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Category Archives: fusionfaces

Friday Afternoon Fun: James Fallows of the Atlantic Still Rocking Out on the Mac

fallowsmachines We’ve covered before how journalist James Fallows, author over at the Atlantic Monthly, and of books like “Blind Into Baghdad” and “Breaking the News,” is switching to the Mac with the help of VMware Fusion to let him run Windows on Mac.

James just published a nice blog post on his thoughts, three months into his experience on what’s working and what’s not.

I won’t spoil the post which is equal parts praise and tongue lashing, so you can check it out here.

Here’s a hint: he’s a big fan of something that rhymes with, um, musion…and not a big fan of something that rhymes with…mista.

Fusion Faces: David Alison Making His VM Sweat with Visual Studio Benchmarking on the Mac

david alison The VMware Fusion team has been following David Alison’s ongoing blog series about using VMware Fusion and Visual Studio in a Windows XP VM to run Visual Studio on a Mac

Well, clearly David spends his weekends like I do: working on cool stuff that there’s not quite time for during the week.  How do I know?

On Saturday, he posted some benchmarks comparing his custom physical Visual Studio development box to the performance he gets out of his virtual Windows XP VM running on VMware Fusion on his MacBook, which he uses mainly for mobile Visual Studio development.

The results? Well, the title of his post might give you a hint: “How fast does VMware Fusion run my development environment? Very.

Hailing from Palo Alto, in the blue corner, weighing in at…

Just to set the stage a little, David’s physical development workstation is a quad-core, 2.66 GHz beast of a desktop, with 2GB of matched Corsair dominator RAM, running fully-patched Windows XP SP2.

His Windows XP Visual Studio development VM is running on VMware Fusion 1.1.1, on a 2.2 GHz MacBook, with 4 GB of RAM (1 GB of which he has assigned to the VM).

The results of his comparison of his Visual Studio development VMware Fusion VM to his physical dev box?  As he puts it, ” I was able to load my current project up, which included a local SQL Express database and tens of thousands of lines of code. It loaded fine the first time in, compiled clean and allowed me to see my application in IE (all within my VM). I could trace through code in the debugger, set breakpoints, modify data in the tables dynamically, etc.”

And the performance?  “From a performance standpoint everything ran very smoothly – I didn’t see any big gaps in performance, even though this is a little MacBook.”

Here are the results of some of the benchmarks he ran, with times in the VM running on VMware Fusion with his MacBook versus times on the physical dev box:

 

David Alison Visual Studio Testing

Those look to be some pretty impressive results.  We’re looking forward to seeing more of David’s experience running Visual Studio for Mac, but it looks like he’s off to a speedy start.

 

Fusion Faces: eBags CTO Joe Devine Uses VMware Fusion in his Home Studio to run Sony Acid and SoundForge on Mac

joeandparker The breadth of Windows applications that people use VMware Fusion to run on their Mac never ceases to amaze.  Take for example, Joe Devine, whose day job is CTO at eBags.com, one of the biggest online retailers of bags and accessories.

But at home, Joe’s all about his music.  Before he was a big time technology exec for a leading e-tailer, Joe was a professional musician, playing in bands, running a recording studio, and promoting bands back in the 90s.  His musical streak still runs strong.  Recently, when he had the chance to record a local singer in Colorado (where eBags is based) and he was having issues with Firewire under his PC, Joe decided that he would make the switch to Mac.

Joe’s Challenge: Make that Mac Make Music

Joe had initially bought a MacBook for other reasons, but after some instability on his PC, put Pro Tools onto his Mac, where it behaved better.

The challenge was, there are quite a few industry-standard music production applications that are Windows only.  Examples would be Sonic Foundry / Sony Acid Pro 6 and Sonic Foundry  / Sony SoundForge 8, both of which only run on Windows, along with GigaStudio and Virtual Guitarist.

As Joe puts it, "But tons of my project stuff was still in Acid-format and on the PC, not mention literally tens of thousands of samples and loops I needed access to that I didn’t want to waste time converting over for user with Mac tools."

VMware Fusion Makes Sweet, Sweet Music on the Mac

Joe’s solution?  Run Acid on Mac in Unity view using a Windows XP virtual machine running under VMware Fusion.  "VMware Fusion lets me run Acid, pick up all my PC-based media off the network, run all my cool virtual instruments, export tracks to a VMware shared folder on my Mac’s file system, from where I load them into Pro Tools for mixing."

