Posts in category apple - page 12

Parallels update and creating VM images from direct disk images

Parallels build 1966

This is now a very old build, check out the Parallels Desktop product page for the latest official release.

Parallels have put ‘internal build 1966’ of their excellent Mac virtual machine (VM) software Parallel Desktop up in their forums.

New enhancements and bug fixes include shared networking, OS installation assistant and various minor other fixes.

Seems solid so far (24 hours).

Creating a virtual disk from a real one

Parallels doesn’t support direct access to disk partitions but instead relies on it’s own virtual hard-disk-in-a-file system much like other VM solutions.

VMware have made available a Physical-to-Virtual (P2V) tool, currently free and in beta, that works only on Windows but can ‘hot clone’ systems in use. It supports a number of virtual formats including Virtual PC and Ghost but not Parallels.

Until either Parallels or VMware fill in the missing pieces check out colddiver’s solution on the forums.

[)amien

Switching from Boot Camp to Parallels

A few weeks ago I managed to screw up my Windows XP installation on my MacBook using some low-level tools and driver related stuff.

I’d already run out of space on the 30GB partition I’d allocated, I was missing the OS X side and not running any 3D applications so I took the plunge to remove the partition entirely and switch over to using the Parallels VM product I’d purchase instead.

Installation was a breeze and I soon had a clean XP install with Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005, .NET Reflector, IE7 and a bunch of other useful tools for work operational again.

Whilst the speed isn’t as nippy as the raw Boot Camp option was it’s fast enough – certainly faster than the Pentium 4 box my client provided for development although having 2GB of RAM certainly helps.

With XP just running the dev tools this meant I could access my iTunes library on OS X whilst I work and get back to using Colloquay and Adium.

Safari crashes every time I try to blog post even though it doesn’t even try to support HTML editing abilities so Firefox and Camino are my staple on the Mac side.

I use a dual-monitor configuration during the day and Parallels works like a breeze with OS X on one display and Windows on the other. The mouse just glides between the two seamlessly – no clicking in/out or awkward keys to press to jump between the two although Parallels did need to be manually told what the resolution was.

It seems I’m not alone in choosing this set-up.

All Parallels need to do now is to enable the virtual machine to utilize multiple cores and 3D acceleration and it would be perfect.

Well, switching over to a Core 2 powered MacBook Pro with 4-8GB of RAM might be perfection… and a bigger hard-disk…

[)amien

Inside Apple Software Update for Windows

I was wondering whether Apple Software Update might search for and upgrade the various Boot Camp supplied tools and possibly drivers.

I did a little digging and couldn’t find the answer but did spot that the Software Update sends a few interesting machine details to Apple’s web server….

<key>ClientConfig</key>
<dict>
	<key>HW_Platform</key>
	<string>Windows</string>
	<key>HW_Make</key>
	<string>Apple Computer, Inc.</string>
	<key>HW_Model_String</key>
	<string>MacBookPro1,1</string>
	<key>HW_CPU</key>
	<string>Genuine Intel(R) CPU           T2500  @ 2.00GHz</string>
	<key>HW_Video</key>
	<string>ATI Mobility Radeon X1600</string>
	<key>HW_Ram</key>
	<string>2081088</string>
	<key>HW_Battery</key>
	<string>1</string>
	<key>SYS_Lang</key>
	<string>1033</string>
	<key>SYS_VERSION</key>
	<string>5.1.2600</string>
	<key>SYS_VERSION_STR</key>
	<string>Microsoft Win32s</string>
	<key>SYS_WMI_DISABLED</key>
	<string>0</string>
	<key>SW_QT_VERSION</key>
	<string>7.1.3.100</string>
	<key>SW_iTunes_VERSION</key>
	<string>7.0.0.70</string>
	<key>SWU_VERSION</key>
	<string>1.0.0.7</string>
	<key>SWU_CHECK_FREQ</key>
	<string>2</string>
</dict>

The software versions are fair enough but why it needs to report the Apple model, amount of RAM, video card, CPU details and whether you are running on battery is another matter.

It also adds a task to Scheduled Tasks to be able to check for updates at regular intervals – much preferred over a permanent background process.

[)amien

Apple’s Showtime and the disappointing iTV

Today’s Apple Showtime event showed some great products, and some disappointing ones.

iPods

The tiny new iPod Shuffle G2, the fantastic looking iPod Nano G2 with the return of the iPod Mini aluminum casing and 24 hour battery life and 8GB flash option weren’t to be sniffed at.

The iPod got… downloadable $4.99 games and an 80GB model. No sign of the long sought-after wide-screen touch-screen model with the virtual wheel.

iTunes

The expected downloadable movie announcement was made with movies at 640×480 – that’s 4x their existing TV-show/music video size and now on-par with the resolution of PC’s circa the late 80’s.

Job advises us this is “near DVD” which is kinda true DVD being 720×480/576. DVD given good quality source material, careful encoding and decent equipment can look pretty fine even blown up to 120″ on your wall.

What I couldn’t find out thought was how they intend on fitting widescreen movies into their distinctly non-wide-screen resolution.

DVD resolution is a little wider but more importantly it has an anamorphic mode where rather than waste pixels on the black bars the picture is stretched vertically before being encoded on the disk and then stretched horizontally on the way out of your DVD player – much the same way as widescreen movies were shot on non-widescreen film albeit with anamorphic lenses.

Jobs didn’t elaborate on whether they’ll have such a mode or something better…

Thanks to the complex licensing agreements between studios worldwide movies are a US exclusive so the rest of the world will have to sit and wait anyway.

iTunes 7 & Software Update

Adds support for movie & iPod G4 game downloads and the user interface may well be a taste of things to come in Leopard. Flat blue gradients where aqua bubbles previously existed (equalizer, scroll bars).

Also introduced is a couple of new ways to view your local library using high quality rendered album cover art (like FrontRow) and a sort of mixed up mode (like Windows Media Player 11).

It’ll also now helpfully grab album art for albums you ripped from your own CD’s and show the breakdown of the disk usage of your pod by content type (movie/art/music).

What is interesting is iTunes 7 introduces “Apple Software Update” which looks curiously like it’s Mac OS X counterpart…

iTV

Towards the end of the announcement came the one last thing…. code-named iTV (I can’t imagine they’ll get the rights to this name in the UK where ITV is one of the big TV stations).

The announcement itself was a little unusual – it’s for a new hardware product they haven’t finished and won’t be available for months. I can only conclude they are airing the product to help shift downloadable movies with users knowing they can play it back on the big-screen.

I’m sure neither Apple or the studios want another Sony UMD disaster.

When I heard the words “Mac Mini” and “TV” I thought this could be the answer to my home entertainment hub… alas no. Rather than extend to the mini with support for DVB-S/T/C or UHF tuners and PVR functionality they abandon the hard disk entirely… and the DVD-ROM drive to boot.

Which leaves iTV with no TV support in the traditional sense. If you want content it’ll have to come from iTunes and unless Jobs and his pals add illegal DVD ripping that means buying everything again from the iTunes Store, sticking with your DVD player or buying a more capable media center.

Would the iPod have been such a success if you couldn’t link in to your existing content but had to pay for all your music again?

Very doubtful.

The final icing on the cake is that the box will set you back $299. That’s exactly the same price as the Xbox 360 which will also stream media from a host computer over a network. The difference being that the 360 will play DVD’s and let you play state of the art games for that price.

iTV? More like Apple Cube 2.

[)amien