Tuesday, July 01, 1997

Virtual (PC) Reality

Editor's NOTE: This is a moldie oldie that I pulled from a text dump archive. None of the links will work anymore (or 99% won't) - but the names and companies have NOT changed.

It's no secret that we prefer the Mac OS here at ClickWare. It's not that we're anti-Windows, it's just that, for us, the Mac OS is an easier, more elegant solution.

That said, there is no denying the fact that most of the "civilized" society we deal with (including the majority of our major customers and business partners) has chosen to use the Windows Operating System. Why? Who knows. It's simply a fact.

Are we at ClickWare going to stop using the Mac OS? Not a chance in hell! Are we going to use the semi-vaporware "Rhapsody" when it comes out? You betcha'. Are we going to use Windows? Yes... on my Mac.

The hell, you say! Yes, it's true. In my continuing quest to seek out all things cool and useful, I recently bought a copy of Connectix Virtual PC (the Windows 95 Edition) - that allows me to have a Pentium speed Windows 95 machine - on my Macintosh!

There is another edition that allows you to run DOS and Windows 3.1... but if you're running Windows 95, you've got all the DOS you "need."

The software basically emulates the Intel CHIP, NOT the operating system. That means that my Ethernet Network, Networked Printers, CD ROM, etc. works seamlessly in the PC environment. Add to that the fact that VirtualPC fully support the popular SoundBlaster audio, supports PC joysticks, and can even output video and sound (some tinkering required) - and now I can play DOOM on two platforms at once.

You can set up "shared" folders - so that you can "exchanged" files between the Mac and Windows systems. For example, we do lots of cross-platform development, and rather than copying across the network to test on a PC, we can actually just toggle between platforms, checking the colors, fonts, etc. that can get you into trouble (especially in FileMaker Pro development).

But wait, there's more.

It will run Windows NT, Warp (OS2), Rhapsody for Intel, Rhapsody for Windows - in short, whatever operating system you want. Now, my friends, THAT is very cool! If you don't have the Mac Hardware (100 MhZ 603e with 64MB of RAM at the MINIMUM) - don't bother with Virtual PC. I'm using a Mac 9600/200 with 64MB of RAM (45MB dedicated to Virtual PC), a built-in 4 GIG hard drive (of which Virtual PC takes up 275 MB), 2MB of L2 Cache, 4MB of Video RAM (driving a Sony 17" monitor).

Granted, my setup is not exactly "typical", but I swear, the performance of Virtual PC is almost as good as a dedicated PC box. Now, I'm not getting paid by Connectix, I don't own stock in the company, and they didn't give me a free copy of the software. This is a real world, take no prisoners, truly USEFUL productivity tool.

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