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How to use Windows 8.1 on your Mac without restarting

Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are growing in popularity, with some Mac users wondering how they can have the best of both worlds – VMware has an answer.

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Windows on your Mac – yes, it’s possible

If you’re a Mac user, you’ve probably seen some of the cool things that Windows 8.1 can do, but you are in love with your Mac and aren’t willing to part with it. You may not have to, as there are options out there that allow you to run Windows right from your Mac. Maybe you’re one of the people who already use Windows on your Mac but hate that you have to restart your computer to relaunch in Windows mode – we’ve hunted down an option that overcomes this objection.

Apple computers already come with Bootcamp which allows you to install Windows on a Mac, but you have to restart to use Windows and access the tools that are built only for Windows. Enter VMWare Fusion 6 which allows you to use Windows without ever restarting. Bingo.

We haven’t tested the software out, but according to their site, it launches Windows right inside a separate window on any Mac desktop. VMware Fusion operates on any 64-bit capable Intel Mac using OS X 10.7 or later, requiring a minimum of 4GB of RAM, and it does require a monstrous 750MB of disk space.

Copy and paste and drag and drop

Fusion runs Windows OS in full screen mode, or in a separate window, and files can be dragged and dropped from your Windows desktop to the Mac Finder and from Mac to Windows. Copy and paste works between the operating systems as well, allowing you to fully use all of the features of Mac or Windows apps.

VMware Fusion also offers Unity mode wherein the Fusion window and Windows desktop spaces disappear, and opened Windows applications appear right there on your Mac desktop right alongside OS X apps. The bottom line is that you never have to leave OS or Windows to access one or the others – they’re both right there inside of your beloved Mac!

Users have said in reviews that it is easy to set up and works reliably. The price tag is is currently $49.99 and there are less expensive upgrade options for current VMware users.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. rolandestrada

    November 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Interesting to know. Probably the first thing an Apple employee will tell you if you intend to run Windows is to buy either Parallels or VMWare Fusion. I switched to a Mac in 2006. Sadly I couldn’t make a clean switch because the MLS only functioned in Internet Exploder – yes I meant to spell it that way. I hated having to do that.

    Using either of the two works pretty well and there there is a third free option called VirtualBox. That said, none of them are perfect. To say they are free of glitches would not be correct.

    Let’s face it the reason Windows users switch to a Mac is they are tired of the tedious pain in the rear that is the Windows experience, especially Windows 8/8.1. There was an agent in my office whose Windows laptop crashed. She said If she had to learn learn a new system she might as well get a Mac. There are several agents in out office that have switched and have no regrets.

    Despite the claims made in this post, there is no discernible advantage to buying a Windows machine over a Mac much less taking up 30 to 50 Gigabytes of hard drive space to put it on your Mac. There are very few use cases where you would need to install Windows to begin with. Real estate agents are one of those cases if your MLS has not switched to a cross-browser compatible system. Our system, CRMLS finally made the switch this year after ten years of complaining by the membership. Bad coding habits die hard.

  2. rolandestrada

    November 30, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    By the way, If you can’t stand the fact that there is no real Start button in Windows 8 or 8.1, there is an app for that. A company by the name of Stardock has an application call Start8. Start8 returns the Start button and menu to your desktop.

    And if you are tired of having to run “Metro” apps in full screen, Stardock also makes ModernMix. ModernMix lets you run Windows 8 Modern apps in a window on the desktop, display and pin Modern apps on the taskbar and explicitly close a Modern app by clicking its close button.

  3. Fred Glick

    December 1, 2013 at 5:10 am

    Huh? Fusion and parallels have been around for years. Am I missing something?

    • rolandestrada

      December 1, 2013 at 3:43 pm

      No. Must have been a slow week at the news desk.

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Making Slack actionable makes you productive

(TECHNOLOGY) Slack is an amazing productivity tool, but of course can add more to your plate – this feature puts you back on track.

