So I’ve been trying our different options for virtual machines on the MacBook Pro with varying degrees of success. So far I’ve played around with the Parallels 3 demo, the VMWare Fusion demo, Crossover and VirtualBox.
Given I don’t have a spare Windows XP or Vista licence lying around at the moment (something I’ll fix in the next few days) I’ve been playing around with Windows 98 and Ubuntu distributions to see how easy it is install and run the different virtual machines.
Firstly, Crossover which effectively attempts to run Windows applications (using a WINE base) without you having to install a Window OS in a virtual machine. A nice idea but it didn’t really do the job with the apps I tried. Plus I want to record what the Windows setup looks like with something like Camtasia and having the familiar Windows Desktop helps there.
Secondly, Parallels. Easy install and worked well mostly. With Windows 98 it wouldn’t find the CD drive properly (disk image or real CD) which meant it couldn’t install the extras nor additional drivers it needed to run smoothly (like for sound and networking). Ubuntu installed too, but again the extras wouldn’t install either, though it ran just fine without them for testing purposes. Perhaps XP and Vista would work better, but it’s had a couple of strikes against it. YMMV.
Thirdly, VMWare Fusion. Again easy to install and the install of the OSs seemed to work well. It did a better job on Win98 (which is useful because I need to test course CD-ROMs etc. on old browsers and OSs. A lot of our students seem to have second-hand/hand-me-down hardware) but I couldn’t for the life of me get the soundcard to work. The appropriate drivers just gave a blue screen of death on install, though the CDROM worked. Latest Ubuntu (8.10) installed like a charm, with the extras. So, if this one plays well with XP/Vista it could be the one to pick.
Lastly, VirtualBox. Installed Win98 fine but only in basic mode – no sound etc and lo-res graphics. Ubuntu fared better and installed smoothly. If all I wanted to do was run the latter for testing then maybe that would be the way to go.
Next step is to set up a Bootcamp partition with Vista and then see how the virtual machines like Fusion play with that. In a less than perfect world I’d go with that by default, but I’d like to be testing and documenting the Windows and Linux experiences for students at the same time as the Mac experience. So far Fusion looks like it might do the job best, but we’ll wait and see.
Both VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop are a similar price but which to choose? I know VMWare has the edge (perhaps) for performance, but Parallels is (perhaps) better for integration.
Has anyone had a play with the new Mac OS X friendly OpenOffice 3? I’m going to pull it down the wire but would be interested to know what other experiences people have had.
www.OpenOffice.org – The Free and Open Productivity Suite
Someone has way too much time on their hands.
Anyway, this is pretty much what I want. Smaller and more robust than a MacBook, but bigger and more capable than an iPhone, but still running Mac OS X. Desktop at work for most of the grunty work and then throw something like this in the backpack for word processing, web and email.
Full article at Run Mac OS X on an Eee PC – Wired How-To Wiki including a video of it working.
While I won’t be owning an iPhone in the near future I was interested to stumble across this Flickr app for it created by my ‘cousin-in-law’ : Mobile Flickr, coming to an iPhone near you — Sneak.
Videos of it working over at Mobile Flickr | Apple iPhone School
Being an old UNIX programmer I love the idea of assembling your own set of small, powerful applications doing one task well rather than monolithic applications that try to do too much and fail at doing everything well. I don’t use Flickr but I like the look of this small app.
Something I didn’t know when making MP3 disks in iTunes – Macworld | Playlist | Creating navigable MP3 discs.
Ages ago (way back in 1990-91, I think) one of my flatmates had the game OIDS on his computer. It ran just fine on a Mac Plus and on the new Mac LC’s that had just come out. Good memories of the flat all taking turns to see who could get the highest score.
Any now I find that there’s a version for Mac OS X available from Xavagus Prime Software. I downloaded it and all the game playing memories came back. Unfortunately, the old game playing reflexes haven’t come back with the memories – can’t seem to fly anywhere near as well as I once did.
Related link: Oids – MobyGames
The iBook power adaptor died. After years of faithful service the cable that wrapped around the yo-yo adaptor broke, and I’ve spent a reasonable bit of time trying to find an old style iBook adaptor to plug in. However, I found one this morning and we’re up and charging. Luckily, backups had been made so no worries there mostly. I can’t belief how expensive both Apple and third-party adaptors are, though.
The G3 lives on – and is still fine for word processing, music and podcasts, email, blogging, DVDs, presentations and basic web browsing. Not so good for video play back (Flash or MP4) though – and web pages with lots of Flash items etc. tend to drag.
The screen may die in a little bit though, so it may become limited to a desk with a monitor and keyboard for chidren’s homework in the near future
To add to my mostly Mac OS X based list of writing tools –
Bean: An OS X Word Processor.
(Oh, and I think I left NeoOffice (based on OpenOffice) off the original list too.)
Not that I’m going to buy a MacBook Air in the near future, but this might make some people think twice – Wide Awake Developers: Steve Jobs Made Me Miss My Flight.