Posts in category apple - page 15

Mac software picks – Parallels, Gmail+Growl, Uno & TheftSensor

Another round-up of the best Mac OS X software I can find.

Parallels Workstation

Piping Microsoft and VMWare to the post relative unknowns Parallels are on beta 6 of their Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X/Intel.

As well as being able to guest OS/2, DOS, BSD, Solid, Linux and all flavors of Windows their product also features support for Intel’s VT virtualization technology built into the Intel Core chips giving it an edge in performance.

Parallels also offer Windows and Linux versions of their software as well as a virtual disk compressor that works with VMware and VirtualPC as well as their own Workstations products.

They are currently offering the OS X version for $10 off so you can grab a copy for $39.99.

Gmail+Growl

Growl allows other applications to pop-up messages in a very customizable way and is used by the likes of Adium messenger and Colloquy IRC.

This universal app however uses Growl to offer you a sneak preview of your latest Gmail’s as they hit your inbox. Yummy.

Uno

I’ve blogged in the past at just how annoying and inconsistent the Mac UI has become with Aqua, BrushedMetal, Platinum, ProTools, Dashboard and GarageBand UI’s all being totally different. There are even variations between those…

Uno lets you choose between Platinum or it’s darker iTunes variant for Aqua and/or BrushedMetal apps and be done with it. It’s free, fast and easy.

TheftSensor

One of the cool things about OS X is the way Apple build cool features into the OS for application developers to use. Some examples include dictionary/spell-checking, voice recognition, iSight and AppleRemote access, system-level address-books and calendaring…

The result is you find very innovative applications using these features in new and interesting ways. One such example is DeliciousLibrary, another is TheftSensor…

TheftSensor allows you to use your AppleRemote to “lock” you machine just like you would a car with a remote locking fob. Should somebody attempt to move your laptop then an alarm will continually sound until you deactivate it with the remote. This is made possible because of the movement sensor inside Mac laptops put there to protect hard disks in the event of being dropped :)

Remember to pair your remote with your Mac so that other people can’t unlock your laptop with theirs.

TheftSensor is free but the the company behind has another more advanced non-free application called Undercover. Install this and should your Mac be stolen notify them and the next time your Mac hits in the Internet it’ll realize it’s stolen and start sending iSight cam pics of the perpetrator using your PC as well as IP tracking information.

If that doesn’t do the trick it starts to simulate hardware failures and then should it find itself on an Apple certified service center IP allocation it’ll let the service tech know it’s been stolen.

[)amien

Apple introduces 17″ MacBook Pro

Apple have announced the 17″ MacBook Pro at their US Store that should be shipping within the next 7-10 days (early May).

Specifications

The machine is almost identical to the 2GHz models of the 15.4″ MacBook with the following differences;

  • Processor is no longer an option – Core Duo 2.16GHz only
  • Screen resolution changes from 1440×990 to 1680×1050
  • FireWire 800 port
  • USB 2 ports up from 2 to 3
  • Battery power increase from 60-watt-hour to 68-watt-hour
  • Battery life increase from 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours
  • Hard drive options are limited to 100GB 7200rpm or 120GB 5400rpm
  • Superdrive recording for DVD-R and DVD+R up from 4x to 8x
  • Superdrive can now burn double-layer DVD+R
  • Width and height increase to accommodate larger screen
  • Weight increase from 2.54kg to 3.1kg

Commentary

It’s good to see the FireWire 800 port make a comeback which should quiet some critics of the 15.4″

The larger resolution doesn’t share the same aspect ratio as it’s smaller sibling – adopting for a much wider display – indeed the 17″ only boasts an addition 60 vertical pixels against the horizontal increase of 240.

The battery life is interesting – there’s no way I get near 4.5 hours on my 15.4″ MacBook and Apple had been very quiet on battery life with little or no mention until recently. I’m hoping that the batteries for the 17″ will be compatible with the 15.4″ to perhaps boost up from my current 2-2.5 hour battery life running just simple non-3D apps.

The hard drive options still lack Seagate’s 160GB Momentus option – very strange when you consider they already use the Momentus line and the 160GB has the same physical and environmental attributes. Unlike the previous Titanium PowerBook models it seems replacing the hard drive is not a do-it-yourself task and would, I imagine, invalidate your warranty.

Still you can’t argue about the price – the Apple US store currently puts the price of the standard 17″ 2.16GHz/120GB model at just $300 more than the 15.4″ 2.0GHz model.

