Mar 10 2010

FileMaker Pro 11 is Released for Windows and Mac

FileMaker Pro 11 left beta testing and was released to the general public last Tuesday. It is the only software of its type that runs on both Windows and Mac. As noted by Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services for FileMaker, Inc., FileMaker Pro is number one on Mac and number two on Windows after Microsoft Access.

The software is aimed at workers at mid- to large-sized businesses, though FileMaker, Inc. hopes to expand its consumer base to less advanced database users.

Some key new features in FileMaker 11 include an easier way to make charts and graphs; Quick Find, a search engine for database information; and a Quick Start Screen for making new databases and managing files.

There are actually four versions of FileMaker to choose from: FileMaker Pro, FileMaker Pro Advanced, FileMaker Server, and FileMaker Server Advanced.

Via Betanews, image via FileMaker.

Mar 3 2010

HTML 5’s Champion: Ogg Theora vs. H.264

Adobe Flash has lead the internet in terms of content delivery.  We have enjoyed streaming our videos and  little games to play during class when we should be paying attention to a lecture.  But sometime around the release of Firefox 3.5, we all remembered another up and coming technology, HTML 5. HTML 5 was supposed to provide native video support into the browser, resolving the need for a proprietary plug-in to watch your favorite Rick Astley song.

Sadly, this has taken longer than we hoped and doesn’t look like it will be on the fast track anytime soon. The issue keeping us back with FLV is we haven’t determined what codec should become the web’s standard.  It boils down to a debate between the open source community’s Ogg Theora versus the industry standard of H.264.  The argument is one between the importance of a true open internet and the practicality of refusing a perfectly capable and widely used codec.

H.264 gained public acceptance, because it’s shown to be very effective in preserving most quality while being in compressed forms and decompression preserves this.  In fact, Vimeo and YouTube both accepted H.264 as their format of choice for the HTML 5 versions of their sites.  However, H.264 is not an open codec, and is subject to royalty pricing.

While both Safari and Chrome have accepted this and intend to use it for HTML 5 video, Firefox and Opera have raised concerns regarding this issue.  The fact of the matter is, both Firefox and Opera are essentially free browsers, not backed by major  companies.  Companies that tend to use those browsers would likely not be able to afford the royalties for H.264 codec support.  Instead, they have chosen the less efficient (but 100% open) Ogg Theora format over the alternative.  While Ogg does result in a decrease of quality, many GPLers are arguing that having H.264 as the norm, doesn’t change the internet at all from using Flash video instead.  Both are proprietary formats and allow for certain components of the Internet to be controlled by a single company.

Still, this is a major issue for multiple parties.  What route will deliver videos in place of Flash? For manufacturers and users of operating systems, not having Flash may have already taken a hit to their reputation. We will see who is crowned victor in this battle.

Via Ars Technica

Dec 19 2009

Why VMware Fusion 3 is a Smart Choice for Mac Users

I’m a Mac user, so I know how we Mac users can be sometimes: we love our Macs, and we go on and on extolling the virtues and amazing features of our Macs, sometimes to a ridiculous extent. But inevitably, there is always some program that’s available for Windows and isn’t available for Mac. That’s where VMware Fusion 3 comes in.

VMware Fusion 3 is a very clever piece of software that allows you to run programs on your Mac that are not yet available for the Mac operating system. It also allows for virtualization: you can run the entire Windows operating system on your Mac, if you want.

To install Windows on your Mac, you can import it across a network, from a Microsoft installation disk, or from Boot Camp. Once this is done, you can run both Mac and Windows simultaneously. This is VMware Fusion’s major advantage over Boot Camp: not having to restart the computer to use the other operating system. Since the Mac OS and Windows OS run simultaneously, you can even drag files between the two systems.

VMware Fusion 3 can also be used to install Linux on a Mac, though the Windows scenario seems more common due to the ubiquitousness of Windows.

VMware Fusion 3 is an excellent choice for Mac users who want to run Windows without the hassle of having a Windows computer.

Via PC Magazine.

May 7 2009

Predicted 2010 Netbook Trends

By the year 2010, netbooks are predicted to be widely used. They are growing ever more convenient, functional, and practical, and in fact, may soon become the mobile device of choice. Here are some trends that netbooks are predicted to follow within the next couple of years:

1. There will be more extremes in netbook pricing. This means that there will be a greater variety of netbooks offered at both cheaper and more expensive prices. For example, the Asus S101 costs roughly three times that of the first Asus EeePC.

2. Hardware that comes with netbooks will be more efficient. Netbooks will be equipped with more powerful processors as well as greater hard drive capacities (the price to hard drive space ratio will decrease). This will also lead to notebooks that use less power and therefore have longer battery lives.

3. Choices for operating systems will be expanded. Many netbooks currently run on the Windows operating systems but in the future, more netbooks will run on Unbuntu, Linux, Android, and other operating systems.

4. Integration of technology will be greatly improved. Devices will be able to more easily communicate with each other and products from the same family will be able to easily interact with each other. This integration will apply to both hardware and software products.

Via WePC.

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