Mac News Review

Windows 8 Earning Raves While Mountain Lion Hears Rants, Julie Bort Hates Her New Mac, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.03.09

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Windows 8 Earning Raves, OS X Mountain Lion Hearing Rants

DigitalTrends' Rob Enderle, an outspoken Apple nay-sayer, notes that in a single week both Apple and Microsoft previewed their new PC operating systems, observing that folks are raving about Windows 8 and ranting at OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Of the two, Mountain Lion has far fewer changes, Enderle allowing that since most folks typically don't embrace change, that would normally be welcomed. But instead he says it seems they are comparing Mountain Lion to iOS and the last version of the Mac OS, and finding it either doesn't change enough or changes too much.

And with beta products, he says, since very few people actually ever touch them, it's all about perceptions: If influential folks praise them, the public think they're wonderful, while if pundits pound on them, everyone thinks they are crap.

Enderle further observes that Steve Jobs seemed to understand better than most the need to manage perceptions, so as Apple's most influential advocate, when he said a product was wonderful, it was wonderful. Enderle argues that without Steve Jobs, the magic is gone.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has built Windows 8 to bridge into tablets and optimized it for that experience, and Enderle says people love Windows 8 because it is an iPad experience without the compromises - and because Microsoft is assuring that early reviewers get a positive experience by making sure they get the right hardware, software, and services, while with Mountain Lion, Apple is taking the the more traditional route of just tossing the product out there - and without Steve Jobs selling the magic, folks are having a WTF moment, looking at the product critically and finding it lacking.

Julie Bort Hates Her Brand New MacBook Pro

Business Insider's Julie Bort says when she Business Insider a few months ago, she was pretty excited to get a MacBook Pro, noting that she's mostly used Windows and Linux (Ubuntu), and had love/hate relationships with both, but based on Mac owners raving about their PCs, she was primed for a computer I she could love.

However, she says she's still waiting, and that with one exception, all the things she hated about Windows are still there in her Mac.

Bort's peeves include:

  • Julie Bort pulling her hair outSlow startup times, noting that it can take her Mac up to two minutes before the beach ball stops and she can work, compared to 10-ish seconds for Ubuntu even on an old machine with a lot of files and apps left open.
  • The dreaded spinning beach ball, which she says shows up in mid-work at least five times a day.
  • The spinning beach ball of death
  • Software updates that can take up to 15 minutes to download, although she conceded that you can choose to update later - and the worst offender here is Linux.
  • The App Store - Apple refused to let her download even free software from the App Store until it had her credit card on file, noting that she had downloaded plenty of free stuff from Microsoft's Download Center and Windows Live with no questions asked or credit card required, and that free really means free with Linux.

The one exception is the lack of threat from viruses on the Mac - plus she does look cooler at Starbucks when she's not tearing her hair out.

Millennials Will Benefit and Suffer Due to Their Hyperconnected Lives

Pew Internet's Janna Anderson and Lee Rainie report that teens and young adults brought up from childhood with a continuous connection to each other and to information - the so-called "always-on" (AO) generation - will be nimble, quick-acting multitaskers who count on the Internet as their external brain and who approach problems in a different way from their elders, according to a new survey of technology experts.

Anderson and Rainie say many of the experts surveyed by Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet Project said the effects of hyperconnectivity and the always-on lifestyles of young people will be mostly positive between now and 2020, but also predict that this generation will exhibit a thirst for instant gratification and quick fixes, a loss of patience, and a lack of deep-thinking ability due to what one referred to as fast-twitch wiring.

The survey results are based on a nonrandom, opt-in, online sample of 1,021 internet experts and other internet users, recruited via email invitation, Twitter, or Facebook from the Pew Research Centers Internet & American Life Project and the Imagining the Internet Center at Elon University.

OS X License Agreement Allows Installation of Lion on All of Your Macs

MacFixIt's Topher Kessler says if you've wondered about whether you can install your one purchase of OS X 10.7 Lion on all of your Macs, you can.

