Macworld looks at MacBook Pro, Migration Strategies

Macworld has a “First Look” at the new MacBook Pros, that some maybe interested in looking, if you are interested in the first of Apple’s Intel-based notebook offerings.

They have some good benchmarks in relation to apps on PowerPC vs Intel, including Photoshop. Considering that a lot of non-multimedia software that genealogists use don’t necessarily rely on a speedy processor, they had good news as well, to quote Jason Snell from the article, Several of my bread-and-butter applications, most notably Eudora and Microsoft Office, aren’t currently available in versions that run natively on Intel processors. But I honestly haven’t perceived any slowness in those applications.

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Report of Reunion on new Intel iMacs

Over in the ReunionTalk Forums, a member reported that Reunion 8.0.6 runs just fine on the new Intel-based iMacs. Bob White reported that it was “pretty close to twice as fast as it was on the G4 eMac that I’ve been using. Charts pop up like a lightning strike.”

In the same thread, a member of the Leister Pro technical support team reported that Reunion 9 will run natively on Intel-based Macs.

Report on Intel-Powered Macs, Rosetta

Ars Technica has posted a review of the new 17-inch Intel Core Duo-powered iMac.

There has been discussion about older Mac OS X applications that are not Universal Binaries, running on the new Intel-powered Macs, especially genealogy applications. I don’t think we have too much to worry about, going by this review.

Of particular interest to us, is page four:

As Hannibal pointed out, Rosetta has a few advantages that earlier translation and emulation technologies lacked. First and foremost is an extra processor core. That allows the translation to run on one core while the application thread executes on the other core, meaning that the translated code will have a short distance to travel. In addition, it’s integrated into the operating system, so there’s no need to emulate drivers. Graphics and UI elements do redraw quickly.

Overall, I’m very impressed with Rosetta. Aside from Unreal Tournament 2K4, I’ve not run into a single application that was unusable on the iMac. Some were definitely slower on the Core Duo iMac than on the iMac G5. Launching typically took a bit longer, and I would usually get the dreaded spinning beachball for a couple of seconds once the application launched. Afterwards, it was smooth going.

Some tasks like Photoshop filters were definitely slower going on the Core Duo iMac than on the iMac G5. But using applications such as Microsoft Office felt so smooth that I really didn’t get the feeling that there was some sort of translation at work.

Something like Photoshop filters are going to be fairly hardware intensive, because they need the CPU power, while things like Microsoft Office, or in our case, genealogy applications, once they are launched, are going to be as fast as we are, because they will be waiting on input from us. If you are using an older Mac genealogy application, that was not written to run under Mac OS X, you will be out of luck – the Classic/MacOS 9 environment no longer functions under Intel versions of Mac OS X. Somebody may write an emulator or something else to change that in the future, but for now, it’s a no-go.

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Mac Friendly Genealogy Magazine: Your Family Tree

I came across an imported genealogy magazine (from the UK) that caught my eye (and my wallet). Depending on location, it is either called “Your Family History” or “Your Family Tree” – in the US it’s available through (link to Your Family Tree) however it’s a bit pricey – $93 for 13 issues (keep in mind it is an imported magazine with genealogy software and records), but in some of the chain book stores in the US it runs for $15 an issue, so $93 is not necessarily a high price (and like I said, it comes with software).

The thing that caught my eye (besides it being large with a bold cover) was that they made a very good attempt at being Mac-friendly, something that most genealogy magazines don’t try to do, at least those that come with genealogy software CDs/DVDs. This issue included Mac genealogy software and utilities, as well as records that could be searched on a Mac (of course the software and records vary from issue to issue – not every issue will have software or records you can use, and it benefits Windows genealogists more than Mac genealogists just because the majority of included software is Windows-based).

In the December issue, the Mac-compatible software/shareware (not all is free) and information included:
* Readiris Pro for Mac, a nice Optical Character Recognition (OCR) application
* Oxfordshire Parish Magazines and Trade Directory Sample Data
* Date Calculator
* Gene 4.3.4
* Heredis X
* MacFamilyTree 4.1.3
* Tree Tracker

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iLife ’06, .Mac Updates

Last, but not least, iLife ’06 has been released – with some updates that maybe of interests to some Mac genealogists. Along with it, an update to .Mac to allow for improved integration between the two. Among the highlights – in addition to creating nice photo books through iPhoto, you can now create calendars and greeting cards, and order them online, as well as enhanced performance for iPhoto (which can now handle 250,000 photos).

Universal Binaries, Rosetta, Intel CPUs

Apple has updated their pages concerning Universal Binaries, Rosetta, and Intel CPUs:

Apple’s Rosetta page
Apple’s Intel CPU page
Apple’s Universal Binary page

We also have a small page concerning Universal Binaries here. As of yet, few Mac genealogy applications are compiled as Universal Binaries (MacFamilyTree being one), as far as I know, most Mac genealogy developers are going to work on Intel-compatible/Universal Binary versions of their software, although with Rosetta, they have plenty of time. After all, even if a PowerPC-based application under OS X on Intel runs 25% slower than on a PowerPC-based Mac, considering the new iMac is twice as fast as the old, and the MacBook Pro is upto 4 times as fast…well I don’t think we need to worry about performance problems 🙂