Scariest Tech Treats of 2014

Spiders, ghosts, and witches… beware! Halloween is here and prepare to be scared!

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. The air has an eery chill, the wind whispers between skeleton-like trees, and Jack-O-Lanterns cackle silently as they watch mortals roam the streets. Have I scared you off yet? Good, because here’s a list of scare-tastic tech treats for Halloween lovers that are also the best tricks to bring out during this time of year.

1. Zombies

With post-apocalyptic movies and TV shows (high-five for any “The Walking Dead” fans!) still winning over the mainstream, here’s a few infected gadgets to quench your undead thirst and necessary for any zombie lover:

Having a party this Halloween? Why not add some scary fun with these Zombie Bottle Openers! Perfect for turning a regular bottle opener into something fit for the undead. As an an added bonus, these zombies will spend all night biting your bottle cap and not you!

Image courtesy of Inspiration Feed.

Image courtesy of Inspiration Feed.

These Zombie Door Stops will scare up any house during Halloween. Not only do they have  the gore and the hunger in their eyes, but perhaps they’ll claw at your feet unexpectedly when you pass by, so watch your step!

Image courtesy of Take My Paycheck.

Image courtesy of Take My Paycheck.

More into interactive Zombie gadgets? This Zombie Toss Game might be just up your alley! Grab your best dismembered body parts and toss them through the holes! Whoever gets a head through the highest hole wins extra bloody treats!

Image courtesy of Halloween Alliance.

Image courtesy of Halloween Alliance.

For those looking for more of a thrill and believe this is the year Zombies will come alive, this gadget was saved last just for you! Say hello to Z.E.R.O, the Zombie Extermination, Research, and Operations Survival Kit. Coming in at a modest price of $24,000, it will surely keep you alive with its countless tools, weapons, protective gear, etc. contained in this kit. Interested? Check it out here.

Image courtesy of Optics Planet.

Image courtesy of Optics Planet.


2. Skeletons

Skeletons in a closet, skeletons in a grave, skeletons in your windows… these bone-a-fide gadgets are one of a kind that any bone lover will delight over!

For those that indulge in the hidden and shockingly morbid, check out these PyroPets. Place these cute little candles around your house and light them up this Halloween! You’ll get a nice skeleton surprise once the wax begins to melt.

Image courtesy of Super Compressor.

Image courtesy of Super Compressor.

For the geeky Halloween lover, give your desktop a thrill with the Skullhub USB. It has 4 USB ports as well as a caved-in cranium perfect for candy treat or dare I say…some brains?

Image courtesy of Think Geek.

Image courtesy of Think Geek.

Ever wonder what it’s like to be munched upon by a giant skull head? Me either. But for those that love the dark and twisted, add this Skull Chair to your collection. Not only is it realistic, but the jaw is moveable, so sit at your own risk!

Image courtesy of Skullspiration.

Image courtesy of Skullspiration.

Last and definitely scariest, this Skeleton Ghost! Why not scare your guests from heading upstairs at your parties… this Skeleton Ghost prop will do just the trick! With an eery and lifelike quality, you definitely won’t see me near it.

Image courtesy of The Frisky.

Image courtesy of The Frisky.


3. Blood

Calling all vampires and blood lusters, we have a handful of gadgets that will tickle your fancy. One of the best Halloween accessories, this section is definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart!

If you’re not crazy about costumes, but still love the thrill of Halloween, just carry around this Blood Stain pillow. It’s the perfect companion for those that love a gory good time or those short on costume ideas. Just place the pillow in the spot of your choosing and… voila! A murder victim. Simple, classic, and comfy too!

Image courtesy of Oddee.

Image courtesy of Oddee.

Looking to immerse yourself in a classic favorite horror film, such as Psycho? You can! Order a couple of these Bloody Bathmats to accessorize your bathrooms! Don’t forget to add the Bloody Wash Towels and Bloody Shower Curtain to your list!

Image courtesy of Karma Loop.

Image courtesy of Karma Loop.

This next DIY gadget will be the perfect addition in your kitchen pantry or secret, mad scientist laboratory. This Head-in-the Jar is scary enough without the blood, but add a little gore to the edges and you’ll definitely send your guests screaming out the door!

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Ready for the star of your upcoming haunted house? This Butchered Doll in the Tub will be your next big and terrifying Halloween hit. Not only will you collect a night full of screams, but you’ll probably induce nightmares for the next few months!

Image courtesy of The Frisky.

Image courtesy of The Frisky.


4. DIY Halloween

For those of you thirsting for original, do-it-yourself gadgets this Halloween, I hear you too! Here are a few of my favorites from around the internet that will make you the coolest Halloween master in the neighborhood!

Halloween is usually dominated by the scary and the gory, but spies shine during this time too! Think you’re the next Bond or perhaps, Inspector Gadget? Check out Instructables’ Spy Guide, perfect for all of you hankering to get into secret spy mode this Halloween and impress everyone with your latest spy gadgets.

Image courtesy of Instructables.

Image courtesy of Instructables.

