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Demo Corner: Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D for Mac with VMware Fusion

Microsoft has been getting a lot of buzz about their three-dimensional Earth-visualization software, "Virtual Earth."

The software, which lets users "fly" around 3D maps of the Earth using a web browser, has one catch: right now, the technology is only accessible on Windows, in that it requires Microsoft XP Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista, supporting Microsoft’s 3D acceleration protocol, DirectX 9.

Sadly, for now, this leaves Mac OS X users out  in the cold.  Unless, of course, that user is running VMware Fusion to run Windows on Mac.

Stefan Geens, has a solution though. He figured he could run Windows on his Mac as a way to use Virtual Earth 3D.  He started out with one approach that was less than successful:

"I used to try new versions of the Parallels Desktop for Mac virtualization tool to see if they had added support for VE3D, but all I got for my efforts
were very hard crashes, not just of Windows but of the entire machine."

Yikes!  That doesn’t sound like any fun at all.

The good news, though, is that he didn’t give up.  He gave VMware Fusion a spin, and thanks to VMware Fusion’s superior 3D support, had success! 

As he puts it, "Sometime in the last few months, however, competitor VMware, came out
with an upadte of their virtualization tool for Mac, Fusion, that does support VE3D. Here’s a screenshot from this morning when giving it another go,"

And here’s the screenshot he provided  of VE3D in Internet Explorer running on Vista with VMware Fusion (I recognize that tool bar!):


Very cool!  And here’s a YouTube video of Virtual Earth in action.

If you’re running XP, Vista, or Server 2003 with VMware Fusion, give it a spin and tell us how it works!


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