He notes that while Apple's End User License Agreement traditionally limited users to one installation of the operating system on one Apple-branded machine and later introduced extra cost family pack licenses with installations for up to five systems, with OS X Lion normally being a download from the Mac App Store instead of being distributed on DVD, the new stipulation is that "Apps from the Mac App Store may be used on any Macs that you own or control for your personal use." This means the license for use revolves around your Apple ID, the upshot being that whether you own one Mac or 20, you can use your Apple ID to purchase OS X Lion once and then install it on any Apple-branded Mac currently running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or Snow Leopard Server, and the same licensing applies to OS X Lion distributed on USB media.

However, OS X installations that ship with a new Mac are restricted to use on the system on which it was shipped.

For those who want to or need to be able to run OS X 10.7 Lion and either 10.6 Snow Leopard or the 10.8 Mountain Lion Developer Preview, the license agreement also allows up to two OS X virtual machines on a single Mac via Parallels or Fusion.

How Sandboxing and Gatekeeper Will Impact AppleScript and Automator

Macworld's Lex Friedman says two new security technologies coming to OS X this year - sandboxing and Gatekeeper - should be virtually invisible to the "average user," but they could be all too visible to more advanced users, particularly those who use AppleScript and Automator, with both of these new security technologies to have an impact on scripting and automation.

Friedman notes that while if you run a script by hand from AppleScript Editor, from within Automator, or as a standalone app or droplet, it should be able to do whatever its scripted to do, just as it can today. However, if a sandboxed app wants to use AppleScript to interact with another app or with other parts of your system, then the new restrictions will come into play. A sandboxed app won't be able to use AppleScript to communicate with another app on your Mac, unless the developer specifically requests (and receives) an entitlement to do just that, and such entitlements will have to be awarded before a sandboxed app can be approved for the Mac App Store.

Apple Updates

OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update Fixes Time Machine Problem

The Mac OS X 10.7.3 Supplemental Update resolves an issue when restoring a Mac from a Time Machine backup.

The update is recommended for users running 10.7.3 with Time Machine backups.

System Requirements: OS X Lion 10.7.3

iMac Graphic Firmware Update 3.0

The iMac Graphic FW Update 3.0 fixes a graphics issue that may cause an iMac to hang under certain conditions.

System Requirements: OS X Lion (OS X 10.7 or later)

Publisher's note: Apple does not indicate which iMac models this applies to, so users may need to run Software Update to see if their iMacs are compatible. dk

Products & Services

Dual Internal Hard Drive Kit for Mid 2011 iMacs

PR: If you're the owner of a late model iMac, you understand that bigger is not always better. Your 21.5" iMac can do nearly everything its 27" big-brother can, and you've got at least five extra Benjamins still in your wallet. If you want your iMac to really fly, the biggest bang for your buck is to boot using a blazing-fast SSD. Since a 1 TB SSD might cost more than your iMac, iFixit has a solution for those who lack unlimited budgets.

iFixit's Director of Technical Communication Miro notes that iFixit.com has developed a kit that lets you install a second drive into your Mid 2011 iMac.

Miro notes that iFixit's most-recent iMac 21.5" teardown revealed an interesting tidbit: unused mounting points that were curiously in the shape of a 2.5" hard drive. After a bit of investigating, they found that all Mid 2011 21.5" and 27" iMacs can accept an additional hard drive, regardless of whether or not Apple will let you order your machine with a second internal drive.

It will work with all processor speeds, regardless of whether Apple offers the additional SSD option for your machine. And, unlike other kits, iFixit's product does not require permanently removing your optical drive. You'll have two drives as well as a functioning optical drive. All you need is an extra 2.5" SATA drive (not included). iFixit recommends installing an SSD and using it as your boot drive, but you could instead install a 1 TB hard drive for more storage space.

However, Miro observes that it is not all peaches and roses. They also found that although some iMacs may have mounting holes for hard drive brackets, others don't, which Miro thinks is unacceptable, contending that users should be able to upgrade their iMacs to dual drives if the functionality is there.