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You know when you’re using Slack and you’re having a conversation with your teammate about whether or not you should grab lunch or go to Soul Cycle, but before you can answer, your editor Slacks you about deadlines and your design partner messages you proofs and suddenly you snap back to reality and remember that you’ve been working on a blog post for an hour and your concentration is completely shattered? You know, the exact moment when your productivity is officially derailed?

Well, Slack now offers Actions to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Your day may get busy, but at least nothing will slip through the cracks, work-wise.

Integrated with project management tools like Asana, Zendesk, and Jira, Actions allows users to create and comment on tasks, tickets or issues within conversations. That means no clicking through tabs or apps until you can no longer remember why you started clicking in the first place. More importantly, Actions keeps track of the work you need to do and when you need to do it.

So, how do Actions work?

1. Need to create a deadline or set up an appointment? Anything you see in Slack that needs a follow-up can be turned into an action when you click the ••• icon and choose an “action.”

2. When you’ve completed an action, a message appears in your Slack channel and lets your team know you’ve flagged it for follow-up.

3. Whichever app you’ve integrated with will alert Slack at which point you and your team can determine the next steps.

Bottom-line, Actions help keep your workflow moving. While it may not stop the onslaught of Slack messages from breaking your concentration, at least you’ll know what you should to be concentrating on.

If you’re curious to know more about Actions, the company has ample info on their API pages for your perusal.

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Freezetab streamlines how you save tabs in Chrome

(TECH NEWS) Freezetab is the newest chrome extension that allows you to organize saved tabs in a myriad of ways.

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Internet made easier

With the browser becoming more and more of a workspace than merely an application, the built in bookmarks tool may leave you a bit hungry for more.

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Chrome users who need better tools to organize and manage bookmarks may find the power they need in Freezetab.

Bookmark’s cooler, hotter younger brother

Freezetab seeks to answer the questions of “what if I could organize my bookmarks by website” or “I only want to save all but two of these tabs on zen office designs.” It seeks to give you more options beyond the “one or all” choices in chrome. Here is the lowdown:

  • The calendar feature remembers WHEN you saved a tab – so if you can’t remember the title you can just go back to the day.
  • Chrome either lets you save one or all tabs. Freezetab expands those options to include: all, current, everything but current, right of, left of, or pick and choose.
  • If you are sharing a collection of tabs with a workgroup or a partner, it exports as a nice textbox that is easy to share in integrated messaging, IM, or email. Or even social media!
  • Sorting is robust, and there is a solid search feature that searches as you type.
  • That quick save feature saves all the tabs and closes them – and you can adjust that quick save feature to meet your needs.
  • There is a handy little star feature to note important bookmarks (i.e. recipes and excel techniques).
  • Enhances your close tab capability to close everything to the left and specific tabs – this great if you work in chrome and have 75 tabs open that have one letter names.
  • It is easier to sort tabs after you save them – you can search for them and then sort into folders you create rather manually organizing them into folders.
  • As a bonus: for those who don’t want to have to sort bookmarks – unlike Chrome which requires you to pick a folder or risk turning your bookmarks to an unorganized mess, the extension automatically organizes it for you.

Freezetab findings

After spending a few moments with Freezetab, it does fit in nicely with a workflow. Solidly reviewed, the developer did solve an issue with “pinned” tabs in the 1.2 update. – so it doesn’t remove or add them. The features are nice and easy to use, and it doesn’t require more than five minutes of playing around.

One complaint – if you choose to the right or left of the current tab to close, it did close the active tab as well – which was a little funky. But once you get comfortable with the nuances, it’s easy to use.
The interface is function over form, but you won’t have any problem using or customizing this extension. Now Bookmark smart y’all!

#FreezeTab

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We’ve all seen job listings for UX writers, but what exactly is UX writing?

(TECH NEWS) We seeing UX writer titles pop up and while UX writing is not technically new, there are new availabilities popping up.

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The work of a UX writer is something you come across everyday. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints UX writers work on are interface copy, emails and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find a UX writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must have. Excellent communication skills is a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post.

But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater UX design team. In larger companies some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User centered design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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