Someone, I think it might have been Starman, but I rightly don’t remember, so forgive me. That wasn’t a sentence. This next one will be. Someone recently asked me to blog my experience with VMWare Fusion and Parallels.


I’m so bad at blogging. You can see that as early as my first post. Go ahead, dig into the archives here and find it. I’ll be right here experiencing the effects of time diliation. F or you it’s been a period of ten minutes or so. For me it’s been the space of hitting the space bar. But do you see? I don’t know what it is, but I have a real block against this blogging thing.

However, time, thunderstorms, and airline policy have conspired to keep me delayed here at gate 23 at good old OAK, meaning I have sunk deep into my amusement of last resort; picking out nose hairs. Which got me in BIG trouble with the wife, so now I must sink to blogging.

I shot a video on virtualization for CNET TV this week. The editor just finished it up today, so I imagine it won’t be posted until Tuesday. That will cover the majority of my experience. Then on Tuesday, Rafe Needleman is out of town so I’m on my own for The Real Deal podcast. So I figure I’ll talk virtualization there while it’s fresh in my mind. So that will cover almost the rest of it. And frankly audio is the medium I’m most comfortable with.

But here I blog until the gods of airline delays release me from my purgatory of waiting. So wile I’ll hold off on real details and explanations for the video and podcast that pay the bills, perhaps I will give an impressionistic account of my trip through virtualization, as I remember it.

Boot Camp 2.1 Freeze. Anger. Annoyance. A feeling of an era of bliss ending. Oh Windows XP on a Mac. I loved your look. I loved your speedy performance. I loved your idiosyncrasy. But your occasional need to freeze for 20 seconds played havoc with the Sword and Laser podcast as well as Buzz Out Loud prep. So you drove me into virtualization.

Start with free Parallels download. All is smooth until —- ACTIVATION. See, I had played with VMWare once in January. And had used activations with Boot Camp. So I was looking mighty peg-legged and eye-patch wearing as far as Microsoft could tell. But a little extra effort overcame.
Parallels is great!

But wait. Slight sadness. No second monitor now for Windows apps. Grr. How about VMWare? No respite there.

Surpise! VMWare Fusion Beta. Multi-monitor support.

Install it. Crazy install hell. Must make calls and pretend to have rebuilt machine. But finally activated. No way to get Parallels and VMWare to both work. They seem to overwrite each other’s activations. OH well. Live in VMWare. The beta seems a bit slower than PArallels but I lvoe the multimon support.

So why not keep moving to OS X!

Move iTunes over. No problem! Well slight problem when shooting a video and I accidentally trash my whoel library. But I restored it. So no harm done!

BUT THEN! I tried to repartition. S ee when I set up Boot Camp I expected to live in Windows. So I gave Windows a healthy 150 GB and Mac about 80 or so. With iTunes moved that 80 was getting cramped. So I plunk down the money for iPartition. Doesn’t work. Can’t move the data. Must defrag. Go into Windows Boot Camp and defrag Windows partition. Go into iDefrag and defrag Mac partition. Now partitioning works! Cross fingers and pray as partitions are resized and moved. It works!


Next morning’s VMWare boot can’t find the virtual machines file! Ack! Moving the partition munged the virtualization. Oh well. Bite nails, cry a small tear and trash the VMWare image file and rebuild. Whew! It works. Must reinstall VMWare tools but no reactivation! Crisis averted.

Now in search of the mail and calendaring replacement. Millions of programs will get my mail but almost nothign can read our exchange calendar. One program that promises to sync iCal with Exchange Calendar doesn’t work in Leopard!

Oh but Entourage you are so darn expensive. I mean, I just bought Popcorn Hour, Roku Netflix AND new headphones for my iPhone. I just can’t plunk down for Office for Mac. No way.

So I live in two worlds still. And the only real issue with that is when I click a link in an Outlook mail, it opens in Windows Firefox instead of Mac.

Also the Belkin Flip we use on CNET Live won’t recognise video from OS X for some reason. We need the flip so both me and Cooley’s laptops can be hooked up to the control room. The direct conenction without the flip works fine, which is how I was able to demonstrate VMWare on CNET Live last week. But as soon as we use th flip so both laptops can be connected, nothing.

So for CNET Live I must use Boot Camp. But good news! I figured out the Boot Camp freeze that led to all this. Apparently Input Remapper, that I use to reprogram the MacBook Pro keyboard doesn’t play nice with the keyboard manager in Boot Camp 2.1. So I disabled the keyboard manager in MSCONFIG and voila! No more freezes!

So I suppose I could go all the way back to Windows now, but I kinda like OS X. Plus I’d have to pay for MacDrive in order to see the files on my OS X partition in Windows. So I think virtualization will be the mode of choice for now. And hopefully the VMWare beta will be updated and not be so laggy as it goes along.

Scattered and incomplete as it is, there are my impressions of my experience with virtualization. Thanks for reading.