Enter the 21.5" iMac and 27" iMac Dual Hard Drive kits. These self-install kits work on all Mid 2011 21.5" and 27" iMacs. (If you're unsure of which model you have, definitely ID your Mac before purchasing a kit.) You'll be able to install OS X on an SSD for lightning fast startup times, while still being able to use your original hard drive for mass storage (and your optical drive for spinning those CDs).

iMac Dual Hard Drive KitEach kit comes with:

  • SATA power cable
  • SATA data cable
  • Custom-cut 3M VHB double-sided mounting tape
  • Two Heavy-duty Suction Cups
  • 26 Piece Bit Driver Kit
  • Spudger

iFixit has combined all the components you need and set the price at $69.95. And you'll be able to use the clearest, bestest instructions on the planet to perform this install for free. Check out iFixit's illustrated online 21.5" iMac and 27" iMac dual hard drive installation manuals to get a feel for the install process; the instructions are as clear as can be, but the procedure is still pretty involved since you have remove the LCD to get inside.

Note: This kit will only work in Mid 2011 21.5" iMacs. iFixit also offers an equivalent dual hard drive kit for the Mid 2011 27" iMac.

$69.95

6 month warranty

Software

Free Flycut Clipboard Manager

PR: Flycut is a clean and simple clipboard manager for developers based on open source app called Jumpcut. Flycut is also open source.

Flycut

Every time you copy code pieces Flycut stores it in history. Later you can paste it using Shift-Cmd-V even if you have something different in your current clipboard. You can change hotkey and other settings in the preferences.

Developed by developers for developers

List of contributors

New in Version 1.5

  • Sticky mode by default disabled
  • clips and settings sync with Dropbox
  • navigate in sticky mode through clips using J, K keys (vi style)- bezel popup animation (Preferences -> Appearance)- remove clips with Delete key
  • option to change size of bezel (Preferences -> Appearance)- option to skip password protection fields (Preferences -> General)
  • option to skip duplicated clips
  • bug fixes

Flycut

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later

Free

Parallels Desktop Adds Experimental Support for Windows 8 and OS X Mountain Lion Previews

PR: Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac has been updated to provide experimental support for Windows 8 Consumer Preview, including simple download and automatic installation of Windows 8 via the Parallels New Virtual Machine Wizard. The update also adds experimental support for OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview as both a host and guest. Mac enthusiasts and developers can safely try Windows 8 Consumer Preview and OS X Mountain Lion Developer Preview in Parallels Desktop 7 virtual machines to protect their Mac from potential mishaps or corruption of important files that can occur with preview versions of software.

Parallels for Mac now supports the Windows 8 Consumer Preview
Parallels for Mac now supports the Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

Additionally, Parallels Mobile users can remotely access and control their Mac and its Windows 8 virtual machine, applications and files, via their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

A free trial of the No. 1-selling Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac software is available for download. Current Parallels Desktop 7 users can get the update by selecting the Parallels Desktop menu and clicking Check for Updates. Parallels makes it simple to get and automatically install the free Windows 8 Consumer Preview by going to the Parallels Desktop menu and selecting File, New and Windows 8 Consumer Preview in the Parallels New Virtual Machine Wizard. In just a few clicks, Parallels Desktop 7 downloads and automatically installs Windows 8 Consumer Preview (English, German, French, Japanese or Chinese simplified) in a new virtual machine so you can safely discover and play with the dramatically redesigned Windows operating system and use your Mac OS X applications and files at the same time without rebooting. Microsoft released Windows 8 Consumer Preview last week at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. Windows 8 draws inspiration from the new Windows Phone software through a new mobile-inspired tile-based user interface called Metro. Windows 8 is built to run on both PCs and mobile devices. People who prefer a traditional desktop experience without tiles will be glad to know Windows 8 offers that type of user experience as well. Windows 8 features include the Windows app store, integration of touch, Internet Explorer 10, cloud services to link PCs and Windows Phones and new hardware capabilities.

Microsoft recommends that users don't install Windows 8 Consumer Preview on their primary machine given that is not a final version and could crash, causing the loss or corruption of important files. (See Windows 8 FAQ, click Are there risks to installing Windows 8 Consumer Preview?). If Windows 8 crashes or corrupts files when it is running in a Parallels Desktop 7, you can simply delete the Windows 8 virtual machine and start over without any damage to your Mac.

Desktop Mac Deals

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