Sunday, October 9, 2011

Of VM's and Switching

I am now up to two VM's on my MBP. This is all part of my multi-step program to switch to the Mac. :) This is just about the final step in my master plan...

The first VM is Windows 8 Developer Preview.  It's a great way to check out some of the new features that Microsoft is coming out with. However, it is not anywhere near ready for "prime time"- and seems to be best viewed on the Samsung tablet.  The reason I say this is because the Metro UI is very difficult to use with a mouse.  It is also extremely laggy in a VM- I can only stand about 5 minutes working with it, but it's good for the purpose it serves (preview!). The second VM is Windows 7, along with Visual Studio .NET 2010. It is also running in "unity" mode which means I put Win7 apps on my Mac taskbar and run them seamlessly. However, that also opens up the possibility for my Mac Files to get corrupted by a Windows virus since the documents and network are shared.  To be on the safe side I downloaded Windows Security Essentials- a fairly lightweight but comprehensive virus / malware scanner.  The lag on the Windows 7 VM is barely noticible, but I still need to upgrade my ram to 4GB.

I am now getting down to brass tacks and in the process of handing down my PC's.  For me, this is the true litmus test of making the switch. I've had my PC and its 24" screen quietly humming away in the background.  After wrapping up the installs of my other "must have" apps on the VM I will finally complete the process.  Fortunately, there is not much I can think of that I can't do on my Mac that I could on my PC.  I suppose one thing would be utilizing my Blu-Ray drive, but I could pull that out and make it external.  I only use the blu-ray for a few things: 1) burning blu-ray data discs, and 2) burning blu-ray videos. I can do both on the Mac if I make the drive external.

The other needs are pretty straightforward:
1) Visual Studio .NET - a requirement for doing .NET development. Not available on the Mac platform, unless you are using something like MonoDevelop. I haven't tried that yet but I will some day.  It looks quite a bit like the IDE on Windows. VS.NET 2010 will be going on the VM.

2) Microsoft Zune.  The software is only available for Windows.  I am using ITunes, and have been since the IPad. I am starting to like it more but I feel a lot more comfortable with the Zune UI.  Plus, I am paying $15 / month for the privilege of virtually unlimited, legal music downloads and 10 tracks I can keep "forever", per month. Not a bad deal at all.  This will also go on the VM.

3) Microsoft Visio.  Incredibly useful tool for drawings. I use this on occasion for things like re-modeling, layouts, etc. I don't believe there is a Mac version available. Another one for the VM.

4) My backup scheme.  Currently I use a batch file to backup all the documents, images, videos, etc that are strewn across my various computers on the network.  I also have two 1TB USB drives plugged in to my main PC which is basically a kludged up RAID.  Since most of my work will be done on my Mac, and it's a little more impractical to connect/disconnect with a laptop, I will leave that connected to the PC and utilize it remotely. I already created a "timemachine" backup share that my MBP will use to backup apps and files. This will automatically fall into the backup and get mirrored.  I'll start scheduling the backup/mirror to run at 3AM so I get everything.

Since I am not using this for work, that is about it.  There are a handful of other utilities that I use on occasion with the PC, but there are either Mac versions or suitable replacements.  For instance, FileZilla is a great FTP program that is open source and available on Mac.  N-track studio is an awesome multi-track recorder that I run on the PC, but so is GarageBand, Adobe Soundbooth, or Soundtrack Pro. Paint.NET is good but Adobe Photohop is awesome. Final Cut Studio is great for videos and will easily replace Sony Vegas.

One final thing: I need to be able to utilize my Dell monitor so I can have dual screens. Apparently, I purchased the wrong adapter at Best Buy because it won't fit into the display port connector. I am going to have to figure out which one to get. 

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