January 4, 2013

What I’m doing right now

Filed under: Modern artifacts — acagle @ 9:35 am

Installing Winblows simultaneously on two computers at the same time! One on my old PC and one on my iMac. The latter may end up proving to be kind of useless as I’m only doing it so I can continue to use my old copy of CorelDraw and Access on the Mac. I may end up just buying Photoshop and Illustrator and just using the old PC for any Access junk I may have to do. As it is, I’ve been doing any vector drawing (mostly for figures on CRM reports) on the PC using CorelDraw and having to copy files back and forth, which is kind of a PITA. The plan is to put Corel and Access on the Mac and attempt to use only it for a while and put the old PC up in the closet on the off-chance I need it for some reason.

I’m a bit wary of the Winblows-on-Mac* thing. . . .I’ve seen it dual-booted before, but this is using something called Parallels Desktop which looks like it will run Winblows in a virtual window on the Mac. That sounds great, but I recall doing something similar in OS/2 many years ago (I know, I know, it’s probably improved since 1990. . . .) and the performance hit was fairly significant. If you recall, OS/2 was IBM and Microsoft’s follow-on to DOS, but M$ backed out to pursue Winblows instead. IBM had a license for all Winblows code for some time after that and included what was essentially a full copy of Win 3.x within it. It ran Win applications in a virtual machine seamlessly on the desktop, although they were usually slower than what few native OS/2 apps there were.

I really wish they’d ported Access to Mac, but alas, they haven’t and probably never will. In fact, I’m almost kinda-sorta trying to migrate away from Access. . .I really like its all-in-one design — database and application development — but trying to keep it up in a Mac environment is difficult, and my job doesn’t require me to develop in it anymore so I’m down a couple of generations as it is. I’ll probably try to stick with Filemaker or perhaps migrate over to MySQL with some front-end development instead.

This is actually kind of traumatic for me. I’ve been a Winblows user for years and finally moving everything off of an actual PC is a little unnerving. OTOH, I think the platform will become less and less important (it is already) in the coming years as everything goes mobile so I’m trying to see it in that context rather than a platform switch per se.

UPDATE: Success! I am running XP on my iMac and I have already run a little bit of an Access database and installed my old copy of Illustrator (decided to use that instead of my old copy of CorelDraw). I can even use my old HP scanner — hadn’t been able to before because there are no OSX drivers for it — so I have stuck my old Toshiba PC up on the shelf. There is now a nice little empty space on my desk. . . .


  1. I was going to suggest Linux, but since you’ve already been successful, I won’t bother you with complications. I Run XP, FreeBSD and OS X on my linux machine at home, using VirtualBox as my virtual platform. Setup was pretty easy.

    Comment by Glenn Meyer — January 4, 2013 @ 7:16 pm

  2. So far it’s working pretty well. There’s a bit of a performance hit, but not a whole lot. Mostly I’m worried about virii. Do I need to put an antivirus on the Winblows portion?

    Comment by acagle — January 5, 2013 @ 11:31 am

  3. I’m curious as to how this is working for you, since I’m in kind of the same boat: a new macbook for work and a very old XP laptop on its last legs. Is the speed reasonable, for light-to-moderate use?

    I need to run Access & some other PC centric stuff so I bought, but haven’t installed, Parallels.

    Reading stuff, it looks like Win7 in Bootcamp would allow full speed on the Mac hardware, and Parallels can be used in Import mode to run the Bootcamp partition in a VM, which, while slower would allow running side by side with the Mac stuff I need to use.

    Comment by Ed — February 22, 2013 @ 11:56 am

  4. It’s actually working out well. I haven’t really been *needing* to run the Windows stuff as much as I’d thought. My old excavation data is still all in Access so I have to use Parallels for that, and the light vector graphics I’ve had to do I’ve done with a Win copy of Illustrator. I still have a LOT of Corel Draw files that I pull out the PC for since I don’t think Illustrator can import them (although I’m not sure I’ve actually tried. . .hmmmm). But even this old (2009 probably) Macbook is plenty quick to run Parallels in, certainly not noticeable enough to irritate me into not using it. I’m really treating it as a transition though; once I figure I can afford (and need) to buy the software for the Mac (like Illustrator), I’ll do it and not look back.

    Comment by acagle — February 22, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  5. Thanks, good to hear!

    Comment by Ed — February 22, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

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