The OS Quest Trail Log #8

Another short update for the log.

I spent some time trying to install Boot Camp on my iMac. It couldn’t resize the existing partition to make room for boot camp. I could image to another drive, then erase and image back. But I decided to try out iDefrag and explore the whole OS X doesn’t need defragging thing. My 500GB drive with about 250GB of data had 0.5% fragmentation, after being used for about 9 months. As expected (because they’re large and written to often), the Parallels VM drives were the most highly fragmented as were some Aperture library files. Songs in my iTunes library were also highly fragmented which did surprise me. After a night of running iDefrag my hard disk was compacted and I could repartition it for Boot Camp. So I’ve added a Windows Vista install to the mix, installing it with Boot Camp on my iMac,

Software of Interest

OpenOffice.org 2.3 has been released. The release notes for the open source application provide the list of enhancements and security fixes.

iStat Pro 4.2 has been released for OS X. iStat Pro is a dashboard widget that displays numerous OS stats.

The popular Carbon Copy Cloner has been updated to version 3.

Acorn has been updated to version 1.0.1. The update is mainly bug fixes but has a few minor new features. Acorn is a image editor for the Mac that has a $40 intro price (there’s also a 30-day full-featured evaluation version).

Tips

I’ve been having network problems running Vista under VMWare on my MacBook. Every once in a while I lose network connectivity. Everything shows as “working” but it’s not. I do a repair and all is well. Scott Hanselman has a post showing how to “Reset the crap out of your network adapters in Vista.”

Links & News

Yahoo acquired Zimbra for $350 million. There’s a Yahoo blog entry and press release. Zimbra provides email and collaboration software. Speculation is that this will help Yahoo create an offering to compete with Google Apps.

IBM announced I.B.M. Lotus Symphony. Symphony is an office productivity suite based upon the open source OpenOffice.org. The announcement follows the recent announcement of IBM formally joining the OpenOffice.org community.

Google added the long awaited presentation app to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. It’s called “Presentation” (and Google Docs and Spreadsheets is now just Google Docs)

The OS Quest Trail Log #3

Upgrades – Patches – Please Stop the Madness

It seems like all I did this past week was patch and upgrade. I already mentioned the iWeb ’08 update.

Microsoft released 9 security updates so it took awhile to patch my VMs.

Apple also updated Boot Camp to version 1.4 and I got around to updating it this week.

VMWare Fusion also moved out of beta recently. I’d been running the beta version on my MacBook and finally got around to upgrading it to the final release. I haven’t upgraded to the latest Parallels version yet so it’s not really fair to compare, but I’ve been very impressed with VMWare’s Fusion. The Parallels upgrade is on tap for this week.

CNet’s Crave blog has a comparison of Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMWare Fusion, along with Boot Camp and CrossOver Mac 6.0. From a pure performance perspective VMWare Fusion came out on top although their conclusion was:

All that said, if you all you need to do is run more pedestrian Windows applications on your Mac, such as Outlook or Excel, you are not likely to notice significant performance differences between any of the virtualization options mentioned here–for less resource-intensive applications, the performance of any of these virtulization applications is probably fast enough.

Then there was the iLife ’08 upgrade. So far I’m not overly impressed with the update to iPhoto. I use it mainly as a organizer, not an editor. Some of the features improve organization but at the price of performance. The pinwheel makes a frequent appearance when I’m using the upgraded iPhoto.

I also installed iWork ’08 and fired up Pages enough to know it at least presents a nice clean screen for typing and doesn’t force me into page layout mode.

A couple of other programs I use have prompted me to let me know they have upgrades available too. But so far I’ve held off upgrading them so they’ll be some more upgrades next week too. Wonder if I’ll have time to actually use some software this week?

MacMozy

The last update to MacMozy is still causing me problems. It has a habit of getting stuck in a “Backup started…” state with no files processed. It hasn’t been too much of a problem because I’ve been turning off my iMac during the day when I’m at work and MacMozy usually runs fine between reboots. It’s also fine on my MacBook which gets shutdown after each use. It’s on weekends like this, when my iMac stays on, that I have problems. I’m hoping the problem just goes away with the next update.

News

  • The addition of Numbers to iWork ’08 won’t kill off Microsoft Office, but it does appear to have claimed Apple Works as its first victim. The AppleWorks page is gone from Apple, www.apple.com/appleworks redirects to the Support page for Apple Works. So it appears Apple has killed off Apple Works. Apple Works came with my first Mac Mini and as much as I wanted to like and use it I just couldn’t, so I can’t say I’ll miss it.

Links

Software Links

Links to software I’ve come across but haven’t had a chance to try out yet. Post a comment if you have any experience with them.

  • FastApps – Automator actions for Apple software. FastApps includes: FastBackPic, FastMusic, FastDVD, FastWebSite, and FastSlide
  • Lifehacker brought a link to OpenProj. OpenProj is a free, open-source project management application intended to replace Microsoft Project.
  • Lifehacker has a Mac link this time with Drive-In, a DVD ripper for the Mac. It’s currently free in beta form but may stop being free when it leaves beta.

Boot Camp 1.4

I’ve been running Boot Camp on my MacBook since getting it. Even though I haven’t used it for anything to speak of Apple came out with an upgrade and I had to apply it.

The update was easy, although a bit time consuming, mainly because of the need to burn a CD and a couple of reboots.

Boot Camp Upgrade Checklist

Times are for my 13″ MacBook.

  1. Download Boot Camp and mount the drive image. It’s a 347MB download.
  2. Install the Boot Camp assistant from the mounted drive. (2 minutes)
  3. Burn a “Mac Windows Driver Disk” to CD. (10 minutes incl. verify)
  4. Reboot to Vista (Hold option key when shutting down) (2 min)
  5. Insert the driver disk from step 3. Autorun will prompt and ask what to do, tell it to run setup.exe. Acknowledge the XP permission prompt. The drivers will install. During the installation of the video drivers the screen will corrupt and go blank. It will restore to normal. (10 minutes)

The total time for the upgrade was just under half an hour.