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#751: Running Windows Without Windows, Uninstalling Apps, TotW: Browser Spoofing, MiLi SALE


Happy Tuesday,

Small Dog employees reported temperatures yesterday morning from -18 degrees to a whopping -30 degrees, and we all made it in to the office. I don’t normally let my car warm up for too long before work, but today I did give it five minutes to get the warm air blowing and the driver’s seat heated. It was the angriest I’d heard my car in the past several years.

I’ve been busy these past weeks sourcing and testing iPhone parts in preparation for the launch of iPhone repair at all three Small Dog retail stores. I replaced the cracked screen on Ed’s old iPhone 3G this morning, and it’s good as new and ready for sale. It’s clear there is pent up demand for iPhone and iPod repair in Vermont and New Hampshire, and we hope you’ll trust us with your repair needs and will tell your friends to check us out!

As always, thanks for reading, and keep in touch.


  Running Windows Without Windows  

Usually when you need to run a Windows application on a Mac, you install VMware or Parallels. Recently I learned of a third choice: a program called CrossOver Mac by CodeWeavers. It’s cheaper than VMware and Parallels, and it doesn’t require a full licensed copy of Windows.

Once installed, CrossOver Mac will monitor your DVD drive for any Windows installer and automatically bring up a “helper” application that identifies the disc. CrossOver will install the program into a “bottle,” keeping it separate from other bottles that you have already installed. It recognizes most popular applications such as the Microsoft Office suite and Intuit’s Quicken and QuickBooks. The CrossOver website has an extensive compatibility database and claims support for over 8,000 applications.

If you’re looking to play games on your Mac, they have a version specifically for that as well. CrossOver Games offers support for online MMORPGs like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars, as well as Steam games like Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2. This version is tweaked for better framerates demanded by fast-paced games, so it will work better than the standard CrossOver Mac software, which has been designed for stability and productivity.

CrossOver is a graphical front-end for Wine, an open source project with the goal of letting people run Windows applications on other operating systems. Unlike a Virtual Machine, such as Parallels or VMware, Wine does not emulate processor instruction sets but rather runs the Windows instruction set natively.

What’s the difference? An emulator has to take instructions written for one system and translate them into instructions another system can understand. This takes time, and depending on the application you’re running, it can be noticeable to the point where it may even appear that the application has crashed.

Running an entire operating system like Windows XP under another operating system like OS X is no small feat, which is why you need a fast processor and a lot of memory to do it. Running an application natively, however, means that the application is using an instruction set that is already understood by the OS, so nothing needs to be translated to make it work.

This allows your application to run faster and does not require the same system requirements as running under an emulator. It also runs the Windows APIs within the Mac OS, which means your Windows applications start up almost immediately. There is no wait while the virtual machine starts, loads Windows, then loads your application.

CrossOver Mac is $39.95, CrossOver Games is $39.95, or CrossOver Professional (includes licenses for both) is $69.95. A 30 day demo is available here.

  Uninstalling Mac App Store Apps  

The brand new Mac App Store is a great way to discover and install fresh applications for your Mac. Though millions of MAS apps have already found their way into the docks, stacks, and folders of many OS X users, not all apps are winners.

If you download a clunker, and decide that it’s not worth the space on your hard drive, how should you go about properly deleting it? The answer is a simple one, and likely a process you’re already familiar with. Although MAS apps are installed a bit differently from traditional applications, they’re deleted in the same way—by being dragged to the trash.

While it can vary from app to app, this method typically deletes many, if not all, installed components of a piece of software. Since Mac applications come in packages, their frameworks, resources, and other essential files are stored in one place on your machine.

In the case of many apps, simply trashing the icon and emptying the trash will remove the application from your computer. If the app being deleted was purchased through the MAS, you’ll notice a “Not Installed” icon next to it in the Purchases menu. Should you ever need the app in the future, it can easily be reacquired and reinstalled from the within the store.

This process is typically sufficient for most Mac users, but not all applications come bundled in such neat and succinct packages. Especially when dealing with larger applications, preference, cache, and support files can clog up areas of your hard drive even after the app is long gone. If you’re an app fiend and leave these files unchecked, they can consume valuable disk space and in rare instances slow system performance.

To aid with this dilemma, numerous third party developers have stepped up to offer comprehensive uninstaller solutions. Among them, AppZapper and AppCleaner stand out. The former ($12.95) and the latter (free) scour your system for stray files related to the app being deleted. Any items discovered are sent to the trash to be reviewed and deleted.

Though each app contains a number of safeguards to prevent from deleting apps unintentionally, it’s always best to double check the files being deleted and keep a recent Time Machine backup of your system. (Ironically, neither app is currently available in the MAS.)

Download AppZapper here.
Download AppCleaner here.

  Tip of the Week: Browser Spoofing  

Today we had a wonderful customer in the store who had just switched to Apple by buying a new MacBook. He was running into trouble with his company’s web-based calendaring and collaboration system, as the site required Internet Explorer 6 or greater to run. He’d browse to it using Safari or Firefox, and the site would throw an error and refuse access, presumably to make it easier for novice users to know which browsers work and which don’t. Turns out, it was compatible with Safari after all. We just had to tell Safari to masquerade as Explorer.

Unfortunately, not all web developers keep up with the times. It’s likely that this site’s administrators hadn’t conducted compliance testing since at least the release of Internet Explorer 7. It’s getting rarer and rarer, but plenty of sites out there still require Explorer. This trick won’t work on all of them, but it will for a good chunk of them.

While in Safari, select Preferences from the Safari menu. Now, click the Advanced button at the top right of the Preferences window, and check “Show Develop menu in menu bar.” Close the Preferences window, and notice the new Develop menu on top of your screen. In the Develop menu is the User Agent sub-menu. From the sub-menu, select Internet Explorer 7.0. Once this is done, the web sites you visit will think you’re using Explorer, and some of the especially restrictive sites will work for you!

Be mindful of the setting you choose, as Safari will not render some web sites correctly when pretending to be Explorer.

  Featured Deal: Up to 50% Off MiLi for iPod/iPhone  

MiLi makes great batteries and chargers for your iPod, iPhone or iPad. For a limited time, we’re featuring everything in stock up to 50% off!

For example, my favorite is the MiLi Power Spring 4 Battery Case for iPhone 4. I’ve been known to run my battery down playing BeJeweled doing extremely productive things on my phone, so I can allllways use more battery life. I like that this is a slim option that nearly doubles the life of the iPhone 4 battery.

MiLi Power Spring 4 Battery Case for iPhone 4 ($49.99; normally $79.99)

See all MiLi products and specials here.

  TT SPECIALS | 01/25/11 - 2/1/10  
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