Screenshot of extended menubar in Mac OS X Lion using SecondBar (click for larger image)

Its been a while I have written anything on technology, or should I say haven’t written anything at all. Anyway, I have been looking for a way to extend menubar on my Mac as soon as I got a second monitor almost two years ago. I had been using utility-apps like DejaMenu or MenuPop to get access to menu items on the second monitor, however, not having an actual menubar on the second monitor was quite inconvenient. Just a couple of weeks ago, while searching for ways to extend menubar to the second monitor, I came across SecondBar , although it is still a beta-app, it works great. My second monitor finally looks like it’s a part of an extended display, a part of my mac desktop! Occasionally, SecondBar has problem showing all the menu items from an application but it is rectified by relaunching the app. Its certainly a great app for its purpose, and I still wonder why there aren’t any app to extend menubar with full functionality on Mac as so many of us actually extend our display with a second or even a third monitor these days. Definitely worth a try!

two monitors, two operating systems!

I have been using Parallels Desktop on my Mac for a few years now when I need to run WinXP. Recently I read about Sun’s VirtualBox and thought of giving it a try. Couple of nights ago I installed the app (its way smaller in size than the Parallels), and then Installed OpenSolaris OS on it. It runs like a charm. No problem in installation and it actualy uses a lot less resources than Parallels does. I have yet to install WinXP on VB to see if it works just as good as in Parallels but with less resource use obviously. In fact I did try to install XP but everytime I got some error in loading installation CD. I have yet to figure out the solution. Seems like lots of other people are getting the same problem though! The error I’m getting is this:

Fatal: no bootable medium found! System Halted

Anyway, I am happy to be able to run solaris though. It works excellent in ‘seamless’ mode on my second monitor! Click on the image for the larger version.
mac os x and opensolaris on virtualbox together

Running Ubuntu and WinXP on MacBook

Well, this is not a proper review of either the Parallels Desktop or of running multiple operating systems on MacBook. Its just my experience setting up these “Guest OSes” to run on my MacBook using Parallels Desktop. The reason I opted for Parallels and not Boot Camp are two folds – ONE, I didn’t need the full power of any of the “Guest OSes” that I wanted to install by running them solo on their own partition, and TWO, and more importantly, I really wanted all the OSes to run together, without having to boot on and off to switch to one from the other. And Parallels Desktop fitted me perfectly in that respect [AND fitted my budget perfectly as well as I got it off on sale at John Lewis at half price (£24.95!) with free upgrade to the latest version!]. Anyway, here I present my experience with some screenshots!

Let me start my telling that you really need to have at least 2GB of memory on your Mac (if not more – I started with 1GB and the day after installing WinXP, upgraded to 4GB!) to run these “Guest OSes” smoothly. Anyway, as I said I started with my original MacBook whose specification was Core 2 Duo 2.2Ghz, 1GB DDR, 120GB HDD. I installed Parallels, and after a couple of emails to the support was able to get my FREE upgrade to the latest version. In the meantime, I managed to install WinXP Pro, and using this windows installation, was also able to upgrade the OS on my Nokia N800 to OS2008! So far, I was impressed with the performance of my “Guest OS”, which I had set to use 512MB of memory and installed on a virtual HDD with maximum space set at 32GB.

The next day, I installed SPSS on WinXP (reason being that I couldn’t get a mac version SPSS from the computing service at my uni coz they hadn’t received the latest version for mac). I started my data entry on SPSS on XP running on Mac, and started to notice the system getting slower and slower. At the end I was not able to run multiple programs at all when XP was running. Thats when I decided to get memory upgraded – I found relatively good deal at Crucial-UK and got their “4GB Kit for MacBook for under £70! It arrived the next day, and I immediately opened up my 1-week old MacBook (after making sure it wouldn’t void my Apple warranty of course!), removed both the original 512MB pieces and installed two 2GB DDRs in their place. I had no problem booting up my mac after this upgrade, and not surprisingly, Parallels started to run lot smoother immediately.


My MacBook specs with 4GB DDR

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