When I came home tonight I found this large green lizard climbing on my building.
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Competition is definitely a good thing for Mac virtualization software. I had switched to VMware because I found it to be faster than Parallels (at least on my old MacBook Pro). When Parallels released their new beta yesterday I decided to give it another chance and I was pleasantly surprised.
It now feels faster than VMware and the improved Coherence looks great. Unlike VMware, it boots directly into Coherence; with VMware I have to switch manually into Unity after it finishes starting up. It also doesn’t seem to slow down other applications as much as it did on my old MacBook Pro. It does seem to run down the battery faster than VMware if I use it unplugged, though.
This benchmark comparison from CNet Labs confirms my own subjective non-scientific observation: VMware is a lot faster than Parallels. I found that Parallels would sometimes make my old MacBook Pro freeze for as long as several minutes while starting up Windows, which didn’t happen with VMware Fusion. I haven’t installed Parallels on my Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro, so I don’t know if the performance would be any better.
I had installed MacFUSE 0.4 so I could experiment with procfs, which makes a lot of hardware and software information available as a file system. However, Parallels includes MacFUSE 0.3 with NTFS-3g, which it uses for read/write access to the Windows virtual drive. If a different version of MacFUSE is installed, that feature won’t work. After removing MacFUSE 0.4, I was able to see my Windows virtual drive in the Finder.
One limitation of Parallels Desktop 3.0 is that you can no longer resize a disk image (although Parallels says that will be fixed in an update to be released soon). If you need to resize a hard drive now, I found a good work-around for Windows XP: Acronis True Image Home.
The free trial copy will work nicely. First thing you have to do is add a new hard drive to your virtual machine of the desired size. After you install True Image go to Manage Hard Drives and Clone your existing hard drive to the new one. You can simply use the automatic operation. It will then ask you to reboot and it will boot right into their cloning utility, which took about 5 minutes to clone a 7GB hard drive with about 4GB of data on my MacBook Pro. After it finishes, it will shut down the machine. At this point, go to the VM configuration, remove your old hard drive, and change the connection for the new drive to IDE 0:0. When you start up, the Acronis tool will run once again to finish setting up the new drive and will finally reboot into Windows. You can then remove True Image.
On the flight to San Francisco, I was sitting next to someone who worked for a software company that specializes in virtualization (not Parallels or VMware). He told me that Apple hired several people to work on virtualization. I suspect Boot Camp in Leopard will involve virtualization.
Right now I’m at YVR waiting to board my flight in a few minutes. While I was waiting I installed VMware Fusion beta 4. I had previously installed Parallels 3.0 so I got a chance to compare the latest versions of both applications. So far Unity looks very cool – unlike Coherence, Windows applications aren’t all in the same layer. If you click a Windows application window, only that window will be brought forward, not the entire Windows layer. I’ll try to write a more detailed comparison later.
Parallels released Desktop 3.0 today, which I pre-ordered as soon as it was announced. Coherence got even better – you can now open Mac applications from Windows or tell Windows to open web pages in the Mac browser. It also seems to use less CPU and doesn’t slow my machine down as much as the older version did. Running Linux in Parallels no longer sucks, since they now have Linux tools that provide mouse synchronization. Now there isn’t much reason to switch to Vmware.
For the last few days I’ve been fighting with Microsoft VSTS to get my source code checked in. Whenever I try to get latest changes to my VMware shared folder, it always fails with error 1359. Just for fun, I tried using the virtual C drive instead of my Mac OS X home directory and it had no problem, so I figured it had a problem with VMware’s shared folders.
At that point I decided to try a Windows VM in Parallels instead of VMware, mapping my home directory as a shared folder. The result was only slightly different: I got error 50 instead of 1359. It looks like VSTS has a problem with any virtual shared folders. However, Parallels caused lots of problems for me. It locked up my machine completely after about 10 minutes forcing me to reboot. It also kills QuickSilver’s hot key. I ended up going back to VMware which doesn’t slow my machine down and doesn’t affect anything else. I’m still frustrated with VSTS and still unable to check in my code.
Last night I had a cookout with 3 of my friends and neighbors. After dinner we played Wii Bowling and everyone loved it. In fact we’re planning more “Bowling Nights”. This morning one of my friends told me she had a sore arm from bowling.
These are people who never play video games and have no interest in traditional game consoles. This shows how the Wii is different. By bringing you into the game with physical activity rather than sitting on the couch with a gamepad, the Wii appeals to everyone.