Archive for October, 2010

New MacBook Air Benchmark Reports

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

We know that many people are wondering about the new MacBook Air models. Are they fast enough? How will they handle applications like Photoshop or FileMaker?

Well, according to the benchmark results obtained by Macworld’s tests, the new MacBook Airs are faster than the previous versions — flash storage is fast, the flash storage capacity did not affect overall performance and the processor performance is much improved.

Macworld also tested the build-to-order options — the “ultimate” configurations of the MacBook Airs.  The team at Macworld found that the 13-inch built-to-order MacBook Air 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo (256 GB FS, 4GB RAM) was 20% faster than the 13-inch MacBook 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo.

Looking forward to seeing more tests on the flash storage of the new Airs…

N.B.  Here’s how the Macworld team tested:

Speedmark 6.5 scores are relative to those of a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Mac mini (Mid 2010) with 2GB of RAM, which is assigned a score of 100. All Macs were tested with OS X 10.6.4. All laptops were tested with the standard configuration of RAM except where noted. We duplicated a 1GB file, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 1GB files and then unzipped it. We converted 135 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. In iMovie ’09, we imported a camera archive and exported it to iTunes using the Mobile Devices setting. We ran a Timedemo at 1024-by-768 with 4X anti-aliasing on in Call of Duty 4. We imported 200 JPEGs into iPhoto ’09. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 23 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. For our multitasking test, we timed the Photoshop test again, but with the iTunes MP3 encoding and file compression tests running in the background. We used Handbrake to encode four chapters from a DVD previously ripped to the hard drive to H.264. We recorded how long it took to render a scene with multiprocessors in Cinebench and ran that application’s OpenGL, frames per second test. We ran the Evaluate Notebook test in MathematicaMark 7. We ran the WorldBench 6 multitasking test on a Parallels 6 VM running Windows 7 Professional. We timed the import and processing time for 200 photos in Aperture.

Microsoft Office 2011 is here.

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

There are two versions: Home & Student and Home & Business.  The Home & Business includes Outlook 2011, which replaces Entourage.

Outlook 2011 will support Exchange Server 2007 or later. It will not support Exchange Server 2003 or earlier.

Really that’s all the important info on the new version.

There’s an overview of the applications contained in Microsoft Office 2011 on Apple’s site.

New MacBook Air with Flash Drive!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Apple made a few announcements at the “Back to the Mac” event yesterday that were pretty interesting. First and foremost is the new MacBook Air with flash storage, which is available in 11- and 13-inch models. It’s 0.68 inches thick at its thickest, and 0.11 inches at its thinnest and weighs only 2.9 pounds. All unibody construction with glass trackpad. The space-saving flash storage leaves room for a bigger battery, which the new MacBook Air has in both models — 5 hours of battery life in the 11-inch and 7 hours in the 13-inch.

The new MacBook Air is available in stores now.

Apple also announced the new Mac OS X 10.7, “Lion,” which will roll out sometime during the Summer of 2011. The preview showed the Launchpad application launcher, which allows a grid of icons (similar to iPad), and Mission Control, which allows a unified view of a user’s open windows, apps and dock. Apple also announced an App Store for OS X, which will also be coming to Snow Leopard.

And then there’s iLife 11, which is free with all new Macs or a $49 upgrade. Available in stores now. iPhoto 11 has new slideshow themes, improved Facebook and email sharing. iMovie 11 has enhanced audio editing options, a People Finder that id’s people in movie clips and an easy movie trailer editor. Facebook and Vimeo sharing have been added as well. There are also new additions to GarageBand 11 like FlexTime, Groove Matching and more effects and lesson options.

FaceTime for Mac was also announced. It’s not meant to replace iChat as it is dedicated to FaceTime calls only. It pulls contacts from Address Book and you click on the person’s name to make a call (although you have to know which phone number they have associated with their FaceTime account).

Microsoft Office Updates

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This week Microsoft added three updates that fix security vulnerabilities in Office 2004 and Office 2008, as well as in Open XML File Format Converter for Mac.

Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.7 Update includes the following improvements:

Improvements for Microsoft Excel 2008 for Mac

  • Stability is improvedThis update fixes issues that cause Excel to crash or close unexpectedly sometimes when you try to start an Excel application.

Improvements for Microsoft Entourage 2008 for Mac

  • Reliability is improved when Entourage connects to Microsoft Exchange serversThis update fixes the following issues:
    • When Entourage authenticates with Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 by using the Kerberos protocol, it does not detect expired credentials and does not renew tickets for these credentials.
    • Entourage sometimes creates duplicate items in the Exchange 2007 mailbox.

The Office 2008 for Mac 12.2.7 Update can be found here.

Additional information on the Office 2004 for Mac 11.6.1 Update is on Microsoft’s site.  Open XML File Format Converter for Mac Update can also be found on Microsoft’s site.

There’s also an update for Entourage 2008 for Mac, Web Services Edition.  According to the details on Microsoft’s site, in addition to several calendaring improvements, this new version of Entourage synchronizes notes, tasks, and categories with Exchange Server. This update also enables logging that can be used for diagnostic purposes.

At the end of this month, Microsoft will ship Office for Mac 2011, which will feature new versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Messenger.  Also in Mac 2011, Outlook for Mac 2011 will replace Entourage.

New DroboPro FS NAS

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Data Robotics announced the new DroboPro FS this week. The DroboPro FS has eight drive bays (as opposed to the five drive bays that are in the current Drobo FS) and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The eight drive bays make it possible to have as much as 16TB of available storage (depending on how you configure the device).

The dual Gigabit Ethernet ports can be configured to fail over if one link fails. They can also be set up to use one port for data access on the local area network and the other port to sync backups to another DroboPro FS. This capability will be made available through the Drobo Sync application, which is a free update slated to arrive at the end of the month to the included Drobo Dashboard software.

According to Data Robotics site, the DroboPro FS has a leadtime of 6 to 8 weeks. on Twitter