A Better Windows Than Windows?

By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2003-03-03 Print this article Print

I'm running Windows code on my own terms, and that's certainly better for me.

My family members expect the unexpected when I say, "Take a look at this!"—but I produced a satisfying double take from my 11-year-old son when he saw a Windows 2000 desktop, running in a window of its own, on what he knew perfectly well was my new Apple G4.

When I unpack a new machine, the first thing I install is a trustworthy firewall; on a Mac, I use Symantecs and get an acceptable balance between annoyance and assurance. As soon as I have that firewall in place, though, the next thing I like to install on a Mac is the latest version of Connectix Virtual PC; Version 6, released late last year, is a keeper.

There are three things that Ill be doing routinely in a virtual Windows 2000 session on my 12-inch PowerBook. (Yes, as a matter of fact, I did pay full retail price; Apple finally built what I wanted.) First, I prefer the Win32 version to the Mac OS 9 version of Adobe Photoshop LE. Both versions came with one of my digital cameras, and its my preferred tool for working with all of them.

Second, I can plug my Jornadas USB cradle in to the PowerBook and ActiveSync with Outlook 2002 as it runs in the Win 2000 session—with an Outlook icon appearing in the Mac OS X desktop "dock," and thats a nice trick indeed.

Third, my Sony digital voice recorder came with only Win32 versions of its USB drivers and its editor/manager application, but I can plug it in to the PowerBook and work from the Win 2000 session—then convert the Sony-format files to WAVs and drag them out to the OS X desktop, for whatever else I want to do.

If I need to download driver updates from Sony, Ill just open a browser inside the virtual session, and Ill be good to go. As far as the remote site is concerned, Im a Pentium II/MMX machine running Win 2000 and Internet Explorer 5.

When Im done with my Win 2000 "machine" for the day, I can abandon any changes to its virtual hard disk or keep them. Its not that this is a "better Windows than Windows" because Im still running Windows code. Im just running it on my own terms, complementing my other options, and thats certainly better for me.

Tell me what Ive overlooked at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developers' technical requirements on the company's evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter company's first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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