One of the best Halloween decorations to place in your yard are those that are the “sure scream.” Simple and classic animations that jump out with glowing red eyes, dry ice fog, and creepy voices add to the perfectly haunting Halloween trick-or-treat. Here are two DIY options from Hacked Gadgets that are both creative and easy to do!

Check out this guy! Image courtesy of Hacked Gadgets.

Check out this guy! Image courtesy of Hacked Gadgets.

You know you want an automated Halloween coffin to pop up and scare your neighbors! Image courtesy of Hacked Gadgets.

You know you want an automated Halloween coffin to pop up and scare your neighbors! Image courtesy of Hacked Gadgets.

Last, but certainly not least, are the Singing Pumpkins. A playful staple to bring those Jack-O-Lanterns to life and one that oozes Halloween.

However you decide to celebrate this Halloween just remember to have fun, be safe, and spook-ify anything and everything! Enjoy and have a Happy Halloween from all of us at Parallels!

Top 10 Halloween Costumes for Techies

Whether you treat Halloween like an Olympic sport or have a penchant for procrastination and haphazardly-thrown-together last minute costumes, any techie worth his or her salt needs a good idea for a costume that lets them flex their geek muscle.

Here are our top 10 ideas, ranging from the topical to classic with a twist:

1. Bendgate

Image/idea via Cult of Mac.

Image/idea via Cult of Mac.

Difficulty: 5
Uniqueness: 8
Geek-factor: 6

You’ll need a foam board (or super sturdy oaktag) and some color icons printed out. That’s really about it. As a bonus, you could always dress up like a bendable iPad Air 2.

2. Scarf Guy

Image via Buzzfeed.

Image via Buzzfeed.

Difficulty: 2
Uniqueness: 7
Geek-factor: 5

We won’t soon forget the joy we felt upon first being introduced to scarf guy via the iPhone 6 reveal event. He pretty much stole the show (watch the runways in Milan next spring for this look). All you need is a blonde wig, blue shirt and purple infinity scarf …well, seems any deconstructed purple sweater or blanket will probably do. A tip of the cap to Hubspot for the great idea. Bonus: Bendgate and Scarf Guy make for a pretty sweet tandem costume. 

3. Siri

Image via TUAW.

Image via TUAW.

Difficulty: 1
Uniqueness: 4
Geek-factor: 5

If you like answering questions with “let me search the web for that,” this one might be the right option for you. Warning: Be prepared to be poked in the stomach repeatedly. 

4. Steve Jobs

Difficulty: 1
Uniqueness: 1
Geek-factor: 5

Got an old iPhone sitting in a drawer (of course you do) and a black turtleneck stuffed in the back of a dresser somewhere? Sure, this one screams “I waited til the last minute,” but it’s a classic.

5. Steve Wozniak

Image via YBMW

Image via YBMW

Difficulty: 1 (10 for the Segway version)
Uniqueness: 5
Geek-factor:

One way to level up on your Jobs costume is to throw in the Woz. No offense to Tim Cook here, but Wozniak seems like he’s more fun for Halloween party hopping. Don’t have a Segway? You can always go as “drunk Woz” or “hungry Woz”…a Google image search will give you plenty of Wozniak to work with. 


A few other ideas, in case you need more inspiration…

6. Android

Image via Forbes.

Image via Forbes.

7. Snapchat

Image via Pinterest.

Image via Pinterest.

8. Tinder

Image via Shefinds

Image via Shefinds

9. Instagram filter

10. Error 404

Image via Business Insider.

Image via Business Insider.


Sitting on any brilliant tech-inspired costume ideas? Share a photo with us in the comments! Have fun this weekend, and be safe out there!


Customer Quote of the Week

Flexibility and Convenience!

"Upgrading to Mac for all systems required a significant investment in Mac compatible software. Most were necessary, but accounting data and databases we shared with clients and our accountant couldn't be. Changing Account or clients wasn't an option. But now we run these programs seamlessly along side Mac programs and no added expense or inconvenience.   Relationships outside our business unaffected, no additional training to Mac equivalents, better operating system and equipment. Win win win."

info@alliedalarms.com.au by | ANTHONY N| Parallels Desktop | MAY 06, 2014

Yosemite & Parallels Desktop 10: The Complete Rundown

The Apple engineers have been hard at work which culminated today with the 
release of OS X Yosemite. Congratulations to all the members of the Apple team!

Likewise, the Parallels engineers have been hard at work to bring some of the 
Yosemite goodness to Windows and Windows apps, and that work has also culminated 
today with the release of Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1, version 10.1.0 (28600) in 
engineer-speak.

The main theme of this update is Yosemite integration, so you will need to have 
installed Yosemite to see and take advantage of these new Parallels Desktop 10 
features. Let me tell you (and show you in screenshots) what is waiting for you in 
Update 1. 

Full Support for Yosemite as a Host OS and a Guest OS

In addition to running Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 on Yosemite, you can also 
run Yosemite in Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 as a guest OS. Figures 1 and 2 show you 
some examples.

