The "simple" Windows 7 upgrade path.
Today an article I wrote about using Windows on the Mac appeared on the American Bar Association's TechShow blog. Speaking of the TechShow, it's getting closer. If you are going to be in the Chicago area April 2-4 and want to learn about how to use technology in the practice of law, now is your chance.
Yup, you heard it right. Is it just me or does it seem that Microsoft, that built its business around strategic partnerships, increasingly seems willing to "go it alone?" What is next? Windows branded PC hardware?
The day job has been keeping me busy as of late. When I finally got a moment to check my RSS feed, I found a lot of jabber about Microsoft's latest ad campaign where they "take on" the long running Apple adds. My first thought was, so what? Why do so many Mac people get obsessed about what Microsoft is doing? Despite the fact that I love my Macs, I don't tell people to buy them. If windows does it for you, by all means use Windows. If Linux rocks your world, rock away. Just because I don't evangelize, doesn't mean people around me tend to buy Macs. I would like to think that is more a result of them using my Mac and seeing the results I get from it more than anything else. Regardless, I think as a community, us Mac users need to stop getting so obsessed with Windows and just enjoy our Macs.
My office runs a windows network and, as a result, I keep a Parallels version of XP on my Macs. I've recently, however, set up a VPN solution with the office PC that allows me to tunnel in without needing to bother with Parallels. This left the approximately 12 gigs of windows on my computer solely to run one legal related application. However, in the last six months I've actually booted that application on my Macs 2 times. I could have easily just run it remotely via VPN and with an ever shrinking hard drive, today I officially put a bullet in the head of the XP files on my Mac.
So there you have it. I have 12 gig more space, slightly less flexibility, and no regrets.
After watching all the hubub about the new VMWare Fusion, I decided it was time to give VMWare a spin. I've been using Parallels since it first hit the streets and I hadn't bothered with VMWare because for the very few applications I need windows, Parallels works just fine.
But I thought it was time to look at the competition. I actually planned to write a comparative review of the two applications. So I've been struggling with getting it working. The Parallels converter failed on me so I tried a fresh install. The first one stopped in the middle because windows said some obscure file didn't copy. I tried again and it finished but the first time I booted it up, Windows informs me my license code has been registered too many times and I need to buy another copy of windows. Just to be clear, I bought this copy of windows for Parallels. I've used it a total of one time. So now I have to choose between spending more money on a windows license or becoming a pirate and going to find a cracked license code. Actually, I'm leaning toward a third option and just sticking with Parallels.
I'm sure VMWare is an excellent program but if I had to choose between spending another hour trying to get Windows to work or sticking my hand in an electric socket, a little shock doesn't seem like such a bad idea. There was a reason I switched.
Like a lot of Mac users, I find myself using a Windows box at work. My law firm has invested a lot of money into our network and some Windows specific software (not to mention years of data) which means I am often stuck on a windows machine. That doesn't mean you have to leave the OS X experience at home though. There are some good Windows applications that Aquafy the Windows user interface. Now granted these don't give you the full OS X experience, they do at least make things a little nicer. Kind of like giving a Yugo a new shiny red paint job with flames on the side.
Anyway, I actually licensed one called Stardock before I even bought my Mac. That was one of the things that pushed me over the edge. I figured if I was emulating a Mac, why didn't I just buy one? Now that I spend so much time in OS X, (I generally work on my laptop in the office these days) it is nice to have all the buttons in the same places when I do find myself working on the PC. I recently discovered another way to Aquafy your PC with FlyaKite OSX. This is free but I haven't tried it on my work PC yet. I'm much less adventurous with that machine. If anyone does give it a try, drop me a note and we'll get a post up.
I've already decided that when the office machine dies, I'm going to put an iMac in there and run my windows programs through parallels or boot camp if necessary, but for the time being, these applications will have to do.