With VMware Fusion, Joe doesn’t have to relearn any new apps, and can just take care of business. "I can do all my computer-only production work in Sony Acid on Mac, and then just export the files and run ProTools for additional production, like recording live vocals and instruments and mixdown," says Joe.  "Without VMware Fusion, I would have to go through the tedious process of converting all my files, and would be without some of my coolest instruments."

Joe’s favorite thing about VMware Fusion?  "No more crashes!  No more switching computers, audio interfaces, etc. during a project.  No more having to choose between Acid and Pro Tools–I can use both!"

Picture of Sony Acid running on Mac in a Windows XP virtual machine with VMware Fusion (killer speakers!):

Studio-Mac-Closeup-Edit-200

And here’s a track that Joe recorded with Megan Fong, using VMware Fusion!  How cool is that?  Listen Here.

What would Joe says to someone in his shoes?

"Music production on the Mac is made possible with VMware Fusion, and just works!  If you’re a Sony Media user you will definitely be able to do loop-based production using VMware Fusion.  Being able to run older VST instruments that will never have universal binaries is a huge plus!"

Joe’s Gear

Machine: MacBook Core Duo, 2gHz, 2 GB RAM, 23" Cinema display to run dual heads.
VMs: Windows XP
Virtualized Apps on the Mac:

And, of course, Joe’s killer studio:

Studio-2008-03-12

Fusion Faces: Gail Nickel-Kailing Executing Business Strategies with Blue Hornet on Mac with VMware Fusion

Gail Nickel-Kailing I had the pleasure to meet Gail while fulfilling on the Fusion team’s commitment to award a shiny new iPod touch to one of our user survey takers.  Gail was the respondent who was selected by the random number generator I used to help with the tough task of choosing one winner out of the tens of thousands of great reponses we got.

 

Gail and I got to talking, and pretty soon, we were all set on featuring her story on Fusion Faces!

 

Gail is the Managing Director at Business Strategies Etc., a consulting firm that specializes in applying technology to design, produce, and deliver marketing communications, both online and off.      
      

 

Gail’s Challenge: Wants a Mac, Needs Key Business Apps

   

Gail is a fan of Mac hardware and had her sights set on a shiny new 17" MacBook Pro with all the trimmings.  The challenge was, one of her key clients has a long-term relationship with Blue Hornet, an email marketing application.  And as many email marketing experts know, Blue Hornet doesn’t work on the Mac.

 

Besides Blue Hornet, Gail has some other key business apps that she uses day in and out that wouldn’t work on the Mac.  She’s a big fan of Microsoft Visio for visually explaining concepts, and likes to use Corel Paint Shop Pro, and Stamps.com.  Of course, those apps don’t work on the Mac, either.

   

The Business Strategic Solution? VMware Fusion and Windows XP

   

One of Gail’s clients, a systems integrator, recommended that she use VMware Fusion to help her sort this out.  She’s been exceedingly pleased with the results.  As Gail put it, "My favorite thing about VMware Fusion is that it works!  It was easy to install and configure and for someone who is not an IT professional, just a small business owner that has to do her own tech work, it is easy to manage and update."

 

It’s the perfect compliment to her Mac, letting her achieve the vision of "Just Works" SMB IT, but without foregoing her key applications, "Windows on my Mac with VMware Fusion is better behaved than Windows on my old PC!  It just works, quietly, unobtrusively, dependably.  I love it!"

 

And she loves the power of having two machines in one.  "I essentially have two computers in one box.  I have an external monitor hooked to my 17" laptop, and I use one for Windows XP and the other for Mac OS X.  It really feels and acts like two machines.  But if I want, I can flip into Unity view, and those two machines blend into one.  Too cool!"

 

What would Gail tell someone in her shoes?

      

"I recommend VMware Fusion all the time.  I have a friend who is a Flash designer.  She had just bought a new MacBook Pro, and couldn’t find Mac versions of some of the apps she was running.  I told her, ‘You gotta get Fusion!’ and she already did.  She thanks me all the time!"

