Wednesday, May 30, 2007

XP on Parallels

I did something this week I said I would never do again. I have given Microsoft money for an operating system. {sigh}
I took a degree in Computer Science over a quarter of a century ago. Even before graduation I have been doing professional software development on a wide variety of platforms, including the many flavors of DOS and Windows that have come and gone. I have even worked on projects where we poked around in the guts of Windows. As Han Solo said to Luke Skywalker, "You think these things smell bad on the outside?!"
So, why would I do this? Obviously, the answer is because I need to run some software that only runs on Windows. These include:
  • N1MM logger - This is the most popular logging program out there for contesters (at least according to the Contest University survey). It is used by the K1TTT contest station, and by many YCCC members. In fact, the author of the program is a YCCC club member! I would like to become more familiar with this software so I won't feel so vunerable when guest operating at a big station. The only way I can do that is practice with it.
  • Antenna modeling software - There are antenna modeling packages for MacOS X, but it doesn't look like it is ready for the kind of activity I'll be doing. I'm a developer--why don't I fix it?! Because, I've only got so many hours in my life for software and this is not how I want to spend them. So, I'll use one of the Windows off-the-shelf packages to do this work.
  • Propagation software - Contest University professors (and many who have written to me here) have pointed me to this software. It only runs on Windows.

There are probably other packages, too, but this is a representative sample.

I had loaded Parallels with a copy of Windows 98, but it wasn't very stable. Given my (now aging) knowledge of Windows 98, I'm not surprised. So, I ordered a copy of XP Home from Amazon which arrived this afternoon.
As I type this my XP Home Edition is loading security updates. Not just a few. A bunch. It is loading 79 security updates, to be precise. I'm not kidding. Really. 79. Sheesh. Of course, after it finishes with these, who knows what else it will need.

Hammac has provided a solid platform for doing my DXpedition work so far. It held up wonderfully on Montserrat and I've given it some abuse since returning. Parallels seems solid (though it was difficult to tell with Windows 98). So far, discounting the disturbing number of security updates being presently loaded, the XP installation and configuration has been smooth. With luck, I will have a dual OS laptop by the end of the evening.


Blogger Steve Weinert said...

One of my work client machines is an Intel Based iMac. With Parallels I've had it running five operating systems at the same time.

I have an OS-X version of NEC I'll send you - it lacks the nice interface of many of the versions, but perhaps it will tempt you to add it!

My base version MacBook lacked the system resources to work well with either Parallels or Bootcamp, and I decided to keep my old Dell Laptop around for the Windows only applications.

As programs as complex as SPICE have been successfully ported & polished to work under OS-X, one would hope eventual OS-X versions of contest loggers, propagation software and antenna modeling software would someday follow.

The trend to do some of these tasks in platform portable scripts as these programs face the forced march to upgrade to at least XP levels, if not to Vista standards, may open opportunities.



May 30, 2007 10:33 PM  

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