Parallels deal for limited time

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If you’re in the market for Parallels, the PC virtualization software, and want to save a few bucks, you can take advantage of a deal offered by MacUpdate for the next 15 days.

The offer is $50 for a bundle that includes Parallels 5 plus a bunch of other utilities that may or may not be useful to you. That price is the same as the cost of upgrading from previous versions of Parallels, but keep in mind that you will still need to purchase a copy of Windows separately.

You can read about the offer at MacNN and get further details here.

Quicken Essentials: Essentially useless

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Intuit has finally released the Mac update to Quicken 2007, Quicken Essentials. I haven’t purchased it, nor do I plan to, and while I don’t typically “review” software I haven’t seen, I thought it important to highlight a few things about this package.

You may not know this, but Quicken originated on the Apple ][ back in the infancy of the personal computer industry. At some point, they not only ported their software to Windows, but started adding features to it that did not exist on the Mac version. We Mac users were relegated to second-class status, all the while hoping for eventual parity with our Windows brethren.

Now, after four years since the last Mac version, Intuit has released Quicken Essentials, a complete rewrite specifically for the Mac. The new version has a revamped interface that they claim is easier to use, and it makes it easier to import data from the Windows version. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, it removes features that existed in Quicken 2007. Like the ability to pay bills online. Or enter, or even view, transactions in your investment accounts. Or export your data to TurboTax. You know, little features that might actually be considered “essential”. And for the privilege of getting snazzier icons with less ability, Intuit asks $70. Welcome to third-class.

I’m sure that, at some point, Intuit will add some or all of these features back to the Mac version even as they continue to improve their Windows software, but I will be sticking with the rapidly aging Quicken 2007 for now and exploring alternatives like iBank for the future.

For another opinion of this software, see Walt Mossberg’s review here.

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