tangible versions of games.” This is excellent news for developers and those of you who like to understand how things work under the surface.

Since I’m not a hard-core gamer, I don’t know yet if I’ll try out any of the Steam offerings on my Mac Pro. You just never know, though. You may one day see me enjoying a game of Torchlight.

VMWare CPU Usage in XP

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Some people have trouble gaming inside of VMWare. It tends to throttle their CPU. However, in the newest version of VMWare Fusion one of the toggles have been removed. You can change quite a bit of settings to optimize your virtual machine explicitly for gaming purposes.

It’s going to hit your CPU no matter what. You’re running software. Make sure that you’ve allocated the most RAM that you can to the VM. Maxing out your CPU won’t kill anything, no. I run my live stream on the Mac Mini every day. It’s run for the past three years, even though the Mac Mini’s CPU is throttled almost constantly.

Yes, the games are going to throttle your CPU. It could happen with XP outright, let alone when it’s running inside of the virtual machine. That will have more overhead.

In terms of mitigating that, it’s not really possible honestly. The latest version of VMWare will take care of most of it for you. Play around in your settings. Check your hard-disk buffering status. Optimize what you can – wherever you can.

It’s not going to kill your computer, no. You’re safe to keep on gaming.

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