Personal Virtualisation on Mac OS? OK, I was wrong. It’s actually pretty good.

You know, I’ve always said that one of the things I admire most about a person is when they are happy to say “I don’t know”. I think that says they’re confident enough about what they do know, to be able to admit the boundaries of their knowledge.

In a similar vein I have a lot of respect for people who are happy to admit they’re wrong. And so I will step up to the plate now, and admit that after the feedback I received over the last week from a number of colleagues and acquaintances about my previous post …

Personal Virtualisation on Mac OS as a Developer? Probably not.

… and the work I’ve done since … I was wrong.

Continue reading “Personal Virtualisation on Mac OS? OK, I was wrong. It’s actually pretty good.”

Personal Virtualisation on Mac OS as a Developer? Probably Not.

Much of my recent professional life has been dominated by the Microsoft development stack – Visual Studio, C#, SQL Server and related technologies, and in recent years, the popular JavaScript frameworks and libraries, Angular and React.

Developers who work with a similar technology stack, would often use a Windows machine as their primary development workstation, as I did. But, my preferred personal computing platform, has always been Mac OS and Mac hardware. So my employer’s or client’s workstations have almost always been powerful Intel-based Windows Workstations, but my personal machines have almost always been Macs.

When doing work at home on my Macs over the years, I’ve tried using various flavours of virtualisation on Mac OS, to run instances of Windows, on Mac hardware. I did this to run:

  • Windows-based Dev Tools, such as Visual Studio, and Visual Studio Code, or
  • Windows-based Services, such as SQL Server, or Internet Information Services, both of which stretched the capabilities of a virtualised Windows environment extremely, or
  • Other software or services for which there wasn’t a non-Windows option.

Initially, I used VMWare Fusion extensively, and more recently, particularly since Apple Silicon, Parallels. Both Fusion and Parallels are excellent products, but in recent times I’ve begun to re-consider the value of virtualisation of Windows on Mac for development activities.

Continue reading “Personal Virtualisation on Mac OS as a Developer? Probably Not.”

Apple iCloud Drive – Where did My Files Go?

Well that was interesting? I’ve always been an avid user of Cloud based storage providers. And I’ve tried most of them:

  • Dropbox – my long-time favourite
  • OneDrive – generous space with Microsoft subscriptions, but at one time didn’t play particularly nicely with Mac OS.
  • Google Drive – reasonable free quota, and if you host services with Google, their storage quotas are pretty good. And their client’s have improved over the years.
  • Mega – I tried Mega a while back – as an Australian, I was keen to try the “Antipodean Alternative”. It was fast, it was generous in the space available, but the clients, and mode of operation wasn’t quite “retail” enough for my needs.

I had been using Dropbox as my primary storage provider but, had begun to question the value of their relatively expensive subscription. So what were my alternatives?

My various Microsoft subscriptions allowed me 1 TB of OneDrive space, and although that didn’t accommodate all of my requirements, it certainly allowed me to use that for critical files. I also host some services with Google, and a relatively modest upgrade in my subscription increases the Google Drive storage quota considerably … so that’s an option.

And unashamedly my family is a very “Apple-family”, and so despite the exorbitant price, we have subscribed to “Apple-One”, which I’d almost forgotten provides a quite generous 2 TB of iCloud Drive storage shared across our family members. I’d not really looked at how much the family was using and was surprised that along with all of the many device backups, iCloud based applications etc, we still had well over 1.8 TB free.

So, my plan was to use Google Drive as my primary Cloud provider – where the entirety of my cloud repository resides, and use OneDrive and iCloud Drive to store critical files, and keep the “critical files” synced across all three. And that’s all worked pretty well to date, except there’s been a really odd idiosyncrasy about getting iCloud Drive to work as I want.

Firstly, some background on iCloud Drive. There are some key factors I came to understand both before and as I began moving a significant number of files into it. Some of them are:

  • The location of your local iCloud Drive must be in the User Home Directory – so unless you take the radical step of moving your Home Directory to an external drive, you are very much constrained by the size of your boot drive – unless someone else has other ideas – this is the information I’ve determined?
  • There’s a particular configuration of iCloud Drive, whose meaning is perhaps a little unclear, but it’s critical you understand what it means for you – Optimize Mac Storage – It will be set to On by default, which makes sense for most, but the behaviour of this setting – or in my case – misbehaviour – is of interest.
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How a Mac OS Crash Caused SOME of my software to stop working – And why

On my main office Mac – a 64 GB 2020 i7 iMac – with lots of external drives, I had an unexpected, catastrophic failure a week ago. The sort that after the machine restarts, you get Mac OS saying: “Your machine was restarted because of a problem …” and you get asked to send a report to Apple, etc, etc … From memory, I think that the issue revolved around “kernel panic”. However, as the machine appeared to have come back up fine – it seemed – I didn’t pay that much attention to the issue, and got back to work. But then I noticed that some things weren’t working as expected. And some of my Drives weren’t mapped correctly. What was going on?

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Having trouble getting Google Drive going on mac OS?

I use a number of cloud storage providers. One of them is Google Drive, and given my personal productivity platform of choice is mac OS, I’ve been following the various incarnations of Google Drive on that platform. Across several Macs and many versions of OS X and now Mac OS, I’ve used a variety of versions of Drive, and – from memory – I think they’ve been called:

  • Google Drive – originally
  • Google Backup and Sync, and now
  • Google Drive for Desktop

The move back to this latest version of Google Drive for Desktop promises to deliver some really impressive additional features and Google has been advising users to transition to this new version. I began to do that recently, thinking it should be simple. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Continue reading “Having trouble getting Google Drive going on mac OS?”