Computational Perversity in Chicago

(Windows 95 was Chicago, but whatever.)

Because I don't know what to do when Sheryl isn't over and I have Warcrafted myself out for the night, I decided to install Windows Vista Preview Release 1 on my Intel iMac under the Parallels virtual machine. The preview release is free (legally) and Parallels has a 15 day demo (though I purchased a license), so you can go out and do this for free. After you've spent a grand and a half on your Intel Mac, that is.

The Parallels virtual machine is good, but it can't quite provide direct access to all the acceleration my graphics card offers in the guest operating system. Vista detects this and switches to some not-quite-so-Aero mode. Everything looks meh--not different from the Windows XP screen I sit in front of at work every day.

What is very impressive is the performance. You wouldn't think that a bloated operating system would be usuable in a virtual machine with a bunch of crap running in the native operating system, but I could definitely get things done. About the only thing I'm interested in, other than the novelty value, is using Picasa to manage my photos instead of the ass-slow iPhoto. Which, it's obviously not practical to boot into a virtualized operating system to get to your photos, but that's another matter.

Oh, and Vista brings with it an incredibly intrusive "feature": every time a program attempts to do just about anything on your machine (even change the date or time), a modal dialog box pops up and the rest of the screen blanks out until you grant or deny permission for the change. Who the hell came up with that as a solution to the malware problem?

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