Figure 1: XP and Win8 on Yosemite 

Figure 1: XP and Win8 on Yosemite 

Figure 2: Mavericks, Yosemite & Lion VMs on Yosemite

Figure 2: Mavericks, Yosemite & Lion VMs on Yosemite

Mac Services Available in Both Windows and Office for Windows

The new Yosemite cloud services, iCloud Drive and iCloud Photo Stream are 
integrated into both Windows and in Office for Windows. In Figure 3, you can see that 
both these cloud service show up in Windows right alongside other cloud services like 
OneDrive (previously known as SkyDrive) and Dropbox. This means that the you don’t 
need to have a Windows folder to synchronize with these services – thus taking up 
space inside your virtual machine.

Figure 3: Yosemite cloud services available inside Windows

Figure 3: Yosemite cloud services available inside Windows

Similarly, these two Yosemite cloud services show up in the “Save As” dialogs in 
Office for Windows apps (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.), as you can see in Figure 4. So, 
there is no extra step required in saving these files to a temporary location, and then 
manually moving them to the desired cloud.

Figure 4: Yosemite cloud services available in Office for Windows

Figure 4: Yosemite cloud services available in Office for Windows

Placing a Phone Call from a Windows App

In Yosemite, you can select a phone number in a document or web page, and 
have the Mac use your iPhone to call that number – an especially cool Yosemite feature! 
Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 brings this cool feature to Windows apps. You just select 
a phone number, and then choose the “Call the number” menu item from the right-click 
menu, as you can see in Figure 5. The Notification Center on your Yosemite Mac will 
then present a notification which will place this call on your iPhone, as you can see in 
Figure 6

Figure 5: Call a phone number selected in IE

Figure 5: Call a phone number selected in IE

Figure 6: Placing the phone call from a notification

Figure 6: Placing the phone call from a notification

Note that to use this feature your Yosemite Mac and your iOS8 iPhone must be 
on the same wireless network, and both must be connected to iCloud Drive with the 
same Apple ID account.

iMessage and SMS Text Sharing 

In Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 you can easily send selected text as a tweet, or 
post it to your Facebook page or to LinkedIn with simple menu item in a right-click menu 
– just like in Yosemite. You can see this being done in Figure 7 with text selected in IE. 
No need to re-type or even copy and paste the text.

Figure 7: Sending with Messages from Internet Explorer

Figure 7: Sending with Messages from Internet Explorer

Extensions

Yosemite provides third-party developers with the ability to add “extensions” to 
many parts of the Mac OS, and the Parallels developers have taken advantage of this to 
add new functionality to Spotlight, Notification Center, and QuickLook. In Spotlight 
(Figure 8) and QuickLook (Figure 9), you can see the current state of a virtual machine, 
and even modify its settings. In Notification Center (Figure 10), you can see the 
performance of a running virtual machine and see its resource utilization – how much of 
the CPU power of your Mac it is using and how much RAM it is occupying.

Figure 8: Spotlight extensions for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Figure 8: Spotlight extensions for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Figure 9: QuickLook extensions for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Figure 9: QuickLook extensions for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Figure 10: Notification Center extension showing the performance for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Figure 10: Notification Center extension showing the performance for Parallels Desktop virtual machines

Windows 10 Technical Preview

Virtual machines in Parallels Desktop can be a safe, easy way to “try out” a new 
operating system or operating system update. This is especially useful when the 
operating system is still in beta. I have been doing this for years, and I wholeheartedly 
recommend this approach. You never know when a beta (or even an alpha or a early 
preview) operating system will reveal a bug or incompatibility, and when this early OS is 
in a virtual machine, the potential trouble is completely contained in the VM. 

When Windows 8 was in its various preview states (technical preview, developer 
preview, customer preview), the Parallels Desktop team made the installation of these 
early releases a one-button-push install, and LOTS of Parallels Desktop users took 
advantage of this. This showed us that many Mac users wanted to “kick the tires” of the 
next version of Windows, especially when the installation was so easy to do. 

Now that the Windows 10 Technical Preview is available, we decided to make its 
installation just as easy. 

So, Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 includes the button you can see highlighted in the 
Figure 11. Just click on this button, answer a couple of configuration questions, and we 
will take care of the rest. The installation files for the Windows 10 Technical Preview will be downloaded, it will be installed in a VM, and the VM will be added to your Parallels 
Desktop Control Center, and it will be ready to run. The amount of time this will take 
depends greatly on your Internet connection speed, since the installation files total 
about 4 GB in size.

Figure 11: Windows 10 button in the New VM wizard

Figure 11: Windows 10 button in the New VM wizard

The Windows 10 Technical Preview includes integrated feedback tools, so if you are 
interested in giving Microsoft some feedback on Windows 10, its installation in Parallels 
Desktop 10 just takes a few clicks of your Mac mouse. I’ve already sent them about a 
half dozen pieces of feedback. 

Yosemite Look & Feel

Last, but not least, the user interface of Parallels Desktop 10 Update 1 has been 
refreshed with the Yosemite Look & Feel, including the larger window title bar, the new 
flat icons, and special looks for the new Yosemite “Dark” look. You can see several of 
these changes in Figure 12.

Figure 12: The Yosemite Look & Feel

Figure 12: The Yosemite Look & Feel