How do you run windows when your primary OS is not Windows (need help)

My laptop is a Macbook. It runs Mac OS X. While the OS is awesome, it's not the most popular one. This would mean that there's software that is only made for Windows. And it's software that is custom, specific and generally cannot be changed for another software [running on OS X].

There is however one piece of software which even though it runs on OS X, I want on Windows. And that is Microsoft Office. MS Office for Mac OS X sucks. The ribbon interface is so ugly on Mac, the menus so different. And it deleted one of my presentations (while presenting it !!!). Don't even get me started on OpenOffice, iWork and all the copycats. When everyone around you is using MS Office, you have to use it too. Period.

So we agreed that I need Windows

The most common thing to do is get a virtual machine. I was using VMWare Fusion with one Windows XP and one Windows 7 installation for quite a while. The problem is the HDD. It just can't keep up with both machines (the host and the virtual). While stopping the swapping in the virtual machine can help, it doesn't fix the problem. And I have the fastest plate hdd available - 7200 rpm, a lot of cache. Also getting a lot of RAM also helps considerably - I have 4GB but the issue with the HDD remains.

I went to the competition

People said that VirtualBox and Parallels would do the job better. I tried VirtualBox for a day. Importing failed due to hardware inconsistencies and even while loading it just made the host os unresponsive. So I guess the competition doesn't do the thing better. What next?

What about remoting?

Using a dedicated machine that stays somewhere and logging on it only when needing windows could do the job. This means I have to buy an extra machine. Remoting would mean that I would need net constantly. And Remote Desktop for Mac is pretty bad. I could always switch to TeamViewer (also available for my phone), but it is not the best either. Also copying stuff while using my phone's 3G is not viable if the stuff is in the hundreds of megabytes scale.

What about SSD?

While the classic HDDs are good for working on serial pieces of data, SSDs shouldn't have the problem working in parallel with 2 streams of data. I have a friend who bought 50GB OCZ drive and he says his machine now went supersonic (a lot faster). The drive was like 130 euros. I can't work with 50GB. 128GB could maybe do the job but it's going to be tough. And buying a bigger one would be very expensive. Also I haven't asked how does this drive behave with a VM. It's important to do so.

And no I would NOT install Windows

...or get a Windows laptop. No way. No BootCamp either.

Conclusion: I need help

This problem would be relevant for everyone using any OS that is not Windows. So, people-not-using-windows, PLEASE HELP ME decide what to do.

I'm back!

After 7 months I'm finally back.

I've migrated dasBlog to wordpress. It's not trivial but did happen in only 2 days. I've lost one blog post and 2 comments. There was a lot of manual work with fixing links. Ironically the slowest thing was to wait for Windows 7 virtual machine (windows wanted to update which was a couple of hours of work and couldn't be avoided).

Windows 7 was required so that I could add some forwards from the old posts to the new ones (via powershell).

Update: The most important help I got was from and from Mario. Thanks.

Smart port forwarding

This is one of those it-just-works piece of software. It’s a port forwarder for windows. No installation. Easy to use. And it works.


UPDATE: first, the link to the software:

UPDATE2: The site of this guy, Brooks, is interesting. Especially after reading about the software and then to see this guy’s pictures. The site:

Vista/XP can't burn a single CD/DVD without infuriating you

This is part of the series 'Vista sucks'. Although XP sucks as much as Vista
in this case.


There was a feature first introduced in XP for burning CDs. In Xp the service
was called something like ATAPI burning or whatever. Couldn't burn DVDs. In
Vista the same software could burn DVDs. I couldn't find the service name. I may
have missed it somehow.

So this software was a nice feature - simple, fairly stable.

But it's so darn slow and requires twice as much space as the burned data.
Here's why:

First you copy the files on the CD/DVD with Windows Explorer. This copies the
files in a cache of some kind. Trying to burn 4.5 GB requires 4-5 minutes of
copying - and the machine is unusable  - copying utilizes the HDD. If you do
something else it could take up to 20 min.

Then to burn them, the wizard should be started - this again copies the files
to another cache I guess. Again 5 to 20 minutes.

This means 9 GB of space needed + the actual 4.5 GB. And a lot of time.

Vista/XP you messed up a good idea again. Vista/XP you suck.

As far as I can remember Nero was a lot faster, no cache needed, or at least
no that much. Is Nero still good? Is there a light version of it?


Phonetic keyboard for Windows Vista

Както всички, които са ползвали поне малко Windows Vista, са забелязали - няма я старата фонетична подредба. Аз лично я ползвах доста. Вместо нея има сложена една "стандартизирана от БАН" фонетична подредба, на която обаче няколко букви са разместени. Примерно Ж е на мястото на W, което на мен не ми харесва.

Имаше някъде спор из нета относно коя да бъде - старата или новата, но ме мързи да търся.
Аз си харесвам старата и открих един инструмент от Майкрософт (тук ще ги похваля), с който сравнително лесно могат да се пренаредят клавишите (едно време имаше нещо подобно във FlexType (моля ви, не си слагайте FlexType - Инженерът ще се кара)).
Инструментът се казва Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator. Работата с този инстурмент не е толкова елементарна колкото изглежда, аз няколко пъти оплесквах нещата.

Та а използвайки тоя инструмент си направих фонетична подредба.

Update: във фонетичната на БАН забелязах нещо интересно: Shift + ь = ѝ.
Тоест малка оптимизация. Ер малък се използва само като малка буква.
Главна такава буква в Българския език няма. На мястото на главната
буква те са сложили "и с ударение". И с ударение също няма главна
буква, тоест ѝ трябва само една позиция на клавиатурата. За "и с
ударение" имам малко инфо тук.
Та аз реших да направя същата оптимизация и направих нова версия на класическата фонетична за Виста.

Инструкции за инсталация:

  1. от zip файла с инсталатор цъкнете на setup.exe, следвайте инструкциите.
  2. Клавиатурата сама се "пъха" в активните, така че веднага е готова за употреба.
  3. Ако все пак искате да цъкате ръчно разни неща: "Regional and Language Options" в Contol Panel -> "Keyboards and Languages" -> "Change keyboards..."
  4. Фонетичната на Виста/БАН се казва "Bulgarian (Phonetic)", моята излиза като "Bulgarian (Phonetic) - REAL"
  5. Ако имате старата ми версия инсталирана, по-добре я махнете, тъй като и старата и новата излизат с еднакво име. В списъка с инсталирани програми се различават по версията, обаче.

Поддържани хардуерни платформи: i386 (32 bit), ia64 (64 bit), amd64, wow64 (дори не знам какво е това).

Това е фонетичната подредба за Windows Vistа (в архива има инсталатор):
Bulgarian (Phonetic) - Old School (by Mihail Stoynov).zip (253.38 KB) (без оптимизацията за "и с ударение")
Bulgarian (Phonetic) - Old School (by Mihail Stoynov) (252.92 KB) (с оптимизацията за "и с ударение")

Ето и самата подредба (ако някой иска да си играе с нея, не е никак елементарно):
Bulgarian (Phonetic) - Old School (by Mihail Stoynov).keyboard (2.26 KB) (без оптимизацията за "и с ударение")
Bulgarian (Phonetic) - Old School (by Mihail Stoynov) v2.0.keyboard (2.33 KB) (с оптимизацията за "и с ударение")