 

Gail’s Gear:

 

Machine: MacBook Pro 17", 2.4gHz, 4GB RAM

 

VMs: Windows XP

 

Virtualized Apps on the Mac:

 

       
  • Microsoft Visio
  •    

  • Blue Hornet Email Marketing
  •    

  • Stamps.com
  •    

  • Corel Paint Shop Pro

 

 

 

Fusion Faces Updated: Danny Sullivan Can’t Stop Raving About VMware Fusion

Dannys_fusion_2
I got all goofy and doe-eyed last week when blogging about how one of my favorite bloggers, Danny Sullivan, was switching to the Mac with VMware Fusion.

Well, I’m here to revisit my previous fan boy paroxysms, because Danny has posted again regarding, and I quote, "My Mac & Windows Under VMware – Awesome!"

I couldn’t write these headlines better myself!  This is fantastic.  It’s so awesome to see these guys trumpeting their success with VMware Fusion.  It’s like Danny and Scoble are having a contest.  Scoble’s "VMware Rocks" was pretty good, but Danny mentions Windows on Mac in his title…so he might have the lead.

What really make me happy is the fact that Danny’s situation is really like mine: he’s a Windows user through and through, making his way in a Mac world, using VMware Fusion as his security blanket. 

We say this all the time, that a Windows virtual machine, running on the Mac with VMware Fusion, is the perfect security blanket.  But Danny actually said this himself, "So I’m on the Mac but not really using the Mac side much. I’m sure I’ll get
there. I actually do want to get there. But having Windows is a great security
blanket, not to mention it’s fast and stable."

Like my setup at work, Danny pretty much lives all day in a Windows VM, in an external monitor, popping into Mac OS X here and there when feeling brave.  (for example, this blog post is being written in Windows Live Writer in my Windows VM, running on my MacBook Pro with VMware Fusion).

As Danny puts it, "It works so well. I can’t say it enough. Right now, I’m using my widescreen
external monitor to run the Windows virtual machine. I only remember I’m using a
Mac when I forget about the stupid new keyboard shortcuts or the lack of a Del
key (more on all this later; yes, I know, fn-delete and there are remapping
tools). Down below, it’s Mac city — where I’m mainly running Firefox so far."

Fusion Faces: David Alison Cooking Up His Next Brilliant Startup with Visual Studio and VMware Fusion

David_alison_2
David Alison is a technology entrepreneur who is always on the hunt for the next big thing.  David founded WebSurveyer and sold the company in 2006, staying on at the new company, Vovici through 2007.

But David’s got a new gig, a startup called "MaxiManage" and as if that wasn’t enough of a challenge for him, he’s decided to move his primary computing environment over to the Mac!

He’s getting along well, but as he puts it "I’m doing all of my core development using Microsoft Visual Studio and
that’s a Windows only proposition. What I really wanted was something
that would allow me to fire up a Windows XP session and run Visual
Studio in it, while still being able to load my Mac applications at the
same time."

Based on VMware’s reputation for rock sold virtualization products, David gave VMware Fusion a shot, and so far, is really happy with the results for running Visual Studio on the Mac with VMware Fusion.  As he puts it:

"I figured I’d install the trial and check out Fusion.  Installation
was a snap – really simple. I had a full version of Windows XP that I
installed within my Mac; no setting up a special partition, the entire
virtual machines exists as a single file within the Mac OS. Nice and
clean – I like it."

 

Fusion Faces: Premier Search Engine Blogger Danny Sullivan Running VMware Fusion

Danny_sullivan_and_mac
Pardon me as I get all fan-boy here for a second.

Danny Sullivan, of SearchEngineWatch and SearchEngineLand fame, and dyed in the wool tech geek, just blogged about he has gone and gotten himself a Mac.


According to his post, even though he never thought he’d do it, and he’s a little grumpy about the new user interface that he has to get used to, he went and bought a new MacBook Pro.

However, this was my favorite part, "I bought VMware [Fusion] so that I can get Windows XP running on it, as my security blanket."  So glad to know that Danny will be able to run his vital Windows XP apps that he’s come to know and love, by running VMware Fusion for Windows on Mac

I’m sure as soon as he witnesses the wonders of Expose, especially when combined with VMware Fusion’s Unity View, he’ll come around to the Mac UI.


