VMware Fusion 2

There was a three-day MacUpdate Promo for Parallels Desktop 4 recently. That brought me back to the subject of whether I should upgrade from Parallels Desktop 3, which I use every single day. The upgrade options I would consider are VMware Fusion 2 and Parallels Desktop 4. Sun has some offering, but I’m not seriously considering it. Maybe next time I upgrade I’ll give it a try. I don’t mind paying a little money for a super user experience and blazing speed.

The reviews I read on Parallels Desktop this time, especially Amazon.com user reviews, turned me off of it. Their reports of problems with 4 but no problems with 3 really resonated with me, a happy Parallels Desktop 3 user myself.

So I bought VMware Fusion 2.0 from Amazon.com. There’s a rebate going but Amazon is not listed as a qualifying vendor. However, I priced all the qualifying vendors listed on VMware’s site. Every single one had the same price: $69. And VMware themselves were ten bucks more — for a download! I get a box from the other vendors but VMware had the gall to charge me more for less. So I LM for my VMware sales rep. No reply for days. I called back, talked to a guy who said he’s relay this to my sales rep. No one got back to me.

Screw it, I decided to buy from Amazon.com. Their price was lower than the other guys ($54 the day I bought) and there’s no bullshit and no shipping charges since I have Amazon Prime prepaid second-day shipping. Also, it’s easier to buy from Amazon than the other guys because Amazon’s purchase line is so good and I’m already set up for a quick purchase.

In the end, I calculated that buying from Amazon would cost me $12 more than buying from the guys with the rebate and including eight dollars shipping from one of those vendors. And no rebate hassle with Amazon — just a fair price today.

So I got my VMware box in the mail from Amazon and it had a blue sticker on the box that read, “$30 Crossgrade Rebate; Details Inside; Expires 6/30/09; ALA31045159”. That’s the best of both worlds! Thank you, Amazon! That means Amazon not only had the best purchase experience but also the lowest final price. Wow.

DeltaWalker Adds Word/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF file comparison support!

DeltaWalker 1.8.6, released this week, adds support for comparing Microsoft Office and PDF files. And it works fast. I’m totally satisfied with how Deltopia implemented this. I use DeltaWalker primarily in OS X and a little in Windows. DeltaWalker has helped me ween myself from Windows and do more work in my preferred environment, OS X. And Office file comparison support is yet another nail in Windows’ coffin for me.

I believe DeltaWalker is the best overall OS X file/folder comparison tool available — it just doesn’t seem to be the best-known yet. Now that DeltaWalker can compare Office files and PDFs, I hope its notoriety will start to catch up with its exceptional feature set and quality.

Just before I purchased DeltaWalker, the developers told me to expect Word/Excel comparison support soon. That was an important feature for me. Deltopia delivered on their promise. In fact, DeltaWalker’s support for Microsoft Office files is far superior to that of BeyondCompare 2.0 — BeyondCompare 2.0 relies upon a VBA macro to extract the text from Word and Excel files for comparison, which wasn’t especially fast nor reliable for me.

But DeltaWalker’s support for Office files has been super fast and bulletproof. And DeltaWalker’s Office and PDF support is part of the core product, not just a third-party extension like it is with BeyondCompare 2.0. And BeyondCompare 2.0 requires a separate download to get its doc/xls comparison support, which wouldn’t bee a big deal if it had proven reliable for me.

Do I Have to Own Microsoft Office? Nope.
Another benefit of DeltaWalker’s more dedicated approach to Office file comparison support is that it doesn’t require the user to have Microsoft Office installed on the machine. Which is awesome for users of alternative word processors, such as OpenOffice.org. Whatever word processor or spreadsheet software you use, as long as you save the files in xls/xlsx or doc/docx format, DeltaWalker supports them. This shows some serious professionalism on Deltopia’s part. A kind of caring for real end users that you usually see more of from open source developers and less from commercial operations.

PowerPoint Postscript
I didn’t focus on PowerPoint support in this article because I don’t use it. But it is supported by DeltaWalker 1.8.6 — quite comprehensively, I’m sure.

D90 arrived. Best Nikon body I’ve owned.

All I can say is Wow. This thing is such a pleasure to use. Nikon really outdid themselves. Right off the bat, the following things are worth the upgrade:

  1. Higher-res LCD
  2. Bigger LCD
  3. Moving around on LCD gets fast sooner than on D200.
  4. Ability to set Auto-ISO above 1600!
  5. Easier to read text in menus and more descriptive names in menus
  6. Sharper (at least with Sharpness cranked up) than D200 ever was.

So far I’ve only shot it with my 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens.

4 October 2011 update: I’ve had my D90 body for almost three years. For me, for a digital body, that’s a long time. And I’m still very happy with it. Noticed some dust on the mirror for the first time the other day. The rubber under my right thumb position has come unglued, but whatever. I’d really like an FX body to get wider shots with my 50mm f/1.4 and to get maximum low-light picture quality, but the D700 is

  • Expensive; and
  • Large; and
  • Liable to be improved upon in the next year or so.

For my needs, my D90 still beats every other Nikon body I’ve owned. Namely, D40, D70, D80, D200. I suspect the Fuji X100 would challenge it for my affections.