After getting the new 2013 Apple MacBook Air I looked into how I could get it to run Windows 8.1 seamlessly, as my aging HP laptop does. While my needs for using Windows software have decreased dramatically, I do still need a couple of applications every now and then, that either are not available for OS X or do not work as well as I would like them to on Apple's operating system. My first thought was to use Boot Camp, which allows to run Windows 8.1 natively on the MacBook Air, and other Macs.
My experience with Boot Camp has been far from ideal, as some features that I have grown to love in OS X, like the touchpad and the efficient power management, do not work as well under Windows 8.1. This is to be expected because Microsoft did not design its new operating system to run on Macs, but rather PCs, and the drivers provided by Apple are, also, far from perfect. No matter what is to blame, users wanting to run Windows 8.1 will find a way to do it, despite the shortcomings. After my Boot Camp experiment, I decided to try Parallels, one of the best known virtualization software for Macs, to test how well Windows 8.1 can run next to OS X, in a virtual machine.
Cloud storage locker MediaFire has announced the availability of its desktop sync clients for Windows PCs and Macs. The new apps, currently in beta, arrive alongside a revamped web interface that is designed to make editing, sharing and viewing files much easier. The service is currently offering both free (10 GB of storage) and paid plans (Pro and Business), which can take advantage of the new round of changes.
The base MediaFire Pro account includes 100 GB of cloud storage, and currently costs $24.99 per year (50 percent off from the usual $49.99). The company has given us 15 MediaFire Pro account redemption codes to give away to BetaNews readers, providing each winner with 100 GB of cloud storage for a year.
One of the biggest advantages to owning a Mac, and one of the main reasons why I purchased a 2013 Apple MacBook Air, is the option to run both OS X and Windows natively, without using virtualization software. Apple actively supports Microsoft's PC operating systems by releasing drivers, firmware and documentation, that Mac users can leverage to install Windows and make the best out of a different situation -- after all, Windows is not designed to work on Macs.
The portal to running Windows on Macs is Boot Camp. The OS X software is designed to simplify the process for users, by offering an easy to follow wizard that can be used to create bootable Windows USB drives (and DVDs for older Macs), download drivers, partition the internal drive to make room for the new OS and kick off the installation process. It is very, very user-friendly. Well, most of the time...
Historically, the Mac Pro has been a beast of a machine -- a giant footprint on the desks of professionals. When it was originally released in 2006, it became an iconic fixture among artistic professionals. However, it was not just the outward appearance that was so pleasing to consumers, it was the inside too.
When the first generation was released, I was working at CompUSA. The store had an Apple section with a dedicated representative -- a precursor to the Apple store and its geniuses. We would often open up the machine to show off the internals because it was just that amazing. At the time, the inside of a typical Windows machine was just a mess of wires and poor design. The inside of the Mac Pro was organized and well thought out. Today, in continuing with this tradition, Apple officially launches the all-new Mac Pro. While things change, they also stay the same.
Despite being billed in the press as an iPad event, Apple announced much more than just the iPad Air and new iPad mini today. As well as improved hardware it revealed its OS update Mavericks would be free, and the giveaways didn’t stop there.
Its iWork productivity apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- and its iLife creativity apps -- iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand -- have been redesigned to take full advantage of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7, updated to 64-bit, integrated with iCloud and made entirely free. They’ll come bundled with new Macs or iOS devices. If you’re an existing user, and running Mavericks or iOS 7, you’ll be able to update to the new versions. Not planning on buying new hardware and not an existing user? You’ll still need to pay to get them, I’m afraid.
Starting today, Mac users are able to officially upgrade to OS X 10.9 Mavericks. However, instead of charging its customers for the newest Mac operating system, like the company did before, Apple is giving it away for free. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is. Microsoft is doing the same thing with Windows 8.1, which is also available as a free upgrade to all Windows 8 users.
"Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac", says Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free". Therefore, it should not come as a surprise if Apple chooses to adopt the same strategy for the next release of OS X, which will likely arrive next year.
There is no denying that Windows 8.1 dwarfs Windows 8 in every single way that matters. The new operating system is more feature-rich, more suited for tablet use, more suited for PC use and far closer to what a modern OS should be like. The warm feelings towards it are reflective of how Windows 8 was like at first -- let's just say that the standards were low to begin with.
But for some strange reason, Microsoft still does not prioritize having a notifications panel in any of its consumer operating systems. This is an oversight that I thought the software giant would address in Windows 8.1, seeing as it has been a major known problem since Windows 8 arrived. However, once again Microsoft has decided to not include it. And, to be frank, it is one of the worst decisions that the company made this year. I bet not many will miss Steve Ballmer. I sure won't.