Fusion Faces: Chris Gulker, founder of SFgate.com, running VMware Fusion

Chris Gulker has been around technology for a long time.  He founded SFgate.com, Examiner.com, and has worked at Apple and Adobe in  various product roles, so he knows his software.

It seems that recently he started playing around with VMware Fusion for Windows on Mac as an alternative to running Parallels Desktop.  He has a couple posts talking about running Windows XP and Ubuntu at the same time.

Chris has also been using his blog to chronicle his fight with cancer, documenting the ins and outs of his experience, including the technology involved in his treatments.

His latest post talks using VMware Fusion to run Windows-only medical visualization software GE Centricity.  He has a screenshot of his MRI, displayed in a VM running on VMware Fusion. 

It’s really rewarding to see users being able to use the product to help them do important things, like keep on top of health issues, in a more seamless way.  Stories like this really bring home the human value of this kind of technology in a way that sometimes gets missed when talking about running MS Outlook, Project, or Max Payne on a Mac.

Thanks for sharing, Chris!

Fusion Faces: Journalist and Author James Fallows Using VMware Fusion with His New MacBook Air

Fallows_head
Imagine our surprise and delight when not a week after Robert Scoble boasted on his blog about how he had switched from Parallels to VMware Fusion our Google Alerts picked up on another high profile user talking about how he’s using VMware Fusion.

In this case, it was James Fallows, renowned author and Atlantic contributor.  James is doing a cool series on how life with his new MacBook Air is treating him.

In Friday’s post, he details how he’s now up and running Windows XP on MacBook Air thanks to VMware Fusion.

He had some challenges at first using a special install disc of Windows XP provided by the Atlantic IT department, but once he got a normal Windows XP disk, he was ready to rock.

This is one of the pictures he posted on his blog:

Fallowsmacbookairfusion_2

Apparently James likes a program called Zoot, which is used by writers and researchers to organize information that will eventually becomes books and magazine articles.  Well, Zoot only runs on Windows, but with VMware Fusion, James now can run Zoot for Mac.  Very cool. 

Here’s Zoot running on James’ shiny new MacBook Air, with VMware Fusion:

Fallowszootmacbookair

Fusion Faces: David Delmonte Reaches for the Stars with VMware Fusion

David
David Delmonte is a retired World Bank staff member who lives in Washington DC and has a serious passion for the stars.  So much so, that in 2006, he was selected by NASA as a "Solar System Ambassador" and in that capacity does speaking tours teaching people young and old about the space program and the stars. And as part of this gig, David has become a serious star watcher, with his own professional-grade Meade telescope.

David’s Challenge

Like a lot of specialized equipment, David’s telescope requires updating via software that only runs on Windows.  Specifically, the Meade Autostar Updater, which uploads the latest positions of stars, planet, galaxies, and so forth to David’s telescope, can only run on Windows.  This is a challenge that a lot of specialized devices face, from GPS receivers, to cell phones, and more.

David has a MacBook Pro that he loves, so updating his telescope was proving a challenge to him.  Previously, he had used Virtual PC 7 on an older PowerBook to try to run the update software, but he found using the PowerPC-based emulation of Virtual PC was just about impossible to use for his purposes. 

As David puts it, "I could only connect through a com port at a low bit rate, and often, after a couple of hours of uploading telescope firmware and data, the link would break, and I’d have to start over.  It was very frustrating."

The solution, heaven sent.

David decided to try VMware Fusion to run Windows on his Mac and run his Meade Autostar Updating software.  As he puts it, "It worked.  Not only did it work, but I could use a bluetooth USB adapter and got much faster data transfer rates." 

With VMware Fusion on his MacBook Pro, David can now update his telescope whenever he wants.  "Meade provides a set of guided tours that change as the sky changes.  Now with VMware Fusion I can upload these tours as often as I like.  I love not having to pray each time I try to update my telescope, and I love showing off to my Windows friends that I can run Windows XP faster than they can on native machines.  Unity view blows them away!"

And on more earthly topics, David also happens to manage his son’s business taxes using  TurboTax for Business, which only runs on Windows.  "It’s a breeze," says David. "Using TurboTax with VMware Fusion, that is.  Not the taxes. They’re no breeze at all!"

What would David say to someone in his previous situation?

"VMware Fusion isn’t expensive, the support is great, and there is an active user community on the VMware Fusion forums that help out a lot.  I would recommend this to anyone."