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.
I was talking with a friend the other day, about the “prehistoric” days of computing, about things we did in our youth tinkering with PCs, which ignited our interest in computers. And apart from this proving a fascinating “walk down memory lane”, these reminiscences got me thinking about some of the features of modern Operating Systems we take for granted today.
My earliest experience was on an Apple IIe, with a Z80 card installed, which allowed me to run what seemed to me at the time, an incredibly powerful Operating System, CP/M. And the highlight of using CP/M was what I thought was a very sophisticated Word Processor, Wordstar.
For those not familiar with this now ancient program, here’s a fantastic video from Youtube, which provides a quick overview of the use of Wordstar. And although I can’t be certain, given the “naming” of the drive used, I suspect it is actually being launched (very slowly) from a “floppy disk” – and for those who don’t know what they are – yes they’re the things that look like the Save Button in modern programs, that no one uses any more!
How many times over your career have you had to create some form of audit trail functionality within a system or project you’ve worked on? The answer for me is often. Depending on your preferences, and probably experience, there’s several ways of doing so.
There’s a few obvious points you could implement auditing, each of which have good points and bad points:
My professional work is predominantly done using Windows-based tools – Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio Code (although there is a version for Mac OS), SQL Server, IIS etc. etc.
However my favourite productivity platform is Apple Mac OS. I have a reasonably powerful MacBook Pro, which I’ve got four displays attached to; the internal display, and 3 external displays. Here’s a photo of how the displays are arranged.
And my Windows machine, although it’s a reasonably powerful i7 Dell laptop, which can support one or two external displays, isn’t configured that way. The solution I’m using now to make working under Windows 10 a better experience, is to use Microsoft’s Mac OS based Remote Desktop App. I’m not sure when the capabilities I’m exploiting now, were introduced into the App, but the features it provides, allows me to do my development work, in a much more productive way, so I thought I’d share my experiences.
This was a decision it took me a long time to arrive at, and was taken with some hesitation, but now it’s done, I have no regrets. I’d persisted trying to use Microsoft OneDrive for a long, long time, and it had made good sense to use it. My family and I have had an Office 365 Home Subscription for a couple of years, to provide us all with access to the various Microsoft Office products at a reasonable price across our various devices, and platforms – several Macs, several PCs and many iOS devices. And that includes a reasonably generous 1 Terabyte of OneDrive storage for each of our 5 family members.
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