In his "5 reasons Surface tablets blow away iPads for a mobile business workforce" piece, my colleague Derrick Wlodarz explained why Remote Desktop on Windows RT (and, by implication, Windows 8) is better compared to third-party clients on Android and iOS. Derrick says that the former offers a richer feature set, a smoother experience, improved stability, less compatibility issues and comes with no initial cost (because it is free, as a built-in feature). As you can tell, the lack of official Remote Desktop apps on Android and iOS tips the scale in Microsoft's favor.
That is about to change, as Microsoft has announced that it will release Remote Desktop apps on "a variety of devices and platforms", which include Windows, Windows RT, OS X, Android and iOS. The software giant says the offerings will be introduced with Windows Server 2012 R2, which launches later this month, on October 18, alongside Windows 8.1.
Opera Software has announced the release of Opera 17.0 FINAL, an interesting build which includes several small but worthwhile new features. Top of the list is a new "pinned" tab option.
If you have a few tabs which you need to stay open, just right-click them and select "Pin tab". The tabs will be reduced to the size of the page icon (handy if you are running short on space), and you will not be able to close them accidentally.
For an exclusive Windows user, the prospect of owning a Mac has been an exciting to-do to cross off my enthusiast bucket list. I have owned two iPhones and one iPad, and have enjoyed all three, but I have never bought a Mac nor have I used one extensively. I have always been curious to see what's on the other side, but some constraints, one of which was Windows-only engineering software, prevented me from looking at any Mac with serious consideration. Luckily, or not, things have changed, and at the beginning of September I bought a new 13.3-inch MacBook Air, hoping to see what all the fuss is about.
I'll admit to being quite passionate about new devices, and always looking to get to know the basics before they arrive at my doorstep. Yes, I too scour the InterWebs searching for the tiniest of details. I just can't help it (and no, I do not believe that I am a control freak). But this time around I decided that the MacBook Air (I'm going to call it MBA from now on) needs a fresh take. Before it arrived, my impressions were that the hardware will not be a surprise (why would it be?) and that the software will take some getting used to. I thought everything was going to be smooth sailing once I settled in... and I was wrong.
Just two weeks after the release of iOS 7 Apple takes the wraps off the OS X 10.9 Mavericks GM. The latest version of the operating system, which is now only available to developers, is likely due for general release later in the month and it is extremely unlikely there will be any further changes -- barring the discovery of any serious problems, what we see now is what we'll get on release day.
The same build was released earlier to Apple employees and members of AppleSeed, and there are also updates to iPhoto and Xcode to enjoy. Within Mavericks, there are a number of changes from Mountain Lion. First off, iBooks is familiar to iPad and iPhone owners and now the ebook management system is brought to Macs -- of course, everything is kept in sync between devices.
Despite pitching Exchange ActiveSync as the better protocol, Microsoft has turned the lights on IMAP support for its Outlook.com consumer-oriented email service. The newly added protocol brings along with it a slew of benefits, including support from services like Unroll.me, and an improved user experience for those who connect to Outlook.com from a number of third-party clients such as the Mail app from OS X.
Setting up Outlook.com, using the IMAP protocol, in the OS X Mail app is not a straightforward process, as either the needed configuration settings are missing or the software automatically chooses POP as the unchangeable, de-facto protocol. A bit of trickery might be involved. Here is what you need to know.
Earlier today Microsoft introduced IMAP support for its Outlook.com email service. The latest addition is designed to allow feature phone users and those who rely on a number of third-party email clients, such as the Mail app from OS X, to take advantage of email sync.
IMAP joins Exchange ActiveSync and POP as the supported Outlook.com protocols and falls between the two, in terms of functionality (EAS is more feature-rich compared to POP). "While we believe that EAS is the most robust protocol for connecting to your email, with syncing in near real time, and superior battery and network efficiency, there are still some devices and apps that haven't made the upgrade to EAS", says Outlook.com Protocols principal program manager lead Steve Kafka. "As an older protocol, IMAP is widely supported on feature phones and other email clients such as those on a Mac. We heard your feedback loud and clear that this was important".
Over the years, the big knock on OS X was that it lacked the software availability that Windows had. While Apple's operating system has made huge gains, Windows is still the software leader -- especially for business. When Parallels was released in 2006, it solved a problem for many Apple users; it allowed them to run Windows on their Mac.
Today, Parallels announces version 9 of its virtualization software. "Parallels Desktop 9 for Mac customers will enjoy peace of mind knowing that Parallels keeps pace with and supports leading new technologies, such as the upcoming OS X Mavericks, Windows 8.1 and increasingly popular cloud services", says CEO Birger Steen.
Logitech has been rolling out new products at break-neck pace just recently. Yesterday saw the unveiling of a new gaming mouse, which somehow packs 11 buttons onto the tiny peripheral. Now, the company takes a sleeker approach for those who just wish to use the computer -- be it a Windows or Mac.
The T630 comes in two models, separated by the mindset of the user. "The Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T630 in black is designed for PC users while the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T631 for Mac in white perfectly complements the look of MacBook computers", the hardware maker announces.