Upgrade the 15.4″ 2.0GHz model to 2.16GHz/120GB and it’s actually $100 more than the 17″… despite being a smaller screen, 4x Superdrive and no FireWire 800…

Oh well, perhaps I’ll upgrade to the 17″ when it gets the 64-bit Merom. Unless my MacBook is already 64-bit

[)amien

What are the unknown devices in XP on the MacBook Pro?

This article was written when Boot Camp had limited device driver support and is now therefore out of date.

Apple’s Boot Camp provides the majority of drivers required including the elusive ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 driver however there are a few devices without official drivers. These are;

Apple Remote/IR Receiver

Described as: USB Human Interface Device

Identification: USB\VID_05AC&PID_8240\5&11730951&0&2 (05AC 8240)

Attached to: Intel 82801G USB Universal Host Controller – 27CA > USB Root Hub

Status: Seems unlikely Apple will deliver a driver but should be easy for a third party.

Apple iSight Camera

Described as: USB Human Interface Device

Identification: USB\VID_05AC&PID_8300\5&7A1792C&0&4 (05AC 8300)

Attached to: Intel 82801G USB2 Enhanced Host Controller – 27CC > USB Root Hub

Status: Apple will probably deliver a driver but if not should be a standard imaging chip (Micron).

Trusted Platform Module

Described as: Unknown device

Identification: ACPI\IFX0101\1 (IFX0101)

Attached to: Intel 82801GBM LPC Interface Controller – 27B9

Status: You can grab the Infineon TPM package from Intel’s web site – but who wants it?

Intel Hardware Monitoring

Described as: PCI Device

Identification: PCI\VEN_8086&DEV_27A3&SUBSYS_00000000&REV_03\3&B1BFB68&0&38 (8086 27A3)

Attached to: PCI bus 0, device 7, function 0

Status: _Either Intel or Apple should deliver a driver but probably simple for a third party.
_

Keyboard back light?

Described as: Unknown device

Identification: ACPI\APP0002\A (APP0002)

Attached to: ACPI

Status: Apple might deliver a device but again if not a third party shouldn’t find it that tricky.

[)amien

Fixing MacBook Pro keyboard annoyances under Windows

This article was written when Boot Camp had limited device driver support and is now therefore out of date.

There are a few annoyances with the MacBook Pro keyboard when in use under Windows XP via Boot Camp. The lack of back lighting and the swapped WindowsAlt keys I can’t help with but the getting the Fn key operational, replacing Alt Gr and switching misplaced symbols I can.

The lack of Alt Gr for those people who need to use foreign characters or the Euro symbol can be solved by simply pressing Alt and Ctrl together instead.

Misplaced symbols (UK keyboards)

The UK keyboards don’t quite work as expected so I’ve put together a couple of key maps to solve the problems.

For the most part the keyboard act as a normal UK Windows keyboard, i.e. # is next to Enter and " are up on Shift2. One key however isn’t right and that’s \ which should be next to Z but can be found up by 1.

MacBook Pro UK Windows Keymap solves this backslash problem and is recommended for experience Windows laptop touch-typists.

MacBook Pro UK Mac Keymap makes the keyboard operate as it is labelled and indeed how it operates in OS X. Experienced Mac users, non touch-typists or consistency seekers – this is the one for you. (Note that # is CtrlAlt3 as per OS X)

Installing these key maps

Download the above file and ensure you unpack the ZIP – you’ll get an error if you try and run the MSI from inside the ZIP as there is another file inside the i386 folder that it needs.

Once installed head into Control Panel > Regional and Language Options then go to the Language tab and press Details…

Click Add… and choose input language English (United Kingdom) and the appropriate keyboard layout of either United Kingdom (MacBook Windows) or United Kingdom (MacBook Mac).

Click OK then choose English (United Kingdom) – United Kingdom (MacBook … from the drop-down box under Default input language and finally hit OK!

Getting the Fn key to work

Input Remapper lets you remap various keys but most importantly comes preconfigured and with a driver to enable Fn on the MacBook while in Windows.

Volume, brightness, Eject, Num Lock, page up/down, home and end will work just as you’d expect.

Additionally FnBackspace will delete, FnEject will print screen, the odd key to the right of the Apple logo will provide context menu and pressing Fn while clicking the track pad will give you right mouse clicks so no need for Apple Mouse.

Have fun!

[)amien