Thursday, October 25, 2007

Let the Mac Adventure Begin!!

Some of my friends and colleagues are beside themselves because I'm walking around with a MacBook Pro under my arm! Yes, it's true: Nick is using a Mac!

The adventure began late last week as I began research on the merits and how-to of using a Mac in a church or ministry environment. I admit the hardware and OS is subjectively more pleasing, but the challenge is that most of the software I (and most of those in our niche) need to use will only run on a PC.

The Challenge Defined
There is increasing pressure from our team members to use Macs in the workplace. Our response to their request for a Mac has generally been that unless they had a compelling reason, the answer was most likely no because the databases and other software we run needs to run on a PC. But is that still true? Maybe not!

The Times... They Are a Changin'
The newest Macs run on Intel chips and have a few ways they can run PC environments. Typically we hear of two (Bootstrap and Parallels). Many in our niche don't prefer the Bootstrap method because (I'm told) it requires restarting the system when one wants to switch from one OS to the other-- too cumbersome. Many have good things to say about Parallels, but I wanted to test VMware's Fusion since we already run VMware on our network servers.

With Fusion I have the choice of running a virtual PC, or of unifying the two OS desktops together. I like the Unity method because I can launch my PC applications in what appears to be the Mac desktop and dock, and they run in windows that look very similar to Mac applications. Very nice!

Does it Work?
So far, it does! I have a couple more challenges to overcome to make it totally transparent, but it looks promising. And it appears the PC applications run better in this environment than natively on a PC! Go figure!

There are a bunch of little differences, like keystrokes, to get used to. But so far, the user interface is a nice improvement. Once I get the PC applications running perfectly, then I'll begin to tackle the task of looking for reasons why some things really should be done on a Mac.

To my closest friends and colleagues I can only say that I'm still the same old Nick...

4 comments:

Randy Smith said...

Nick,
Glad to hear your enjoying the mac. I switched over a year ago and while I attempted Boot Camp and now have Parallels loaded on my macbook, I never use it. I use the MS RDC to administer the servers and the rest of my work is done in OS X.

Anonymous said...

Ever think of using Linux. Ubuntu 7.10 is a layman-usable distribution that can be installed on the PCs that that they already have. They can use their existing hardware, virus concerns are virtually nil, and no need to purchase expensive Macs.

Nick Nicholaou said...

Randy,

RDC works, but I've been enjoying Fusion's ability to run our database, etc as though they were native Mac apps! One less layer, so to speak...

Nick

Nick Nicholaou said...

Anonymous,

Linux is great... no doubt. But the problem we run into in church and ministry settings is that many of these decisions are driven by what users want or are willing to use. See my article entitled Microsoft Office 2007 to see more of how challenging this can be! Few are asking to use Linux... while many are asking to use Macs.

Nick