VMware Fusion 3.1 Beta — VMware has released a new public beta of the company’s virtualization software for the Mac, VMware Fusion. Version 3.1 Beta significantly improves graphics performance via OpenGL 2.1 support for Windows 7 and Windows Vista, along with performance improvements for both DirectX 9.0 SM3 and Windows Aero. Additionally, it makes it easier to connect USB devices to your virtual machine with the new EasyConnect feature, extends support for virtual hard disks up to 2 TB, resolves an issue that created multiple Boot Camp entries in the library of the virtual machine, and displays your migration status when migrating from a PC. The update, whose release notes are available from VMware’s Web site, also fixes over 200 bugs.
Keep in mind that this is beta software and is thus prone to buggy behavior; you may want to avoid using it for any essential tasks. Also note that downloading version 3.1 will overwrite your current version; reverting to an earlier version of Fusion will require reinstallation.
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Things 1.3 — Busy people take notice: the latest version of Cultured Code’s popular task manager Things is now available and comes with a big functionality boost. Version 1.3 brings a new Mixed Projects feature, enabling users to work with projects that have active, inactive, and scheduled to-dos all at once, something that wasn’t previously possible. In addition to lending the program greater flexibility, the Cultured Code blog notes that Mixed Projects was added with an eye towards cloud-syncing capabilities in the future. The update also addresses an issue that could cause Things to launch with a blank interface, fixes a bug that prevented Help menus from being displayed, and makes several minor improvements to unspecified localizations. ($49.95, free upgrade, 8.7 MB)
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MainStage 2.1.1 — Gigging musicians will be pleased to hear that Apple has updated MainStage, the live performance program that’s part of Logic Studio. Version 2.1.1 provides over 40 minor bug fixes and performance tweaks, including enhanced support for 32-bit Audio Unit Bridge plug-ins, improved stability when changing or removing audio devices, and the resolution of a bug that caused audio output loss when the user enabled “Display audio engine overload” messages. The update also improves screen controls in several areas, increases the reliability of number keys acting as command triggers, and restores proper behavior to several aspects of the Loopback plug-in. The lengthy release notes are available in a Knowledge Base article on Apple’s Web site. The hefty update is available via Software Update and Apple’s Support Downloads page. (Free, 207 MB)
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LogMeIn Pro2 — It has been several years since LogMeIn first brought its remote control software LogMeIn Free to the Mac (see “LogMeIn for Mac Released,” 4 December 2007). While LogMeIn Free remains available, the company has recently released LogMeIn Pro2 for the Mac with significant additional features. LogMeIn Pro2 adds secure file transfer and sharing capabilities, folder synchronization, desktop sharing on demand, and remote-to-local printing. It also expands browser support to include 64-bit Safari, improves access to remote control settings, and enhances performance speeds (these secondary features are also now available in the free version). ($69.95 per year, multi-computer discounts available)
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Safari 4.0.5 — Apple has released Safari 4.0.5, an update for Mac OS X and Windows that addresses several items. On the surface, the new version improves performance of the Top Sites feature; improves stability when running third-party plug-ins and Web sites with online forms and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) images; and now works to configure settings of some Linksys routers that were problematic. Under the hood, Safari 4.0.5 addresses lots of security issues, mostly adjusting WebKit to deal with malicious Web sites, but also processing images under Windows. The update requires Mac OS X 10.6.1 or later, Mac OS X 10.5.8, Mac OS X 10.4.11, or Windows 7, Vista, or XP. (Free, 30.52 MB for Snow Leopard, 38.59 MB for Leopard, 26.78 MB for Tiger, 30.18 MB for Windows)
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TextExpander 3.0 — Want to use a text expansion utility to save typing cumbersome phrases but dislike switching programs to create snippets? The new TextExpander 3.0 from SmileOnMyMac adds a hotkey combination that opens a quick entry window for snippet creation, and another hotkey lets you edit the last-expanded snippet, making it easier to update one that’s no longer quite right. Other new features in TextExpander include “fill-in” snippets that can prompt you for additional text to be entered manually, new options for finding snippets in your collection, and snippet syncing via both MobileMe and Dropbox. Minor changes include the capability to insert Tab and Return characters in snippets, correction of accidental double-capitalizations at the start of sentences, automatic updates via Sparkle, and more. Finally, TextExpander 3 is now a full-fledged application rather than a preference pane. ($34.95 new, $15 upgrade, free for those who purchased after 1 November 2009, 4.5 MB)
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