The OS Quest Trail Log #17: A Virtual Week

This week was almost all about Virtual Machines on the Quest. Parallels released a couple of beta updates and eventually the final production release this week. My biggest complaint about Parallels was that the Windows task bar appears in every space even when Parallels is assigned to one space. But the more I used Parallels the less this was a problem. Not because I didn’t mind the task bar, but because I’m not using coherence mode. I run my VMs one of two ways, either full screen in the Space or in a window. I run Parallels on my iMac with it’s nice big 24″ screen. So it’s nice to have the VM on 2/3 of the screen and something else (like a video) on the other third. Or, I run the app full screen. So, with Spaces coherence mode is irrelevant, at least for me.

Windows Vista has taken a lot of bashing lately, some of it justified, but some of it seems like piling on. I haven’t seen anything in Vista that makes me just have to use it for that feature or application, but it also doesn’t seem like a terrible OS. I’m actually feeling sorry for Vista (is it possible to feel sorry for an OS?) If I was buying a Windows desktop today I’d get it with Vista (easy to say since I’m not getting one). There are reasons not to upgrade, just like there are reasons not to upgrade to Leopard. Not all app’s are Vista compatible. Not all app’s are Leopard compatible (I’m still waiting on SuperDuper!). I obviously don’t think Windows Vista is perfect since I’m a Mac user, but still, is it really as bad as they say? The marketing (how many versions? How much?) and some of the business decisions leave a lot to be desired, but the bits seem OK.

Well, I hope to spend more time in Windows (including Vista) over the next few months so maybe I can get an answer to that question. There’s some stuff that Microsoft is doing that seems really interesting. I’m writing this post in Windows Live Writer. I’ve been using it for about a week and will keep right on using it. It’s great. It’s free. There are some other app’s and services from the Windows Live team that are intriguing and I’ll be looking at when time allows.

Another Microsoft product that’s grabbed my attention is Windows Home Server. I’m so interested I went and ordered HP’s version as my year-end computer purchase. So I’ll leave further comment until I get my hands on it.

So, while Microsoft seems to be stumbling on the business and public relations side they can still put out good software.

Software Upgrades

There were some software upgrades this week. Yojimbo 1.5 was released. Some people reported problems with PDF imports on OS X 10.4.11 but I didn’t have any issues on Leopard. They said that the PDF’s were converted to plain text when imported. In addition to the enhancements I’ve noticed a significant speed improvement when using the internal search. The release notes mentioned that additional fields in Yojimbo were now indexed and searchable in spotlight. I’d never used spotlight to search Yojimbo but decided to give it a try. Nothing I searched for in Spotlight returned a Yojimbo item. I’m not sure if it’s broken on my iMac or I misunderstood or I’m doing something wrong. It’s not a real concern for me, I tried it out of curiosity and it’ll probably stay that way for awhile.

Panic Software also released Transmit 3.6.3. I’ve only been using it a couple of days so there’s not much to say that wasn’t in my original post. Still my favorite FTP client.

 

I updated to Path Finder 4.8.3 at the beginning of the week. It was mainly a bug fix release so not much to say here either. The Quick Look panel now passing arrow keys back to Path Finder is a help since there were one or two occasions where this annoyed me but that’s about it.

 

As previously mentioned at the beginning of this article, there were a couple updates to Parallels, including the official release. Now that Leopard is out and things are settling down I hope to be doing more in Windows and Linux so hopefully this will remain stable. I’ve been running it pretty regularly since it’s release, I’m in it now while writing this article.

Adobe Lightroom also got a minor update but I skipped this one. Even though I like Lightroom a lot there’s no way I can justify buying it. At least until I actually spend more time with my camera and get better at it. By that time everything will have changed. So even though there’s some eval time left I’ve bitten the bullet, moved everything out, and stopped using it. Still, be sure to take a look at Lightroom before springing for Aperture.

Visitor Stats

I updated my visitor stats over on the right sidebar. I started using Mint to collect the stats just prior to the release of Leopard and in the midst of my Leopard posts so I expected it to lean heavily to the Mac. I’ve still been mostly about the Mac so that hasn’t changed much. Mac visitors dropped two points and Windows visitors bumped up three points. The one percent difference is really just a rounding error since the previous total only totaled 99%. Safari usage stuck at 46%, while Firefox dropped by a point and Camino cut in half, down to 2%. Opera dropped off the chart and went under 1%. IE picked up two points and hit 15%.

Pretty useless information in the grand scheme of things, but I find it interesting anyway.

News & Links

There were a couple good articles about Leopard’s Time Machine this week. InfoWorld has one titled “How Leopard Time Machine works, and how it doesn’t” which is more of a technical overview. One important bit of information:

A distraught user might only be interested in the amount of data he may have lost:
If you accidentally deleted a file today, you lose up to an hour’s work
If you deleted it between yesterday and 30 days ago, you lose up to a day’s work
If you deleted it more than 30 days ago, you can lose up to one week’s work, or all of it

MacInstruct’s article is titled “Making the Most of Time Machine” and is more of a tutorial. If your using Time Machine you need to read both articles.

Other news and links:

BBC.co.uk: Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop – Microsoft is working to get Windows XO working on the OLPC (One laptop per child).

Bagelturf.com: Aperture: 32 Ways To Speed Up Aperture – Some tips for speeding up Aperture. Some are of the “more/better hardware” type but there’s some configuration tips too.

Endgadget.com: Seagate FreeAgent drives not down with Linux? – Lack of official support may be expected, but apparently the FreeAgent drives don’t like Linux. You’d think any USB drive would work but that’s apparently not the case here due to the power-save features.

Flickr.com: Edit your photos! On Flickr! – Like the title says, you can now edit your photos directly on Flickr

FOSSwire » Unix/Linux Command Cheat Sheet – One page Linux commands.

Lifehacker.com: Exclusive Lifehacker Interview: Quicksilver’s Creator on the Future of QS – Not happy news about the future of QuickSilver.

Lifehacker.com: Schedule Startup Programs with Startup Delayer – Freeware that can be used to delay programs that run during Windows startup.

MacSantaDeals.com: Great Deals On Hundreds Of Mac Products – 20% off of selected software for one day (new deals each day) and 10% off on extended deals. Through December 24th, 2007.

Microsoft.com: Windows Vista SP1 Guides for IT Professionals– Microsoft has posted info about Vista SP1 including a list of changes/fixes, an overview and deployment guide. Enough here to kill a weekend.

Suntimes.com: Kindle can light up your life – Andy Ihnatko likes the Kindle but not because he likes eBooks.

Supersite.com: Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 1 Overview and Screenshots – Windows XP SP3 RC1 overview. Lots of fixes, no new end user features. Paul didn’t notice the speed improvement others mentioned but only upgraded one system.

TUAW.com: Pixelmator 1.1 adds new filters, tablet support and more – Pixelmator 1.1 for the Mac has been released. It’s a $59 image editing program that’s gotten a lot of attention. Although I decided Acorn was better suited for me so don’t use Pixelmator.

WinSuperSite.com: A Look at Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 1 – Paul Thurrott looks at Windows Vista SP1

WindowsVistaBlog.com : Announcing Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) – Microsoft has made RC1 of Windows Vista SP1 available. If you install RC1 you’ll need to uninstall it before you can install a later version. They say they’re on target for a Q1 2008 release.

ZDNet.com: With SP1, Microsoft plans to ditch the Vista “kill switch” – ZDNet is reporting that Microsoft will kill the kill switch in Vista WGA with SP1 so it works like XP. They article also says that the “Get Legal” prices for Vista are less than many legitimate resellers. They seem comparable to OEM prices I’ve seen.