The popular phrase that acknowledges differences in “worlds” that may have particular advantages unique to each, took on new meaning to me today. I was upgrading an Apple Mac application called Parallels from version 3.0 to version 4.0, and realized the extent to which this software that supports running the Windows operating system on an Apple Mac seamlessly has changed the old concept of Apple vs Microsoft as an ether/or proposition to something else. I used to run both Apple Macs and a PC with Windows, but since Apple switched to Intel processors and became capable of also running other operating systems like Windows, I took advantage of this possibility and instead of replacing my old PC with a new one, just upgraded my Apple Mac and installed Parallels.
I chose to install Parallels Desktop, which is a software virtual machine, because unlike using the Apple Boot Camp solution to run Windows, you don’t have to re-boot to go from the Apple operating system to launch Windows. I often make screenshots for articles, or just make a quick reference to a Windows application to answer a reader question, so being able to switch from the Apple OS I do my work with to Windows seamlessly is a great convenience for me.
However my necessity to have a PC/Windows system to run applications that are exclusive to Windows to do my job writing about digital photography computing for an audience that is more Windows than Mac, obscured some advantages of having both operating systems on an Apple Mac I had not considered. The first awakening to these other advantages was when after obtaining a Kodachrome K3 IT-8 target slide I could use to profile my scanners specifically for scanning Kodachrome slides. I found none of the Apple Mac scanner profiling software I had was able to read the old “marilyn” style of IT-8 references Kodak used to produce the Kodachrome K3 targets. However remembering that some years back I had used Monaco Systems EZ Color profiling software on a PC, I dug through my huge stack of old software applications and found up a copy of version 2.0 of EZ Color. I installed it in Windows running on my Mac under Parallels, and found it worked fine, after also installing the original Windows driver for my now discontinued Minolta DiMage Scan Elite 5400-2 scanner.
This experience was useful a short time later when answering a reader’s question about a problem with an even rarer Minolta scanner the Multi-Pro model. This reader had just upgraded his Mac to Apple OS 10.5 and found that the SilverFast driver for his scanner would not work, and Lasersoft had not upgraded it for Apple version 10.5 and was not sure if or when that might get done. So I suggested he get and install Parallels and a copy of Windows XP Pro on his Mac. Then he could install the original Windows driver from the CD he got with the scanner and run it from Windows on his Mac.
Over the years I have collected software and most of the really old stuff is for Windows applications. I haven’t done it yet but as soon as I have the time I hope to have some old imaging resources available again I had given up on, but would still like to access. The reason is that as a for instance, an early version of Corel’s PhotoPaint had a marvelous collection of special effects filters that are not available in the current version or anywhere else for either Windows or Apple Mac. So I hope I can find the application CD’s for that old version of PhotoPaint. There are lots of such possibilities, like re-installing my very old copy of Lotus Notes address book so I can easily access the addresses of friends and acquaintances from years back from files I have stored on CD’s.
And, that reminds me - from the comments many people have made to me that they recognize an Apple Mac computer would be better(and definitely is) for their doing digital photography, but they don’t want to loose access to all of the Windows software they are used to. But by running Windows with Parallels on a new Intel Apple Mac they can still do all the computing things they did, and at no cost other than the time to re-install those programs. In addition I believe some of the intimidation caused by the idea of learning not just a new operating system but new applications too, would be lessened, and being able to go from the Apple OS to Windows, back and forth seamlessly, I know they would soon discover what I have learned, that doing computing on either system is not really very different.
The best of both worlds is having both with all the advantage of each. Check out Parallels 4.0 at www.parallels.com